A/N: I have a bit of writer's block on my other story, so I decided to write this to get the creative wheels in motion again. I'm not usually a HG/SS writer, but she is of age, and it seemed to work with what I had in mind. I had the idea in my head for a Christmas story, something somewhat light and fluffy, yet with some depth, and this is what I came up with. I hope you like it.
Summary: Hermione finds a piece of Snape's past and decides to bring it to him on Christmas Eve. She is determined to give him the perfect Christmas gift. Will he accept?
Warning: Adult situations. You know what an M rating means ;)
Disclaimer: As usual, JK Rowling owns these characters. I'm just playing with them. Perhaps had she let Severus live, I wouldn't feel the need to try to keep him alive.
Hermione coughed as she removed an old quilt from the four poster bed that sat abandoned in the guest room she was cleaning out for Harry. "He's lucky he's my best friend," she ground out quietly as the dust invaded every orifice on her face, making her eyes water and her nose run. In the five minutes she had spent in that forgotten room she had learned she was highly allergic to dust, a fact that had gone unnoticed since she lived her life as neat and tidy as possible.
Always by the book, that was Hermione Granger. Or at least it was until she had met the other two thirds of the so-called "Golden Trio." Once Ron and Harry came into her life, things tended to get messy. Rules would be broken, danger and fear would be at the forefront of her mind… and of course, she wouldn't have it any other way. The years she had spent with those boys had been the best and worst of her life, but the entire time, she knew she was part of something bigger than herself. With her help, the entire Wizarding World had been saved. That alone was worth setting old Snape's robes on fire, sneaking out after hours countless times and the countless other rules she had broken while at Hogwarts.
Hermione sneezed and rubbed her nose on the sleeve of her sweater. The weather was turning chilly as Christmas approached and she found herself wondering why wizards couldn't just embrace electricity. She would kill for some heat instead of relying on the fireplaces in the rest of the house to warm the dusty room she'd been working in.
Of course, Ron had suggested they all use magic to clear out the house quickly and efficiently. They could be done before lunchtime, he'd said, but Harry and Hermione immediately spoke up against it. There were too many things in the house that had belonged to Harry's beloved godfather. Too many things could get lost or broken, or worse, they could be cursed artifacts that had been left behind by the infamously dark black family. They had to go through everything room by room, meticulously and carefully.
True, most of the house had been cleaned once a couple years back so the Order could use it, but now it was being cleared out, top to bottom so Harry could make his home there. He was of age now, and longed to find his own way now that the war was over. There seemed to be an unspoken understanding now between himself and his only living relatives, yet, he no longer wanted to be a part of their household. Besides, he would be proposing to Ginny any day now, and a married couple needed a home of their own.
Hermione sighed as she thought of the young couple, so in love. Why couldn't she have that? Sure, she had been with Ron for a few months after the war, but they realized one day that they simply didn't belong together. They were better off as friends. In reality, Ron was just too immature for someone like her. She needed an equal, someone she could look up to and hold an intelligent conversation with.
She had no idea who that man could be, but he had to be out there somewhere. Somewhere there was a man who loves books as much as she, who could sit quietly by the fire as they read together and not feel the need to fill every bit of silence with conversation. He would be brilliant, of course, but not conceited about his natural intelligence. He would be tall enough to make her feel safe and fully protected, to hold her in an embrace while she laid her head on his chest. He would have a hint of mystery. She would want to be kept guessing about him every day of her life. He would be handsome, but not so handsome that every woman would want to steal him away. No, he would be considered "unique looking" or "handsome in his own way." In an ideal world, no one aside from herself would see how handsome he really was. Not that it would matter because he would also be unwaveringly loyal. He would devote his life to her, worship her. He would know the value of love, and spend every day of his life grateful to have found it.
Hermione sighed again, realizing that such a man couldn't possibly exist, then returned to her housekeeping duties. The bed was now stripped and the blankets and sheets were in a pile outside the door, awaiting Harry's decision between toss and launder. Hermione stood in the center of the room, wondering where to begin. There were two bedside tables, each with two drawers and a large dresser against the other wall. In the corner stood a wardrobe that bounced around on its own and reminded her uncannily so of the wardrobe that housed Lupin's boggart in their third year. Shabby curtains hung from windows on one wall, and a rug partially covered a battered hardwood floor. Everything she saw was covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs.
"This is not a one person job," she muttered to herself as she stepped toward the bed and sat near one of the tables. She pulled the brass knob of the top drawer, realizing it was stuck. Frustrated, she tugged harder, determined to see what secrets the drawer held. Her Gryffindor determination kept her from walking away from that one drawer although there were many others in the room that may have opened easily. Finally, she reached her frustration level and pulled out her wand, ignoring the no magic rule. She muttered an incantation and the drawer opened gently and on its own accord.
Hermione grinned to herself as she began to empty the drawer's contents onto the dingy mattress she was perched atop. She removed a woman's necklace, a tiny owl on a thin silver chain, and set it aside. It was quite pretty and she wondered if Harry would want to keep it for Ginny. Hermione ignored the pang of jealousy she felt for the happy couple and reached into the drawer again. She pulled out a sealed envelope, an old, tattered quill and a photograph.
She immediately recognized the wizard in the photo. Even as a teenager, he was unmistakable. He had the same hooked nose and long black curtain of hair. His robes were lined with Slytherin green and he wore that telltale look of general annoyance with the world around him. Severus Snape. The witch was also easy to identify. The fiery red hair and Gryffindor robes would have been enough, but it was her eyes that confirmed it. Lily Potter… well, Evans at the time.
The pair was on the ground of Hogwarts. Lily's arm was draped casually around Severus' waist as his normally pale cheeks flushed pink at her touch. Even then, from nothing more than a simple enchanted moving picture, anyone could see how ridiculously in love Snape had been with Lily. Hermione wondered if Lily ever realized how smitten he had been. What would she have thought about his feelings had he just plucked up the courage to say something to her. How different things could have turned out.
Hermione set the photograph aside with the discarded quill and turned the envelope over in her hand. On the back in feminine scrawl was one word, "Sev." She sat for a full minute, staring at the slightly slanted, loopy handwriting, wondering if it would be morally wrong to open it. Should she read this private letter that had sat hidden away in this drawer for so many years? She knew she was nosey enough to do just that. She also knew that this letter wasn't for her eyes, and if she were to do anything with it, it would be to take it to Snape himself so he could read it himself. After all, it was addressed to him.
She groaned. It could contain something that would just hurt him more. Reading this letter could do nothing but pour salt into old wounds. The professor deserved to move on, to finally put Lily in his past. After all, he had let his feelings for her run his entire life. Now Voldemort was gone, Harry was safe, and Dumbledore was no longer controlling him like a puppet on a string. He might stand a chance at forgetting Lily. He could move on and find happiness.
Hermione continued to stare at the sealed envelope. But would it be right to keep it from him? She slid her finger under the flap, torn between opening it, delivering it and tossing it into one of the roaring fires in the big, drafty house. If she read it, she would know what it said. She could make an informed decision on whether or not Snape should read it. Perhaps it was nothing more than Lily's anger towards him. Surely, he had heard enough of that first hand. He didn't need it dredged up again. Yes, she would read it and make an educated decision. That was what she would do. It was the proper thing to do… right?
"Ugh!" Hermione exclaimed as her conscience continued its internal conversation with itself. Finally, she shut her eyes tight and ripped the envelope open. The thin parchment opened easily, worn from age, and Hermione slipped out the letter it contained, and read intently.
Severus Snape sat in his dark study in the home he inhabited in Spinner's End. On his lap sat a worn, old hardcover book. He couldn't remember a time that this book hadn't adorned the shelves that surrounded him, and he couldn't pinpoint how many times he had read it cover to cover, but that didn't matter. That book represented peace for him, a peace and quiet he hadn't had in so long.
Once the war ended and his health difficultly restored, he returned home, unsure of what was next for him. He considered returning to Hogwarts, but the rebuild was a continuing effort, and school would be delayed by a year. He still had time to make that decision. It wasn't as if he particularly enjoyed teaching, but in a way, he couldn't imagine a life without Hogwarts now. It had become a home for him after serving as a haven from his parental home when he was a child. Now that his purpose in life wasn't Potter, perhaps he could learn to enjoy teaching… if the children weren't complete and utter dunderheads.
But, weren't they always?
Perhaps it was time to move on completely. Maybe he could sell his home; it wasn't like he had an emotional attachment to it. If anything, it held nothing but bad memories. Yes, perhaps he could sell and move away. He could open a shop and brew for others, or he could teach at a new school. He could make his home in another Wizarding community, somewhere that people wouldn't bother him or call him a hero.
Because he wasn't a hero, not in his eyes. If it hadn't been for his own selfish, immature actions in the first place, he wouldn't have had to play the hero. No, he was simply a man trying to atone for his own wrongdoings. If people thought that made him a hero, they were clearly mistaken, and it was people like that who kept him from leaving the house more than he had to… not that he was ever the most social man in the world. No, growing up, he was socially inept, introverted, and when he did try to be social, he would just say and do the wrong thing. No wonder he shied away from real relationships when he grew up. It was a sad state of affairs when his closest relationships were with an old wizard who ran his life and a young wizard he couldn't stand to be around.
Things could have been different though. If only he had listened to Lily and walked away from the Dark Arts when he still had the chance. If only he hadn't thrown away the only real friend he ever had.
He hated dwelling on these things. He hated the relentless guilt he lived with. Even now, when he had done all he could to protect Lily's son, Snape thought about everything he did wrong before that. Could a lifetime of misdeeds just magically be erased by a few years as a double agent? He doubted it. No, if there was a hell, he would certainly be headed there when he was finally allowed to mercifully die.
A sudden rapping on his front door startled him and he slammed his book shut and set it aside. Who would be calling on him on Christmas Eve? No one ever knocked on his door unless it was a reporter, and he'd recently set anti-reporter wards around his property to keep the vermin out. Thinking it could be Minerva, here to offer him a job yet again; he pulled on his outer robes and walked purposefully to the door.
He smoothed the fabric as he stood in front of the door. As always, his need to look perfectly pressed and polished took over and he fussed with his clothing until he was satisfied, then reached for the door handle. As the door swung toward him, he put his free hand on his wand, ready to hex any trespasser he deemed worthy of a good stunner.
But the face looking up at him from his doorstep was not one he was expecting at all, and in shock, his hand slipped from his wand and came up to rub the back of his neck nervously.
Hermione stared up at her former professor, her blatant intimidation showing in her face as she clutched the letter to her chest. She opened her mouth to speak, for once in her life, at a total loss of words.
"Well, are you going to tell me why you've come knocking on my door at this time of night, or are you just going to stand there, girl?" Snape quipped, annoyance furrowing his brow as he peered down at the frightened girl.
"Won't you invite me in, sir? It's quite cold out." Hermione asked, praying he wouldn't send her away after all she had done to prepare herself for this visit.
Snape looked her over, a smirk playing on his thin lips. Finally, he stepped aside and motioned with one arm for her to enter his home. "Very well, come in, but I won't wait all night for you to get to the point of your visit, Miss Granger."
Hermione followed Snape into his sitting room and gasped aloud when she saw the bookshelves, their shelves sagging from the weight of too many books. Not only were there volumes and volumes standing on end on the shelves, but also jammed in the spaces above them, as well as in piles around the room. One such pile seemed to be serving as an end table for a worn armchair that sat in front of a roaring fire. The chair was the only real piece of furniture in the room, that is, if you didn't count the equally shabby ottoman that sat in front of it. The room was clean, and orderly, yet somehow had its own sense of controlled disarray.
Hermione watched as Snape pulled the ottoman out a bit and perched himself on it before motioning for her to sit in the chair. She moved around him cautiously and sat in the chair, surprised at how close in proximity they were sitting to each other.
"I apologize for the lack of furniture. I don't entertain," He said, looking uncomfortable.
"It's fine," Hermione dismissed.
"Tea?" Snape offered, curtly, and conjured a teapot and two cups when Hermione nodded.
"Thank you," she said softly as Snape sweetened her tea and handed her the cup. "How did you know how I take my tea, sir?"
"I spent six years having meals in the same room as you. I am trained to be observant of everything around me. That piece of information must have stayed with me somehow," he answered. "Now, would you care to explain the reason for your visit? I'm sure you aren't here to sip tea and discuss the weather."
Hermione glanced around the room and noticed that he hadn't bothered to decorate for the holidays. It didn't surprise her. A man like Severus Snape wasn't likely to pay any attention to festive occasions. "It's Christmas Eve."
"Is it? I hadn't realized," he lied.
She set her tea down on a wobbly pile of books and walked to the mantle, drawing her wand. With a wave and a muttered incantation, she covered the mantle with a simple garland of pine and burgundy ribbons, and a few flickering candles. "Yes, and it's simply dreary in here."
"So you've come to decorate my home? You needn't waste your time with such idle thoughts, Miss Granger. I'm quite content with the dreariness," he drawled, his tone as sardonic as ever.
"No, I haven't come to decorate, but I'm here now, and I feel I owe you after all you've done for me," Hermione said, before conjuring a small tree in the corner of the room. With another flick of her wand, it was decorated with shimmering lights and glittering ornaments.
"Please stop, Miss Granger," Snape said, walking up behind her and reaching across her body to push her hand down and in effect, lower her wand. "You do not owe me a thing. I did nothing for you."
"Well, for Harry then,"
"I did nothing for Potter," he spat, walking away from her.
"Then, the Wizarding World in general. It extends to me, sir. Without you, Voldemort may have won. A filthy little mudblood like me wouldn't have stood a chance," she said sarcastically.
"Do not use that word in my home," he warned, his tone becoming dangerous.
"I know. It was all for her, wasn't it. For Lily?" Hermione asked softly. Snape's back was turned toward her, and she watched as his shoulders rose and fell with a heavy sigh.
"How much did Potter tell you?" He sounded defeated, and suddenly, Hermione felt as if something was tugging at her heart. She had the urge to reach out to him, take him in her arms and soothe him, but Severus Snape was not a man who wanted to be coddled. As a matter of fact, she was certain if she tried it, he would toss her out on her arse and she would never get the chance to give him what she came here for.
"He told me you loved her and felt responsible for her death so you protected Harry to make amends."
Snape let out a snort of disgust. "As if it could ease my guilt," he said sarcastically.
Tired of talking to Snape's back, Hermione walked slowly across the room to face him. "Sir, if I may speak freely?"
Snape let out a little laugh. "The Hermione Granger I knew once upon a time would never ask permission to speak freely. No, the Miss Granger I knew would open her big mouth and speak out of turn no matter the consequences."
"Maybe that girl grew up," she said with a shrug.
"Well, Lily is gone, sir. She isn't coming back, and no amount of guilt you feel will change that. Life is for the living. You survived the war for a reason, sir. Perhaps it's finally time to move on," She reached out to rub his arm and changed her mind, dropping her hand to her side.
"I loved her," he said so quietly she barely heard him.
"She loved you too," Hermione whispered.
He snorted his disbelief and shook his head. "Lily Evans never loved me. I was nothing more to her than her pathetic friend."
Hermione took a step forward, close enough to feel the heat radiating from his body. "Professor, please listen to me. I've come for a reason." She held the letter out to Snape, who eyed it suspiciously.
"What is that?" he demanded without taking it.
"I've been at Grimmauld Place for a while now, helping Harry clear the place out. He wants to live there. He had me in this dusty old room, cleaning it, and I found this in a drawer along with a few of Lily's belongings. It was addressed to you."
Snape reached out and took the letter, his fingers brushing Hermione's ever so slightly. "Did you read it?"
"I didn't want to bring it to you if it would cause you more pain, so yes, I did read it before I decided to bring it… and I haven't told Harry about it. I'm not sure how he would feel about it if he knew the truth. He thinks I'm out doing some last minute shopping for Christmas."
Snape looked down at the folded piece of parchment, thin with age, and he felt his chest clench. He wanted to read it, but it had been so long since any words were spoken between Lily and him. The last time he had spoken to her had been that night so many years ago. He had run into her in Hogsmeade and she had been so upset, upset enough to talk to him for lack of anyone else around to hear her complaints.
"This is private," Snape said resolutely.
"I know," Hermione said.
She walked back over to the chair and sat down, watching him cautiously as he turned the parchment over and over again in his hand as if he was afraid to read it. "What does it say?" He asked.
"Read it for yourself. Her words will mean so much more than my summary ever could."
"I don't know if I can." He ran his free hand through his long black hair as his coal colored eyes continued to stare at the folded paper. "Would you read it to me?"
Seconds passed, and he looked up at her for an answer. He was holding the paper out toward her, his eyes pleading with her, begging for her to put him out of his misery. Hermione had never seen Snape look so vulnerable in all the years she'd known him. He was always so hard, so impassive at Hogwarts, but now she could almost see a bit of the insecure boy he must have been growing up. Even in death, Lily must have brought out that side of him.
She took the parchment from him, her fingers brushing his gently as she offered a comforting half-smile. "I suppose I could," she said softly, not wanting to disappoint him, but not particularly wanting to be the one to speak the private and telling words on the page. Bracing herself and clearing her throat, she carefully unfolded the aged parchment and began to read.
I sit here tonight, my thoughts a jumbled mess inside my head. So many things have been left unsaid between us over the years, yet somehow tonight, without words, I was able to show you my true feelings. Of course, you know not what I speak of. After our tryst, I turned my wand on you and took the memory of what happened between us in the very bed I now sit in. It's for the best.
As much as my constant fighting with James hurts me, I do love him and cannot leave him now that we have exchanged vows. As much as I love you, as right as it felt giving myself to you, I cannot walk away from my marriage. That is why I had to take your memory. I doubt you'll remember even speaking with me tonight, let alone what we did together. I hope you can forgive me for that and for what I must do now.
You see, in our frenzy and passion, neither of us were thinking, Sev. No contraceptive charms were cast, no potions ingested. Not long after you left I did the math in my head and figured out my cycle. Now, I'm scared to death that I may be with child. Well, scared and at the same time, thrilled. It probably makes me a bad wife to say this, but when I compare you and James, I cannot help but wish that any child I have turns out more like you than him. Even with all of your obvious flaws, I sometimes think you are the better person. You work hard, you're brilliant, and you love so deeply. If we made a child tonight, I hope he has the best of both of us.
Of course, I have to use magic for the next nine months to make sure he or she looks like a perfect mix of myself and James. It would be far too telling to have a baby who looks like you, Sev. James would know right away that I had been unfaithful. He was always jealous of you. He always suspected that I may have had feelings for you, even if he would never admit it aloud. You and I were always close until you called me… well, you know what you called me.
It doesn't matter now. When we ran into each other tonight, I knew somehow that I could trust you still. I was hurt by what James had said, and I was staying with Sirius to get away for a night or two, make James sweat a bit. So, I invited you over to Sirius' for tea. You apologized again, years after the fact. Then you told me that you always loved me, and I couldn't stop myself, Sev. I confessed my true feelings for you and why it had hurt me so bad when you turned on me.
Perhaps had I not loved you, a nasty name wouldn't have stung so badly, but when someone you love has the capacity to say such things, it tears a person's heart out. But there you were, still holding onto that guilt, still in love with me and with the humility to apologize again for something that had happened so long ago. I knew then that what we had was real, and that it never died.
I do, Sev. I love you so much, and as I sit here writing this, I cannot help but wonder how life could have been different. Had I told you I loved you all those years ago, would you have listened to my pleas to stay away from Dark Magic? Would you have stopped being so damned selfish if you knew I shared your feelings for me? We'll never know now, but I wish we could have a second chance. I wish we could somehow go back and start over. I wish that one of us had had the guts to tell the other what we were feeling. If one of us had only confessed…
But now, it's too late.
I'm not sure if you'll ever receive this letter, or if I'm writing it all down for my own sanity. In a way, I needed to confess, I suppose. My guess is, if you ever get this letter, I'll be gone. With the war and You-Know-Who out there somewhere, any of us could die at any moment. I just hope that if I do die, and this letter finds its way to you, you'll be fighting for the right side of this battle. I hope that you somehow get away from him as you had expressed to me that you wanted to. Of course, I fear that you'll be on his side forever, but one can hope that something drastic happens that allows you to see the light.
And Sev, if there is a child, don't hate me too much for letting James raise him as his own, ok?
If I am gone, and James is not, please do not attempt to take the child from him… and if James and I are both gone, our child will need someone. Please, be there for him. Protect him and keep him well. Make your own decisions about what to tell him when he is ready to hear it. Perhaps he would welcome a chance to know his real father.
I love you,
Hermione folded the parchment back up, afraid to look up at Snape who had lowered himself onto the ottoman in front of her. She fiddled with the paper, tears swimming in her eyes just like the first time she had read the letter. Moments passed before she finally spoke, breaking the thick silence that hung between them.
"Sir, I wanted to give you something," Her eyes flicked tentatively towards her ex-professor, and she noticed he was staring down at his hands, clenched in his lap.
"What, Miss Granger? What could you possibly have to give me after that punch to the gut?" he snapped, suddenly coming out of his stupor and rising to his full, intimidating height to stare down at her.
"An escape. A moment in time that you can be allowed to remember," she answered, setting the letter down on the nearest pile of books. "It's Christmas, sir. Let me give you this?"
Snape swallowed thickly, his scowl still trained on her. "You're making no sense, Granger."
Hermione took a deep breath. She had been working on this all week, coming up with the most believable way to pull it off. Slowly, she drew her wand and cast a glamour charm over herself, a bright light filling the room, causing Snape to take a step back and shield his eyes from the sudden glare.
As the light ebbed away, Snape turned back to Hermione only to see that she was no longer there. In her place stood the spitting image of Lily Evans. She was just as he remembered her from the year before her death when he would see her on the street. Her hair was long and straightened, not at all bouncy with waves as it had been in their school years. Her bright emerald eyes sparkled as she stared back at him. The illusion was flawless down to the last freckle on the backs of her pale hands.
"Miss Granger," he started. "Whatever are you doing, girl?"
"I want to give the one night you had with Lily back to you. You should have the memory of what it was like to be with her, to touch her and feel her skin against yours. You should know what it's like to look into her eyes as you slip inside her body. Let me give you this, professor."
Even her voice was the same. "I cannot allow you to do that. You were my student. It's immoral."
Hermione walked up to him, placing her hands on either side of his face and smiled when he leaned into her touch, seemingly drawn to her warmth. "Please, Sev," she whispered, using Lily's nickname for him. "I'll never love James the way I love you. He could never make me feel as you do. I need you," she said, staying in character, playing the part so well, Snape could feel himself hardening.
"Hermione," he breathed, using her given name for the first time ever. "This isn't right."
But she refused to budge. "Who's Hermione? Are you trying to make me jealous, Sev?" she teased, trying to get him to give in. "I guess it's only fair that you have another girl. After all, I've been shagging James nightly for the past few years."
His lip curled angrily at that remark, and Hermione knew she was getting to him. "I wonder if you could possibly measure up to James Potter. He is the BIG man on campus, after all," she purred, her fingers trailing down his abdomen, and coming to rest at his waistband.
Snape swallowed the lump in his throat. If her fingers wandered any lower, his body's reaction to her would betray him, and she would know he wanted this as much as she wanted him to.
Hermione continued. She knew his will was slowly crumbling under her gentle prodding. "He's very good on a broom, James is. He's a good… rider. That skill comes in handy in the bedroom. The balance, the dexterity, the stamina…"
Snape couldn't take it anymore. Deep down, he knew it was Hermione Granger he had just pinned against the wall with his body, but she looked so much like his Lily at that moment, and she was capable of taking advantage of that. She drove him to jealousy and bitterness, and above all, a need to prove that his prowess in the bedroom far succeeded that of that conceited prat, James Potter.
Hermione gasped aloud as he cracked and backed her into the wall, pressing his long, lean body against hers. She had gone through a week of self-pep talks and preparing for this moment. She had mentally prepared herself for giving her body over to her repulsive potions professor. She thought she would have to go someplace else in her head, imagine another man, and keep her eyes closed… But nothing had prepared her for the way his erection pressed against her belly made her knickers dampen.
She was sexually attracted to Severus Snape.
How hadn't she seen this coming? It had only been a week or so ago that she was contemplating what her perfect man would be like, and she had subconsciously described the man who was pressed up against her at that very moment. Perhaps this wouldn't take as much acting and mental escape as she thought it would.
"Are you sure?" Snape asked her, and she knew it was Hermione he was asking, not Lily.
She nodded and smiled up at him as she sank her hands into his soft, black locks. "Yes, Sev. Make love to me. Show me how much you love me," she whispered before pulling his face down to meet hers. As his lips pressed against hers, Hermione swore she saw fireworks exploding behind her closed eyelids.
"Lily," Snape whispered against her lips before grasping her thighs and wrapping them around his waist as he walked her down the hallway into his often neglected bedroom.
Hermione felt a pang of jealousy as Lily's name hung on his lips, but she tried to ignore it. She had no right to be jealous. She had brought this all on herself with her need to give Snape this gift. Besides, she may have never realized her own feelings for the old curmudgeon had she not endeavored to do this.
She was brought out of her thoughts abruptly when Snape's lips fell against her neck, leaving soft kisses there. His touch was so gentle, so feathery light that Hermione had a hard time believing this man could possibly be the same Snape she had known for so long. His lips, his tongue, his fingers were like a magic all their own as they moved across her body. As his hand covered her breast, she let out an involuntary moan of pleasure. She wanted more of him, all of him, and she found herself wishing their clothes were just vanished already.
Snape smiled against the soft skin of her neck, reveling in the sound that escaped her lips when his fingers brushed over her erect nipple. Either she was the world's best actress, or Miss Granger was enjoying this.
Miss Granger. The thought hit him like a ton of bricks. No matter how much she looked like Lily or goaded him with remarks about James Potter's prowess, he couldn't make himself forget that it was his ex-student and Hogwarts' resident know-it-all, Hermione Granger in his bed.
Yet, the thought didn't bother him as much as it should. On the contrary, her presence excited him, made him feel things he hadn't felt since the real Lily was still in his life. Was it possible he had an attraction toward the girl? True, in her early years at Hogwarts she was an annoying little girl who spent way too many hours of her life buried in books, but she grew into a beautiful young woman who had proven that her brains had in fact matured outside of what could simply be read and retained.
She gasped again as he unbuttoned her shirt and pushed it aside so he could lightly nibble at her collarbone. He had nestled himself between her legs, and though they remained clothed, she could feel his hardness as he pressed his hips against her center. "More… please," she begged, breathlessly. "Undress me professor, please," Hermione begged.
Snape noticed that she had slipped out of character, but he ignored it, focusing instead on her pleas to remove clothing. "As you wish, Miss Granger," he murmured against her lips before kissing her roughly. He was suddenly aching for her, Hermione, forgetting all about Lily and her letter of confession. It was only Hermione he wanted now.
He took his wand out of his robes and vanished her clothing, then his own, then with a flicker of playfulness in his eyes, he looked down at her and said, "Finite incantatem," as he waved his wand over her.
All at once, she turned back to her original form, and Hermione Granger's naked body was beneath his own.
"Sh. Don't ask questions I'm not ready to answer yet. If you really want to give me a gift, you'll shut your mouth," he said with just the slightest hint of his usual sardonic tone.
Hermione smiled up at him, realizing that she had offered him a night with the woman he had loved all his life, and he was willing to give that up for a night with her instead. She didn't know what it all meant, but for once, she was willing to shy away from overanalyzing things.
"Merry Christmas, Severus," she whispered before pulling him into a deep, heated kiss.
He returned her kiss, his lips parting to allow her more access as his fingers buried themselves in her long, messy curls. He felt her fingers digging into his shoulders, her nails leaving deep, half-moon dents in the flesh. When their lips finally broke apart, they were both left gasping for air. Who knew such need and passion would hang so thickly between the sarcastic old potions professor and the uptight Gryffindor know-it-all?
His fingers moved over her flesh, causing goose bumps to rise as he moved from her neck, down between her breasts, over her belly and across her hip. Continuing his journey, he moved his hand down the back of her thigh, stopping only when he reached the crook of her knee. Grasping it, he drew her leg up alongside his body, and he pressed his hard member against her center, grinding his hips as she whimpered beneath him.
"Tell me you need me, Hermione," He whispered against the shell of her ear, his hushed tone and the use of her given name triggering a chill to race down her spine.
"I need you Severus," she whispered back as her hands moved down his bare back to grasp his arse. She tugged gently, encouraging him to finish what they'd started.
He shifted his body, moving his hand between them to caress her, starting at her inner thigh and moving higher and higher until his fingers slipped between her folds, feeling the wetness that met him there. "You certainly seem to," he said, grinning against her neck before nipping at the skin there.
His fingers continued to move over her slick center, brushing her clit as she panted and whimpered beneath him. "More," she begged. Obliging her, he sank two long digits deep inside her, and her back arched right off the bed as she moaned loudly in appreciation for how he made her feel. Snape could feel her walls tightening around his fingers and he knew she was close. Just another moment and she would be falling apart beneath him.
He moved his fingers, pumping them into her at a steady rhythm as he slid down her body, lowering his mouth to lap at the sensitive bundle of nerves concealed between her thighs. She squirmed, her fingers now tangled in the sheets, tugging them, twisting them in her fists and she cried out in ecstasy. She was so close now. She could feel that sensation of weightlessness, that pressure that began to build, and then, as Severus sucked her clit between his lips, she exploded, crying out his name as she came.
He rode out her orgasm with her, nipping and licking her lightly as she floated back down to earth. He slid up her body once more, placing a chaste kiss on her lips. "Hearing you scream my name when you fall apart is the most beautiful sound I've ever heard, Hermione," he whispered against her lips as he settled his hips between her legs.
His erection was painful now as it strained between their bodies. His need for her was so intense he was certain he would just simply cease to exist if he didn't bury himself in her soon. As if she could sense his urgency, Hermione shifted beneath him and wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him against her. "More," she demanded in a harsh whisper.
He kissed her once then adjusted himself, slipping slowly into her warm, wet body. His head fell against the crook of her neck as a feeling of total relief washed over his entire body… Relief for the physical need he had felt only moments earlier and relief at how right it felt to be connected with her this way. He had been worried in the back of his mind that it would be strange to cross this line with her, to sleep with a student, but it wasn't. It was perfect.
He began to move with her, their hips rising and falling to meet each other in a seamless rhythm as their muffled groans and whimpered filled the room. Hermione clutched his shoulders tightly. She was biting her lip to keep from screaming as he filled her again and again. He was big enough to make her feel stretched in the best possible way, but his size stopped short of hurting her. In other words, it was as if he was impeccably sculpted just for her… a perfect fit.
She began to feel lightheaded, her body responding to his as she found herself on the brink of climax once more. She wanted to beg, to plead with him to go faster… harder, but all that would come out were breathless gasps and cries of pleasure.
Severus could feel her coming apart beneath him. He knew that with a few more quick, hard thrusts, he could have them both careening over the edge of ecstasy together. So, naturally, he slowed down, his hips grinding to a near stand-still as he moved his mouth over the delicate flesh at the base of her neck. She whimpered in frustration but gave in to his gentler touches, tangling her fingers in his hair and pulling his head closer, holding it as he licked and nibbled the hollow of her throat.
Hermione reveled in the feeling of his lips on her skin. Those lips, usually drawn into such a hard, thin line of discontent, were now soft, supple and oh-so arousing as they moved over her body, leaving shiver-inducing kisses in their wake. His hands moved on their own, pulling hers from his neck so he could interlace his fingers through hers. It was a simple thing, but so intimate, to hold her hands that way, pressing them into the mattress on either side of her head as his eyes bore into hers.
His hips had stilled now, and they stayed like that for a moment, two souls connecting with simple eye contact. There was something hanging in the air between them that made both of them think that whatever they had was bigger than either of them had thought. Maybe it was fate or destiny, or Lily working her magic from beyond the grave, but Hermione was meant to be there that night with him.
He lowered his lips to hers, his eyes only breaking contact with hers when they slid shut as they kissed. His fingers tightened, gripping hers, pressing her hands into the mattress harder as he began to move against her again. He was moving slowly, determined to make it last as long as he could, to build their climaxes with deliberate, deep strokes.
Hermione's nails were digging into his hands now, her pleasure increasing with every new thrust. She was no longer in a hurry to find completion. She didn't want this to end. She didn't want to walk out that door tonight… or maybe ever. Something was so right about being there with him, and she wanted him to take his time. She tightened her thighs around him, urging him, coaxing him to roll over.
When he finally got the hint, roll he did, and Hermione found herself perched on top of him, in complete control. Her hands were splayed on his chest as she looked down at him. Flat on his back, his black hair splayed out on the bed around him, he was completely without control for what Hermione thought could be the first time ever. Her heart skipped a beat as he smirked up at her, a light in his eyes she had never seen before. Was this what it was like to see Severus Snape happy?
Her fingers found their way to his forehead where she brushed aside a stray lock of hair. Her fingers moved on their own, tracing the line of his jaw, then over his lips and his prominent nose. He had been called ugly by many of her classmates. Were they crazy?
"You're beautiful," she whispered before lowering her lips to his.
He kissed her back, and when she pulled away, he was wearing the slightest hint of a smile. "Not as beautiful as you, Hermione."
She became fully aware that he was still buried inside her when he bucked his hips and ground into her. Bracing herself on his chest once more, she moved her hips, riding him slowly as she watched pure pleasure wash over his face.
Severus could feel his climax approaching, and had the sudden need to be closer to her. Sitting up, he wrapped his arms around her as she continued to grind her hips into his. The pace was quickening now, and he could feel her walls tightening around him, holding his cock in a death grip.
"Severus," she whimpered, burying her head in his neck, her fingers tugging at his hair as her orgasm took hold of her. As her walls pulsed around him, his own climax was pulled from him and as he spilled inside her, her name was ripped loudly from his lips.
They were sweating and breathless when they finally broke apart, collapsing onto the mattress together. He reached for her, pulling her against his chest and smiling to himself when she threw her arm across his chest.
She didn't want to run away from him immediately. That was a good sign.
They dozed off for a couple hours, and Severus awoke just after midnight. A light snow was falling outside his window and he smiled as he recalled the evening he had just had with Hermione. Shifting, he slid out of bed, intent on getting to the bathroom to relieve his bladder. When he returned, she was sitting up in the bed, the sheets drawn up around her body.
"Didn't you even wonder if Harry was yours?" she asked, pulling his attention back to her original reason for being there that night.
He shifted uncomfortably on his feet and nodded exactly once. In all honesty, he had, but it didn't take very long to become distracted by the young witch who had bedded him so soon after the bombshell was dropped. "Is he?"
"What would happen if he was?" Hermione asked, running her hand through her unruly hair. "Would this be weird… you know… us? Would you tell him? Would anything change between the two of you? You hated each other for so long."
Snape slipped back into bed, facing Hermione as he thought about her line of questioning. "It wouldn't change the way I feel about you, Hermione. And it wouldn't change the way I feel about Potter."
Hermione wasn't sure what to say. In the span of two sentences, he had elated her and shot her down. How could he hate his own flesh and blood?
Reading her disappointment, Severus spoke quickly. "I never hated Potter… Harry. I never hated Harry. I resented him, yes, but he was a piece of Lily. In my own cruel way, I guess I even loved him a bit."
Hermione smiled up at him. "That's sweet,"
"Don't tell anyone," he said with a grin. "No one can know that I'm not heartless."
Hermione's smile faded as she took his hand. "I'm not sure what you want to hear, whether you want Harry to be yours or not… but the date on the letter…"
"Wait," He said suddenly, taking a deep breath and exhaling dramatically. "Ok."
"It's dated too early. Lily didn't get pregnant that night… I'm sorry. He's not yours."
Severus shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He wasn't sure how he would feel when he heard the news, but he wasn't expecting this. He wasn't expecting to feel so… crushed. "Oh… that's… well, that's good. No use uprooting everything Harry ever knew about himself, right?" He laughed nervously. "Yeah, dodged a bullet there, didn't I?"
Hermione scooted closer to him and put her arms around his waist before laying her head on his chest. "It's ok to have wanted him to be yours, Severus."
He swallowed the large lump in his throat that signaled the beginning of tears. It had been so long since he had allowed tears to fall. He was always so busy playing the hard, cold professor or the dangerous double agent to worry about true emotion. He was afraid that if he started now, he may never stop. "I may have been nice knowing I once made something out of love," he whispered, unable to use his full voice for fear of giving away how crushed he was.
"Severus?" Hermione said softly, and his watery eyes met hers. "I came here tonight prepared to give you my body, to be Lily for you, to give you the ultimate gift, and you gave me one in return by choosing to be with me… the real me. I was prepared, but not protected."
He eyed her suspiciously. "Meaning?"
"It was part of the gift. No contraceptive charms… but I have a potion in my bag. I have a few more hours in which to take it. I knew Harry wasn't yours, but I came prepared to give you a child if it turned out to be something you wanted. It's your choice."
His heart was pounding rapidly in his chest. Before him sat the most giving, selfless woman he had ever met. She was beautiful, brilliant and her eyes had glazed over at the simple sight of his library. He would be stupid to turn down any gift she could offer her. Imagine the child they could create together!
"I… I never even realized I wanted it until it was in my grasp and ripped away," he confessed. "Much as I didn't realize how much I wanted you until you came to me tonight… and now… I don't think I'll be able to let you go."
She smiled. "Good, because I don't want to go."
He pulled her close, pressing his lips to hers, the realization hitting him that after all his years on earth, after all his heartache, sacrifice and pain; he was finally free to be happy.
"So?" she asked, as their kiss broke.
"Don't bother with the potion. Whatever comes from this night is nothing more than a gift."