This is actually the last part. I hope you have all enjoyed it, thank you for each and every review, alert and favourite. Thanks to Clover Bay for casting an eye over this.
Hermione groaned as she woke and stretched, her body aching deliciously. She rolled over to find the man who had caused the sensations, only to find the empty apart from her. She frowned, wondering why he would've just left her in him room alone.
She sat up and looked around, hoping to find a reason for her unexpected solitude. She smirked as her eyes landed on the clock, which told her it was fifteen minutes until his seminar started, which probably explained his absence, although not why he hadn't woken her to tell her he was leaving, especially as she now had to rush, and he knew she was wanting to attend.
She scrambled out of the bed and pulled on her underwear then grabbed her dress. She laughed to herself as a piece of parchment fluttered to the floor. She snatched it up, picked up her shoes and wand from where they had landed the previous evening and slipped out of the door and back to her own room.
A glance at her watch showed that she only had ten minutes until the seminar started, and she didn't want to be late so she decided to cast cleansing charms rather than shower properly.
Maybe I can tempt Severus into showering with me later she thought to herself with a wicked grin.
She pulled on a fresh blouse and trousers, calmed her wild hair as much as possible and grabbed some parchment and a quill before running for the lift, dropping into a spare seat with a couple of minutes until the seminar was due to start.
She glanced around and saw that no one was paying her any attention, so she pulled the parchment Severus had left her from a pocket and began to read.
My apologies for not waking you, but I had a feeling you would distract me somewhat and I cannot afford to be late today, or there will be no seminar. I'm sure you wouldn't want the interruption of people's learning on your conscience.
I enjoyed last night, perhaps you could join me for dinner one evening soon?
Hermione sighed as she folded the note back up and returned it to her pocket. It was an odd little note, in parts curiously formal, yet still with hints of the dry humour she had discovered and found so appealing the night before. In all honesty she wasn't sure what to make of it, or exactly where it left them.
She wasn't even sure where she wanted it to be left. She couldn't deny that she had enjoyed herself last night. Severus was charming, funny, and incredible in bed. She knew she was attracted to him on several levels but was unsure as to what could come of anything between them. Was the conference a sort of suspended reality, where they were almost equals? Would attempting anything under the inevitable scrutiny of not only their friends and family but most of Wizarding England thanks to the media, be nothing short of disastrous? Maybe she was being too forward, and he didn't want to pursue anything, the vague mention of dinner merely a polite way of ending the letter. Maybe last night was all he had wanted anyway.
She shook her head to clear it of the whirlwind of thoughts. She was getting carried away, and right now it was Severus' presentation, not the man himself, that needed to be her focus.
She smiled to herself as Severus swept into the room, his mere presence enough to inspire a deathly quiet. He began to talk, and she scribbled pages of notes as she listened, enthralled, as he spoke of the properties and processes of Muggle chemistry and how they could be used to stabilise potions. He spoke of how charming ingredients before brewing them could lead to dangerous explosions, but that the nature of the ingredients could be subtly but significantly altered using Muggle methods. He went on to explain that this only worked for ingredients which weren't inherently magical in themselves but that it allowed for the potions to then have charms cast on them, increasing their potency, shelf life or reducing brewing time.
He then began to critique his research, acknowledging the limitations but talking about possibilities for expansions.
Suddenly Hermione gasped, drawing the attention of the people nearest to him. She turned her parchment over and began to write furiously, only half listening to the intelligent and probing questions that were asked, a far cry from the idiotic simpering that had been addressed to O'Connell just yesterday.
The session drew to a close, people filing neatly of the room, some stopping to speak briefly with Severus as they left. Hermione continued to write, equations and notes filling the page, some of it drawn from Severus' own points, some her own thoughts.
"Hermione?" His dark voice questioned from close by. She looked up to find him stood next to her. "About last night,"
"Can we talk about that later?" she interrupted, not wanting to be distracted from her thought process.
Hurt flashed across Severus' face before he schooled his features and turned away. The moment of emotion was clear to Hermione, and she gripped his arm, rising to her feet and tugging on his arm so he faced her.
"Severus. I had a wonderful night, and I do want to talk about it, but I had a thought while you were speaking and I really want to discuss that first." She ran one palm down his black clad chest and leant closer, her voice dropping. "I just don't want to get distracted again," she smirked.
Severus smirked back at her and inclined his head.
"Very well, what do you want to discuss?"
Hermione skimmed her eyes down her parchment then began to speak.
"It seems to me that the key of your research is that using Muggle chemistry to stabilise the magic allows it to be charmed later, because it overloads the magic to charm the ingredient and then charm the potion?"
"But it doesn't work with ingredients that are from inherently magically plants or animals because they are too magical to use the Muggle methods, and they are unstable to charm?"
He nodded again.
"Have you considered that the magic inherent in the brewer is adding to the overload? And that it might be possible for magical ingredients to be charmed and then added to a potion if the potion were being actually made by a Muggle or a Squib?"
Severus stared at her for a moment then grabbed the parchment, his eyes running down her notes and rough equations.
He dropped parchment onto the desk and pulled her into his arms, kissing her hard and passionately.
"You little genius. Of course, it might not work, I don't believe anyone has ever looked at exactly how necessary it is for Potion brewers to be magical, but it has potential. And if it did work..."
They gazed at each other, a world of possibilities opening up before them.
"The difference this could make." Hermione breathed.
Severus looked at her for a long moment, as if weighing up several options before he spoke.
"How much do you like your job?"
She frowned for a moment, confused at the change of subject.
"I hate it. You were right last night when you said that I do all the work and they take the credit. Why?"
Hermione laughed. "It's not that simple. I can't just stop working."
"I'm not telling you to stop working, I'm asking you to stop working for them."
"Severus, I don't understand."
He tilted her head back and kissed her quickly.
"It is my intention to resign my teaching post tomorrow morning, given what you told me last night. I refuse to let that man control my life any longer. I want to continue this research I've started, as well as a few other lines I have been working on over the years. However, this is your breakthrough, and it should be you who continues this."
She looked at him, still unsure what exactly he was asking.
"Would you consider the possibility of working with me, and trying to further this research?"
Hermione bit her lip, over whelmed at what he was offering.
"I don't know. I hate my job, and I would love to focus on the research I want to do, instead of spending my days pickling beetles and trying to do research in the evenings. But I also want to feel what you made me feel last night, I want to go to dinner with the charming, funny, sexy man I spent my evening with."
"Does it have to be an either/or situation?" Severus asked, his eyes glittering with desire.
"I don't know. Can we work together and have a relationship?"
"I don't see why not. I like the idea of you being in my lab all day and my bed all night." He pulled her close and kissed her again.
Hermione moaned against his lips, entranced at the idea of working with him and furthering the ideas currently scrawled on a piece of parchment, and enthralled at the possibility of more of the spark he created within her.
She pulled back softly.
He smiled at her as he stepped back.
"Very well, Miss Granger. I believe we both have business to attend to tomorrow, so, dinner?"
Hermione grinned and nodded. She turned back to the desk and scribbled something on the edge of the parchment before tearing it off and handing it to him as she passed.
"My address," she said as explanation. "Pick me up at seven?"
He bowed slightly, smirking. "As my lady commands."
She giggled as she walked away, hyper aware of his eyes locked onto the wiggle of her hips. She ignored the temptation to turn back and drag him off to bed. There would be a lifetime for that, hopefully, but write now she had a resignation to write, and a future to begin.