A.N. - This is inspired by the song "The Hard Way" by Keith Urban. I was listening to my album in the car a few weeks ago, and I realized that this would make a perfect Hermione and Snape story. I finally wrote the story a few days ago, so I hope you like it! (P.S. - Listen to the song while you read the story…it really sets the mood!)

The Hard Way

She gave her lover an imploring look, silently begging him to reconsider his rash decision. Of course, in his eyes, it wasn't rash at all. To him it made perfect sense. He had to leave, and that was that.

She tightened her jaw, attempting to keep the tears from falling, but she felt a fierce burning in her eyes accompanied by a sudden hot wetness that covered her left cheek, and that told her that she'd failed, and that a single tear had managed to escape its' confines.

You've got your own way of looking at things baby / I guess that proves that I've got mine / seems like our hearts are set on automatic / we say the first things that come to mind

No. This could not be happening. A full two months of happiness and he was throwing it all away...and just because he didn't think that he deserved her? Where was the sense in that?

She found her thoughts running over it, over and over again. Severus Snape was one of the most stubborn men that she'd ever known, but this was ridiculous. She had discovered in the past eight weeks that the reason why he cut himself off so completely from his emotions was not because he didn't have them, but rather that they ran so deep and strong that they threatened to overwhelm his proper and clear judgment at times.

This was one of those times, though he didn't necessarily realize it.

The self-sacrificing emotion of feeling as though he didn't deserve anything good, was on the verge of destroying their relationship.

It's just who we are / baby we've come too far to start over now / I know what you're thinking / I'm not always that easy to be around

Hermione Granger prided herself on the fact that she was not a person who was easily controlled by her emotions, but at that moment she felt an almost uncontrollable urge to slap him and knock some sense into him. The man was being utterly and completely ridiculous. He just didn't seem to realize that the only man she wanted was him.

It seemed as though he had managed to convince himself that because of his lot in life, he didn't deserve any form of happiness that was given to him.

It was as if the entire time they had been together, all sixty days of it, he had been waiting for the other shoe to drop, and apparently for him, tonight, it had dropped and in a most unexpected form. The two of them had been at Fortescue's, enjoying an evening ice cream, when Harry had walked in with Ginny and their little boy, Albus.

Hermione had immediately picked the boy up, being his only "aunt", and happily held him on her lap while Harry and Ginny bought ice cream for themselves and their son.

That was when she'd seen it. A look had passed across Severus' face, and she had known that something was wrong.

She had given Albus back to his parents and then had raced to catch up to Severus, as he had bolted out the door, leaving his ice cream on the table, forgotten. She had just managed to catch his arm before he had attempted to Apparate.

She had spoken quietly, not wanting to make a scene in the street. "Severus…what's wrong?"

He had then given her a look that had caused her heart to drop and her blood to chill. She had seen that look before, but never directed at her.

Something had been most assuredly wrong, and the conversation that had ensued back at her apartment quickly escalated into a full-blown shouting match, which led them to where the two of them were at that moment.

Apparently, after seeing Albus in her arms he had realized that she might want something that he might be unable to give.

But I do love you / and you keep me believing that you love me too / and I know it's true / this love drives us crazy / but nobody's walking away / I guess we'll have to do it the hard way

The only reason that she could think of that might cause him to think this way was his previous experiences with his own father and his father figures throughout his life, and his possible fear of turning into them and hurting his own children.

She had tried to reassure him, saying that she was too young anyway to want that, but that had only dredged up feelings of guilt at the fact that she was so much younger than him, and shouldn't be tied to a man like him. After that, everything had fallen apart, and now he thought that the only way to solve all of the problems before them was for him to leave.

However, she knew that if he left, she would not be able to bear it. She just couldn't.

If I had a genie in a bottle / three wishes I would wish for us / I wish we could live forever and get along together / turn these tempers into trust

She watched, her heart in pain, as he began magically packing things up, ignoring her as she pleaded with him to listen. God…she knew that he was a hard person to get along with, as was she, and she knew that they would butt heads from time to time; it was inevitable…but this?

No…this was unacceptable.

Cause I do love you / and you keep me believing that you love me too / and I know it's true / this love drives us crazy / but nobody's walking away / so I'll guess we'll have to do it the hard way

She didn't care if she would have to bite and claw and tear in order to get him to talk to her, to stay…she would do anything at this point, so long as he did not walk out that door. He was too damn important to her, and she would not let him go without a fight!

She suddenly knew what to say.

"I didn't think you were one to run away, Severus."

At that comment, he suddenly whirled on her, his face a scant few inches from her own. "What did you say?" His voice was low and deathly quiet, and she knew that she had gotten him with that statement. She pushed him even further.

"You heard me, Severus. I didn't know that you were the kind of person to just give up," she emphasized the words, "And run away from your problems." His eyes were flashing angrily by this point, but she pushed on. "Do you remember what you asked me when we first realized how serious we were about each other? Do you?"

He closed his eyes, his jaw visibly tightening. "Yes."

She pushed some more. "What did you ask me?"

He finally opened his eyes and met her own as he spoke, his soul bared to her as he repeated the words. " "People will say it's too hard, they will say that it would be easier to walk away, but are you willing to stay even when I eventually try to push you away?" "

She stared him down, pouring her soul through her eyes. "And what did I say?"

His shoulders dropped and gave her a soft look as he replied. "That you would fight for me, even if I threatened your safety."

She put her hands on his shoulders, pulling him closer, holding him tightly to her as he started to cry angry and bitter tears. She felt his arms sneak around her waist, tightening to the point of pain, but she didn't care. She firmly planted her lips on his and then practically cried as he fiercely returned her kiss, almost bruising her lips in his passion.

She could care less whether or not she had bruises. What mattered was that she could already feel that she had him back. He was back.

It would be a long hard road ahead, but she was not going to give up on him, no matter what. They would just have to go through things the hard way…but it would be worth it.


THE END