Anywhere you go, anyone you meet

Remember that your eyes can be your enemies

I say, hell is so close and heaven's out of reach

But I ain't giving up quite yet; I've got too much to lose

Severus Snape stared at the woman lying on his bed, one finger beckoning him to come closer, and he gave himself over to the temptation that was Hermione Granger.

Her arms and legs wound themselves around his body and he found himself taking solace once more in her physical comfort.

After a night of dark revels, he needed this. Not that he would ever say it out loud, but the two of them both knew why he was there and why he let her into his rooms almost every night. It was for this comfort, for these few brief moments of sanctuary.

He took too much from her, but she never said a word, and accepted everything that he did.

At times, it was almost too much and he would feel tears sliding down his face to drop down onto her cheeks, where she lay beneath him, her arms cradling him.

Every moment with her was like a prayer, a silent benediction to the heavens to spare his soul for the things that he had to do.

She was his anchor in the storm, his steady light that never wavered. He didn't know what he had done to deserve a woman like her…if anything, he knew the truth of it. He hadn't done anything to deserve her. She was too good for him, but almost every night, she descended to the dungeons to give him a saving grace that only a young woman like her could give him.

And when it was over, no words were spoken. She would draw the covers over both of them, sliding her arms around his waist, holding him tight, as though he just might slip away in the night.

And sometimes he did. And when he would come back in the morning, she would be gone, the bed made, her perfume lingering on the air and in his sheets.

Some days he wanted nothing more than to go to her, but they both understood that this was meant for the night, and not to be seen by the light of day.

During the day she was witch and student Hermione Granger, swot and know-it-all extraordinaire, and he was wizard and Professor Severus Snape, potioneer and greasy-bat-of-the-dungeons. That barrier was there, it had to be in order for the both of them to cope.

At night, though, she was merely a woman named Hermione and he a man named Severus.

Two people who could find comfort in each other.

What he would give to have her there in his bed come morning, the consequences be damned. If her friends had any intelligence, they would have figured out that she was leaving the dorms almost every night, but of course the two of them didn't have enough brain cells together to pass his Potions class. A blessing for the two of them.

He didn't want anyone else to have her.

The first night that she had arrived in his rooms, he had yelled at her, threatened to go to the Headmaster, but then she had grabbed him and pulled him down into a deep and arresting kiss…

And he had found himself breaking down, tears escaping eyes for the first time in ten years, his hands grasping and holding onto her like she was a life raft.

When she had pulled him into his bedroom, practically dragging him to the bed, he had discovered a part of him that had desperately needed what she willingly wanted to give him and he found that it utterly terrified him to realize that he was so needy, but she hadn't cared.

When he had discovered that he was going to be her first, she had merely looked him in the eye, her gaze steely, and driven him home.

It was a night that would forever be imprinted into his mind.

Every now and again, he would catch her eye at meals, and an odd sensation would occur in his chest when she would merely lower her lids, biting her lower lip.

She was so young, but so much more than anyone else that he had ever known. She was innocence and incredible seductress all in one diminutive package. Inexperienced, but she had nothing but natural aptitude for anything that she put her mind to.

And she always seemed to know when to come to him.

He never said a word, he never gave her a sign…but she knew. It was like it was something that only she could see.

And it would start all over again.

And like it happened every single time, not a single word was spoken. Not even a syllable of a sound; nothing but labored breathing and halting and shuddering sighs, accompanied with grasping hands and fingernails digging into flesh, encouraging motion and movement.

Every mark was etched into his flesh, and he never erased the marks that she left behind.

Even when they stung in almost any way that he moved in his robes, especially when he sat down, he still had no desire to remove them.

It was a reminder that what was happening almost every night was most definitely not a dream. It was real.

At times, though, he wondered if he was corrupting her. If, somehow, all the things that made him who he was, every single dark part of his soul, were seeping into her bit by bit every single time they were together. But of course then he had to remind himself…she came to him.

He had never tried to seduce her, and she had actually never tried to directly seduce him after their first night.

For both of them, it seemed to be an escape from what was going on in the world around them…a sanctuary.

But he always wondered…what would happen at the end of the war? He'd had the distinct feeling, for quite a while now, that he would most likely not survive it. Would he merely become a memory to her, a mistake in her youthful past?

At that thought, he felt a deep pang in his chest. No…he wanted to be more than that to her. He didn't want anyone else to have her.

He had been her first and, goddammit, he was going to be her last as well.

But of course, there was only one way to make sure that that would happen.

Severus wondered if he was could take that step. No; it wasn't a step…it was a blind leap. He could have his heart shattered all over again if he wasn't careful. But this time, he had the feeling that it would be the first real time that his heart would really be broken.

The feelings that he felt towards Hermione were more intense than anything that he'd ever experienced before.

At times, it almost felt like he was desperately clinging to her, and that if anything were to happen that might take her out of his life permanently, he would not be able to bear it. It was an incredibly strange feeling to be having towards someone that he'd never even exchanged more than one conversation with in his entire time of knowing her.

He would wait to make his intentions known. But he still wasn't quite sure how he would do it…and then it came to him.

Later that night, after two full hours of nothing but pure hedonistic pleasure, they lay against the pillows, still saying nothing.

His left hand ran through her hair, something he had never done before, but as he still wasn't entirely sure how to approach things, he had to give himself something to do.

She was a stunning young woman, and he did not want to take a chance that she would choose to be with anyone else. He moved his hand free hand from behind his head and silently Summoned the ring from his bedside table, protectively tightening his fingers around it, as if it could disappear from his fingers at any second.

He wanted her to say yes. He needed her to say yes.

Without even thinking about it, he reached for her left hand and slid the ring onto her ring finger. He would know soon enough what her answer was going to be.

She looked down in what he recognized as shock…and then pulled him towards her in a passionate kiss.

There was his answer.

It was a private ceremony, one that only Dumbledore was privy to. In wizarding law, you only needed one witness, even if that was the person performing the ceremony, as the magics used in the ceremony were automatically recognized by Ministry Law as eternally binding and would show up in the records immediately after the final words were issued.

Albus had questioned each of them individually beforehand, making sure that they were both aware of what they were doing and the consequences of doing so. They were, and they both still wanted it.

It took place in the Headmaster's office.

It was quiet, but the atmosphere was charged with the magical energy of the words being spoken.

Dumbledore turned to each of them, asking the same question each time and they both spoke the two words that would bind them to each other and no one else.

The Headmaster motioned for the two of them to grasp each other's left forearm and began to recite the words and the spell that would finish it. Neither of them said anything, and Hermione merely watched in fascination at the gold and silver threads that wound around their arms and through their hands, the end of the silver strand wrapping around her ring and the end of the gold strand wrapping around his ring.

The words were finished, and Dumbledore motioned for the two of them to finish.

They leaned in and shared a chaste kiss, but it was enough for each of them to feel the spark travel down their spines and secure the bond that now could not be broken.

It was done.

Part 1/?