Harry Potter and all of its settings and characters are the property of JK Rowling.

Author's Note: Ok, so I came across a challenge that you had to have a logical explanation for Hermione to be in a strip club. That seemed to me an extremely amusing idea and so this is my answer.

Story notes: Charing Cross Road is the road in London that the the Leaky Cauldron is supposed to be on and it is also a real street. It turns into Tottenham Court Road and there actually is a strip club called the Spearmint Rhino on Tottenham Court Road. I originally just wanted to look up a real strip club in London because I couldn't think of a good fake name for one. Then it turned into a google maps adventure and I actually found a real location that was perfect for the story.

I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had thinking about it!


Hermione Granger ran into the dark alley and pressed herself against the cold brick wall to catch her breath. The Death Eaters chasing her would be upon her soon and she needed to find a place to hide.


She watched her breath puff out in little clouds of steam and cursed them for ruining her night.

Damn those sneaky bastards! Why don't they just give up already?

The war had ended two years ago and the Order was still tracking down and chasing rebel bands of the insidious wankers. Her mission tonight had started out as surveillance only. Well, actually, it hadn't started out as a mission at all.

The Order had searched the entire wizarding world for where the Death Eaters were meeting with no luck, so they had each been assigned the task of following the next stupid bugger they found to see if they could discover their hideout. She had come across Augustus Rookwood in the most unusual of places.

Muggle London.

She'd just waived goodbye to her parents as they drove away in their car after a night of catching up over dinner when she spotted him, sneaking out of the Leaky Cauldron in a ridiculous muggle disguise. She'd sighed as her plans for the rest of the evening of soaking in a bubble bath and finishing her book were dashed at the sight of his horrible outfit and the way he was trying very hard not to be noticed.

She'd known she had to follow him.

The idea that Death Eaters would choose to locate their headquarters in the middle of muggle London was so absurd that it just might be true.

And true it was. She'd just cracked the biggest secret plaguing wizarding kind.

Now all she had to do was make it home.

She must have set off one of the wards on her way out of the abandoned building the Death Eater's had claimed as their hiding place and now about ten of them were chasing her down Tottenham Court Road.

She knew she wouldn't be able to out run them all the way to Charing Cross and the relative safety of the Leaky Cauldron and she didn't dare apparate as there were still quite a few muggles on the street, so she was going to have to hide.

She heard footsteps and the sound of them getting closer kicked her into gear. Keeping herself pressed against the wall she slid further into the alley searching for a doorway. When her fingers came into contact with a cold metal knob she sighed in relief and whispered "Alohamora" before backing into the inky darkness and praying she'd been fast enough for them not to see where she'd gone.

When the door was shut firmly behind her she turned around to try and see what sort of place she'd entered. It was too dark to make much of anything out and she would have thought the place closed for the night if she didn't hear music and the rumbling sound of conversations coming from the next room. She figured she'd hit a bit of luck and stepped into some sort of dance club. It would be relatively easy for her to blend into the crowd of drunk muggles for a while until the Death Eaters abandoned their search for her.

She fumbled around in the dark trying to find her way and finally came to a set of steps. One lead up and to the right, one lead down and to the left. Not knowing which way would lead her to the club she stood for a moment in indecision. Suddenly the door she'd come through began to open and she heard voices of the men she'd been running from, "-must've ducked in here. Come on, hurry up before we lose her!"

Out of time, she darted up the stairs and prayed she'd made the right choice. When she reached the top there was some sort of drapery blocking the exit, but she didn't really have time to ponder it and the music definitely sounded closer now so she pushed aside the heavy fabric and stepped through.

The sight that greeted her had her mouth dropping open in shock.

She was on a stage, with hundreds of male eyes trained on her in what looked to be a very upscale strip club.

Her mouth went dry and she almost ran back through what she now recognized as a curtain when she remembered that certain death lay on the other side and she froze. She glanced to her left and saw that some of the Death Eaters were entering the club through a door that she assumed was where the stairs going down lead to and cursed her bad choice. Damn.

Only about seven of them came through, which meant three were still waiting in the darkness behind her. Double damn.

She was doomed.

She stood, stock still on the little strip of a stage and waited for them to spot her.

But they didn't.

She watched them fan out in the room, slowly searching darkened corners and behind marble pillars and almost laughed out loud as she realized they didn't even think of looking to the stage. Her relief was short lived as it dawned on her that the patrons of this establishment would start to grumble pretty soon when they realized she wasn't a dancer and the commotion would certainly gain her adversaries' attentions.

Desperate for any sort of solution to her problem she scanned the room and her gaze landed on the shiny metal pole at the end of the runway shaped stage. An absolutely mad thought started running through her mind.

Oh gods, I couldn't possibly.

She looked out at the Death Eaters and then looked back at the pole. She really didn't see much of a choice.

Oh, my mother is going to have a field day with this. I'll never be able to refuse any of her crazy ideas for the rest of my life.

She took a deep breath as the current song ended and a new one began.


Severus Snape watched as Hermione Granger began to unbutton her coat and sway to the sultry beat that filled the Spearmint Rhino and didn't think he had ever been quite so shocked in his entire life.

For a moment when she'd stepped onto the stage he thought maybe his mind was playing tricks on him. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.

He came to these muggle establishments from time to time when the thought of spending another night alone was just too much to take. He knew women found his dark looks attractive and he used his voice as a weapon to seduce a waitress or one of the dancers into taking him into a back room. He really didn't understand the ridiculous female fascination with dangerous looking men, and thought it utter foolishness to actively seek out the attentions of a person who looked like they could kill you with very little effort, but as it worked in his favor he didn't question it overly much.

And over the past year, every time he'd taken some nameless girl in a dark corner of a seedy bar he'd pictured the one currently on stage in front of him. His desire for her was ridiculous, troublesome, and the most powerful thing that had ever taken hold of him.

Being close to her during Order meetings and not reaching out to touch her was driving him positively insane.

So it was understandable that when she appeared from behind the curtain he thought his brain had finally snapped under the strain. However, there was no denying that the girl who'd just dropped her coat to the floor and was currently sauntering down the runway, plucking the buttons of her shirt free as she went, was indeed Hermione Granger.

What the hell is she doing here?

His mouth went dry as the lacy edges of her bra came into view and his mind temporarily lost all function as she worked her way down to the last button. She seemed to be holding her breath right along with him in the moment just before she pulled the sides apart and let the shirt drop to the stage.

Holy mother of Merlin.

The sight of her in a sinful red bra and a black pleated skirt that, while much shorter than her school uniform had been, was still considered a decent length by modern muggle standards, turned him on more than any of the almost completely naked dancers that had gone before her.

It wasn't until she reached for the pole that his brain tried to process logical information again.

She couldn't possibly know what to do on one of those things. What the devil is she thinking?

What she did next didn't answer the question but it most certainly dispelled his notion that she didn't know what to do.

She reached up with both hands and pulled herself up, letting her feet leave the ground, and then swung her legs out and around the pole before bending her knees to send her into a dizzying spin.

His mouth dropped open in shock.

He knew he looked ridiculous but he couldn't bring himself to care as she brought her legs out straight again and quickly shifted around while still in mid air so that she was now facing the pole. She then hooked her feet so she could push herself up to a standing position and arched her back, letting go with one hand as she continued to spin and sending her hair flying out behind her.

She apparently did know what to do.

He watched, mesmerized, as she continued to spin and wrap herself around the pole with a sinuous grace. When she flipped herself upside down and hung by one leg as her hands lifted out to her sides he had to amend his earlier evaluation.

She didn't just know what to do. She was bloody magnificent.

He could hear it in the murmurs of appreciation around him that none of the men present even cared that she hadn't stripped off anything more than her shirt. They were getting an excellent show. That thought brought him right out of his desire induced haze and made his blood begin to simmer with irrational jealousy.

All of these men were looking at her, lusting after her.

He wanted to obliviate them all so they wouldn't be able to keep this image of her in their minds to do unspeakable thing with later.

What in the devil would posses her to allow a room full of strange men to ogle her?

The question was beating at him and he would find out the answer. So he could put a stop to it. His sanity would not tolerate anything less.

She slid slowly down the pole to kneel on the stage and for the first time he noticed that there was fear in her eyes. Her gaze was fixed on a spot behind him as she leaned forward onto her hands and bent her elbows until her chest grazed the floor. He almost lost his capability for rational thought again as she continued forward with the motion and slid her body along the stage to end up laying flat on her stomach with her hands stretched out over her head. She rolled slowly over to her back and bent one knee at the same time that she arched her back and dragged her body back up into a sitting position.

The image of her rolling over on his bed like that and arching her back up off of his mattress was doing its best to beat any reason left in his brain to a bloody pulp.

He mentally shook himself as she stood up and subtly angled his chair so he could follow the direction of her gaze. What he saw made his blood run cold.

Seven Death Eaters were converging near the bar and whispering heatedly. The thought that they were here for her terrified and angered him at the same time. He charmed his ears so he could hear their conversation.

"-can't find her anywhere but she can't have gotten away. We'll cover all the exits and wait until she comes out. She won't dare apparate out of a muggle establishment as the noise would draw too much attention so it's just a matter of time. Keep your eyes peeled for glamours and use a silent signal when you've got her."

He recognized the man speaking as Thorfinn Rowle and wasn't surprised that he seemed to be the leader of this merry band. Augustus Rookwood stood to his right and chortled rudely.

"Well the little prude couldn't have picked a more interesting place to hide." He nudged Travers as they started to head toward one of the doors, "Who knows? Maybe she'll learn something to entertain us with later. Rowle called first dibs but after that she's all ours." The lewd anticipation evident on both men's faces had Snape's blood boiling with rage.

They were going to die very painfully for even thinking about touching her.

He didn't noticed that a low growl was coming from his throat until the man in the chair next to him started and shifted as far away from him as he could. He took a few deep breaths as he tried to evaluate the situation.

Her presence in this club made a bit more sense to him now. She had probably been on some fool mission those idiots she called friends thought it wise to send her out on alone and gotten into trouble. He could see her ducking into the first place she found to hide and her look of shock when she'd first stepped out on the stage made a lot more sense now.

She hadn't known where she was.

Her mind would have started whirling in that analytical way of hers and he could practically follow her thought process in those few tense moments. She couldn't leave the stage without drawing attention to herself and she couldn't just stand there or the patrons would have drawn the attention for her. The only option was to pretend she belonged. And the only way to do that was to dance.

He looked back up at the stage just as she did an extremely complicated series of spins that fairly boggled his mind. How she knew how to do that was the only question left unanswered, but he would get that answer from her in person shortly. After he found out what in Merlin's name she had been doing that caused her to be chased into a strip club by Death Eaters en masse. He would murder Potter and Weasley if they had anything to do with it.

The stage had two exits and since he was relatively certain she wouldn't use the one she came in through he stood, slowly making his way to the other, and waited for her to finish her impromptu performance.


Hermione finished her dance to wild applause and a very hot blush spread from her face to the rest of her body. She bent to pick up her shirt and coat and walked as calmly as she could to the little set of stairs that lead from the stage to the club floor. She hoped no one would try to stop her on her way out, as she really didn't think she would survive the embarrassment of looking any of these men in the eye.

Dancing in a studio full of women because your crazy mother dragged you to classes was an entirely different experience than performing in front of a club full of men.

The Death Eaters had left in the middle of her performance and she figured it was probably safe to try and slip out if she used a glamour. She was so intent on keeping her head down and avoiding eye contact that she almost ran straight into someone at the bottom of the steps. She stopped short and murmured a quiet "Excuse me."

The man didn't move.

She repeated herself a bit louder but to no avail.

What now? she thought exasperated, Am I to avoid Death Eaters only to be accosted by some horny muggle? Well he's in for a big surprise if he thinks I'm going to simper over him like I'm sure most of the real dancers in this club do.

She looked up and began to set the man straight.

"Look, mister I'm not-"

The words died in her throat as she stared up into the inky black eyes of Severus Snape.

"Miss Granger," her former Potions Professor drawled with a dark smirk, "it seems you've found yourself in a bit of a predicament."

She opened her mouth but found herself incapable of speech. Which seemed to be fine with him as he had more to say. His smirk disappeared and a thinly veiled anger took its place.

"What on earth would possess you to put yourself in the kind of situation that leads to at least seven Death Eaters chasing you through muggle London? I know Potter and Weasley don't seem to mind throwing you to the wolves and the other moronic members of the Order never contradict them but I would think you would have more sense."

She opened her mouth again, this time in outrage but he cut her off before she could give him a piece of her mind.

"Don't speak. I will have the answer to that question but not yet. Those Death Eaters haven't left and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for them to come back inside for another look. How many of them are there?"

She was still too shocked to do anything but answer him. "Ten. Three stayed by the door we came in through."

"Good. Follow me and for the love of all that is holy don't make eye contact with anyone. I don't want to have to hex any muggles tonight."


That statement thoroughly confused her and she looked at him questioningly but he was already turning from her. She rushed a few steps to catch up to him as he swept away into what looked to be a hallway of sorts behind the stage. "What does me making eye contact with any of those men have to do with you hexing them?"

"Because, Miss Granger, when a dancer steps off stage, if she is willing to disappear with any of the men from the audience into a room such as this-" he paused to open a door at the end of the hallway and ushered her inside, "she looks them directly in the eye. That is their cue to approach her and make some sort of arrangement for a more... intimate dance."

Her eyes went wide as she looked around the room and caught his meaning. There was a very large bed in the corner and not much else. She blushed straight to the roots of her hair.

"I'm relatively certain I would not have been able to control my temper if a man had approached you in such a way."

His tone almost sounded possessive, as if his temper would fly out of some sort of desire to keep others away from what was his, and a warmth spread through her stomach at the words. She ruthlessly squashed the small hope down and cursed herself for being a fool.

Why do I always do that to myself? He doesn't mean anything of the sort and wanting him the way I do is beginning to short circuit the logical part of my brain.

Severus Snape would never see her as anything more than his least favorite, bushy haired, know it all student. It didn't matter how old she got, or how long ago her hair had gone from wild frizz to soft curls. The one man she wanted more than anything to notice her as a woman first and everything else second, didn't even notice her at all.

Get a grip, Hermione. Now is really not the time for a pity party.

She realized she needed to tell him what she'd found.

"The Death Eater hideout is here in muggle London." She blurted out and took a bit of pleasure at the shock that momentarily flashed in his eyes. "That's where I was when they spotted me. It's an abandoned building about two blocks from here."

If she expected praise or even just mild approval for her discovery she was in for a sore disappointment. She didn't think it was possible for him to look any more imposing than he did in that moment. His voice came out in a strained attempt at calm and deadly didn't even begin to cover it.

"You went, by yourself, to investigate the hideout of the most dangerous group of men the wizarding world has ever known?"

While she floundered for something to say to that he pulled a small box out of his pocket and opened it, revealing a small silver coin.

"Take this and do not leave my quarters until I come for you. I will have the answers to my questions, Miss Granger. If you think to slip away and make me come after you it will not be pleasant."

Before she could say a word he grabbed her hand and dumped the coin into her palm. It wasn't until she felt herself being pulled away that she realized he'd just given her a portkey.


He watched her disappear and had to fight to regain his calm.

That bloody woman is going to be the death of me.

A bit of his tension drained away as he reminded himself that she was safe now. He knew she would be furious with him later but it was a necessary action. Knowing she was completely out of the grasp of the scum that had been chasing her would allow him to concentrate fully on dealing them the way they deserved.

Besides, she didn't need to see what he was about to do. His anger was still simmering from Rookwood's plan to use Hermione's body before killing her.

He would deal with him last.


Hermione landed in a heap on the floor of Snape's bedroom and cursed as she stood up.

How dare he just fling me around without any explanation and send me away from danger like I'm some silly female who can't take care of hers-

The thought cut off abruptly as she realized what she was saying. She sat down hard on the edge of his bed and tried to convince herself that she was insane.

The look in his eyes had been murderous, but it hadn't looked as if he was angry at her. It had looked as though he was angry on her behalf out of... concern.

Hermione always wished, just a little bit, that her friends would treat her more like they treat the rest of the girls. Harry absolutely refused to let Ginny run solo missions, and even some of the more dangerous group missions. The redhead had badgered him so much about being unfair that he'd let her come with them once.

Only once.

He'd almost gotten himself killed because he was so preoccupied with making sure she was all right. After that she'd stopped arguing. Luna, likewise, was kept out of most of the danger.

But with Hermione it was never a question of whether or not she'd be going. It was always, "Oh, Mione can do that. Why don't we send her?" And while it was wonderful that her friends knew and understood her capabilities as a witch she just wished they would try to stop her sometimes. Not that she'd let them, but it would be nice of them to show some concern.

The same kind of concern she had just seen in Snape's dark eyes.

That was insane wasn't it? It was true that he often protested her solo missions but she'd assumed it had been out of concern that she wasn't capable of carrying out such an important mission by herself. Not for her safety.

She replayed those memories in her head. He did always have that same look on his face. Being closer made it easier to read and there was no mistaking the feeling behind it now.

Another thing she realized while replaying those same memories was that he was always waiting at Grimmauld Place when she returned, no matter how late she was. She hadn't attributed his presence to anything to do with her then, but now she was beginning to think maybe she wasn't mad after all.

He'd been waiting up for her.


Stealth and silent magic were the two things necessary to take down your enemies when you were vastly outnumbered.

Severus Snape was a master at both.

The Death Eaters were not even aware of his presence until they were already falling. One by one, he stalked and took down his prey until only one remained.

Augustus Rookwood stood beside the trash bin in the alley where his fallen comrades had been dumped and trembled in fear. Snape held his wand to the retched creature's throat and the desire to end his life pulsed through his veins.

"You are lucky, Rookwood," Snape's growl filled the alley, "that the one you sought to capture tonight has such a soft heart. She would not want your death and, foolish as it may be, I find myself unwilling to cause her displeasure. Enjoy your time in Azkaban."

He knocked Rookwood unconscious and with a disgusted shake of his head for his weakness he levitated the piece of scum into the dumpster to join his friends. After magically binding their wrists and disillusioning them, he pulled out the small square mirror that all Order members carried. As satisfying as it would be to walk into headquarters with ten unconscious Death Eaters levitating behind him, he had more pressing matters to attend to.

The tiny mirror in his palm glowed as he concentrated on activating its magic. It was a rather genius bit of spell work that Hermione had invented so they could contact each other quickly, because sometimes waiting for an owl was just not practical. It was basically a wizarding version of that device that muggles are so fond of called a cellular phone. For now only Order members had them, but the Weasley twins were in the process of mass producing them and he shuddered at the thought of so many people all being able to bother him with very little effort. He was going to have to lose his when they hit the shelves.

The yawning face of Harry Potter appeared in his mirror and he wasted no time with idle pleasantries.

"Round up some of your aurors Mr. Potter. There are ten disillusioned Death Eaters tied up in trash bin behind the Spearmint Rhino on Tottenham Court Road. I trust even you can handle them from here. Also, Miss Granger has had the misfortune of stumbling upon their hideout which is an abandoned building a few blocks down. A team will need to be put in place for surveillance on the area as I know there are more than just the ten rogues who chased her down the street and nearly killed her." All of this he said in a very calm, matter of fact sort of way as Harry's eyes went from sleepy confusion to shocked concern.

"What happened? Is she alright?"

"I found her before they could do any harm, but it very easily could have been her end." His eyes darkened and his voice took on an edge of menace as he thought about what they would have done to her if he hadn't been there. Before he shut off the magic to his mirror he couldn't stop himself from voicing the threat running around in his head. "And Mr. Potter, if I find out that you had anything to do with why she was out alone tonight, it will be you I stuff in a trash bin next."


Hermione paced his bedroom floor, waiting for him to return, and with each minute that went by her worry increased.

Blasted idiotic man, she cursed as she whirled around, taking on ten Death Eaters by himself! Who does he think he is to rant at me about foolish risks and then do something like that?

Just when she thought she would go mad from the waiting he appeared in the doorway.

She was so relieved to see him that she almost did something foolish. Like run to him and throw herself in his arms. She managed to refrain but couldn't stop herself from asking, "Are you all right?"

"I'm perfectly fine Miss Granger. The Death Eaters were dealt with- and you can stop looking at me that way as they are all still alive- and Potter and the rest of his misfit aurors should be cleaning up the mess as we speak."

He walked towards her and she felt the displeasure coming off of him in waves.

"Now, Miss Granger, I will have your explanation as to what exactly you were doing tonight. Were you on a mission that went wrong? Where was your backup? Who the hell sent you out by yourself?"

The murderous glint was back in his eyes and he fairly growled that last question.

Her heart reveled in his anger.

"Careful, Professor," she said softly, "you almost sound like you care."


She stood in his bedroom, looking up at him with those fire whiskey eyes, still without a bloody shirt on, and asked him if he cared.

Good lord, this woman really is going to kill me.

What was he supposed to say to that? He didn't want to say anything at all. He wanted to press her up against him and kiss her. He wanted to tie her to his bed until she agreed to stop risking her life in such foolish ways.

So why don't you?

That thought brought him up short.

Because she doesn't want me, the rational side of his mind hurried to reply.

Oh really? Look at her.

He couldn't stop his eyes from looking down to study her. She stood perfectly still, breathing a bit erratically, with something that looked a lot like hope shining in her eyes.

Sweet mother of Merlin.

She wanted him to care.

That revelation shot through him with such force that he wouldn't be surprised if he shook with it.

He'd been holding himself back from her for so long, certain that she didn't return his feelings. And now he knew that all he had to do was reach out and touch her and she could be his.

He decided her explanation could wait.


Hermione's heart stuttered as she saw the heated anger in his midnight eyes shift to heat of a different sort.

He closed the distance between them, slowly, but with a very clear intent.

Anticipation spread tendrils of effervescent warmth throughout her body and she was suddenly very aware that she was still only half dressed.

He stopped, inches from her, and for a moment they just stood locked in the decadent tension that was wrapping itself around them. Then his voice broke through the silence and ensnared more than her senses.

"What would you say, Miss Granger, if I told you that I do not think I have ever cared about anything more?" As he spoke, his fingers trailed a light path from just beneath her ear all the way down the side of her neck.

Every inch of exposed skin seemed to come alive at that first touch, longing to feel more of the sensation, and she tilted her head to the side to arch her neck into his caress. She felt emboldened by his statement and the look in his eyes so when she found the capability to speak she whispered something she knew would push him to hurry along her seduction.

"I would ask you what took you so long to do something about it."

She got what she wanted as the hand that had been lightly stroking her skin slid around to the back of her neck and his other arm banded around her waist, pulling her flush against his body as his head dipped to capture her lips in a searing kiss.

His mouth took possession of hers, demanding her responses and drawing small whimpers of pleasure from her throat until she felt lightheaded with the sensory overload and she slid her hands up his chest to grip his shoulders for balance. She didn't notice that he'd backed her up to his bed until the backs of her knees came into contact with the soft edge and she fell back onto it.

He followed her down and the feeling of his body pressing her into the mattress, his hands holding her wrists above her head as he continued their kiss and the hard length of his desire nestled between her thighs, muddled her brain enough that she didn't notice what he was doing until it was too late.

He pulled back and when she went to reach for him she found herself stopped by magical restraints encircling her wrists and holding her arms in place.

She looked up to study him and his eyes, while still very clouded with lust, had a slightly calculating edge to them. That did not bode well for her.

"Now," he began, his breathing slightly erratic, "we will discuss this propensity you have for risking your life in increasingly foolish ways."

Outrage tried to make an appearance but was over ruled by desire as he trailed his fingers across her collar bone and down the center of her chest.

"I refuse to claim you as my own only to lose you to death because your courage and feeling of responsibility forces you to put yourself in needlessly dangerous situations."

Protests were again out of her grasp as his lips followed the path his fingers had taken.

"I won't attempt to lock you away the way Potter does to Miss Weasley because I know you wouldn't stand for it. I will, however, have to insist that you cease your solo missions. From here on out you will consider me your permanently assigned partner and will carry out every mission with me by your side. Or..." He paused to scrape his teeth along the side of her neck and she moaned. His lips lifted to brush against her jaw and his next words rumbled directly into her ear. "I will keep you tied to my bed for the rest of your life."

With that he buried one of his hands in her hair and re claimed her mouth. The fierceness of his words was nothing compared to the emotion that poured into her from his kiss. Fire shot through her core and she arched up into him, pulling at her bonds.

"Severus," she whispered against his lips, "untie me. I want to touch you."

"Will you stop going out alone?"

Right then she thought she would agree to anything he asked of her so it was good that all he wanted was to stay by her side. She had no objection to that whatsoever.

"Yes," she whimpered as he slid his hand up her ribcage, "I promise."

As soon as his magic freed her arms she buried her hands in his silky hair and brought his mouth back down to hers. She got so lost in the kiss that she couldn't tell you when he'd done it but somehow her bra was no longer a barrier between them.

She broke from the kiss on a gasp when his fingers grazed the extra sensitive skin around her nipple. He repeated the light caress, touching her just enough to make her ache for more before moving to her other breast.

When he dipped his head and took one aching bud into his mouth a broken cry was ripped from her throat and her back arched off the bed at the sensation. He tormented her endlessly, wringing more cries of pleasure from her and building a delicious pressure low in her stomach. When she couldn't stand the teasing anymore a plea fell from her lips for him to take her.

His low growl signified the break in his control she wanted. He left her just long enough peel her skirt down her legs and rid himself of his clothing and then his body was covering hers again. When his bare skin came into contact with hers they both became overtaken with urgency.

He aligned their bodies and entered her in one hard thrust and she gasped at the pleasure that shot through her. They both stilled to savor the feeling of fulfillment they found in being joined before he began to move inside her. He started out slow, but with each breathless cry he forced from her his pace increased until she was writhing beneath him, begging him for more.

Her nails dug into his back and his fingers tightened on her hips as he gave her everything. She flew apart with his name on her lips and heard his harsh groan as he followed her into oblivion.

Bliss and exhaustion took hold of her body in equal measures and she would have surrendered to the call of sleep had he not growled a low promise in her ear that he wasn't nearly finished with her.

She decided sleep could wait.


Many hours later, he finally got his explanation.

She told him the story of her night, starting with seeing Rookwood sneaking out of the Leaky Cauldron and ending with her decision to dance.

Hearing her say it brought back to mind his other question. "Where on earth did you learn to do that?"

The blush that spread across her face was utterly charming and she looked down sheepishly before answering.

"My mother."

"You're mother is a stripper?"

Her head jerked up quickly and she hurried to explain.
"Oh no, nothing like that! She's... well she's a bit eccentric and is always trying the latest crazy thing. Every summer since I was fifteen she's come up with something new and more absurd to do together while I'm home. I've been skydiving, spelunking, swimming with whales, in a mother daughter beauty pageant, and competed in a paint ball tournament." She shook her head at his confused expression before continuing, "This summer it was pole dancing lessons. 'You never know when the experience might come in handy, Dear.' That's what she always says when I protest one of her adventures." Hermione laughed a bit at that. "I'm pretty sure this time she was talking about pleasing my future husband and not saving me from a band of murderous psychopaths, but I guess she was right all the same."

A slight smile curved his lips, "You'll have to thank her for me next time you see her."


~1 year later~

Hermione's laugh sparkled through the Great Hall as her new husband swept her off her feet and began carrying her towards the exit.

"We can't leave yet!" she protested, "We haven't said goodbye to the guests!"

Severus didn't even break his stride as he turned in a slow circle to look at the gathering of people still enjoying their slices of wedding cake, most of them smiling at his behavior.

"I'm taking my wife to bed now, so consider this our formal goodnight." His voice carried to the crowd and then he looked down at her, "There, now we have said goodbye."

She shook her head with another laugh as he continued his journey to the door and waved her farewell over his shoulder. He carried her all the way down to their quarters in the dungeon with a completely straight face and only when they reached the entry way did a small devious smile curl his lips.

She discovered the reason for that smile when he took her through the door to their bedroom and a shiny metal pole was standing at the foot of the bed.

Her renewed laughter caused his smile to grow as he reached the bed and set her on her feet. "I thought we should make use of the skills your mother so graciously saw fit to bestow upon you, in the way that she originally intended. It seemed only fitting."

A look of pure sensual promise lit her eyes and she pushed him down onto the bed with a devilish smile. She then backed away from him and began tugging on the fastenings of her dress.

"Well," she said impishly as the frothy gown dropped to the floor, "I wouldn't want to disappoint my mother."

Severus leaned back as she reached for the pole and thought he was indeed a very pleased husband.


Author's Note: The end! I hope you liked my slightly crazy idea =) I found it irresistible to answer this challenge with Hermione dancing as my friend and I actually do take pole dance classes and are totally in love with it. Pole dancing has gotten a very bad and scandalous stigma attached to it because of its popularity with strippers but if you do it right (and keep all of your clothing on!) it really is just another form of dance. And it's a killer workout too =) If you doubt my claims that pole dancing can be a beautiful art form then I encourage you to go to YouTube and look up Oona Kivela, Anastasia Skukhtorova, Natasha Wang, or Jenyne Butterfly.

I have another thought for a story to post to this same challenge that I will start working on shortly. It's quite a bit more preposterous than this explanation but I think it will be fun. Thanks for reading! =)