AN: Okay…so this update is in honor of onecelestialbeing, who, if you are a fan of SS/HG at all, you know that she is awesome…but injured at the moment. In her convalescence she has been reading and re-reading her favorite fics, and having come upon this one, she proceeded to bash me over the head with a frying pan because, alas, it is incomplete. So, onecelestialbeing, this is for you my dear. Enjoy! By the by, if you are interested, check out her WIP, Unintentional Inveiglement. It's awesome and sexy and lemony and angst and….yummy. :)

Not mine, no money, oh let's just get on with it!

The Reluctant Invalid Chapter 7: Boom

The students meandering about the corridors of Hogwarts were enjoying perfectly lovely Saturday morning. There were games of Exploding Snap being played in the courtyard, wizarding chess in the Great Hall, and many of the older students were simply catching up after a long week of homework and classes in the hallway. Everything was perfectly normal. Until, all at once, Charms Mistress Granger came barreling down the corridor, hair flying behind her like an untamed lion's mane, robes billowing behind her in a river of burgundy silk. The students were taken aback quite dramatically at the sight of their normally genial and motherly professor appearing in such a state. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the students flocked to the sides of the main corridor and watched as the infuriated looking woman stalked her way out the main doors and down the entranceway towards the Black Lake. As soon as the way was cleared, all the students rushed to the doorway to observe what strange occurrence had set one of their favorite professors off in such a state.

….

"SEVERUS SODDING SNAPE!" He heard her long before he saw her. Merlin that woman's voice could reach to Australia when she wanted it to. Severus turned and saw the fireball that was Hermione Granger advancing on him rapidly. And she looked extremely angry. Severus gulped and felt his bollocks draw up into his belly for safety. Albus, who was standing beside him smiled gently and muttered something about going for a drink in Hogsmead before moving off as quickly as he could.

Snape sighed and stood his ground. After sobbing his eyes out in a very unmanly way on the purple beaded shoulder of Albus Dumbledore, he'd come to his senses a bit and realized, rather too late, that he'd probably, possibly, perhaps over reacted that morning. Hermione drew ever closer, she was faster than she looked for all of her diminutive height, and she was nearly upon him now. His adams apple bobbing invisibly behind his stiff cravat, Severus Snape stood to meet his fate. After all, he could handle one angry Granger. He survived TWO wizarding wars. As a spy. He'd managed to survive a bloody python ripping through his carotid artery and nearly poisoning him to death. He'd come out on top then. This would be simple…right?

"I CANNOT BELIEVE….WALKED OUT, NOT A WORD OF…. BLOODY BUGGERING BASTARD...MADE ME TRAIPSE ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE…YOU….YOU…" he winced as she poked a sharp finger into his chest, "Just tell me this Snape," she spat, "What the hell was all this about anyway? Is this some sort of…of….self-preservation thing? Are you just trying to protect yourself from getting hurt? Or was it…was last night just…a…one off? Is that what this whole bloody thing was? Just to get into my kickers?" She finally finished, breathing hard, the air around her crackling with her magic.

Severus just stood there, his face solemn, arms at his side. He had almost no words. He wondered if she knew how bloody sexy she looked all hot and bothered, her hair wild and untamed, her cheeks flushed. He managed to tame his bait and tackle into submission, realizing, that there were more pressing matters to deal with than his unbridled lust for her in the moment. Though if held at wand point he would have willingly admitted to wanting to bugger into the grass until she no longer remembered her own name.

"Well?" Her sharp interjection into his thoughts brought him to his senses and he shook his head lightly.

"No."

"No? No what? No, it wasn't your intention to fuck me last night? No it wasn't your plan all along to shag the bejeezus out of me and then just leave the next morning? No, it wasn't your intention to show up at my quarters, covered in germs, practically beg me to care for you… and then kiss me like that. And last night…oh, Severus," her voice grew softer. "Do you have any idea what it meant for me? Because it meant something. A lot. I thought we were making such progress in our relationship. But now I don't know what to think."

Severus finally decided to take charge of the babbling witch before she ranted herself hoarse. Placing one long finger against her full lips, he dipped his head and looked into her eyes imploringly, black silk meeting honey brown. "Hermione," he said softly, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the retreat in her eyes and recognized it as fear. She really thought he was breaking it off. He felt like scum, and prepared himself to utter words that hadn't passed his lips since he'd been a young boy. "Hermione, I am sorry."

Her fear melted into shock, then tempered to suprise. "You…what?"

Severus huffed and crossed his arms in front of him then, shrugging slightly as the Scottish wind picked up. "I said that I was sorry. And yes. I meant it. If I am anything, it is honest. Usually to a fault."

Hermione did not quite know how to react. She'd prepared herself for a fight, or perhaps just the cold shoulder. She'd never actually entertained the possibility that he was feeling badly too. Perhaps this had all just been bit of a mix up? A case of crossed wires? "What is it that you are sorry for," she ventured, wanting to get the true lay of the land. Severus was shockingly enough, a very complicated man, and she didn't want to make any assumptions. She was a Gryffindor through and through, after all, and she really had no aptitude for Slytherin tactics.

He sighed, "Hermione, don't make this more difficult on me than it has to be. I'm not…good at this."

She barked out a laugh. "No, you're really not." She smiled then, a small one, but Severus considered it a small victory. A smile was heartening. That and the fact that she was no longer threatening his manhood. "Severus, why did you leave this morning the way you did?"

He sighed. He really wasn't good at this. He motioned for them to sit down and quickly conjured a large blanket from a pocket handkerchief. Once they were both seated, she turned and looked him full on and gestured for him to answer her question. "Honestly Hermione, I was…afraid."

"Afraid. You? The former Death Eater and Spy? Forgive me if I'm skeptical, Severus," Hermione said, but there was no malice in her tone.

"Yes. Me. Afraid. I could take down twenty men with my wand behind my back and my eyes closed. But I'm pants at dealing with…feelings. Always have been." He looked at her imperiously, one eyebrow raised and said: "I know this will come as a terrible shock, but I'm generally not well liked."

Hermione laughed then, full out, and Severus reveled in the lusty sound of her amusement. She looked adorable with her cheeks full and rosy, hair a rats nest in the gusty wind. He told himself that he needed to stop thinking words like 'adorable', but her voice distracted him once more.

"Fine then, you were afraid. Of what? Me? I'm hardly a threatening person, Severus."

He looked away, his hair falling in curtains of silky black around his pale features, hiding them from her view. "Yes, well…when I woke up alone, I thought that you'd woken up disgusted with yourself. I haven't had the best of luck with the fairer sex. It is not often that a woman takes me willingly into her bed. I just…well…I panicked all right?"

"Oh Severus. What a mess this has been," she laughed lightly and shook her head, reaching one hand out to push his hair back behind his ear. "I was only in the kitchen making breakfast. I was fulling intending to come straight back and cozy up next to the very naked, very sexy wizard I had in my bed last night. Only when I got there…he was suddenly rather cold."

"Yes, well…did you say sexy?" This was a novelty for Severus. That was not a word typically associated with him. Snarky, yes. Sexy no. He became concerned and wondered if perhaps she was having a relapse of her flu.

"Mmmm hmmmm," she murmured, her face closing in on his. She could feel his warm breath as it tickled her nose.

"Indeed. And…you are feeling well?" Nose met nose and nuzzled gently, insistently.

"Oh yes," her lips brushed against his own warm, soft ones.

"Are you sure you are not ill," he asked, his arms wrapping around her?

"Severus, just be quiet and kiss me."

"All right."

…..

The next morning in the Great Hall, Albus Dumbledore was looking extra twinkly, and Professor McGonnagall noticed.

"Albus, what has you in such a fine mood today," she asked as she sat down to her bangers and mash.

"Well, I was just thinking about things that are contagious."

Minerva looked down at Albus over her spectacles with concern. "Albus have you been sampling more of Fred and George's sweets again?"

"No no! Minerva, and to be fair that was only that one time!"

"Yes, and it took a week to get rid of that superfluous leg you sprouted."

"Yes, all right. But I was thinking beyond simply the sickness kind of contagion. You know, laughter, yawning, sneezing even!"

"Indeed. And what brought you to this train of thought Albus?"

"Oh, nothing in particular, Minerva. Nothing in particular."

Minerva huffed in annoyance and moved to get on with her breakfast when she noticed that two teachers were absent from the staff table. "Albus, where on earth are Professors Snape and Granger?"

"Ill, I believe. A touch of the flu."

"Oh dear! I do hope I don't catch whatever it is they've got. Two professors down at once! There will be an epidemic on our hands in no time. Poor Hermione. Perhaps I'll just pop through her floo after breakfast. And then I shall go down to the dungeons and make sure Severus is still alive and well. Merlin knows he would be half dead before he'd let anyone actually help him."

Dumbledore smiled blithely and his eyes twinkled ever brighter behind the half moons of his spectacles. "You know, Minerva, I believe that you could kill two birds with one stone by flooing Hermione after breakfast."

"Whatever are you talking about Albus?"

"As I said, Minnie. Some things are just…contagious."

FIN

Well, I hope this was a satisfactory ending to this story. I never intended for this to be a long one, so I hope it satisfies as a ficlet. It was very fun to write. I enjoy writing humor, and it was a nice reprieve from writing my darker fic Out of the Darkness which is my other WIP. Please check that out if you get a chance! Also, REVIEW! They make me so happy.

SS