Constructive criticism is welcome, but I will not tolerate flames. Please consider this, before reading on.

I deleted the previous teaser chapter because I wasn't happy with how it turned out. This is the new teaser chappie, but I'm definitely going to make this chapter longer, as well as continue my, YES, most popular story. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, GUYS! You readers make me so happy, every time I read a review, or see a fav or follow. Thank you so, so much for sticking by me for this long. I wish each and everyone of you nothing but the best.

Hermione walked silently into the cottage, wiping sea salt and tears from her face. The door creaked open, and Hermione halted. A part of her prayed that it was Pansy who was at the door, but her heart sank to the pit of her belly as she looked up into wide emerald green eyes.

"Hermione?" Harry whispered.

"I was taking a walk on the beach and-"

Hermione stopped as she saw Harry's eyes glint in the moonlight.

"You saw."

"I didn't see much," Harry said. "But enough."

Hermione thrust her hand up and combed her fingers through her ocean damp hair nervously. "I—there isn't anything I can say."

Harry closed his eyes. "I love you, H-Hermione," he stuttered awkwardly. "You're a sister to me. I just—I'm-I'm scared. He-"

"He's not who he seems to be," Hermione interrupted. "He's different, with me. Severus..."

Harry's eyes narrowed.

"Do you love him?"

Hermione's breath caught in her throat.

"Yes."

"You can't be with him, you know."

"It's like Romeo and Juliet," Hermione chuckled weakly, attempting to break the ice that was slowly melting between herself and her best friend.

"Come in, we'll sit by the fireplace and have a cup of tea. Ron's snoring upstairs and everyone else is asleep."

Hermione stepped into Shell Cottage, and sat down in one of the chairs by the fireplace. She cast a spell over the wood, and a warm fire gently started.

She shivered despite the warmth of the flames.

Harry came back from the kitchen, and set two cups of tea down on the small end table in front of the chairs.

Hermione sipped her tea, drawing the cup back as she scalded her lips.

"So..."

"So." Hermione said.

"It will never happen, Hermione."

Hermione's head shot up. "It's already happened.

Harry sighed in a resigned manner. "I mean, I—I'll always be here for you, Hermione. No matter what happens. I just don't want to see you hurt. He's a Death Eater, he has a death sentence..."

Hermione knew good and well that Severus' days were numbered. She was by no means a foolish girl, but at the same time, she didn't want to think of it. Life without Severus...

It would devastate her.

"I have to search for the Horcruxes," Harry said. "With Pansy here, we can't talk about it. I have to go by myself. The locket is gone, but we have to find the rest of them. The Goblet of Hufflepuff, and Nagini...something of Ravenclaw's..."

"No, Harry," Hermione said. "You aren't doing this alone. The only way I can be with Severus is if the Dark Lord is defeated."

"But he's—He killed Dumbledore! He's on Voldemort's side!"

"I don't believe that," Hermione said adamantly. "There was a reason that he did what he did, and there is something more to his story." She didn't feel like divulging what Lucius had told her. It wasn't her business; it was Severus', and if Severus had been infatuated with Lily, it wasn't her right to tell Lily's only son.

"We have to get into Gringott's," Harry said. "Griphook is upstairs, along with Ollivander."

"I do have something," Hermione said, and reached into her jeans pocket. "Bellatrix's hair. I only have a few strands, but-"

"Brilliant!" Harry exclaimed. "First thing in the morning, we'll go to Gringotts."

Hermione smiled weakly. She felt remorse settle in her bones; she felt happy with her best friends, but—her home was with Severus.

/

As Hermione felt her skin bubble and her legs stretch as she gulped down the Polyjuice Potion, she shuddered. "Essence of Bellatrix. Urgh. Well, how do I look?"

Harry and Ron shivered.

"Hideous," they both chorused, and Hermione smiled.

"Just what I wanted to hear."

Griphook the goblin, who was on Harry's back, whispered coarsely, "Put on your Invisibility Cloak, Mr. Potter. And it doesn't matter how she looks; it's if the goblins will fall for it or not."

Hermione felt dread and anxiety settle in her veins. She inhaled a great gulp of sea air, and then said,

"I've been around Bellatrix enough. I can do this."

I can do this.

Hermione patted the locket that hung around her chest; the Portkey that Severus had given her that was now useless. Yet, still, it held such value to her. It was as if a part of him was with her, and it gave her strength.

Hermione stumbled in Bellatrix's awkward heels and long, gangly legs as she climbed up the sand hill and grasped Harry and Ron's hands. Together, they Apparated to Diagon Alley, and Hermione started to tremble. She pressed her hands to the locket once more, and began to saunter in to Gringotts.

Death Eaters were guarding the door like vultures awaiting for a pick of her carcass. Hermione glared at them, and forgot, almost for a split second, that she was in Bellatrix's skin.

"Madame Lestrange," they mumbled, and moved aside. Ron, Hermione, and Harry and Griphook walked over to the main desk.

"I wish to open my vault," Hermione pronounced haughtily. The goblin sneered down at her.

"Yes, well—oh! Madame Lestrange! We...do need wand verification, if you could please be so...kind..."

Hermione's heart leapt to her throat. "I do not see any need for that," she snapped, and out of the corner of her eye, she could see movement in the air where Harry must have been. Suddenly, the goblin smiled kindly.

"Right this way, Madame Lestrange," the goblin simpered. Hermione's heart beat like a staccato note on a broken piano.

Suddenly, she heard a quite familiar voice echo in the quiet hall, and she turned; no, it couldnt' be!

Severus stood talking to the Death Eaters at the entrance of Gringotts, and his eyes narrowed slightly when he saw her. Hermione gulped nervously and turned, her heart feeling sour from ache.

Severus' boots made a clicking sound on the ground as he walked towards them, and Hermione could hear Harry's sharp intake of breath, and Ron's low growl.

"Oh, why, Bella!" Severus said, his eyes scanning her face. Hermione averted her eyes and cocked her head down, and Ron jabbed her in the side inconspicuously. Severus' brow furrowed.

"What are you doing here?" he said smoothly, as Hermione veins jumped around underneath her skin at the sound of his voice. "I thought you were at the Manor."

Hermione's eyes widened, and she cleared her throat. "I—what business is it of yours, Snape?" she said cruelly, cursing herself inwardly.

"Ahh, but it is every bit my business, Bellatrix," Snape murmured, and Hermione blinked. "The Dark Lord trusts me."

"And are you saying he doesn't trust me?" Hermione blasted, trying to stay in character as much as she could.

"No, Bella, no..." Snape surveyed her one last time, and Hermione could feel Harry's eyes on her despite the Invisibility Cloak. "Good day, Miss Lestrange."

Hermione breathed a sigh of relief, and together, Harry, Ron, Griphook, and herself followed the goblin to Bellatrix Lestrange's vault.

/

"HOW are we going to destroy the Horcrux?" Ron exclaimed, as Harry shook his head. "And where is the last one? We have the Goblet of Hufflepuff, but-"

"Hogwarts," Hermione muttered. "We have to go back to where the Founders first spread their roots."

"How are we going to get in there, Hermione? There are Death Eaters around every bloody corner!"

"H—Hogsmeade," Hermione said, shivering as her cold, wet clothing stuck to her clammy skin.

"Well, it's worth a shot," Ron said.

Harry stared at Hermione, "More than worth a shot, Ron; it's what we have to do."

As they Apparated to Hogsmeade, Hermione felt the chill of the air whip around her bare arms. She clung to Harry and Ron, her best, dearest friends...

She didn't want to lose them.

She couldn't lose them.

A siren went off, and Harry's eyes widened.

"Potter!"

Hermione snapped her head to the sound of the voice.

"Go—GO! The Hogshead!" Harry said hurriedly, and the three rushed to the inn.

"Mr. Harry Potter," a man said, and Hermione looked up; he bore a striking resemblance to Dumbledore. Hermione looked back at Harry; it must be-

"You're Aberforth. Dumbledore's brother," Harry pronounced, and as they talked amongst themselves, Hermione found herself straying farther by the portrait of a girl, and the table in front of it. Her eyes grew like saucers as she saw a copy of the Daily Prophet laying on the table.

She glanced sideways at her friends, and then back at the front page to see Severus' visage striding to and fro on the newspaper. It was a familiar picture, one she had seen before, but with one difference-

There was a red X over his face.

"What's this?" Hermione asked innocently, pointing at the paper.

"Ah, that, that—is none of your concern-"

"But it is...

Harry shook his head slowly, as Ron frowned in confusion.

"...just curious, I guess," Hermione finished. Aberforth chuckled darkly.

"Just as curious as Dolores Umbridge, I'd wager," he said. "This is war, girl!"

Hermione's heart constricted as she gazed at the picture, the red ink following where Severus' face turned.

"We have to get into Hogwarts, Aberforth," Harry said.

"Why on God's green Earth-" he turned to the portrait, whom Hermione now recognized as Ariana, his sister, and said, "You know what to do."

Ariana vanished into the distance, and after a few moments, there was a knock on the back of the portrait.

It swung open. Hermione raised her wand, until she saw Neville's face, bloodied and bruised, peek out from behind it.

"Need a ticket on the Hogwart's Express? Hop on!"

"Neville!" Harry exclaimed.

"Follow me," Neville said, and they climbed into the hidden passageway.

/

"Ravenclaw's Diadem is what we need."

"And how the bloody hell are we going to destroy it? " Ron snapped.

"Well...Basilisk fangs can destroy Horcruxes, once we find it, of course..."

"I have a better idea," Hermione interrupted.

"And what's that?" Harry asked, even though, Hermione could tell from his eyes that he knew.

"I retrieve the Sword of Gryffindor."

Ron's jaw suddenly lost it's hinges. "Wh—What?"

"I know where it is," Hermione said firmly. "Let me go get it, and I'll meet you in the Room of Requirement."

"No!"

"Alright," Harry said, his voice booming over Ron's, "Just be careful, 'Mione, okay?"

Hermione drew in a shaking breath. "Always am," she chuckled weakly. She made her way to the door, but Ron's arm drew her back.

"Hermione, what are you doing? Snape has the Sword, you can't possibly think you can overpower him-"

"Let go of me, Ronald," Hermione hissed. "I have to do this." She wrenched her arm away from his grasp, and raced down the corridor to the Headmaster's office.

When she had arrived at Severus' door, she whispered the password as softly as she could.

The door didn't budge.

"Damn," Hermione muttered to herself, hearing footsteps coming closer down the hallway. "Snape. Snape!"

The footsteps neared. "Severus!" she called out, and the door swung open.

"Her-"

"Let me in!" she gasped, "someone's coming!"

Severus let her in and closed the door. "What are you doing here? I meant for you to be safe-"

"None of us are safe until the Dark Lord is dead," Hermione said, and Severus' dark eyes glinted. "I need the Sword."

"Ah, I see," Severus murmured, stepping closer to Hermione, so close that her breath seemed to leave her. "You didn't come here to see me."

"I—I have to-"

"Yes?" he whispered, his mouth brushing up against her, his lips caressing the shell of her ear, his hot breath wafting over the side of her face.

"I just need the Sword."

Suddenly, Severus stepped away, and Hermione's chest heaved. "I cannot give it to you."

Suddenly, a spark lighted in Hermione's head. Two could play at this wonderful-horrible game.

"Severus," she muttered, glancing down his body, and then back up to his bright, shining night eyes. "Please do this for me."

"Do what?" he said softly, his eager eyes following her every move as she came closer to him.

"Just-"

A step closer,

"give me-"

body's brushing, hands touching, breaths mingling, heart beats racing—and Severus swooped down to cup her face, staring into her eyes deeply. Their lips met in a kiss, and Hermione moaned into his open mouth as he plundered her ruthlessly.

"Give you what, now?" Severus purred, ripping the shirt from her chest, and encasing one of her rosy nipples in wet warmth. Hermione trembled and quaked around him as if a tornado were whipping through her body.

He gently bit down, and pulled slightly on her as Hermione grasped a handful of oily hair between her clenched fists. "Oh-oh-"

Severus' hand snaked down her body to cup her through her jeans, and she bucked up to meet him...feeling the heat of his hand through the thick fabric, and he moved, he pressed down slightly, moving his hand slowly, and Hermione ached with the need to feel that sweet, wondrous rush once more.

So soon—oh, so soon—she could feel it building in her pit of her belly, even the ends of her hair were quivering with anticipation—pleasepleaseplease

She hadn't realized that she had said it out loud until Severus smirked, and unbuckled his trousers. Hermione's hands groped blindly to find him hard and dripping, her hand slipping through coarse hair to settle on his hardness. She could feel him jerk against her at the slightest touch. As he moved his hand to and fro, applying more and more pressure to her, she caressed him, feeling the hot, hard flesh slide against her hand.

"Yes," Severus growled, gazing down at Hermione as his fingers finally crept down her jeans to touch bare, real flesh-

Hermione choked on her moans as he flicked the little peak between his fingers, pulling and pinching and caressing, and her head moved from side to side on the stone floor. She couldn't think—she could barely breath, it was so much, too much...

Suddenly, the motions of Severus' hand ceased, and Hermione let out a little moan of disappointment.

He plunged into her, and Hermione shrieked against his neck, feeling tendons and muscles tense as he thrust, feeling slick—hot—fast-more-more

She could taste it, as she placed her lips on his throat, and tasted the salty sheen that pearled down his flesh.

She could smell it, the musk of sex rising as they both neared the edge.

She could see it, a bright sprinkling of stars behind her eyes as she closed them...

And she could feel it, yes! She felt it rise through her body like a tsunami, and she clutched the anchor that she felt underneath her fingertips...felt muscles ripple as she held on, and on-

and it hit her suddenly, even though she knew it was nigh, and she could make no noise, only tremble as the unbearably sweet pleasure coated her insides, rushed through her veins like a drug that she would never get enough of.

Severus moaned as he felt her climax, and Hermione surmised that Snape's sound of pleasure was certainly the most beautiful noise on the face of the Earth. She closed her eyes and smiled, as she felt his thrusts become more frenzied, and less controlled.

He spilled himself inside of her, and Hermione embraced him as he groaned and trembled.

He pulled out of her slowly, and Hermione sighed, spreading herself upon the cold stone floor.

Severus turned on his side, and Hermione was quick to catch the smile that spread in his eyes and stretched his thin lips.

"I don't want you to ever let me go," Hermione whispered, and Severus murmured,

"Why would I? You are the one keeping me from drowning."

Hermione's eyes widened. Severus cleared his throat.

"Now, what is this silly business about a Sword?"

/