Dear all,

Finally another chapter. Mainly smut, sorry but I couldn't help it. Thank you so much to those who reviewed, makes me really happy.

Merry (belated) Christmas to you all,

A xx

TheEscapeFromReality: You'll find out later, some clues are in this chapter. I should probably have made it a bit clearer in the last one, but figured Mrs Weasley was so distraught she didn't say everything and that Hermione was too focused on seeing Ginny as soon as possible that she didn't ask very many questions.

Eminator: Don't worry, rest assured I'll let you know when I finish the story or decide to abandon it :)

HarryPGinnyW4eva: Well, I haven't been raped, but a friend has and due to some really strange circumstances, I was the only one to take care of her for the first 24 hours after it happened, I even stayed with her at the hospital one night. Was three years ago now so don't know why I felt the need to write about it now, but yeah, it's kind of drawn from my own experiences, at least the Ginny not talking and Hermione laying next to her in bed trying to comfort her. Thanks for reviewing!

Tearainy: Thank you so much for your kind words.

When Severus awoke, he found Hermione wide-awake. She was lying on her back, her hands resting on her torso. Her eyes were fixed on some invisible spot on the ceiling. He shifted slightly to show her that he was awake.

"You're awake," she stated the obvious in a soft voice. Turning over to her side, she leaned forward to give him a chaste kiss. "Was I really horrible last night? I barely remember coming home." She had a pensieve look on her face.

Severus felt more than a little relieved that Hermione was back to her usual composed self. He was not good at dealing with hysteric women, even if said woman was Hermione.

"It is quite all right. However, you were so incoherent that I failed to understand what you were saying," he replied, shifting so that he was lying on his side facing her. Absentmindedly, he ran a few fingers through her hair.

"It was awful," Hermione replied quietly, her face turning from a worried expression into a blank one. "Ginny didn't say a single word to me. She was lying in her bed, looking incredibly stiff. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it but she just shook her head. After an hour or so I asked if I could lie down beside her and she shifted a bit so as to make room for me but she still didn't speak. Then I tried to touch her hand and her entire body tensed up. I was so scared I'd pushed her too far but then she took hold of my hand and squeezed it so hard it almost hurt." Hermione felt a shiver run down her back as she thought of the memory.

"Have they caught the rapist?" Severus asked.

"No, and it doesn't seem very likely that they will, unless Ginny starts to remember what happened, but I think that's unlikely since she probably doesn't want to remember. But it doesn't make sense. She is always so capable of taking care of herself and she's exceptionally good at wandless magic, so even if the person took her wand, she should still have been able to do something," Hermione said thoughtfully.

"Perhaps she was inebriated, or perhaps she knew the perpetrator. But most likely, the shock paralysed her," Severus replied slowly.

"Mrs Weasley didn't say anything about her being drunk, but then I suppose she wouldn't. But do you really think it could be someone she knew? I find that hard to believe. Of course it could be shock, and I have no idea how I would react had it happened to me, but still, she fought in the war. Even if she's not as jumpy as me when she's out in public, I know she's not completely relaxed; we've talked about how hard we're finding it to go back to normal. But someone she knew? Who could that be?" Hermione frowned.

"I am not accusing anyone, I am just trying to think of possible explanations why she didn't fight back," he replied.

Hermione was quiet for a few moments as she contemplated what he'd said.

"On the one hand, I'm so grateful that it didn't happen to me, but on the other hand, I want to take her pain away so badly that I wish it had happened to me instead," she mused.

Severus did not know what to reply so he settled on shifting to his side and began running his fingers through her hair in a soothing motion.

"She's in a bad way. Of course, it's only been a few days but she didn't say a single word yesterday. Ginny's usually the one who never stops talking. I can't even begin to imagine the pain she must have had to suffer through, mental and physical." She was quiet for a moment and frowned. "I just wish there was some way in which I could help her. I've never felt as powerless as I did yesterday, watching her hurt."

"I know that this is not what you would like to hear, but I think you helped her just by being there. And I think you should go back every day, as long as she needs you. Not that any case of rape is similar to another, but from my experience as housemaster, it usually gets better with time. But you have to be aware that it might take a long time. Be careful not to push her."

"You're right," Hermione said with a tired sigh, sounding a lot more tired than she should be after having slept about nine hours. That's when she noticed she was wearing a t-shirt she didn't recognise.

"Is this your shirt?" she asked with a smile and looked at the black t-shirt she was currently wearing. All the clothes she had been wearing the night before, apart from her knickers, seemed to have been removed.

"You were in no fit state to change clothes," Severus replied, explaining his actions.

"Fair enough," she said with a smile and turned to kiss him.

While the first kisses were gentle and soft, they soon became more and more heated. Hermione was about to pull off Severus' t-shirt when he, to her surprise, pulled away from her. However, it did not take long before their body contact was resumed, though not where she expected it. Severus was pulling up her t-shirt slightly so that he could place gentle kisses on her stomach. He was rewarded with a soft moan as his lips began travelling downhill. Hermione smiled when she realised where his lips were heading. Severus had never kissed her there before. For a moment, he pulled away slightly and looked into her eyes to make sure she was all right. She replied by running a hand through his head and guiding him gently downwards. A moment later, her knickers were gone.

Hermione inhaled sharply when she felt Severus' lips kiss her clitoris. Whilst she sometimes climaxed during intercourse, the level of pleasure she reached then was nowhere near to how she felt when she received oral sex.

The next few minutes were pure bliss to Hermione and she eventually climaxed. Whilst oral sex with Laurent had been good, it was nowhere near to how amazing it had been with Severus. She supposed she should not be that surprised, as Severus rarely did something he was not accomplished at. Of course there were many things he was bad at, but those things he would never initiate himself. And then there was the fact that she hadn't been herself with Laurent due to the glamour charm she had been wearing.

"That felt amazing," she said, still breathing heavily, when Severus shifted back to laying beside her.

Severus just smiled and obliged when Hermione put a hand on the back of his head and pulled him into a kiss.

Hermione wondered if Severus expected her to reciprocate. Giving oral sex was neither something she especially liked nor was it something she was opposed to. Right now, however, she couldn't say that she felt up to it. Luckily, it was as if Severus seemed to read her uncertainty, because he lay down next to her and gently slid an arm under her neck, before pulling her towards him.

"Hermione, we should be able to talk about sex. I have absolutely no problem if you're not up for it or if you tell me to do something in a different way, just let me know," Severus said softly, looking into her eyes. "Because now it felt like you would have given me oral sex had I so much as given a tiny hint that I wanted you to, even though it is obvious that you are not in the mood. Just because I do something to you does not mean I expect something in return, it simply means that I want to do it," he continued in a serious tone.

Hermione was more than a little uncomfortable with the topic of their conversation. Sex was not something she usually discussed with her friends, not to mention her sexual partners – it usually just happened. However, she did realise that Severus had a point and agreed with him that they should be able to talk about it. It was just hard.

"Thank you," she replied softly. "I think you're right, but I'm just not very experienced when it comes to sex and talking about sex. I'm not quite sure what I like yet and talking about it feels awkward," she continued and looked away.

Severus placed two fingers under her chin and tilted her head towards his so they could resume their eye contact.

"Allow me to express what I see?" he asked and waited for her to nod her approval. "As soon as you stop thinking about how I see your body and start giving in to your feelings, you become very comfortable in your own body, and then you become even more attractive in my eyes. As for you being inexperienced, rest assured I've been more than satisfied so far. I am certainly looking forward to us trying out new things together," he continued with a smile. "As for what you like the most, you probably haven't discovered that yet, but from what I've seen, you seem to enjoy oral sex more than intercourse," he finished and pulled a few strands of hair from the side of her eye.

Hermione struggled to maintain their eye contact, as the conversation was so honest and personal.

"Well, yes, you're right. That said, I enjoy intercourse a lot even if I don't always climax," she said quietly. "How about you?"

"What about me?" Severus asked, still not breaking their eye contact.

"Well, what do you like? Is there anything you would like me to do differently?" she asked in a weak voice, feeling very silly for being so awkward.

"I love when you are on top. And I loved giving you oral sex," Severus replied frankly. "But, honestly, I've enjoyed everything that we have done so far," he added with a smile.

"Me too," Hermione smiled back at him and leaned in to give him a kiss.

They spent a few moments kissing before Hermione decided it was time to get up. She pulled away to catch her breath.

"How about a shower?" Severus asked her, his cheeks uncharacteristically rosy from the kissing.

"I've never taken a shower with someone else before but it sounds perfect," she replied shyly and got out of the bed.

Feeling unusually comfortable with herself, she pulled off her t-shirt on her way to the bathroom, leaving her completely naked. She turned on the water in the shower and waited for Severus to join her. As he entered the bathroom, she approached him and kissed him. It did not take long before he was equally naked.

Hermione saw Severus take some soap into his hands and prepare to wash her. She felt a bit awkward at the new situation but the uncomfortable feeling disappeared as soon as his hands began to move over her shoulders, breasts and back. A moment later, she closed her eyes. Severus made sure all the soap was gone from her body before taking a step forwards so his body came into contact with hers. One of his hands stayed on her breasts as the other one trailed downwards and sought out her clitoris. Hermione moaned slightly at the unexpected touch and became vaguely aware of his erection pressing into her bottom. After a while, she turned around to face him and leant in for a kiss. The hot water on her body felt amazing. She traced a hand along his chest and down to his penis. Hearing Severus inhale sharply, she began caressing his penis. He cupped her face with both his hands and kissed her deeply. As she felt him near climax, she sped up her movements and it did not take long before he came in her hands, his head coming to rest on one of her shoulders.

It took Severus a moment or two to gather himself. He kissed her again and then washed them both again, giving her breasts more attention than necessary.

"I could get used to this, you know," Hermione said with a smile.

Severus replied by kissing her again. He turned off the water and opened the shower door. Wordlessly summoning two towels, he began drying her with one of them. He teased her by rubbing her a bit more than necessary down there.

A few minutes later they were both completely dry, with Hermione having wrapped her towel around her wet hair. They went to the bedroom to put some clothes on before heading to the kitchen to have some breakfast.

Am grateful for any comments as always :)