Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the Nutcracker Suite!

It was the first Christmas since the war had ended. It had ended earlier that year, in May, when Harry Potter had finally vanquished Lord Voldemort. While there were many casualties, the light side had prevailed. Sirius had been restored from the veil once Bellatrix was killed, and Harry was beyond himself with happiness. He had moved into Grimmauld Place, and was living there with Sirius now.

And that is where the story begins. Grimmauld Place's parlor was bustling with activity, as Hermione was setting up a veritable winter wonderland. She conjured wreath after wreath, dusted with fake snow and big giant golden bows and ribbons. She had convinced the boys to go out and chop down a real pine tree, and it was there, in all its glory, nearly scraping the high ceiling. Afterwards, they all had admitted that the smell of the tree was definitely worth it, as it filled the whole house with the delicious scent of pine.

The boys were basically useless, after hanging about five ornaments each, they had gotten into a debate about quidditch, and sat by the crackling fire each with a cup of warm eggnog in their hands. Ron had been a little unsure about the creamy liquid, until Hermione had shown him how muggles liked to put some rum in it. As Harry grew up muggle, he already knew he could trust it, and was sipping it slowly.

Hermione, though, was far from useless, enchanting some muggle Christmas lights to put on the tree, and they were glowing and tinkling away. Even though the lights were white, the ornaments were a variety of shapes and colors – pretty much any ornament Hermione could think of. She kept adding more and more decorations though, and placed her presents under the tree. She wanted to make sure this was the merriest Christmas ever, being that it was the first Christmas where they truly wouldn't need to worry about anything.

The front door burst open, with snow swirling around the person who swept in, black coat pulled tight against his body. Ron jumped with fright. "Blimey Sirius! I thought you were Snape there for a minute." Hermione's heart surged at the idea that he was actually there. Professor Snape had never been found after the battle. Harry had told the healers to go look for him in the Shrieking Shack, but when they got there, he was nowhere to be found. Everyone had just assumed he was dead now, months later. Hermione didn't know what to think though. She so wanted him to be alive, especially now that she knew the sacrifices that he had made for them.

"Sorry Ron, just out getting some last minute decorations for Hermione." Sirius handed her the brown paper package. She squealed in delight and ripped off the paper. Earlier in the day, she had absolutely berated Sirius for not having a Nutcracker in the house, and so he had rushed out that afternoon to procure her one.

It was the most beautiful nutcracker she had seen, handcrafted and excellent. With its green and silver uniform, and its thick black hair, and perfect teeth, it was glorious in her eyes. She softly touched its body, admiring the firm wood beneath her fingers.

Suddenly, Ron snatched the nutcracker away from her hands. "Hey, this kind of looks likes Snape too, with its big nose and gross hair." He began to move the lever in the back, and made it talk, trying to make his voice deeper. "I am Snape and I hate everything in the world! Potions are wonderful and the cauldrons are my only friends."

Harry and Sirius were snickering, but Hermione was becoming very upset. "Stop that! For one, you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, and secondly, you are going to break it!" She reached for it back, but Ron wouldn't let go of it.

"Listen Hermione, I know you really admire the greasy git, but my happiness has increased exponentially since he is no longer in my life…you talk about him like you have a crush on him." Hermione blushed and grabbed the nutcracker. Ron tugged back, not willing to give up her gift. Finally, there was a creaking, and then the wood snapped. Hermione gasped.

Ron instantly looked sorry. "Hermione, I didn't mean to break it! Here let me fix it."

"No! I will fix it." Hermione seethed at her friend, still blushing and protective of the doll. "You lot should go to bed now anyway. You've all had too much eggnog. I will just stay down here and finishing decorating so it will be ready for tomorrow morning."

The boys were all embarrassed, and quickly shuffled up to bed. Hermione herself went into her room to change into her nightgown before trying to fix the nutcracker. It was just a simple white gown that stopped at her knee. It was a little poofy at the bottom and it was made out of silk. She also put on her white slippers before returning to the parlor.

She sat down in a chair, taking the nutcracker in her lap. Hermione didn't really want to admit it, but she did think the nutcracker looked a little bit like Snape. And she did have more than a little bit of a crush on her brooding Professor. He was so smart and she thought he was handsome in a dark, interesting sort of way. In her mind, she had thought about what it would be like to spend time alone with him, discussing potions and other things after the war was over. She supposed in the long run she would have to take the nutcracker to a toy maker to repair the broken wood, as she didn't trust herself to repair it with magic. Instead she conjured a ribbon to tie his jaw back into place. She then conjured him a little bed near the fire and tucked in her patient to heal. She giggled to herself before returning to work. Once she was sure she couldn't possibly add any more decoration to the parlor, she sat down in the chair to view her handiwork, and before she knew it, her eyes were drifting shut.

It was the sound of scurrying that had pulled her from her slumber. She got up from the chair, rubbing sleep from her eyes. The large grandfather clock striking midnight had her fully awake. But then, what was this? It seemed as if the tree was growing larger and larger! Or rather, was she shrinking? Before she knew it, she was smaller than her nutcracker, which was standing up, rallying little toy soldiers from under the tree. Gingerbread men were coming in from the kitchen, the very same that she had made earlier.

He untied the ribbon from his jaw and turned to her. "Thank you, Hermione," he said in a deep voice, "With your token, I can win this battle!" He took her hand, kissed it, and Hermione nearly blushed to her roots.

"Wait, did you say battle? What battle?" She then turned around and saw an army of mice, though they were about her size, being lead by a big rat. She wouldn't ever mistake that rat again. It was obvious to her that it was Peter Pettigrew, the vile traitor. He was also never found after battle and presumed dead. Had he really been in Grimmauld this whole time, as the king of the mice? He even wore a crown on his head.

She was standing in the midst of battle, unable to do anything as her wand was sitting precariously in the chair. The toy soldiers and mice were grappling with each other. Some of the mice were even nibbling at the little gingerbread men. Wounded soldiers and cookies were being helped off the battlefield by dolls. She looked around for her nutcracker but he was nowhere to be seen. She finally found him, in a battle of swords with Pettigrew. It seemed that the giant rat was gaining the upper hand. She couldn't possibly allow for that to happen! She did the first thing she could think of, and threw her slipper at Pettigrew's head. It hit him square between the eyes, and he dropped his sword, giving her nutcracker a chance to overpower the rat.

And then with that, Pettigrew was dead and gone. The mice scurried away and the toy soldiers rushed back to their places under the tree. She smiled, walking slowly towards the nutcracker, until she saw him fall to his knees. Terrified, she ran forward to his side.

Before her very eyes, he was transformed into a handsome prince, no longer wooden, but actual flesh and bone. Brushing his black hair from his eyes, Hermione gasped. It couldn't be! "Professor Snape?" Her heart lurched. There was nothing she wanted more than for it to be him. When he opened his eyes, her heart was confirmed. It truly was him!

His dark brown eyes held her gaze before he reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear. "Yes Hermione, it is I, Severus." He was nearly unrecognizable, and looked much younger than she remembered. His hair was shiny and healthy, his eyes had a spark to them. He seemed like he had filled out a bit, but his fingers were still wonderfully long and slender, as he used them to cup her cheek. Her eyes were half lidded, as she took in his countenance. His cheeks were rosy and with a small smile gracing his face, his eyes seemed to glow. "I am sure you have many questions for me, Hermione, but we have many things to do. I will explain to you on the way." He stood and helped her stand up as well.

She then looked around. Suddenly, they were no longer in the parlor, but rather in a snowy pine forest, and behind them was a glorious sleigh, with green velvet seats, being pulled by a snow white horse. Hermione gasped. He reached in the sleigh and grabbed a fur jacket that dusted the floor. She hadn't realized how chilly she was and wrapped it around herself.

Snape helped her up into the sleigh. And once they were settled, he horse took off on a fast walk. Snape laid a blanket over their laps and they sat close together for warmth. Hermione was positively in awe of the man next to her. "Professor I have so many questions for you!" Hermione couldn't tear her eyes from him.

"I knew you would, of course, always asking questions. I will of course answer all of them, so long as you call me Severus."

Hermione blushed at his subtle jibe at her classroom behavior. "Of course Prof- I mean Severus. Where did you go during the battle? We sent healers back to the Shrieking Shack, but you were gone." Hermione felt tears start to form in her eyes and she choked a little on her words. She had felt so guilty ever since the battle. She should have stayed with him, met Harry and Ron once the healers arrived.

"Well, I wasn't there more than five minutes after you left. Pettigrew showed up and transfigured me into the Nutcracker you found me as and left me at a toymaker's. I couldn't really be sure why he did that, but he would return there every now and then to torment me. I couldn't break the spell no matter how hard I tried...until tonight."

"So that means that Pettigrew is really dead? Gone forever?" Hermione asked timidly. She remembered when Wormtail had escaped during their third year. He had caused so many issues in this life - betraying Harry's parents, Sirius, Remus, bringing back the Dark Lord. When he hadn't been found after the battle it had been disheartening.

Snape nodded. "I am glad that it was I who was able to put an end to him. With your help of course."

"And he was living in Grimmald Place this whole time?" She asked. That thought made her shiver, know that such a despicable traitor had been essentially living with them.

"I believe so yes."

Conversation ended for a moment and Hermione took the time to look around at her surroundings. They were headed through a forest of tall evergreen trees, blanketed in pure white snow. There were some large snowflakes falling all around them. It seemed like it was a painting come to life to Hermione.

She also couldn't take her eyes off of her companion. She did have a slight crush on him in school because of his intelligence and deftness. Now, it seemed as if years of stress and worry had been melted from his visage, and she was noticing how handsome he really seemed. His hair was no longer lank or greasy, but black, thick and shiny. His dark eyes were piercing and captivating. His large nose was distinctive and made him who he was. She felt the old crush rush back through her body, becoming more than it was before.

"Something on my face, Miss Granger?" Snape asked, a little bit snidely, breaking Hermione from her thoughts.

"Hmm, what?"

"You have been staring at me for several minutes now, Miss Granger."

"I'm sorry Prof-Severus, I just am a little in shock seeing someone who I thought was dead. And call me Hermione. If I am to call you Severus, you will call me Hermione."

Snape smiled at her. "Are you sure that is the only reason why, Hermione?" Snape asked. Hermione shivered again. Before she could respond, Snape wrapped one of his arms around her shoulders and pulled her closer. "Cold?"

He was definitely smirking at her now. "Why are you doing this?" She demanded, a little annoyed, feeling like he was mocking her.

"Well Hermione, it's just that I know about your feelings for me. You are a very expressive woman and you project your thoughts quite loudly." He said, seeming self satisfied.

Hermione moved further away from him, a blush erupting across her cheeks. "You read my thoughts?" She demanded, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Well, it was hard not to hear them." Snape had a grin on his face now. He looked over at her, the moonlight highlighting her face. He seemed to notice that she was embarrassed and upset at his teasing. "I was...quite...flattered. During your year away, I often thought of approaching you when everything was over, if I survived."

Hermione couldn't stop the smile from turning up the corners of her lips. A cruel thought spread through her mind though quickly. "You don't have to lie to me to try and make me feel better."

"I am not lying. Your innocent ideas of discussing potions by a fire appeals to me." He was usually not that comfortable revealing these kind of details about himself, but his recent time held captive as a wooden toy had given him a new lease on life. "I always had Phineas check on you."

"You mean on Harry." Hermione said, accusatorily. She didn't want to have a false hope that he might actually have some of the same feelings towards her as she did for him.

"No, just you. You can ask him when we return to Grimmauld Place, if you'd like." Snape said softly.

"Alright." Hermione sighed, watching the snowflakes as they seemed to dance around the pair in the sled. "Speaking of Grimmauld Place, where are we going?"

"Some unfinished business, then we will return. I will have you back by morning, I promise."

They soon pulled up to a large black lake, it looked similar to the Black Lake, but she knew that it wasn't the same. The water seemed to glistened and sparkle. When they came to the shore, Snape stopped the carriage and jumped out. He walked around on the crunching snow, until he reached the side Hermione was on, reaching up a hand to help her down.

Hermione now noticed a small boat on the shore, similar to the ones that they had at Hogwarts. Snape helped her in and he joined her. The boats began moving across the water. Hermione noticed that the boat was being drawn but what seemed like thestrals. "What are they?" She asked with wonder.

"I am not completely sure. It certainly looks like a thestral though."

"So that isn't how the boats are pulled across the Black Lake?"

Snape smiled at her inquisitive nature. "No, that is a secret I am afraid I can't reveal." He said with a smile. It was just a little Headmaster secret that the Giant Squid actually pushed the boats across the lake. He wasn't sure how much the first years would like hearing that.

In the distance, Hermione could trace out what looked like a gingerbread castle. The inner child in Hermione was delighted as she watched it getting larger and larger as they drew nearer. They had soon pulled up against the shores and Hermione quickly realized that this shore was not made up of snow, but rather of frosting.

"It's just like Candyland!" Hermione squealed, happier memories of playing with her parents as a child filled her head.

Snape helped her out of the boat and onto the shore. "I must say with your white coat, you look quite like Queen Frostine."

"How do you..." Hermione trailed off. Of course, Snape did have a muggle father. But who would've played it with him.

"My mother did indulge in muggle things from time to time." A sour look crossed his face, possibly remembering his father, but it cleared quickly and he offered his arm to Hermione.

Hermione gladly took it because the ground was a bit tricky to navigate. "So, who lives here then? King Candy?"

Snape smirked. "Something like that." They made their way quickly over to the gingerbread drawbridge which had been lowered at their arrival. The inside of the castle looked bright and warm and so Hermione was eager to enter the building.

Once they got inside, Hermione was completely enthralled by the site of the woman that greeted them. She was wearing a long dress with a gold bodice and layer after layer of pink fabric making up the skirt. It appeared to simply float. It was gorgeous. The pink dress really brought out the deep red of the woman's hair. "You're Lily Potter." Hermione said, in shock. She looked so young, perhaps the same age as Hermione herself.

"Why yes, I am." She replied with a smile, before moving to embrace Snape. "Severus! How lovely to see you, but whatever are you doing here?" She asked with curiosity.

Snape retold the tale of how Peter had trapped him, but he eventually was able to fight him and finally kill him, of course with Hermione's help. "We did it, Lily. Finally, everyone responsible for your death has paid for their deeds." For some reason this made Hermione's heart clench. She didn't want to think on it too much yet.

Lily seemed pleased. "We will have a great feast in your honor and especially you Hermione for helping dear Severus. Shall I show you to your room so that you might freshen up before the entertainment begins?"

Severus agreed. Hermione was somewhat saddened. He was so happy and carefree around Lily. She wondered if he would ever be the same with her. They followed Lily up the grand staircase, where she showed them to one large bedroom with a vanity and wardrobe and a bathroom. "When you are ready, feel free to join us in the ballroom, it's right off of the main hall."

Severus headed straight to the bathroom when they were left alone. Hermione removed her fur jacket and hung it up in the empty wardrobe, which was, unfortunately empty. She sat in front of the vanity, looking at her appearance. She was hoping that there would perhaps be a dress that she could wear. Her nightgown wasn't indecent...but it was so plain when compared to the pink dress that Lily was wearing.

Her hair looked atrocious, so picking up the brush, she morphed the wind-frizzed hair back into her more usual texture, which just looked tousled instead. Like she had just woken up. The vanity didn't really contain anything else that she would want to use to help her appearance. Hearing the bathroom door open, she turned her head and saw Snape standing there, staring at her.

"Do I really look that awful?" She asked, standing, moving away from the vanity, not wanting to face him anymore.

"No, I think you look gorgeous." He said, his voice right next to her ear. Hermione turned and had to crane her neck up to look into his eyes. She had never realized just how tall that he was. Before she could think of anything smart to say, he leant down kissed her. His arms came to wrap around her back, pulling her flush against him.

Hermione sighed, relaxing into the kiss, letting her arms wrap about his waist. This was something she had wanted, imagined, but real life was much better than her daydreams. He held her so close that it almost seemed like he was afraid she would disappear. He nibbled on her lower lip, soothed it with his tongue. She parted her lips so that her own tongue might join his, playful caressing each other, until Hermione simply had no breath left.

They pulled apart, and disentangled themselves a moment later. "Shall we head downstairs?" He asked, hesitantly, as if he would rather just stay up here with her instead. Hermione nodded and they made the short trek down to the ballroom. She was silently reveling in the warmth of his arm under her hand.

The ballroom was absolutely wonderful, something out of a candy wonderland. Hermione and Severus took their seats at the high table next to Lily. It reminded Hermione so much of the teachers' table in the Great Hall. "I think you will really enjoy the first piece of entertainment." Lily told her with a giggle.

Hermione was quite surprised to see Crabbe and Goyle be shoved into the hall just as some Spanish sounding music began to be played by the orchestra. Crabbe, the shorter and squatter of the two, had somehow been stuffed into a red flamenco dress. Goyle was wearing black pants with a red undershirt and a black bolero. The pair looked outraged at first, but then they noticed the chocolate that was enchanted to float just out of their grasp.

The ran towards it, only to have it move away, circling the room. They were running and jumping, doing an odd little sort of dance that had Hermione and even Severus laughing. The highlight of their performance was when Crabbe tried to climb up Goyle's back to reach the chocolate. This ended in a shoving match, which led to them in an angry heap of red and black on the floor. They were then shortly escorted from the hall.

The room then became darkened, a mysterious sounding, exotic music began to be played. She was surprised to see Parvati, Padma and Lavender sashay out into the ballroom. They were all wearing blue harem pants and a bandeau top, their midriffs covered by a sheer blue fabric. They began to dance to a slow, sensual, but highly choreographed dance. Hermione snorted, it had Lavender written all over it.

She did have to admit though that Lavender's milk white skin and blond hair was a beautiful juxtaposition to the Patil twins dark skin and ebony hair. Beside her, Snape murmured. "So is this what they teach you in Divination."

"I wouldn't know, I haven't taken it since third year." Hermione replied snarkily. She was totally entranced by the slow dance. The song slowly faded out, but it was clear that Lavender was enjoying the limelight and didn't want to leave yet. Finally, the lights flickered back to full life and the Patils led Lavender from the room.

Shortly after the girls left, Hermione was delighted to hear a high-pitched trilling flute and to see none other than Professor Flitwick run into the room in a black and gold Chinese inspired outfit, with tiny gold slippers. He gave the high table a low bow before performing a series of short jumps, flicking his feet back and forth with a deftness Hermione was unaware he possessed. Flitwick then jumped high in the air, kicking his feet so far forward and reaching down to touch his toes.

Hermione gasped. "I had no idea that Professor Flitwick was so flexible!"

"Yes, you didn't hear it from me, but he is classically trained in ballet." Severus whispered into her ear, causing a shiver to race down her spine. She could only think of his nearness for the rest of Professor Flitwick's dance, snapping out of it when she registered his low bow and the music stopped.

The next piece of music was upbeat and exciting, singing of promise. She was delighted to see Viktor Krum waltz into the room. He was wearing a white shirt that had been embroidered with some red thread and big red pants. He walked to the table and took her hand kissing it. Then, without asking, he pulled her down from the table and led her into the center of the ballroom.

He picked her up and spun her around and around and around, until she felt like she was flying. She was laughing, she always had so much fun with Viktor. He then set her down and let her go, dropping down into a crouch and crossing his arms out in front of him. He kicked one foot out in front of the other in rapid succession, slowly moving around in a circle around her.

He then regained his normal footing and began dancing around her. She had to keep turning so that she might see everything that he was doing. Much to her surprise, he jumped high into the air and touched his toes out at the sides. She was completely in shock that he was such a good dancer, but he had also told her that dancing had always been a part of the curriculum at Durmstrang. She had never asked which kinds.

Soon the dance was over and he lead her back to her seat, kissing her hand again before he too left the ballroom. She completely missed the somewhat murderous look on Severus's face.

The next group to enter the room, Hermione was surprised to see, was actually Neville and Luna. Some beautiful, but precise and staccato, music was playing while Neville stood awkwardly in the middle of the room clearly counting out his steps and trying to remember them all. Luna, on the other hand, who looked so beautiful, had clearly given up on trying to perform any dance that she had learned and just danced around Neville in her own Luna way. It absolutely delighted Hermione to see her two friends having so much fun together.

After they left, Molly Weasley entered the room in an enormous dress. It was so wide, Hermione was surprised that she even fit in the door at all. She stood in the front of the room, and when she lifted the edges of her skirt to curtsey, seven red headed children ran out from under her skirt! It was clear that this was Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny, but it seemed that they were all five years old. Each was wearing a Weasley sweater with their own initial knitted on the front.

The entirety of her musical piece, Mrs. Weasley just ran around the room frantically, trying to catch all of her children. Fred and George were the worst, because as soon as she caught them, they would run right out the backside of the skirt, so just when Mrs. Weasley thought that she had collected everyone, she would see one of their cheeky grins.

Finally, she gave up and just picked Fred and George up, holding each under a separate arm and walked out of the room, the rest of her children in their spots under her giant skirt.

The next performance seemed to be everyone together, dancing freely. Some people were waltzing, some wear swaying, one person was doing the Luna Dance, but everything was genuinely lovely. Hermione was so happy and glad to watch it, that was, until Lily asked Severus to dance, leaving Hermione alone up at the high table.

As soon as they entered the floor the music changed to a slow a beautiful tune, almost bittersweet. The lights dimmed again, and everyone slowly left the dance floor until they were the only two people left. They danced together deliberately, their eyes never leaving each other's.

Hermione's heart sank. She hadn't wanted to believe it, but she was sure of it now. This was all a dream, a cruel dream to help her get over Severus, who was likely dead. It could only be a fantasy, that he would somehow come back and whisk her away to a winter wonderland.

They looked so happy together. And she was beyond beautiful in Hermione's opinion. She had a lovely complexion that went wonderfully with her auburn hair and beautiful green eyes. She wanted to close her eyes when they embraced, but she couldn't tear her eyes away, until she heard the doors open.

A man walked in, looking jovial in a pink and gold suit that matched Lily's dress. She knew him immediately to be James Potter. Harry truly was the spitting image of James, although his father seemed much more happy, naturally. Even wearing a powder pink suit, he was as jovial as ever. He walked up to the dancing pair, tapped Snape on the shoulder and cut into the dance.

She couldn't bear to see the look of longing on his face, when he would be forced to give up his precious Lily so she stood to leave. She had just about made it out of the room when Snape cut her off. "Are you really leaving so soon, Hermione?" He asked. He seemed genuinely interested.

"Yes, well, I ..." Hermione floundered. She had always been terrible at lying, and couldn't think of anything suitable to give as a reason for leaving.

"Would you give me one dance before you leave?" He asked her.

Hermione bit her lip. She really couldn't say no to the man. It was a dream after all. Maybe the gods were giving her one chance to see what it would have been like, so that she could accept it and move on. She nodded and allowed him to lead her to the center of the room.

She noticed James and Lily who were playfully dancing together, looking like they were having so much fun. They were doing what looked more like a polka, but neither one seemed to mind. She was glad that she would be able to tell Harry how well suited they were and how much they clearly loved each other.

The music was mysterious, but playful, and Severus pulled her into a waltz. She was actually quite good at the waltz, she had learned after the Yule Ball. Severus was quite good as well, though, and she so enjoyed the feelings of his hands on her body, guiding her through the steps. "Why were you going to leave?" He asked her after a while.

She supposed since this was only a figment of her imagination that she should just be honest. After all, it was her subconscious asking the question. "It hurt me to see you with her, to know that you will always love her, even when it is obvious that she and James are soul mates, even after she wouldn't forgive you for your mistakes." She confessed, her eyes resting on Lily's laughing face, not daring to look into Severus's dark soul-searching eyes.

Hermione wasn't mad at Lily, she actually found that she quite liked the smart girl. But it didn't mean that she had to like the feelings Severus obviously had for her.

"I...didn't like watching you with Krum either." Severus whispered, confiding in her. She was quite surprised to see that.

"Viktor and I are only friends. Maybe if I was a little bit more open and he had more spare time, something would have happened between us, but friendship is the only thing that exists between us." Hermione was surprised that Viktor would make him uncomfortable, but she also knew that Ron had always been uncomfortable with her relationship with the Bulgarian.

Snape pulled her close to his chest, slowing down his steps, so that their bodies might be completely pressed together. "Be more open?" He asked pointedly. "Hermione, your problem is that you never go for someone who is...intellectually up to par with you. Weasley, Krum, those kind of men would bore you eventually. You need someone who is smart enough for you."

"Oh and who is smart enough for me, you?" She asked with a laugh.

Severus just gave her a small smile. "Yes."

Hermione looked around the room, and noticed that everyone had slowly trickled out of the room, even Lily and James were gone. The music was still being softly played, the instruments charmed to continue the song, but other than that Hermione and Severus were alone in the ballroom. The dim lighting highlighting his face made her heart surge. "I want to be with you." Hermione stated, sweetly, almost pleadingly.

Severus leaned down and pressed his lips against her softly, stopping the dance. He then offered his arm and led her up out of the ballroom, up the stairs and into "their" room. "Severus, why do you want me?" She asked him, daring to hope.

"Well, just like you need someone smart enough for you, I need someone smart enough for me as well. Someone who doesn't consider Divination a proper school subject." They both shared a private smile. Severus sat down on the bed and began to remove his boots. Hermione sat next to him. "Not only that, but I know that I can be gruff and difficult at times, so I need someone truly loyal, forgiving, just like you. Not only that, but I find you to be very beautiful." He looked directly into her golden brown eyes and pushed her hair behind her ear.

This time Hermione initiated the kiss. She knew that she wanted to be with Severus more than she ever had. She would never have dreamed that he felt the same way about her that she did about him. She moved so that she could kneel on the bed, and slowly pushed his jacket from his shoulders, before pushing him back against the soft comforter, their lips never breaking their connection.

She moved to straddle his body, their centers separated only by a few layers of thin fabric. Hermione could feel him come alive underneath her body, and moaned into his mouth when he reached up to caress her breast though the fabric of her nightgown. She couldn't help, but to writhe against him in pleasure.

When Severus could stand it no more, he sat up, so that he might push her back so that she was resting against the numerous pillows. Hermione felt like she was floating on a cloud, when Severus grabbed hold of the hem of her nightgown, pulling it up over her head, exposing her body to the chilly air. He then quickly divested himself of his own clothes and crawled up to cover her body with his.

"Please Severus, I want you." She whispered against his lips, caressing his large nose with her own. He entered her slowly, sensually, deliberately, just like he did everything. They moved together until finally they reached the cusp of passion together and crossed into together, moaning their mutual enjoyment of each other.

Severus gave her a kiss on the forehead before moving beside her so that he might hold her tight to his body while they slept. Hermione's eyes drifted shut, wishing that it hadn't all just been a dream.

Hermione woke up lying on the floor in Grimmauld Place in the parlor, next to the Christmas tree. A blanket had been placed over her body and a pillow underneath her head, but her body was still sore from sleeping on the cold ground. She could even feel a pleasant soreness between her legs.

Hermione remembered her dream and felt the tears spring up in her eyes faster than she thought possible. Before she knew it, her soft sniffles had morphed into great sobs. "Hermione?"

She heard someone ask. Sirius was standing in the doorway, looking very concerned. He didn't think of Hermione as a daughter...perhaps more like an older brother. He was worried about anything that had made her upset.

Hermione quickly reigned in her sobs, but still was taking little gasps of air between her words. "Oh, hi Sirius."

He took this as an invitation to come into the room and held out a hand to help her up from the floor, before guiding her to the couch by the fireplace. The room was much chillier with only the embers left of their Yule Log in the fireplace. "Will you tell me what's wrong?"

Sirius looked so genuinely concerned that she felt like it would be okay to tell him. She could tell that he would understand in a way that Ron and Harry wouldn't. So she told him everything, about her massive crush, Wormtail, the moonlight ride, meeting Lily and James, dancing with Snape and she even mumbled over the fact that they had made love. "I am just so upset because I know that my subconscious was just trying to give me one chance to be with him, to help me to get over him. There is no point in pining over someone who might not even be alive...but it's just that...it still hurts so much."

Hermione felt a fresh round of tears begin to be welling up in her eyes. Sirius was looking at her with a shocked look in her eyes. "But Hermione-" He started off, but she cut him off.

"I know Sirius, I need to get over him, I just think I need more time."

She hadn't heard anyone enter the room, so she jumped when she heard someone else's deep voice. "Are you really want to get over me so soon?" She whipped her head around so fast, she thought she might have whiplash.

There, in the doorway, holding her repaired nutcracker, stood none-other than Severus Snape in all his glory. "Severus, is it really you?" She asked.

"Yes." Before he could say anything else, he was enveloped in a flurry of white, as Hermione ran across the parlor and wrapped him up in a big bear hug.

"So it wasn't a dream?" She asked him. He shook his head. "And you really want to be with me?"

"Of course I do you silly girl, if you'd have me." He said, his cheeks turning a little bit pink with embarrassment in front of Sirius.

Before he could stop her, Hermione had firmly planted her lips against his, opening her lips to deepened the kiss. Snape seemed to forget that he had an audience and wrapped his own arms around the chestnut haired Gryffindor.

"Uck! Get a room you too!" Sirius said over his shoulder as he hurried out of the room to see what Kreacher had made him for breakfast. "Maybe you should make yourself presentable, Harry and Ron will be down to open presents!"

The pair broke apart, somewhat embarrassed by their public display of affection. "Happy Christmas, Hermione."

"This is definitely the happiest Christmas I've had, Severus, because I get to spend it with you."

A/N: Whew! This is a little oneshot that has been two years in the making. It was inspired by the Nutcracker Suite and is just a little Christmas fluff! For the entertainment, if you wanted to listen along with the music Crabbe and Goyle were Spanish/Chocolate, Lavender, Padma and Parvati were Arabian/Coffee, Flitwick was Chinese/Tea, Viktor was Trepak, Luna and Neville are the Dance of the Mirlitons, and the Weasleys were Mother Gigogne and her Children (I know this bit was a little weird, haha). I know nearly nothing about dancing, so I hope my descriptions weren't so terrible.

I have been wanting to write a Severus/Hermione for so long and it's really really hard! I have a newfound respect for anyone who writes it! Next on my list is another Dramione, hopefully within the next week or so I will have the first chapter, so please be on the lookout for that! In the meantime, please check out one of my other stories. If you like a oneshot, I have a Theo/Hermione called Totentanz. If you'd prefer a chapter story, check of Arrivederci (Dramione), Here I Dreamt I Was A Rosier & Kings Among Runaways (Tomione).

So, please please let me know what you think of the Nutcracker and check out some of my other work! Thank you!