Disclaimer, see chapter 1. I do apologizing for going so long without updating! However, summer time is here, and updates shall definitely be coming more often. Thank you all for your love and support, I don't know where this story would be without you. Enjoy!

Chapter 27

"Hermione, are you okay? You're practically shaking," Harry said, sending a glance towards Hermione. It was Monday night and the two of them were walking down to the dungeons so Hermione could meet with Snape about Potions or something. Hermione wasn't really clear about it but Harry was happy to walk with her.

Hermione didn't dare tell Harry what they were really doing. Secret relationships aside, she didn't think Harry would really understand if she told him she was being taught Occlumency. Especially not after Harry's own personal disaster with Severus on that topic.

Harry was staring at her, making her realize she didn't answer his question. "Oh, I'm just cold. It gets chilly down her in the dungeons."

"Take my cloak then," Harry said.

"No, that's all right," she replied, but he had already started taking it off. He handed the black material towards her, which she took. "Thanks Harry," she said, putting the cloak on. It did get rather cold in the dungeons. She must have been so excited at the thought of seeing Severus that the idea of a jacket must have slipped her mind.

"Right, well, we're here. Now do I need to come and get you later on?" Harry asked, giving her a quick hug.

"No, Professor Snape will walk me back to the Tower," Hermione replied.

Harry gave a curt nod. "I'll see you tonight then."

"Thank you Harry!" she called at his retreating figure. He mumbled something in response.

Smiling, Hermione turned around. Taking a deep breath, she gathered all her Gryffindor courage and knocked on the door. She had no reason to be nervous, but found that she was still shaking. Her eyes widened in realization that being around him made her nervous. That's such a silly reason to be nervous Hermione, she scolded herself. The two of them had already established that they both cared for each other. There was no reason for her to worry about him, or their relationship. Everything was fine.

The door opened to reveal a scowling Severus Snape. His facial expression lightened at once when he saw who it was. "Come in," he said, stepping aside.

Hermione smiled, entering the dungeons. Pulling the cloak around her tighter, she was grateful Harry gave her his robe.

"Are you cold?" Severus asked her once the door was shut.

"A bit," she replied. "How can you stand it down here Severus? It's so chilly."

He smirked. "I have gotten used to the temperature. Besides, being in the cold helps form my snarky, cold-hearted dungeons master routine."

Hermione giggled. "You're not all that cold-hearted." She turned to face him.

"Yes, well, you are an exception, Hermione. I am cold-hearted to everyone else and you know it."

Her brown eyes flicked upwards to meet his. "Yes, I suppose that is true. But moving on, I've missed you," she admitted softly.

"I have missed your presence as well," he said.

She smiled. He may not be good at expressing his emotions, but she knew they were there. "Severus," she whispered.

A smile flickered across his face. He took a step closer, so there was almost no space between them. He gently cupped her cheek and tilted her gaze upwards. "I missed you Hermione," he said so softly she almost didn't hear it.

She grinned at him, feeling like she had just won the lottery. The sound of her name on his lips was perfection.

He bent down, mere inches away from her. His lips were just about to brush against hers when she heard a knock on the door.

Immediately the two of them jumped apart.

"Professor Snape, sir!" a small voice cried out, continuing to knock.

Hermione straightened her clothes, trying to make it look like nothing had happened. Nothing had really happened yet anyways, but still, one couldn't be too sure.

Severus cast Hermione an unreadable look before storming over to his classroom door. Opening it, he glared at the first year.

"Sir, two of the fourth years students have started dueling in the Common Room!" he said worriedly.

Severus rolled his eyes. "I will be a moment."

And with that, the door slammed shut, leaving Hermione all alone in the Potions classroom. She crossed her arms, a small "Humph" escaping her lips.

It wasn't fair! She barely got to spend any time with him, and only moments into their allotted meeting, someone came to interrupt them!

Hermione sighed. She looked around the classroom, hoping to find something to do. Moving towards his desk, she glanced down at the contents. He had notes scattered all over. Despite the little voice telling her not too, Hermione picked up one of the pieces of paper. She scanned the notes.

A gasp escaped her lips, causing the paper to fall from her hands. Shaking her head, Hermione picked up the paper, staring at not the content, but the handwriting. Handwriting she had definitely seen before, written in the margins of a used Potion textbook.

Severus was the Half-Blood prince! She couldn't believe it! But now that she was thinking about it, she did believe it. Who else was smart enough to invent their own spells and adjust Potion recipes?

The door to the classroom opened and Hermione quickly dropped the paper.

Severus looked up, taking in her confused expression. "Is everything all right?"

Hermione nodded. She wasn't going to tell him… or Harry. No, she wouldn't tell anyone. "Fine," she replied. "Now where were we?"

"I believe we were about to do this," he said, cupping her face once more. He brushed his lips against hers, immediately lighting a fire.

Hermione reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck. With a moan, she pulled him closer, deepening the kiss. Kissing him was unlike anything she had ever known… it was perfection, heaven, everything she could possibly want.

And all too soon, he pulled away. Giving her a sympathetic look, he crossed the room taking a dueling stance. "Have you practiced since we last met?"

Hermione nodded. "Yes, I've been meditating almost nightly now. I can now clear my mind." She smiled, proud of her accomplishments. "I know it's not much, but I've worked really hard to get to where I am."

Severus nodded. "That is good. Now let us see if you can actually keep your mind empty."

Hermione took a deep breath, nodding.

Pointing his wand at her, he shouted, "Legilimens!"

Hermione felt his mind crash into hers and at once she put all her memories aside. She imagined a lake, pushing all her memories towards the depths.

She felt him shift around, trying to find something… anything. But she held her ground. She wouldn't let him see any of her memories.

However, after a few moments, she began to tire.

Severus, sensing her tiredness, pushed harder. Moments later, a memory was pulled up, one of Hermione scolding Ron in second year for not doing his own homework. Severus watched the memory, slightly amused, before pulling out of her mind.

Panting, Hermione sat down on the cold dungeon floor. "That was hard," she whispered, her voice somewhat shaky.

"Hard, yes, but you did a wonderful job," Severus said, crossing the room towards her. "To be honest, I did not expect you to excel so quickly."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," she said, shooting him a glare.

"I did not mean to discourage you. I have never seen anyone advance so quickly. It seems the mediating did you a lot of good."

Hermione did smile at that.

"However, it is not enough to hold up against the Dark Lord, but it is a start. With more practice, we should be able to make you a skilled Occlumens."

"Really? Do you honestly think so?" Hermione asked, feeling rather giddy. She knew she was smart, but moments like these where her smarts were evident made her proud.

"Yes, now come on, let us try again," he held his hand out to her. She placed her small hand in his larger one and he pulled her upwards.

Hermione caught him off guard, planting a kiss on his lips. But before he could say anything, she had closed her eyes, waiting for the spell.

He just stood there, staring at the young girl. Yes, she was young, but she was his. And that's all that matters, he told himself. The age difference doesn't bother her, so it shouldn't bother you.

Hermione opened her eyes. "Come on Severus, I want to practice."

He smirked at her. "As you wish. Legilimens!"