This is my second post today, so make sure you read chapter 10 first! This one is really short, but I'm actually very happy with it. I hope you enjoy it, too!

- o0O0o - Hermione's POV - o0O0o -

A heavy door slammed shut behind us, blocking out all light except for that which came from the torches in our hands.

Oh, wonderful. The Labyrinth.

- o0O0o - Severus's POV - o0O0o -

"Obviously I'm Daedalus. Does that make you Icarus… my son?" I wrinkled my nose in distaste. Luckily that isn't actually the case. That would be wrong on so many levels.

Laughing, though looking slightly uncomfortable, Hermione shrugged and said, "I suppose so. I get to be the one to die this time, looks like."

I looked at her sharply. "What do you mean?"

"They escaped the Labyrinth through a window in Daedalus's workshop using wings that Daedalus invents. The adhesive that holds the feathers on the contraptions will release if put under too much heat, and Icarus gets too excited about flying, goes too high—"

"And allows the heat from the sun to melt the adhesive, I remember now," I murmured unhappily. I looked at Hermione with sorrow in my eyes. "I'm sorry."

She shrugged. "It'll only be a quick second, and then we'll be that much closer to the end of the story. It'll be nice not to have to worry about you for a change." She smirked at me before trudging forward. "We'd better find your workshop and get to work on those wings so we can get out of here."

- o0O0o - Hermione's POV - o0O0o -

It didn't take us long to find the workshop—since Severus could do wandless magic, he used a few simple spells to both direct us and to create a map of where we'd been so that we didn't retrace our steps.

"How are we going to invent wings?" I whinged. I knew it wouldn't do any good to cry about it, but I was tired of these miserable stories. I knew there were lots more to come, and I just wanted it all to be over already. I was enjoying my time with Severus, but I wanted to get back to Hogwarts—and to a proper meal and a comfortable bed.

"The same way we found the workshop," Severus answered me, an eyebrow cocked in query at my tone. "We'll glue the feathers on the wings but use magic to fly, and when you get high enough that the feathers start falling off, I'll drop you."

I was the one to raise an eyebrow this time. "You know how to fly wandlessly? And what about me, anyway?"

Severus shook his head in mock exasperation. "You've seen me fly without a broom."

"But not without a wand," I reminded him.

He shook his head, a somewhat-haunted look in his eyes. "But I was using my wand to battle, not to keep myself in the air."

I nodded, accepting that. Before speaking again, I walked up to Severus and held his head in my hands. "That time is over now. You're free, remember? And as much less serious as this situation is, I'm glad for the sake of time that you know this skill and can teach it to me, because that means we'll get home that much faster."

He nodded, a strange look in his eyes.

- o0O0o - Severus's POV - o0O0o -

As much as I wanted to get home, I also didn't want our time here in this imaginary place to end. We had developed a bond while here together that I had never expected could form between Hermione and me, and I didn't want to lose that.

In a rare moment of courage (or abject fear, depending on how one looked at the situation), I asked softly, "When we return… will it still be like this?"

- o0O0o - Hermione's POV - o0O0o -

I could feel Severus's cheeks warming underneath my hands, but I didn't need to know he was blushing to understand the strength it took him to ask me such a question. "As long as you are willing to put up with me, I'll stick around, Severus," I insisted, smiling up at him.

Afraid that I'd lose my control and kiss him—and though we'd shared a kiss, it was not initiated by either of us, so I wasn't sure if it had been wanted on his part—I lowered my hands and backed away.

"So," I said firmly, squaring my shoulders, "how does one fly without a broom?"

- o0O0o - - o0O0o -

After two days of nothing but eating (Where is this food coming from, anyway?), sleeping, building decorative wings, and perfecting my broomless flying abilities, I finally judged myself ready. Severus had me fly around the workshop for ten straight minutes before he finally approved.

"Severus," I had complained before complying, "I have to fall out of the sky anyway!"

"No," he reminded me, "you have to stay in the sky and be able to get high enough for the feathers to start falling off before you let yourself drop. If you don't wait long enough, we might not get to advance out of the story. I don't want to risk it."

When I had done as he asked and he gave me the go-ahead, we helped each other don the completely-unnecessary wings and stood at the arches open to the surrounding landscape.

"Ready?" Severus asked me timidly.

I nodded. "Let's go."

- o0O0o - Severus's POV - o0O0o -

I had worried that Hermione's fear of heights would be an issue, but it seemed that she struggled much less with that fear when she flew under her own power. I resolved to take her flying this way until she got used to being in the air; we could advance to using broomsticks later on.

Eventually, she and I began to ignore the story and enjoy flight together. But as much as we loved the looping and the laughing, we were soon out over the sea and had to get back to business. "You'd better climb higher, Hermione."

She sighed heavily, obviously more worried. "It's a good thing I know I can't die in here," she said. I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or to herself, but I guessed the latter.

"What's the next story?"

She grimaced at me and said, "The Nativity. If I have to give birth, I'm not going to be happy!" As I felt the blood drain from my face, she soared higher, obviously not wanting to discuss the possibilities of the next story with me.

Soon I saw the feathers start to fall from her wings. After about a third of them had disappeared, I called, "You can do this, Hermione. Just let go."

Looking at me with eyes that were scared but held an astonishing amount of trust, Hermione released her magic and plummeted to the sea.

The moment she hit the water, just when I thought I'd die of a heart attack myself, the world went black.

I apologize about the cliff hanger. Unfortunately, that is the general nature of this story's set-up. I'm actually really excited for the next couple of chapters, though, so it shouldn't be too long before I post again. Let me know what you think!