A/N- Two things: 1) this story has been re-edited, and re-worked a bit. Hermione's age has now been upped because I think it works better with this story. 2) I've been hit with several plot bunnies, and have decided to write some more, however, these writings will not at this site. I'll be posting at Ashwinder, and I have a lj, both of which are under the name mzcadienne.

I don't know if anyone really cares, I just don't want people to give me crap for posting my own story under a different name, so I'm putting disclaimers on everything.

Oh yes, this isn't happy. They don't end up together. Please stop here if you don't like that idea.

Desideratum

He wanted- no, he needed her. What he felt when so far beyond want. She was his addiction, his everything. He would do anything; sacrifice the world if he thought it would mean he could see her smile. She was his life- the one thing he allowed himself to desire.

Unfortunately, as so often happens in these cases, the object of his affection was oblivious to his passion. She diligently worked on her project, never making a mistake, never causing a problem, and never sensing his devotion.

He often tried to figure out when he fell in love with her. As long as he knew her, he always admired her mind and found that she could be passably pretty when she tried. He didn't love her then.

No, it must have started with the project. Ever since she asked him to use his lab space and assist her- that very first cursed moment- she had been under his skin. At first he was annoyed that she invaded his personal haven on a weekly basis. How dare she barge in where she wasn't wanted. But soon, unexpectedly, his temper was pacified by her gentle nature- his sarcasm was no defence against her unexpected smiles and innocent eyes.

Those smiles touched him more than anything. It'd been years- so long- since anyone besides Albus smiled at him. He did care about Albus and was eternally in his debt. However, Albus wasn't a pretty young girl. Especially not a pretty young woman who was everything he could possibly want.

In his darkest moments, he'd allow himself to take comfort in her. Pretend that the beautiful angel meant so much more in those innocent, good-natured smiles. That one day, she'd love him back and she'd be his- only his. His dreams would progress far into the future: her as his wife, their children... if only.

If only he wasn't who he was. If he could have been anyone else, then maybe, just maybe, he would have had a chance.

But he was who he was and she could never, ever, possibly love him. He was the greasy evil git, and she was a perfect, unattainable Athena. He knew better to hope that a fairy tale would happen in real life. The fact was, she wouldn't love him. Couldn't love him.

No, she loved instead that boy who represented everything he hated. That boy that was the spitting image of the man he hated. A mere shadow of a man that could never understand and cherish the subtle, charming genius of that ethereal goddess that he worshiped from afar. A boy who recklessly put her life in danger time and time again.

A boy who she loved.

Oh, he wasn't blind. He could see the way she looked at that Potter boy whenever he accompanied her to Hogwarts. The way his green eyes followed her when he thought no one else was looking. Oh, the evil professor could tell well enough. He could tell in how they always sat just a little too close when they stayed for dinner. How they walked in holding hands. He heard the rumours murmured in the hallways- Potter and Granger, the newest celebrity couple.

But for two hours a week, she wasn't Potter's. For those two hours she spent in the dungeons she was his.

He lived for those hours. Every Tuesday, just like clockwork, she would appear. No thoughts of Potter then. Just her and him and their work.

A loud bang yanked the professor out of his meditation. Again, a student, who had less talent at Potions than brains, had once again ruined what was shaping up to be a perfectly good daydream.

Oh well. He'd deal with his impossible illusions later. There was always later.

7:01 p.m. At first glance, everything seemed serene and peaceful at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, things are not always as they seem. Hermione Granger was late.

Severus Snape knew he shouldn't worry. It was only a minute. A staircase could have moved, she could have run into Peeves, or the headmaster could be forcing sweets on her, or she could have forgotten her notes and had to go back to her apartment to fetch them. A thousand excuses ran through his mind, each growing more ridiculous.

Hermione Granger was never late. It was a simple fact of life, like the sun rising each morning or day following night.

He was worried. The cold, unshakable, hated Professor Snape was worried.

7:15. Something was definitely wrong. He tried to distract himself, passing the time planning tomorrow's lessons. Re-planning. Rewording. Rewriting.

The clock ticked on- 7:30. He was trying to push down his rising hysteria. He knew it had something to do with Potter. It had too. He got her in trouble or near death or ---

The door swung open and in ran Granger, breathless.

She had never been so beautiful. The flush of her checks, the lose tendrils that escaped from her ponytail and framed her face all made his mind go to places it definitely shouldn't have. He imagined her like that, squirming under him, declaring her love and begging him not to stop.

His reaction was not noticed by the girl.

"Professor, I am so sorry. I lost track of time. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be late." She panted, her words running in to each other.

"Miss Granger, please save your excuses. I'm doing you a favour and the least you can do is be punctual," he sneered, sounding nastier then he meant to. The force of habit was a too powerful thing.

She nodded, and started preparing to work. As she moved about the classroom, Severus noticed something was odd about her. She was smiling. No, no actually it was less like a smile and more like she was- beaming.

Odd behaviour, even for a Gryffindor.

He struggled trying to explain what caused this abnormal behaviour. Even Granger was not known to smile like this in the dungeons. If fact, no one, former student or no, was ever know to smile in his dungeons.

He found the answer soon enough. Just as he suspected, her tardiness was Potter's fault. Damn that boy. Just like a Potter to ruin everything.

He didn't want to ask her about it. Didn't even want to think about it. It would be hard enough hearing about it from everyone talking about it, all the rumours bouncing through the hallways and reading about it in the Daily Prophet. He didn't need to hear the words from her mouth.

Besides, the new ring on her finger spoke volumes louder then she ever could.