Title: Beguiled
Author cathedral carver
Pairing(s): Snape/Hermione
Prompt number: Post DH, Snape is alive and in hiding — he kidnaps Hermione for one weekend saying he wants some companionship. Will she decide to stay with him, or return to her life after the weekend?
Word Count: 2,800
Rating: PG
Warnings: EWE

Summary: I knew she'd see it my way. Eventually.

Written for the 2010 Interhouse Fest.

x

Snape

I don't know what possessed me, really. I mean, looking back at it now, my actions were totally impulsive and highly dangerous. Completely out of character! I could so easily have been caught and then where would I be? To go through all I did and survive, only to bungle it with some hare-brained scheme. But hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, and things are what they are, and I did what I did. There's no changing that now and I refuse to berate myself, especially considering how things have turned out.

The opportunity presented itself and I pounced. Granted, I was still in the recuperative stage and not thinking as clearly as I might have been had I, say, waited another few weeks. But time is of the essence! Make hay while the sun shines! Get the lead out! My, I am bursting with pathetic platitudes today. But, they are all fitting and I will use them to my advantage.

Was I out of my mind? I will let you be the judge, dear reader. But don't judge too harshly.

Remember, please, that I was simply a lonely, middle-aged man. Who in their right mind wants to spend the entirety of his life alone? Not I. I wanted to be with someone who would challenge and nurture me, who would, perhaps, tend to me in my twilight years. And the day I happened to see Miss Granger leaving her place of employment, I decided I wanted her to fulfill those roles, so I took the chance that I might be able to persuade her. And the rest, as they say, is history.

x

Hermione

It's funny how life works out, isn't it? I never in a million years could have imagined standing here now, on this day, about to make a monumental commitment, to begin life anew, to feel so marvelously blessed!

I had my life all mapped out, starting with a wonderful job at the Ministry, something high up with plenty of responsibility and respect, of course. Marrying Ron would follow, naturally, and then after we were settled and were stable financially, two or three children would fit nicely into our busy but loving and productive lives. Yes, it was a lovely plan, but sometimes plans change. Sometimes someone comes along who makes you realize how insane you were to think it could be any other way.

It all happened rather quickly and took me completely by surprise, but he wanted it that way, you see, because otherwise I never would have agreed, never would have seen the light, so to speak. At the time I was appalled and more than a little afraid, I admit, but once I calmed down, he was so kind and so very gentle, and explained it all so clearly, that very soon I began to understand that what I was doing, where I was heading, was completely wrong for me and would end, ultimately, in my misery.

Imagine spending the rest of your life in complete wretchedness!

No thank you. I'll spend the rest of my life thanking him for saving me.

x

Snape

She didn't put up nearly the fight I thought she would, given all I know about her. I knew if she had access to her wand she'd hex me into oblivion, so I had to take great precautions on that front. But, Merlin, she is a strong one! And feisty. And of course I startled her. I was wrong, I realized later, to approach it that way. I should have simply walked up to her, as if surprised to see her, ask her how she was doing, perhaps even invite her to tea. She's well-bred enough that she would have agreed. But, instead I blindsided her, and anyone in that position would fight back. I mean, I would assume.

I managed to get her into an nearby alley, put a full body bind on her and whisper to not be afraid. The look she gave me! I quickly apparated us away to my home, where I put her in the spare bedroom, locked the door and warded it until I figured out how to proceed. My heart! I sincerely hoped I would not drop dead from some sort of attack before I had a chance to appeal to Miss Granger's sensible nature and share with her my plan. Surely once she heard what I had in mind she would jump at the chance to accompany me on my journey. Who wouldn't want to mother my offspring? To transcribe my nearly indecipherable handwriting for new and potentially life-altering potions? Who wouldn't want to glean the knowledge I had to impart?

She would not only be ungrateful, but downright insane not to accept.

Then why was I so bloody nervous?

x

Hermione

I realized I should have been more aware of my surroundings, and usually I am. But, I do get caught up in my mind, you know. That particular day I was thinking about silly things, inconsequential, now. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I was thinking about Ron of all people. It seems nearly impossible now, but there it is. Things had been getting a bit too serious too quickly for my liking. We both knew we would eventually be married, but Ron was pushing for sooner rather than later, and I simply wasn't ready. I'd only been with the Ministry for a few weeks when he started strongly suggesting we "set a date." He was rushing my carefully controlled timeline and I didn't appreciate it one bit.

I was leaving work, tired but satisfied, and heading home when I felt it. It was a sort of tingling along my spine, as if someone was following me, or watching me very closely. It was getting dark, and usually I leave with Susan so neither one is alone, but today I was late. When he grabbed me I wasn't completely unprepared, but I didn't have the access to my wand that I needed. He was very strong and very fast, and hustled me into the alley before I could even make a sound. When I realized who it was I almost fainted dead away.

Professor Snape.

He looked exactly the same, but the way he was looking at me was decidedly different. Merlin, I'd forgotten how piercing his eyes could be. Then, too late, I remember he was supposed to be dead. Was this a ghost? If so, he was an amazingly strong ghost. I struggled, I truly did, but he overpowered me.

Then, everything went black.

x

Snape

Once I had her calm enough to talk without fear of punching me in the face, I calmly explained what I had in mind. I could see she was listening, was taking in all I had to say, but I could also see the utter disbelief, and dare I say, derision written all over her rather plain face. The ignominy! She should have jumped at the opportunity! I mean, Severus Snape over Ronald Bloody Weasley? Had the girl gone mad? I was offering her an out!

Finally, after hours of words and gestures and even a few well-configured diagrams, she began to yawn and shift uncomfortably on the bed. She said she was tired and would "like to go home now." I told her it simply wasn't possible tonight and that I needed her to sleep and make a decision in the morning, when she was better rested.

She said she would "think about it." I raised an eyebrow and snorted politely because I knew what that meant, of course. But I agreed and told her to "sleep on it." She asked if she could go home in the morning, as that rat-faced Weasley would be terribly worried about her. I said of course. I said not to worry. I said everything would be fine.

I said a lot of things I didn't mean that night.

x

Hermione

In the beginning, it was difficult, I won't deny it. I had no idea what his plans were, and he frightened me quite a bit, but I kept a cool head and reminded myself that it was only Professor Snape. Snape! Why on earth would he want to hurt me? What had I ever done to him? I'd only tried to help, and if he held any animosity over that night in the Shrieking Shack, he seemed to have completely gotten over it. He was alive, which was the first shock. I mean, we'd heard rumours, all of us, but nothing had been proven one way or the other. We only knew his body had "mysteriously" vanished and had not been located.

I was relieved, of course, to see him alive and well, but what on earth could he want with me?

Then he laid it all out: word by word, week by week, year by year. I had to bite my tongue hard to keep from braying disbelieving laughter in his face. Me? Hermione Granger, marry him? An old man? My former professor? Had he gone around the bend? I'm ashamed to admit it now, but those were all my feelings that first night. I was suddenly exhausted and wanted to go home, to forget any of this lunacy had happened. For a moment I thought he'd relent, but then he said no, he wished for me to stay, to sleep, to give him a decision in the morning.

Most reluctantly, I agreed.

It was the best decision I ever made.

x

Snape

I have a silver tongue, I've been told. Should have been a politician, I've been told. I spun my tale that day. I wanted companionship, I said. I wanted stimulating conversation. I wanted a warm body.

If it hadn't been Hermione Granger that day, could it have been someone else? A Slytherin, perhaps? I've thought about it quite thoroughly as time has passed, and yes, someone else could have filled the role I required; but no one could have filled it quite like her.

She was beguiling, that one. Even during the days I had loathed the very sight of her, something about her had been vaguely exciting, stimulating. I attempted nothing unsavoury during her school days, of course. I'm not a cad. But I noticed her. Everyone did.

After my "death" and the subsequent stay in St. Mungo's and after the furor died down, I found myself living alone, a life most solitary, and while I once would have wanted nothing but, now, after tasting death, after seeing so many fall, I craved the company of others. I travelled often, in disguise, to crowded marketplaces. I studied couples, strolling without a care, arm in arm, smiling and desperately in love.

Yes, I admit it. I was horribly jealous.

I wanted someone to love.

I wanted someone to love me.

x

Hermione

I thought I might be set free when night fell, but it wasn't the case. He brought blankets and a pillow and I was quite comfortable, once I realized he wasn't going to murder me while I slept.

Tomorrow, I told myself. He'll let me go tomorrow.

I felt ever so much more relaxed after a good night's sleep. In the morning he brought me a lovely breakfast: eggs and toast and pumpkin juice, all my favourites, and sat with me as I ate. The food was delicious and the juice completely revived me! After the second cup I suddenly I realized his companionship was not nearly as repulsive as I had thought. He was simply misunderstood! A gentle, loving soul who had given everything to help defeat Voldemort. No one knew what he had gone through, how he had suffered in silence for so many years. Suddenly I was deeply ashamed of how we had treated me, taunted him behind his back. To this day I can't quite recall what he said, but I know he said it beautifully, so eloquently. I was mesmerized. And he smelled wonderful! And he was undeniably handsome. The years had been good to him. I watched his mouth move as he talked and wondered when was the last time he'd kissed someone.

Suddenly I couldn't remember why on earth I ever wanted to go home.

x

Snape

I remembered her being an infuriating chatterbox from her school days, but she mostly sat and listened while I attempted once again to sway her. She did have a healthy appetite, however, thank Merlin. She was shoveling down her eggs and gulping her second cup of pumpkin juice when she gave me the most curious look: I'll never forget it. Her lips parted and her eyes softened and she practically threw herself at me. I certainly wasn't prepared for that, but it wasn't entirely unwelcome. She simply caught me off guard. When I recovered my senses I put my arms around her and kissed her back, as passionately as I could. It felt odd, of course, to be snogging Hermione Granger, after watching her practically grow up before my eyes, but I quickly became immersed in the sweet sensations and let myself go.

She certainly didn't seem repulsed in the least.

x

Hermione

How we ended up kissing is quite beyond me. One moment he was explaining the finer points of his extensive travel itinerary for the following five years and the next I was in his arms, my hands in his hair, my mouth on his. I should have been horribly embarrassed at my forwardness, but I felt nothing but love. No, lust! I wanted him that moment and nothing was going to stop me.

x

Snape

She has wondrous lips.

x

Hermione

Everything makes sense now. I love Severus Snape. And he loves me. And nothing else matters.

x

Snape

I knew she'd see it my way. Eventually.

x

Hermione

The most difficult part in all of this, of course, was breaking the news to Ron. Poor dear. He's taken it quite hard. I can't really blame him, but he needs to get on with his life and realize that we simply were not meant to be.

Because it is possible, you see, to spend a mere two days in someone's presence and have the course of your future altered greatly, don't you agree? I mean, it happened to me! And here I am, on the morning of my wedding to Severus Snape, and I couldn't be more ecstatic. It's unfortunate, of course, that my friends and family don't support me in this venture. But, in time, they will come around. I can guarantee it. They think I've been hexed, can you imagine? That my undying love for Severus is not real. If only they could feel the way I feel, then they would understand. My only wish is that each and every one of them experiences the utter bliss of true love at least once in their lives.

I don't know why they all think I'm mad. How can they not see how desperately in love I am with the man?

Their cynicism makes me sad.

x

Snape

And so there you have it. It's a simple tale, really, but a satisfactory one. My little plan worked, no one can deny it. We are to be husband and wife, though I don't know who will be attending the ceremony, as most of her so-called friends have abandoned her. I suppose it's unfortunate, but she won't have time for friends as we travel around the globe completing my research and starting a family.

And, I will no longer deny myself the happiness I so richly deserve. Haven't I suffered enough? Haven't I paid my dues to the "Cause." The Cause! I sacrificed everything, very nearly sacrificed my life! Now I am making a claim to a life of happiness, and I have found the perfect mate: smart, fairly pretty, still young enough to bear me plenty of children. And she loves me! I know this to be true, for she tells me every day, both in and out of the bedroom, if I may be bold.

And really, if I continue to slip the Amortentia into her pumpkin juice on a regular basis, where's the harm? It's simply a little precaution I take, will continue to take, for though I know she adores me, it never hurts to have a little insurance, yes? She just needed a little nudge, a small poke in the right direction. Judge not, please, until you see her in person, holding my arm, hanging on my every word, gazing at me with dewy eyes. She is happy. I am happy.

And everyone loves a happy ending, yes? Yes. I agree.

Now, If you'll excuse me, I have a wedding to attend, and I can't be late.

x

Fin