Disclaimer: I obviously don't own anything Harry Potter related, and I'm not making any money off the writing of this. As an added disclaimer while I am playing in this particular sandbox, I would like to add that there are many ways to have a D/s relationship, and this is only portraying one of them.
First, an apology to all those who were hoping for an epilogue to follow this. While I was as well, by the time I dotted the last 'i' and crossed the final 't', there was something so perfect and complete to this fic for me that I only feel right saying that the story will end here.
Thank you to everyone who has followed me throughout this journey, to all of those who jumped in along the way, and to anyone who comes along now that the story has been completed. It's been a wonderful ride for me, and I can only hope that you've all enjoyed it as much as I have.
My eternal love and adoration to lorcalon for all of her hard work as a beta and all the time she spent helping me mold this story along the way. I love you, bb!
"Hermione?" Raising her gaze from her journal, splayed open on the table in front of her, Hermione offered Harry a small smile in greeting. He stepped closer and waved a hand at her journal with a curious expression. "What are you doing in here? Term's over, you can't be studying."
Hermione chuckled softly and shook her head, closing the notebook gently. "Just doing some personal reading." Clutching her journal tightly to her breast, Hermione looked up at Harry again, quickly masking the flicker of sadness she felt at rereading her old entries behind a friendly smile. "Shouldn't you be celebrating with everyone else?"
"That's what I came looking for you for, actually. We're all going to Hogsmeade in an hour, but nobody could find you." Before Hermione could push away from the table, Harry moved closer and pulled out the chair across from her to sit. "Hermione, what's going on?" Her eyes widened slightly and she quickly shook her head to dismiss the question, but Harry raised a hand to stop her. "I don't need to know the details, if you don't want to share them, but something has been wrong ever since we finished our NEWTs..."
Sighing, Hermione lowered her eyes to the table and frowned. "Do you remember when all of you kept asking what I wanted to do, when we finally left the castle?" She saw Harry nod out of the corner of her eye. "I finally know the answer- at least, part of it- but... if I follow through with it, I don't know if you lot would... accept it." Hermione raised her gaze uncertainly and blushed at Harry's obviously confused expression. "I'm sorry, it's silly..."
"Look, I won't even pretend I know what you're getting at, but honestly, Hermione? We're your friends." Harry pushed back from the table and smiled as he stood. "We stick by each other, no matter what." Hermione's expression relaxed slightly at his words, although she pulled her journal tighter to herself. "I'm going to change before everyone starts to leave. Will we see you in Hogsmeade, then?"
"You just might..."
Hermione examined her expression carefully in her mirror, turning to one side and then the other, until she had seen herself from nearly every angle.
She had spent the better part of twenty minutes glaring at the contents of her wardrobe, willing them to transform into anything more suitable for celebration than her usual school clothes. By the end of it, as she realized that her time had begun to run out, Hermione had settled for plucking a dark pair of formal jeans and a ruby coloured blouse from the array of items splayed out on her bed. Several flicks of her wand had stripped the sleeves from her blouse and fitted the fabrics more closely to her body, and she smiled at the result as she gave a final turn in front of the mirror.
Casting an anxious glance at the clock beside her bed, Hermione plucked up a small cosmetics bag she had borrowed from Ginny upon returning to her room from the Library. Before she closed the door, her eye caught on the clip Severus had given her during their final session together, resting beside her journal on her desk. Her hands trembled slightly as she walked over to retrieve the clip, but a smile pulled up the corners of her mouth as she carried it with her into the loo and closed the door.
The sound of her knuckles rapping against the door echoed slightly in the quiet of the dungeons. Hermione took a deep breath and straightened her spine as she waited for some acknowledgement from the other side. When none came after several moments, she knocked again and caught a faint rustling sound through the door before it swung open and she found herself looking up into Severus's very annoyed black eyes.
His expression shifted in a blink, however, from annoyance to surprise, followed by a brief flicker of something Hermione couldn't quite place. Clenching her hands lightly at her sides to avoid wringing them, Hermione offered him a nervous smile. "Could I... come in?" Severus continued to look at her silently for a moment before he nodded and stepped aside to allow her to move past him into his office.
"If you've come to say goodbye-"
"Goodbye?" Hermione watched Severus continue to hover by the closed door, as though he expected to open it again any moment, and sighed softly. "Severus," she started, smiling to herself when his eyes widened a fraction, "That isn't why I'm here." She kept her gaze focused on Severus's face as she lowered herself smoothly to her knees. Severus stilled at the change, and Hermione had the distinct impression that he was holding his breath as she smiled up at him hopefully. "You said if I told you I wanted this, it was mine..."
His eyes darkened at the same moment he began to move again, stepping away from the door to approach Hermione's kneeling form. Her gaze never wavered from his as he loomed over her, although a small shiver rippled through her when one long-fingered hand reached out to stroke her cheek.
"It would be different than before, Hermione." Severus's attention flickered to Hermione's lips, as his thumb brushed against the lower and they parted instinctively. "What I ask of you will change..." Her tongue dashed out to brush against the pad of his thumb, and Severus stilled as he locked eyes with her again.
"You know my limits, Sir," Hermione said as Severus withdrew his hand. "Anything you ask of me that I can give, I will."
"In exchange for what?" Severus began to circle her slowly, deliberately allowing his boots to softly thud against the stones. "What do you expect to gain from continuing this with me?" To his surprise, rather than balk at the faint hint of accusation in his tone, Hermione turned her face toward him with sincerity shining in her eyes.
"The opportunity to be with you." He halted at her words and looked down at her with obvious surprise. "I've developed feelings for you," Hermione continued when Severus only stared down at her in silence. "I won't attempt to say to what depth, because I won't know without being able to explore them further. But I do want you..." Hermione moved her hands to her lap and clasped them tightly, feeling herself begin to tremble at the gravity of what she'd admitted to. "Please, Severus-"
"You say my name so naturally," Severus said, cutting her off as he reached into her hair and gently removed the clip that pinned it up. He set it aside on his desk before replacing it with his fingers, curling them around a handful of her tresses and tugging upward until Hermione rose unsteadily to her feet.
Without allowing her an opportunity to regain her footing, Severus pushed her roughly against the nearest wall and pressed his body to hers. Hermione shivered and seemed to melt against him as he pinned her in place. Leaning down to bring his lips beside her ear, Severus asked, "How long has it been since I stopped being 'Snape' to you?"
"A few weeks," Hermione breathed. She tilted her head to one side when Severus's lips brushed against her neck, and her hands found their way to his robes, to curl around handfuls of the fabric. "Please..."
"Is there anything else that you haven't told me, pet?" Severus asked, emphasizing the last word with a gentle nip at the flesh of her throat.
Letting out a soft moan, Hermione clutched more tightly at Severus's robes and attempted to pull him closer. She murmured her answer under her breath and gasped sharply when Severus reminded her of the hand in her hair by tugging it sharply.
"What was that?"
Hermione's eyes fluttered closed as arousal coursed through her and she whimpered, "Master."
Severus's breath hitched quietly, and his hand slipped free from her hair to rest against her hip. "Is that what you want?" he asked against her neck, before beginning to mark a trail upward toward her jaw with his lips. He felt her tremble beneath his hands and Hermione turned her face in toward his when his mouth brushed against the corner of her own.
"Yes," Hermione breathed, opening her eyes to look at him again. Unfurling her hands from around the fabric of his robes, she raised them to brush her fingers against his face lightly. "Please, Severus..."
"Tomorrow," Severus answered, bringing one hand up to lay over Hermione's against his cheek. Her expression began to fall and he leaned in to press his lips to hers briefly. "We will discuss that tomorrow," he continued after pulling away and offering her a small smile. "Tonight, I would rather just be 'Severus' to you."
Hermione's smile returned and she wrapped her arms around his neck as Severus claimed her lips again. She arched into him and, without thinking, lifted her legs to wrap around him when his hands hooked beneath her arse. Severus groaned against her mouth at the action, and she felt his fingers press roughly into her arse through the fabric of her jeans.
"Little minx," he hissed after breaking away from the kiss. Hermione tried to reclaim his mouth with her own, but Severus nipped at her lip in reprimand and she stopped with a pout. "You shouldn't look at me that way..." Severus's voice dropped to a low murmur as he looked down into Hermione's eyes and squeezed her arse firmly.
"Why not?" Hermione asked breathily, pressing her hips forward and grinding herself against Severus's clothed erection. His answering groan mingled with her own as Severus pressed her tightly back to the wall with his body.
"You're playing with fire, Hermione." Leaning in to bring his mouth beside her ear again, Severus's voice dropped in volume again until it was hardly above a whisper as he asked, "Are you certain you want to continue this?"
She wiggled against him, pressing against his erection again as a shiver rippled through her and she nodded. "Oh yes, Severus..."
The move to Severus's bedroom happened in a blur, and by the time Hermione fell back against the mattress, she had already been divested of her blouse. Leaning over her, Severus traced the laced boarder of Hermione's bra where it lay against the curve of her breasts, and his thumb brushed over the cup, expertly finding her nipple through the fabric. Hermione gasped softly and arched her back into the touch, only to have Severus withdraw his hand.
"You're a dreadful tease," she murmured cheekily, earning herself a low chuckle from Severus in answer.
"And you," Severus purred, bringing his lips beside her ear, "are a wanton little slut." His hands moved to the fastenings of Hermione's jeans as she shivered, and she lifted her hips without prompting when he began to pull the fabric open. Severus removed her jeans and allowed them to drop carelessly to the floor before turning his eyes to Hermione's body again and freezing. He shifted his gaze to her face with some reluctance and saw her watching him with a smirk that was entirely at odds with the deep blush in her cheeks.
"How unexpected," he murmured, placing his hands against Hermione's inner thighs. Kneeling on the edge of the bed between her legs, Severus gently trailed one hand upward until the tips of his fingers brushed against the patch of curls at her quim. "Have you made a habit of dressing this way, Hermione?"
The blush in her cheeks deepened as Hermione shook her head, biting down on her lower lip with a quiet whimper. "A special occasion then?" Severus asked conversationally, reaching his free hand up to pull her lip free of her teeth. His other hand moved to stroke her inner thigh teasingly, awaiting he response.
Hermione rolled her hips upward without speaking and let out a quiet huff when Severus moved his hand further down her thigh. "Please-"
"Answer the question," Severus said with a smirk. "If you do not make a habit of forgetting your knickers, then why tonight?"
"Because I thought you'd enjoy it," Hermione snapped somewhat peevishly. Rather than look affronted by her tone, Severus chuckled and moved his hand to press his palm firmly against her clit.
"That's my girl."
Hermione ground herself against Severus's hand, trembling as the heel of his palm rubbed against her sensitive clit. "Please, Severus," she gasped out as a pronounced shiver ripped through her and her body tensed briefly. "I need to... I can't hold off any longer!"
Withdrawing his hand, he shifted his position between her spread legs to lean down over her and curl his hand around the back of her neck. A quiet whimper slipped from her lips as Severus cradled her head and claimed her mouth in a possessive kiss. He used his free hand to nudge Hermione's legs further apart as he positioned himself, sliding the head of his cock teasingly against her folds.
Severus broke away from the kiss a moment later to look down into Hermione's half-lidded eyes. Her cheeks were flushed and her lips swollen from the force of their kiss, and as she met his gaze he could make out the glassy sheen to her eyes. Positioning himself at her entrance, Severus grasped Hermione's jaw firmly. "Come for me," he ordered in a whisper, rolling his hips forward and entering her in one smooth thrust. Hermione's body tensed around him, and her hands scrambled at the bedsheets as a sharp cry burst from her lips.
"Relax, Hermione," Severus murmured in her ear as he stilled above her. Her hands eased their grasp on the bedding first, followed by her eyes peeking open to look up at him. Severus examined her expression closely as he gave the first testing thrust of his hips, moving slowly and watching her face scrunch with a quiet gasp of pain.
Rather than wait until it passed, Hermione ground herself up against him and released a shuddering breath. "Don't stop..." Severus's movements were small at first, waiting for the small flickers of pain across Hermione's face to cease before he allowed himself more. The tension that had entered her body with his first thrust eased slowly, giving way to a steady writhing after a few moments.
Her hands moved to wrap around his back and cling to his shoulders, her nails digging lightly into his flesh. "More," she mewled, bucking her hips upward to meet each of his thrusts. Severus felt the tremor that passed through her when he groaned in response, and he hooked one hand beneath her knee to lift her leg, guiding it onto his shoulder. "Oh!"
Hermione's back arched off the bed when Severus thrust into her again, leaving her lips parted in a quiet gasp as he claimed them with his own. They remained locked together for several moments before Severus broke away from the kiss with a low groan. Slipping one hand between them, his fingers sought out Hermione's clit, pressing against it firmly as he began to rub small circles over the bunch of nerves.
"Come for me," Severus growled, his lips hovering just above Hermione's. "Now." He leaned in to press his mouth to hers once again as he continued his ministrations, feeling Hermione writhe beneath him a moment longer before her body went suddenly rigid. The sensation of her tightening around his cock sent him over after only a few final thrusts, and Severus dropped his head against Hermione's shoulder as she continued to subtly tremble from the aftershocks of her orgasm.
Hermione stretched and sat up in bed, delaying opening her eyes for as long as possible for fear of realizing she had actually fallen asleep in her own bed rather than Severus's. When her eyes finally peeked open and glanced around the room, however, her fear eased and a small smile turned up her lips. She turned toward the space beside her on the bed and felt her mood sink once again when it was both unoccupied and cold.
Momentarily seized by her anger over the thought that Severus had not even slept in the same bed with her, Hermione nearly leapt to her feet in her rush to find him. The door rattled loudly off the wall when she flung it open, jerking Severus's attention away from the issue of the Daily Prophet he had been reading.
"If you did not wish to share a bed with me, Sir, you need only have said it," she snapped, remaining in the doorway of the bedroom as she narrowed her eyes at him. Placing her hands on her hips in a defensive stance, Hermione straightened her spine in defiance when Severus's expression hardened from curiosity to disapproval.
"I am quite aware of that, Hermione, given that these are my own rooms." He folded the paper deliberately, maintaining eye contact with her as he laid it aside and rose to his feet. "Now, shall I assume that this outburst was caused by my lack of presence when you awoke?" he asked as he stalked closer, watching Hermione's expression falter slightly.
"I see." Severus's mouth tightened into a thin line as he stepped up in front of her, bracing one arm against the door-frame as he leaned over her. His free hand moved to Hermione's jaw, gripping it firmly as he kept her face lifted toward his own. "And did it cross your mind that perhaps I simply did not wish to wake you when I arose, in favour of allowing you to sleep?" Hermione's cheeks flushed and she attempted to wrench her face from his hand to look away, but Severus held her firmly in place.
"We will need to talk about your habit of making assumptions, little one." The softness returning to his tone was enough for Hermione to raise her eyes to his again, and his grip on her jaw loosened. "You were exhausted and sleeping comfortably when I woke. I did not see a need to disturb you, but neither could I lay idly in the bed."
Hermione gave a small nod of understanding, and Severus pulled her into his arms. "Relax, pet," he murmured against her hair. "I don't plan on going anywhere."