Severus stopped in his tracks as the young woman headed out the door without looking back.
"Because I already know what I'd do with you."
And what was that supposed to mean? Did she mean she would have turned him down flat and thus, there was nothing else to consider, or that she would snog him senseless?
This is why he wasn't in a relationship.
He followed Hermione into the next, and last, room.
Inside reminded him of some Greek mythical challenge. The doorway out was clear, but if Hermione's spells were true – which they probably were – the door was not going to open.
In the center of the room was a small mountain make of rock. Platforms made steps up the mountain, each about three meters higher than the other. High enough that one would have to climb to reach each one, for there was nothing to use to fly. The mountain itself stood about 35 meters high with a total of ten platforms up the side of the hill.
At the top of the hill hung a plant. Obviously, their target.
"It's mistletoe," said Hermione, dejected. "Magical bloody mistletoe."
"That would explain the climb. We have to be in proximity to it in order for it to fall."
She gave him a queer look. "And we have to kiss."
"Is that going to be a problem for you, Miss Granger." He knew he was letting his irritation show, but dammit, the woman shouldn't be so vague.
"Of course not, Severus. We're both adults." Hermione looked up to the mistletoe, high above the ground. "Just how close, exactly, do we have to get to release the mistletoe?"
"I am uncertain. That would depend on when it was picked, the humidity in the air, the acidity of the soil, the-"
"Alright, alright, I get it."
Severus stood at the base of the stone, preparing his ascent. "We will just have to climb to the top and release it."
"Um, why don't we stop on each platform and see if it's close enough?" asked Hermione, now also standing before the stone.
"Eager to kiss me, Granger?"
Hermione gave him a withering look. "Oh, you have no idea. As far as you know, I orchestrated this whole plan just to get into your pants."
"You could have just asked."
"You've never given anything easily, Severus. Course, that kitsune may disagree with me."
Severus growled and began his climb, eager to hide his face.
He reached the first platform and began to climb to the second when Hermione interrupted him. "What?"
"Can we try it from here?"
He looked at her, incredulous, as he dropped back down. "You were serious?"
Hermione huffed. "Have you ever wondered why you never see me on a broom? I would shag you right here and now if it meant I didn't have to climb any further."
Severus wondered if there was a loophole to retrieving the mistletoe, but alas, he could think of nothing. "We could try it, if you insist, of course."
"Ha. Get over here and kiss me."
"I believe, since you are being so demanding, you can come here and kiss me. It was your idea after all."
"Oh, of all the ridiculous-" Hermione stepped up to him, grabbed his lapels in two clenched fists, and kissed him soundly before looking up to the mistletoe.
"Blast," said Hermione and slowly began climbing.
Severus waited for her to climb up before following, appearing to be a gentleman in case she fell, but really just admiring her bum.
"Hurry up then," hollered Hermione above him, and he joined her shortly.
He waited with his arms crossed.
She sighed. "Next time, it's your turn," she said and gave him another kiss. Still, nothing happened.
When they reached the third platform, she had barely stood up before Snape was on her. Gripping one hand in her hair, he tipped her head back and laid a gentle but firm kiss on her lips, nuzzling her cheek with his nose. She had just enough time to realize what had happened and begin to respond when he pulled back.
"Nope, still nothing," he said, nonchalant, acting oblivious to the near-panting woman next to him.
Oh, she was in trouble.
On the fourth platform, she arrived first. Hermione stood up on her tiptoes and, with her hands cupping his face, closed her eyes and placed an open-mouthed kiss on his waiting lips. She barely pulled back before kissing him again. He let out a low grumble, and she pulled away, ignoring him as his arms reached for her.
"Hmm, nothing. Shall we carry on?"
Severus was already climbing.
He reached a hand down to help her up in his impatience before crashing into her, kissing the corners of her mouth, her nose, and finally her lips while holding her in a passionate embrace. Hermione wrapped her arms around him, returning the kiss. After an intense moment, he looked up, abruptly ended his hold on her, and went to climb.
Hermione was quicker.
She waited for him to stand up before just looking at him.
"Yes?" he asked. He had been expecting her to launch herself at him, not inspect him like potions ingredients.
Hermione took one, then two steps towards him, before slipping a hand inside his robes and grasping a fistful of his hair to bring his face to hers. Her parted lips guided him, and they tasted each other as he grabbed her bum and returned her hold on his hair.
Hermione now knew why the kitsune had pouted after he left her.
A shiver ran down her spine as they kissed each other senseless. Breathless, she looked up and told him, "Still nothing."
He gave her a hungry look. "Good."
The climb to the eighth platform was a race, each eager to finish what had been started.
Severus reached the top first, his long limbs giving him an advantage. "Looking for something…Hermione?" he asked her, smug.
"Shut up," she told him, and they continued where they had left off.
He pinned her to the hard rock, receiving no complaint from her, and he slid one hand up her shirt to fondle her breast as he kissed her. One of her hands was kneading his arse, and the other smoothed over his cheek to entwine in his hair.
He honestly had no idea why she kept touching it.
"Hermione," Severus whispered as he slowly laid her on the ground. Gently settling over her, he began to hitch up the bottom of her shirt as she worked to undo the buttons of his jacket.
"Ouch!" Hermione suddenly yelled.
Severus immediately stopped moving. "What is it? Did I hurt you? Is this too uncomfortable?"
Hermione gave him an unreadable look, a mixture of relief and disappointment. "I'd say about six meters," she said.
Hermione held up the large sprig of mistletoe that had landed on her forehead. "Six meters is how close you have to be in order to release this damned plant."
She struggled underneath him to get up. He contemplated pinning her there but remembered she still had her wand and a formidable temper.
Hermione lowered her legs over the edge after securing the sprig. She stopped when she noticed Severus wasn't following. "Are you coming?" she asked.
"I'm not in fit condition to climb. I'll be…down…shortly."
Her eyes flitted to the tent in his trousers which he was currently trying to point away from her prying eyes.
"Ah. Yes. Well. I'll just go see if this opens the door then."
"You do that."
Landing on the ground, wanting to kiss it and never climb again – except under these circumstances, perhaps – Hermione looked up to see her colleague lowering over the seventh platform.
Over at the door, she eyed it suspiciously. This had better work.
She held up the mistletoe and hung it by the small hook over the doorframe. After a pause, she heard a small click.
Tempted as she was to head through without Severus, she waited patiently for him to descend. After all, it was partially her fault that he had been delayed to begin with.
"Is the door open?" he asked, breathing a bit hard after his exertion.
"Think so," Hermione responded and felt the door handle turn with another click.
On the other side, Hermione walked into an unfamiliar sitting room.
"My chambers," said Severus.
Hermione looked around. "I wonder why we're here."
"Because this is where the mirror was held that allowed me to watch you," said a familiar voice. A chair spun around to reveal Minerva, with Crookshanks purring, half asleep at her side.
The younger professors just stared at her.
"Hermione, I'm pleased to inform you that you have won the challenge. You were first to complete the obstacle course, you defeated your challenge, and I believe even Severus admitted you showed flair in your skills with the Boggart. For your achievements, you shall be, with no arguments, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor."
Hermione registered surprise while Snape just glared.
"Severus, you showed your aptitude with potions, a skill we can't afford to lose. In your spells, you showed extreme talent, but you lend your skill to offense, rather than defense like Hermione. She showed an affinity toward helping others just as you showed your affinity towards brewing. Yes, you are where you both belong, and this is where you will stay."
"Well," said Severus, "It's not as if we knew what we were facing. If I had known what I was to be fighting for, it would have been different."
"But that's the point!" said Hermione. "This was an unbiased way to show where our strengths lie."
"You're just saying that because you remain the DADA professor. I bet you'd change your tune if you were in Potions!"
"There is nothing wrong with the art of Potions!" yelled Hermione. "You're brilliant at it, and you know it! It's not my fault that you want something you can't have."
"You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, little Miss Gryffindor? Miss Golden Trio?" he yelled, stepping up to her. "I bet you've never been denied anything your little heart desires."
"No. I haven't. And you know why? I do this."
The next thing Minerva knew, Hermione had landed on Severus, throwing him to the ground. His fall was not graceful, but he had only himself to blame, his hands full of Hermione instead of bracing himself properly.
Yes! thought Crookshanks. Finally! An end to the ritual. A good, cat-mewling mate.
"Come along," said Minerva, picking up the large ginger fluffball. "Let's give them some privacy."
Severus and Hermione were oblivious to their audience as they left, Severus' jacket already off and Hermione's shirt hitting the door shortly after it closed behind Minerva. Just before it closed, Minerva swore she heard a male voice mutter, "Ten points to Gryffindor."
It wasn't until a meeting with Minerva, several days later, that they found out how the events had unfolded. It turned out that Crookshanks and a peculiar silver tabby had met on one of his prowls around the castle, and both had shared similar stories about their people. Once they realized the humans in question were the same, it was short work to find a way to get them together.
"Traitor," murmured Hermione to her furry companion. "So what now?"
Severus looked down at her at her question. "I suppose that's up to you."
"Oh, I don't know. You were always the one in authority…Professor."
His eyebrow rose sharply. "Is that so…Miss Granger? I think I've seen too much of your…cheek... lately. Meet me in the dungeon, or it will be ten points from Gryffindor. I have a project that is in need of your hands."
"Hey," protested Hermione. "Stop badgering my house for my actions. You wouldn't like it if I took points from Slytherin every time you misbehaved."
"That would be impossible, Miss Granger, for I am the only one in the role of professor."
"For now," came Hermione's murmured threat, and she headed down the dungeon stairs to enjoy her handsome prize.
My challenge was as follows:
Crookshanks (Be creative with him- he's always such an amazing character.
What does he have to do that might help push the two of them together or chase
away other competition? ;D )
2. Hermione is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher (Did she just join
the staff? Has she had the position for awhile? How does Snape feel about
3. "Did... did your cat just lock us in this room?"
4. "Is- is that a boggart?" "No, its the Dark Lord back from the dead. Now
give me my wand- thank you. Riddikulus!" (If you can put Voldemort in a
sunflower-patterned dress, sunglasses, and a straw hat- kudos to you. =3 If
you can think of something even funnier than that, go for it.)
5. "Blimey, Harry, did you get that? She's nuts! Nuts and squirrels!"
Happy ending where they end up together would be lovely. Feel free to put in
lemons or limes if you like. Snarky Severus is a must. Hermione should be
strong, not in an in-your-face way, but able to stand up to Severus's attitude
and explosive temper. Romance, of course. Perhaps somewhat dramatic, given the Dark Lord in a dress.
I'll let you decide how well it was followed, but she liked it at least. :) Something similar will probably be done if Liminal reaches 1,000 on .