Indietro Nel Tempo

CHAPTER THREE

When the little witch finally turned off the water and slid the curtain open she jumped a foot and let loose an ear piercing scream, which had dogs for miles howling in sympathy, at the sight of him. He supposed it was not every day that she found herself staring at her naked and glaring professor. Although, the way her eyes fluttered and dropped to his waistline was promising; aside from the deafening howl she appeared to be amenable to further exploration— exploration that would have to wait until they discussed a few things.

Severus straightened, narrowing his dark eyes with his trademark sneer firmly set, to his full height and folded his arms firmly across his chest. The little witch's eyes dilated and she swallowed heavily as she finally met his fierce gaze. He was quite satisfied with this response, but hid his smirk behind a well perfected scowl as he drawled with exaggerated enunciation, "You tied me to the bed."

Still clutching her pounding chest she matched him scowl for scowl before placing her fists on her naked, shower dampened hips and arching one brow as she replied mockingly, "Well spotted, Professor."

His eyes narrowed further, though it was slightly disconcerting that she did not seem in the least intimidated by his black look and that was not the response he had been expecting. Dropping his arms and stalking closer he tried again, "You-tied-me-to-the-effing-bed!"

"Yes," she agreed, meeting him mid-stalk so that the moist heat from her freshly showered body caressed his chilled skin, "And you asking me a terribly ignorant question…Tit for tat." He gaped at the little witch; he must look like a cod fish with his mouth unhinged, as it was.

All is lost, Severus thought, with no small amount of trepidation, as he found his gaze zeroing in on her luscious breasts as soon as the word 'tit' left her delectable lips. He was shocked and amazed that he, Severus Snape, could not seem to retrieve his brain from his nether regions long enough to put the little chit in her place for tying him to the bed. Worse, the little witch knew about his weakness. If there was one thing he would not—could not—stand for it was being seen as a weakling. It took nearly eleven years of cold distain, severe, near-puritanical dress all buttoned up with iron clad control, to shed the contemptuous reputation of sniveling like a homesick first year. Severus would never give anyone the power to hurt him so completely, again.

"What have you done to me," he murmured. "I felt—something," without consciously thinking about it his hand rubbed as his sternum.

"Oh, Severus," she sighed and cupped his cheek gently. "I didn't come here to tear your world apart; I came to stop tremendous wrongs. I chose the Indietro Nel Tempo because I wanted the chance to know you, the real you and not the puppet forced to dance to Dumbledore's tune."

"You think so little of me," he sneered, "You think I have no capacity to determine my own fate?"

"Besides Harry Potter," she told him earnestly, "You are the only person I trust. Harry because he was made little better than a sacrificial lamb, manipulated and groomed to walk willingly to slaughter, and you because you would die, willingly, for the son of the man that stole your love."

"Love? I think you have demonstrated admirably that I cannot love without chemical inducement," Severus hissed at her last words, "What did you hope to gain by freeing me from, as you claim, Albus and Lily's cunningly brewed potion? What power have you usurped from me?"

"I am a Gryffindor," she snapped, "you prat! And the only thing I hoped for was that you might bind me to you, but I truly did not expect that you would. I could have shagged any number of people before I came here. One of my best friends would have happily shagged me stupid if I had let him, but I did not want him. You saw my memories you know what I wanted."

"Inconceivable," Severus sighed and buried his face in his hands shaking his head.

"What," she asked confused when he started laughing, almost manically.

"It is inconceivable," he murmured, as he tangled his hands in her wet hair and dragged her body against his with a hiss of appreciation, "Little witch that out of everything you just said the only words that made it through my sexually debilitated brain were—tit for tat and shagged me stupid."

"Out of all—," her indignant response was cut short as his mouth claimed hers. He unceremoniously backed her against the tile wall and almost painfully pulled his hands from her hair to lift her, effortlessly, onto his straining cock. Breaking the kiss he pressed his forehead to hers as they strained against each other.

"You have been in my life less than six hours," he groaned, shifting his grasp on her thighs and angling his thrusts to give her the most pleasure. "Six hours and you have already shagged me stupid. How the bloody hell are we supposed to save the world if all I can think about," he thrust deep and hard emphasizing his next words, "Is—shagging –you—stupid?"

Her eyes widened and her fingers clutched his face again in that bone crushing grip that told him she was about to come; which she did with another scream that got the dogs barking again. He thrust into her twice more before he found his own release and sagged to the floor clutching her to him as his breathing evened out.

After some time Hermione lifted her head from his shoulder and stroked the hair from his face so she could meet his slumberous gaze. Smiling softly traced her fingers along his jaw and then his lips before stroking the length of his nose and placing a chaste kiss on the tip. He tried to glare but it was ruined by the glimmer of a twinkle in his dark eyes.

"Is that really the only thing you heard," she asked when he closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to her lips.

"No," he snorted, "But you are going to have to refrain from using terms like tit for tat and shagged stupid. Especially, if we happen to be naked otherwise I will not be responsible for my actions."

"Has it really only been six hours," she asked as he tucked his head into her neck and she rested her cheek against his sweat dampened hair. "Seems like days and days don't it?"

"Weeks," he drawled with a put upon air but he lifted his head and smiled at the glaring witch before she could take offense, "Very good weeks." Hermione rolled her eyes at him and made to extricate herself from his sated frame.

"Where do you think you are going," he demanded as he held her in place.

"I am starving and if we are ever going to get started with saving the world we need to get dressed, especially if we plan to do anything that does not include," she paused dramatically and began to spell, "S-H-A-G-G-I-N-G!"

Severus growled, "Minx," and reached for her, but she batted his hands away and leapt from his arms laughing as she ran from the bathroom. Using the wall to pull himself up Severus contemplated going after the little witch, but decided a shower and fresh cloths would be the better idea.

Coming downstairs, Severus found Hermione standing in his kitchen wearing one of his black cotton shirts with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows and nothing else. At least he assumed she was naked under the provocatively buttoned garment. She was busy preparing eggs and she had a faraway look on her face as she folded the eggs into a fluffy scramble.

Severus frowned as he watched her. Without looking she lifted her hand toward a cupboard over the refrigerator and with a gesture it opened and two small glasses floated to the table. The witch obviously knew his home as only someone who lived in a place could know it. Letting his eyes wander down her slight frame to her slender legs he remembered them as they had been less than an hour ago, tight around his hips. His train of thought aggravated him; for nearly eleven years he had not found women or sexual release to be of much importance.

Obviously, the potion had worked exactly as Dumbledore intended—Dumbledore—the thought of the man he had raised upon a pedestal and revered made him sick inside. All along Severus had thought the Headmaster the most respectable and noble wizard, even before he turned from the Dark Lord's service. He felt duped; his finally recovering trust in himself was no less shattered this time than it had been when he made such a disastrous decision to join the Death Eaters a little over eleven years ago. This time he could at least comfort himself that instead of being one of very few to have bought the party-line he, it seemed finally, had something in common with the rest of the free-wizarding world.

She must think him a fool for having, twice, been taken in by charismatic wizards. Resisting the urge to sigh plaintively Severus thought back to the time he spent in the witch's mind and was reassured by the realization that she too had thought Dumbledore to be one of the most respectable and noble wizards alive.

Stroking his lips, absently, he watched her graceful, efficient movements as she plated the eggs and retrieve toast from the warmer. He could not remember his mother ever cooking in this kitchen. Logically, he supposed that she had, but he had never watched her complete such a mundane task as far as his memory served. Glancing at the table in the middle of the room he could remember eating a meager meal around the chipped Formica table and even watching his father drink until he carried on conversations with himself. Never once had he sat at the table and watched his mother prepare a meal or smile as brightly at him when she found him in the room, as Hermione did when she turned to put the food on the table.

"Forgive me," In a flash he realized that Dorie must have done all the cooking when he was a child. Leaning against the casement he folded his arms over his chest and murmured, "I gave Dorie the night off."

"I only made eggs, sir, it is hardly a gourmet meal. Perhaps, I should be the one apologizing to you or in the very least your taste buds. I am not a very good cook." Hermione looked up as she put the plates on the table and smiled as she gestured for him to sit and eat. "Dorie told me before she left, but I asked her to come home if she finishes the task I set her." She sat down and waited for him to join her.

"Thank you," he sighed shrugging away from the wall and settling in the seat directly in front of her.

"You're welcome, Severus."

"What task have you set her," he asked as he forked up a mouthful of eggs.

"Oh," she shrugged as she murmured off-handed, "Nothing that needs discussing at the moment. We can speak about Malfoy and the Dark Lord's horcrux later."

At the mention of the horcrux Severus promptly choked on his eggs. Coughing and spluttering he demanded, "Horcrux," he was glad to see she looked properly chastised, "When were you planning to tell me about the Horcrux?"

"What did you think we were doing traipsing all over hell and back," she countered, "Don't tell me the only thing you took from my memories of hunting the Horcrux was me frigging myself blind."

Severus stared at her for several moments as he replayed the memories of her time in the tent. Upon a second inspection of the memories she had shared it was obvious what they were doing, even though it seemed as if they chased their own tails mostly. "You are quite right," he sighed, "my mind was obviously occupied elsewhere when the cursed objects were dealt with. I, also, think that the phrase 'frigging myself blind' should be added to our list of taboo words."

"Yes, well," she smiled, knowingly at him as she continued. "I'll try to remember that, shall I?"

"If you please," he smirked and sipped from his glass of juice, "So, horcrux, plural?"

"Yes," she nodded, "There are seven."

"And I thought his insanity had limits," he muttered as he took a bite of toast, which was like sawdust in his mouth.

"The first thing we need to do is get ready for the white-bearded bastard's visit tomorrow," she informed him, "He is going to be very—," she frowned as if finding an appropriate word was proving difficult, "Dumbledore is going to dislike me intensely and he might question your loyalty or turn against you if he feels I have an undue influence. The potion was meant to give him absolute control over you and he may suspect it has been counteracted if your motivations change unexpectedly because of my arrival."

"True," Severus questioned with a hint of self-deprecation that bordered on something less humble, self-loathing, "Have you thought about how to explain the potion's failure to ensnare my heart and thereby my fealty unto my dying breathe?"

"Yes," she nodded, glancing at him uncertainly. "You won't like it, I am sure, but we really have no other choice."

"Well, then," Severus purposefully placed his fork in his plate and pushed it aside, wiping his mouth with a napkin before looking once more into the honey-brown of her eyes. "Perhaps you will expound so that I can react in the predicted way before being forced to comply with yet another master's plan."

The hurt look and the gasp that dissolved her former smile let him know his dart had hit its mark, but he felt no satisfaction in having hurt the girl's feelings. Setting her own plate away and glancing away from him, as if she could not bear to look upon him, Hermione took a deep breath. She looked as if she was diminished but when she spoke her words were like an angry hiss, "Now, you see why I subjugated myself to you, Severus Snape. I do not what to be lord and master!"

"I gave myself to you," She stood up from the table with an angry jerk and moved to stand at the sink staring unseeing out the cloudy window into the miserable back garden.

"Why," He asked warily as he moved to stand again in the doorway to watch her. "Why would you give someone who has shown on more than one occasion to be unable to make decisions that will not result in the end of the wizarding world as we know it?"

Her back was straight and her hair was crackling with magic, she looked glorious, as Hermione murmured, "I just want to give you a chance at a real life."

"No," he disagreed, firmly, "that is not why."

"How dare you," she whirled on him then and moved toward him with flashing eyes. She was a scant step away when he reached out and grasped her clenched fists, pulling her until their bodies were flush against each other. "How dare you presume to tell me that isn't the reason?"

"You forget," he sneered as he twisted them around and pinned her to the casement with his superior height and brought her hands up over her head. "I have been inside you, little witch. I know."

"No," she gasped, shaking her head and her eyes glistened with tears as he allowed the sneer to leave his features.

"You have endangered our world by coming here," he bent to stroke his nose across her cheek and into her hair where her jaw met her throat. "Be truthful," he nipped her pulse with sharp teeth, but then soothed the spot with his tongue. "Tell me why you have bound us, so."

"I—I," she stammered and gasped when one of his hands found its way to her bare breast beneath the black silk of his purloined shirt.

"You what," he pressed, demanding that she continue as he let his teeth and tongue explore her throat.

"For you," she gasped as his long fingers tweaked her nipple.

"No," he growled allowing his teeth to mark her collarbone "Say it, witch!"

"D—Dumbledore," she whispered, closing her eyes tightly and clenching her teeth against acknowledging the deepest darkest truth. Severus had seen it, her carefully guarded secret kept mostly hidden from even herself. "Dumbledore…"

"Yes," Severus murmured, "Dumbledore," lifting his head to look at the trembling witch. "Shh—," he soothed when he noticed the tears flowing down her cheeks, "You needn't cry," his hands cupped her cheeks and he used his thumbs to wipe her tears from beneath her tightly closed eyes.

"Why," she asked, opening her eyes to glare up at the man who had ripped her soul open. Severus smoothed her hair away from her face and gently tucked it behind her ear, silently ignoring her question. Hermione lowered her arms and took hold of his face when it became clear he would not answer, "Why," she repeated.

Severus shrugged, "You seemed too content to fiddle with the future without truly understanding why you took such ill-advised chances with the fate of our people. I was unwilling to allow you to continue on in your ignorant state."

Her eyes narrowed when he uttered the word ignorant, but she did not immediately react to his statement. Instead she searched his dark eyes and face for long moments before she nodded her head, smiling sadly in understanding. Her voice was quiet when she spoke, "No," she denied, "I won't let you hide behind the idea that my sole reason for being here is my hatred of Dumbledore; it isn't."

"Then you are still deluding yourself," he tried to pull away, but she held him firm.

"You are one to speak about self-delusions," she snorted, "You, yourself, admitted that you have been inside me. You know what I felt—what I feel, but you cannot allow any little bit of happiness."

"I am supposed to be happy now, am I?"

"You are supposed to see what is right in front of your face," she glared, "You are Severus Snape, spy-extraordinaire, can you honestly tell me that you think my hatred of Dumbledore is the only reason I traversed time?" Her hand covered his mouth when he opened it to do just that, "Don't," she murmured, "I can see the intent to lie in your eyes, Severus, and I will not let you cling to the falsehood any more than you allowed me to do."

"This is insanity," he closed his eyes with a weighty sigh, "Your reasoning was insanity."

"It was a bit," she smiled ruefully; "My parents were gone, not dead, but gone all the same and by my hand. I lost many friends and none of it needed to even happen. When I first came here it was only days after the final battle, but I was so used up. I had just spent a year in a tent, with two adolescent boys, hunting pieces to a madman's soul under some of the worst conditions imaginable. So, maybe my emotions were a bit raw but it took a little over a year for Dorie and me to work out the intricacies of the ritual. Believe me when I say that my need for you to be saved was upper most in my mind when I stripped myself bare and painfully made my way eight years backward through time. You cannot deny that my dislike for Dumbledore was negligible compared to the—the desire to change your life."

"What if we fail," he asked, his voice tormented. "Dumbledore is the most loved wizard in Britain."

Her small, delicately boned fingers traced his face soothingly and her mouth curved in a gentle smile as she contemplated his question. "We could fail and we may very well do, but we know his plans both the naïve memories of a silly school girl and the calculating memories of the man who would be king. We can finish this without drawing it out for maximum effect. We can do this and if we do it right the wizarding world will be rid of two megalomaniacs."

"What is your plan," he asked slowly bowing his head and pressing his face into the crook of her shoulder.

"Keep you safe," she murmured in his ear and pressed a kiss to his shoulder as she had done earlier as they lay in his bed. His amused snort made her smile and she wrapped her arms around his waist as she began to outline the first steps they would take to thwart two of the most tyrannical wizards known to wizard-kind. "First," she murmured, "I need you to explain the Cassaforte nel sangue nemico."