"Ms. Granger!"

Hermione jumped in alarm, almost knocking over her jar of beetle wings.

"Keep your eyes on your potion! Or does the insufferable little know-it-all think that she can brew without looking at her cauldron?"

"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. Alles in ordnung, sir," she muttered.

"What was that Ms. Granger?" he snarled.

Hermione took a deep breath. "It was nothing, Professor. I was just apologizing for my carelessness."

One black eyebrow arched and its tall, lean owner scowled. "Detention for your cheek, Ms. Granger. We'll see how many cauldrons you can scrub without magic while blindfolded," he said with a nasty smirk.

She reddened, nodding her acquiescence.

Severus Snape, Master of Potions, Order of Merlin 1st Class was a right bastard. They had all hoped that Voldemort's defeat would sweeten the man's disposition, but it seemed that not even an Order of Merlin could counterbalance a life of bitterness. Ron, somewhat sagely, said that the Great Bat's anger at the world was probably compounded by having this throat ripped apart by a monstrously large, venomous snake.

Hermione, who had long acknowledged that there was no changing her potion's master, was left wondering what surprised her more: Ron's growing emotional maturity, or the fact that knew what 'compounded' meant.

She smiled fondly at the thought of her friend. Ron had come a long way since the final battle. Ever since he, Harry, and Hermione were proclaimed heroes for their work defeating Voldemort, flocks of eager women had thrown themselves at him. The makers of the Cleansweep had offered him an advertising contract and the Chudley Cannons had offered him a tryout. The once oblivious and fickle boy had settled down and grown into a man. He was seriously involved with Lavender – the only woman, he realized, to find him interesting – and was content to work hard for his dreams, no longer hidden in Harry's shadow. Harry, it seemed, was content to finish his 7th year joined at the hip, and lips, and goodness knows what else, with Ginny Weasley.

"Psst! Oi, Mione! There's something bloody wrong with my potion. Can you fix it?"

Hermione frowned at the bubbly green potion Ron and Harry had concocted and took a quick look at their ingredients. "There's nothing I can do about the potion now, but Harry, why on earth are you chopping asphodel? And Ronald, the yarrow was supposed to be cut in diagonal slices, not in cubes! Here, use these instead."

"Ms. Granger! What must I do to have you pay attention to your own cauldron? Do you need to be kept bound and gagged?"

"No, Professor," she gritted out angrily.

Severus smirked, "I'm not certain I believe that."

Hermione's knuckles were white as she gripped the edge of her desk. "Well, if you provided assistance like a teacher instead of intimidating your students out of asking you for help –"

Severus straightened to his full height, glaring down his nose at her. "That's it, Ms. Granger. Twenty points from Gryffindor. You have gained yourself a detention every day for the next 2 weeks for your insubordination. Dress comfortably, you'll be put through as much heavy labour as you can take," he sneered.

The bell signaling the end of class broke the silence. None of the students moved in fear as their professor swept angrily back to his desk.

"Bottle your excuse for potions and get out of my classroom! You, Ms. Granger, stay behind. We need to plan your detentions."

"Oi, Mione, that was bloody brilliant but did you have to lose the twenty points?" Ron said.

Harry punched his arm, "be a bit more considerate, you wanker. Mione's stuck with the Greasy Git for two weeks."

"It's Professor Snape, Harry" she chided.

"How can you still defend the git?" Ron asked, incredulous that anyone would.

"He's still our professor, Ronald. And, I was being rude," she said.

"Potter! Weasley! What part of get out of my classroom did you dunderheads not understand?"

"Mione, no ruder than him and he doesn't feel bad about it," Harry muttered. "We'll see you in the common room!"

The boys practically ran for the door, leaving Hermione to face her snarky professor.

"Now, Ms. Granger," he purred. "What do you have to say for yourself?"

Hermoine frowned, her hands on her hips. "Severus! Did you absolutely have to take away points? And honestly, planning assignations in the middle of class is not my idea of keeping things quiet until graduation!"

Severus smirked unrepentantly. "But it's so much fun to watch you squirm, witch. I saw your hands shake at the thought of being blindfolded."

Hermione flushed. "Fine, but no tying me up."

"But why ever not?" he asked, trailing light kisses down her chin and neck. "You are already at my mercy, witch. Binding and gagging you would simply be a more physical reminder."

She groaned as he nipped gently at the smooth skin of her neck. After less than a month of being lovers, Severus knew exactly what to say and do to turn her legs to mush.

Hermione brought her hand up, cupping Severus' straining erection through his trousers. "Because, dearheart, if you tie me up I wouldn't be able to play with this, now would I?" she said.

"True," he admitted, looking at her fondly.

Hermione straightened her robes, pausing at the door. "You know, we could do something with that gag."

Severus shook his head.

"Why ever not?" she asked surprised. "It was your idea."

"Oh no witch, no gag for you," he replied, his lips quirking in a small smile. "How would you scream my name in pleasure? Besides, your mouth is too pretty to be gagged."

Hermione laughed quietly and shook her head as she left the classroom.