A/N: My translation of a German Shortcut of mine. There is no Prequel or story to this. Why Hermione and Severus are in the situation they are in at the beginning, I do not know. That is up to you and your fantasy. I blame it on Hermione's stubbornness and Severus' need to protect others.
Nothing of this belongs to me, I'm only here to play.
GREAT MANY Thanks to whitehound who made the immense effort of listing all my mistakes!
Sugar For Severus Snape
And he lifted her off the ground and held her tight, close to his body.
His black shirt almost didn't deserve this name anymore, for it was barely more than rags. Luckily, Severus had managed to dodge most of the gruesome curses and only a single wound marked his stomach. But it was only superficial and had already stopped bleeding.
The woman in his arms wrapped her arms around his neck, to at least somewhat stay upright, and laid her head against his shoulder. Obviously it didn't bother her that there was no cloth between her cheek and his skin.
Severus felt this touch like an electric shock, but forced his legs onwards.
The edge of the forest came into sight and more and more moonlight shone through the branches.
'Thank you,' the witch whispered and suddenly the Potions Master could feel her lips on his shoulder. Only for one brief moment - a few seconds at the most - they stayed there. But he could feel them still, even as Hermione closed her eyes and her eyelashes grazed his skin softly, like a butterfly's wings, as he Apparated, as he lay Hermione down into one of the beds in the Hospital Wing, as he stepped out of his bathroom after a long and hot shower and as he went to sleep in his own bed.
'I didn't do it to annoy you or just because I felt like it! I meant it! And I … Discussing this with you is so senseless, when you're not even willing to believe me,' Hermione said agitatedly and ran her hand over her tired face. The few hours she had slept in the Hospital Wing had not been long enough and the last day's exertion finally took its toll.
And Severus Snape, standing beside her bed, wearing an appraising look on his face, certainly did not make it any better.
He really thought she was twitting him.
'I am deeply sorry, but this is how I am,' the Potions Master retorted, sounding very much like a stroppy child. He heard Hermione sigh quietly.
'Yes, of course.' Her brown eyes met his black ones. An occurrence that had led to strangely tingling moments before.
'I stand by what I did. Whether you like it or not.' With these words the young witch got up and came to stand on very wobbly legs.
Hermione had barely made one step to the door, when a hand grabbed her wrist.
'What?' she snarled at him and her eyes were shining with suppressed anger.
'Where do you think you are going?' the professor demanded to know and even though his voice was low, he managed to make the woman's hair stand on end. His voice wasn't frightening when he was shouting, but when he was speaking quietly; almost as if he was flattering you.
But she wasn't afraid of him; not anymore. She withdrew her arm from his grip and looked at him tartly.
'You decided not to take an interest in my life, so keep out of it!'
Severus could only watch her stomp out the Hospital Wing. She was hobbling a bit and her posture was not as erect as usually, but she held her head high. And he couldn't explain what made him do it, but he followed her through the double doors.
It was most likely that Hermione was trying to find some quiet and peace, so was either heading to her room or the library. Snape just had to choose one and then catch up with her, before she fell down some stairs.
Room, he finally decided, because the witch's quarters were definitely closer and in her present condition she would hardly be able to go for longer walks. After walking down the corridor for less than thirty seconds, Severus saw a very familiar bushy-haired woman sitting in a small nook.
Hermione didn't notice him edging nearer without making a sound, but stared on through the window, obviously trying to catch her breath. The man cleared his throat and, again, she sighed.
'Can't you just -'
'Disappear?' he offered. 'Get lost? Go to hell?'
'No,' she disagreed with hesitation and her breath appeared on the glass as silvery fog. Reluctantly she turned around, but her eyes met his for only a short moment.
'Leave me alone; decide. But not disappear. If you would suddenly go, I would miss you. Because every morning, when you stomp into the Great Hall, sit down without wishing anybody a Good Morning, drink your coffee without sugar - and I have no idea how you do that - read the Daily Prophet, which you will throw away after five minutes, and mumble something that I usually think is something like 'Such rubbish' or 'Local rag', and when you leave after that without having said a word … then I can't help but grin like a dunderhead. Because I am glad that you are there. That you are just who you are. I know I will never mean anything in your life, I will never leave an impression or be important. But I am still glad that you exist,' the young woman admitted and turned her head back to the window.
Severus was speechless and could only look at this incredible witch with a blank face. His heart was beating painfully loud in his chest and he was sure she could hear it; it would betray him, that small and inconstant thing.
It was beating so close to where her lips had met his skin when she was barely even conscious. The former Death Eater had looked at his shoulder in the mirror and couldn't believe that nothing indicated this touch of her mouth. No mark, no nothing. The skin was pale and smooth as ever.
And yet, Severus felt the warmth of her kiss wherever he went and whatever he did. He kept the knowledge of it in a well-guarded, locked chest. Where it was safe.
Finally he spoke with faltering lips.
'Every morning … I come into the Great Hall and don't say Good Morning, because I would have to say Good Morning to you, too and … I am no good with things like this. Every morning I drink my coffee without sugar, because the sugar is standing right in front of you and I would have to interrupt your reading or one of your little discussions with Minerva and watching you while doing this is … calming. And every morning I read the Prophet, fearing that one day I will read that you are dating some young, attractive wizard, that you are engaged, that you will be married. And I fear I will read this before I have ever plucked up the courage to ask you for the sugar. Every morning I tell myself how foolish I am for letting you leave all these marks in my life and yet I can never make them disappear.'
When Hermione turned around to face him, a single tear made its way down her check. She looked at Severus and there aren't enough words in the world to describe what he saw in her eyes. She extended her hand towards him and without hesitation he took it. He heard her breath out.
For some time they stayed like this: Fingers entwined, gazes locked. Hermione was the first to break the eye contact and - though not letting go of his hand - stood up.
'I think you are right,' she admitted and her voice made the bubble burst that had surrounded the two of them. 'I will spend the night in the Hospital Wing.'
Severus nodded his agreement, but stayed silent. He knew his voice would now betray him. Gently the witch took her hand back and was about to turn away, when she remembered something.
'Oh,' she murmured and looked at him quizzically.
And suddenly the black-haired man felt her soft lips on his jaw. But before he could react, Hermione had stepped back.
'Good night,' she said and smiled.
When Severus jolted awake - woken by an imaginary noise - he needed a few minutes to remember where he was. The green of his bedclothes and the smell of his room seemed strangely unfamiliar and the prospect of the weekend seemed completely insignificant.
The look he gave himself in the mirror was derisive and clearly said You idiot. Without thinking about it, he combed through is hair once, brushed his teeth and pulled on his black robes.
The door to his dungeon room fell shut with a loud bang.
The sight that awaited him in the Great Hall almost made him turn around and go straight back to his room. He wanted nothing more than crawl under the covers of his bed, as he hadn't done since he was five, and close his eyelids tightly and hope to be able to dream such a wonderful dream again.
She sat at the professors' table: Hair a wild mess as usual, eyes shining like stars.
She was just turning to Minerva and said something that made the older witch laugh so hard, she almost knocked over her cup of tea.
It cost the Potions master all his willpower to walk on and the way seemed much longer, all of a sudden. He sat down next to Hermione and poured himself a cup of coffee - without saying a word. He was trying so hard to make everything around him disappear, to switch off his thoughts.
But a gentle hand on his wrist pulled him from this safe place. Surprised he turned and looked into Hermione's brown eyes.
'Good morning,' she said and presented him with one of her shy, but honest smiles.
Severus was about give back an angry remark - he couldn't just let her touch him like that! - , when she reached for the sugar and pushed it towards him.
'You were always welcome.'
If one of the students had looked up at this moment, they would have seen old Snape, the meanest and most-feared professor in Hogwarts, completely flabbergasted.
He just sat there and his eyes jumped in an almost comical way from Hermione to the sugar and back to the woman.
Said woman grinned.
'Please, Severus,' she said in a low voice, so low only he could hear her. 'Do you really think I would lose control like that in a dream? I only do things like that when I am awake.'
And her grin broadened and her hand stayed on his arm.