Rated 'M'. If you are under 18, please read something else!
This is for dragoon811…because she listens to my story ideas…no matter how creepy they get sometimes.
It isn't a song-fic but those of you who remember Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit might guess where the title comes from.
Severus stormed into her office, Marauder's Map in hand.
"Peter White, Blanche O'Hare, and Finnian Coney are heading out into the forest again."
Hermione said several less than lady-like words under her breath as she summoned her cloak.
"We've almost caught them twice. What in Circe's name could lure them out there a third time when they know they could be expelled or worse?"
Severus snorted. "Worse? What's worse than being expelled? Death?"
She looked slyly at him from the corner of her eye. "Don't be absurd…I was referring to detentions with you."
Her colleague didn't smile (he never did where students might see him) but she could tell he was fighting a laugh.
She looked around the entryway as he unlocked the main door. "Where's Flitwick?"
"Most of the inhabitants of the Forbidden Forest view him as a potential bite-sized snack."
Hermione pulled her cloak closer around her. It was bitterly cold out.
She shivered and cast a warming charm around them. Severus nodded his thanks.
She rushed to keep up with him, though he was shortening his strides in deference to her shorter legs. "What can those children be thinking? And why would a Slytherin, a Gryffindor, and a Ravenclaw who've never shown the slightest inclination for one another's company suddenly decide to risk entering the forest together, not once, but three times? It's…odd."
She didn't like odd things. There were too many odd things that had led to Voldemort's rise.
Severus purred. "Once we catch them, we'll ask."
The glint in his eye let her know that he wasn't above peeking into their minds if he decided they were up to something dangerous. She reflected once again how lucky the wizarding world was to have a man like him. His methods often were questionable…but that was just another thing that made him unique. Only Severus Snape could walk the gray line between right and wrong and never lose his way.
They were silent as they entered the forest. In the years since her student days it hadn't gotten any less dangerous…in fact, if the blast-ended skrewts didn't keep the giant spiders in check, it would be doubtful that anyone could walk safely through the wooded paths.
Severus leaned close. "They entered this way; keep your eyes open for signs of passage."
She was glad that it was dark so he didn't see the tiny involuntary shudder she gave. His warm breath so close to her ear, along with his voice rumbling along that little bone…
Well, it was a perfectly normal, healthy physical reaction to an attractive man. She wasn't a nun, though being locked up in the school with adolescents ten months of the year limited her dating options. There were those who would argue that Severus Snape was hardly pin-up material, but she found those detractors were mostly male.
Nearly every adult female of her acquaintance would admit that the tall, dark, scowling professor with the sinfully resonant voice had caught her attention at one time or another.
She shook her head slightly to focus on the task at hand.
A half-hour of silent searching netted them nothing but frozen fingers as the warming charm wore off.
"Damn it. Either they've slipped past us, or something ate them."
She grinned at his grumbling. Three sixth-years really could take on anything hunting this close to the castle, and they would have seen signs of a struggle if something had attacked them.
"Let's get back. I'm tempted to give them detention anyway."
He always said that, and he never did. He didn't want to tip off anyone about the magical map. If it was known, some bright child would find a way to get around it. As it was, there was a rumor that Professors Granger and Snape were actually Seers.
They hadn't walked far before Severus caught her arm. Physical contact from the man was so rare that she automatically raised her wand to the surrounding forest, expecting an attack.
He squeezed her forearm lightly and moved close enough to whisper. "Look down, there…a partial footprint where the soil is disturbed."
Sure enough, there were signs that someone had left the path. Severus led the way, pushing aside fronds quietly. Perhaps they still had a chance of catching the little troublemakers.
There was a natural clearing about a hundred feet off the trail, hidden behind the dense undergrowth. There were more signs of human foot traffic here: more footprints, piles of dirt, leaves obviously turned since the last rain.
Severus frowned as he cautiously entered the little clearing. It wasn't a large area, something like a six foot radius once one factored in the irregular tree line.
Hermione checked for dark magic. Not a trace. "Well buggeration. This is obviously where they've been coming, but I'm more confused than before."
Severus nodded. "The residual magic here doesn't feel any different from the rest of the bloody forest."
Hermione decided to risk a brighter light.
Nothing. Just the signs of fresh-turned earth.
She sighed. "Well, we'll know where they're coming next time. Let's go inside, I want a glass of wine and a hot bath…my hands are freezing, even with the gloves and warming charms."
Severus smirked and cast a powerful warming charm over her.
"Let's get back to the castle so you can have your bath."
He took a long stride toward her, through the center of the clearing…
She didn't see anything…but she heard a distinct popping sound. As she turned she saw Severus' eyes roll up in the back of his head and he fell to the ground.
She hurried toward him, but under her light shoes she could feel something. Another series of pops alerted her that something was wrong….just about the time she dropped to the ground.
Hermione opened her eyes sometime later in a forest that was inexplicably sparkling.
Her mouth tasted like she'd been chewing on one of Pamona's gardening boots.
Her eyes focused enough for her to realize that despite her head having an inclination to spin, she was apparently sitting. This struck her as hilarious.
"Stop guffawing witch, you're giving me a headache."
"Where are you?"
"You are sitting on my lap."
She turned and saw that she was indeed.
"Oh! Do you mind terribly?"
"Not in the least, your bum is rather warm on my legs."
Hermione considered this information carefully. "That's good. I wouldn't want to be a bother, but I'm a bit dizzy, so I'd rather sit here if it's all the same to you."
"You are dizzy and I'm rather chilled. Perhaps we should return to the castle?"
She got distracted when she looked into his eyes.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?"
"I said we should get back to the castle." He tried to get up and she rolled off his lap to a muffled popping sound.
"Are you unhurt?"
Forget sparkling. The forest was spinning like a carousel.
Severus was stroking her face. "We need to get you back to the castle." He stood up and offered her his hand.
She used the hand and his long leg to get vertical, though there was every indication she was listing to the right…or was that the left…?
Severus wrapped his arm around her waist and half-carried her to the path. He wasn't particularly steady on his feet either.
"Wait Severus. We need help…I'll send Minerva a patronus…"
She pulled out her wand and tried to summon a happy thought…but all she could focus on was her poor, spinning head.
His hands were on her face again. Worry was evident in those black eyes. She smiled up at him.
"Your eyes are like looking into deep space."
The dark wizard frowned. "Most people who have commented have said they are like holes."
"Oh no…it's like deep space…you know there are whole worlds in there, but you just can't see them."
He allowed a small smile for her rather muddled compliment.
"Well, since neither of us can conjure a patronus, we'll just have to make our way back alone."
They made their rather wobbly way back to the castle. It was very late.
Severus hesitated at the entranceway.
"Should I take you to Poppy?"
"Do you have something for motion-sickness?"
"I'm sure I have several potions that might help."
"Let's just do that then, if you don't mind. I should be able to get myself back to my rooms once I take something."
Hermione swore that the dungeons were farther away than they had been when they left.
Severus turned to her as they entered his rooms. "I'm suddenly famished…I know you prefer to avoid calling the elves, but given the circumstances, food might help…"
Hermione was somewhat distracted by the chessboard by the fire.
The white knight gestured for her to lean closer. As she did he said gravely "Eh seroda uoy. Eb doog ot mih."
While she contemplated this sage advice Severus summoned the elf and arranged for tea.
Hermione poured. "There's something wrong with the white knight in your chess set…I think he's talking backwards."
Severus tossed his head back and laughed. "Did he tell you where to go?"
"At least I'm not taking calls from caterpillars."
He hid a smile as he picked up a fat pastry from the platter. "I'm surprised you know that song."
"It was before your time as well…you were a little boy when it came out. Why would it surprise you that I know it?"
"Well for one thing, one does tend to put the Gryffindor Princess on something of a pedestal. A song that's basically one long metaphor for drug use doesn't spring immediately to mind."
"You know…I've always hated all those pet names the papers came out with…"
"What? You don't enjoy being known as the brains of the golden trio? Excellent deflection by the way…almost Slytherin of you…for a Gryffindor."
She sipped her tea. "I'm far too dizzy to deflect."
He started filling her plate. "You need to eat before you take any potions anyway."
Hermione decided the sandwiches were the best thing she'd ever tasted. After the third her head stopped spinning.
She reached for another sandwich.
"I picked up that text we discussed last week…" He held out the book and cocked an eyebrow. "Care to peruse it?"
"If you were Mephistopheles, I'd be in trouble."
"If I were a fiend after your soul I'd be more subtle. As it is, I know I'm dealing with a Gryffindor and by offering my copy of Hexenmeister you'll be good enough the reciprocate by lending me your copy of Sir Robert Newall's Magik and Sorcery….and I'd like to know how you convinced Malfoy to sell you the copy."
"He had two and he owed me a favor…and he knows that he can buy me off with books."
"You are the quintessential bookworm."
"Mr. Pot, are you calling a kettle black?"
He grinned fiercely. "Perish the thought. Care to give any details on your acquisition of the book?"
"If I do, the book will disappear…its part of the deal." She took another sandwich. "How long have you been planning to trick the truth out of me?"
"Since Malfoy mentioned that you had it. He only did it to drive me mad."
"You know Slytherins…they never do anything for only one purpose."
He raised his eyebrow and offered her a glass of wine. "Indeed."
She was soon snuggled into his couch, which was softer than one might expect, working through the German block lettering of the text while Severus sat on the floor with his head resting in her lap. If she had a nagging feeling that there was something else she should be doing, she was able to ignore it entirely.
However, she still had the occasional wave of dizziness. It was during one of these that she noticed that Severus was staring into the fire, no more reading his book than she was.
"What are you thinking?"
He looked up at her, black eyes softer than she'd ever seen them.
"I was thinking about life."
"That's a rather large subject."
"Indeed. I think it needs another glass of wine…perhaps two." He poured for both of them.
"So what part of the vast subject of life were you thinking so intently on?"
Severus showed signs of his normal reticence. But then he took another long drink of his wine and his inhibitions seemed to melt away.
"I was just thinking about how long it has been since I had a lovely lady's lap to rest my head in."
She stroked the silky black strands. It seemed the thing to do since they were there.
"I'm hardly what one would call lovely."
Severus shrugged. "What, because the papers harped on the fact that you are not some blond bimbo in low-cut robes?"
Hermione laughed. "I don't think I've done an interview since the first month where they haven't wanted to discuss my sex life, fashion, or other inanities." She refused to be turned from this fascinating line of questioning. "Why would a hero have any trouble finding a witch to lay his head on?"
"It is a combination of events, standards, and habit. I found that after spending many years alone that I am rather intolerant of prattle in general and small talk in particular. Bubble-headed females, no matter how conventionally attractive, hold no appeal for me. I'm past the age where taking them for a quick shag holds any appeal."
Hermione smirked. "None?"
He raised a brow at her. "Not if I'm forced to endure their conversation afterward…and even bubble-heads resent a man casting a silencing charm after intimacy."
She smothered a laugh, it wouldn't do to encourage him. "You didn't."
"Just once, in the interest of preserving my sanity."
Hermione snickered and sipped her wine. "I suppose I can't say much…I gave Ron several books on the female anatomy for our first anniversary. He didn't appreciate that."
Severus snorted. "I can't believe you thought he'd crack open a book."
"Seems a bit naive now that you mention it."
Severus spent several moments contemplating his dark red wine.
"Surely you've dated since the divorce?"
She smirked. "Very little. Thankfully, my female friends have been convinced that I really, truly don't want to be set up with anyone…it took more than a few hexes, but even Ginny has stopped."
"Because I don't particularly mind being alone if the alternative is bad sex and dirty socks."
He shot her a dark look. "Weasley is hardly the standard by which to judge all of mankind. "
She took another drink of her wine. "How did we get on my pathetic love life? I thought we were discussing why the sexy dark ex-spy isn't between the thighs of some beautiful, brilliant witch at the moment."
Severus might have blushed, but then, it might have been the fire. "Do you need me to whip up an eyesight correction concoction?"
Hermione felt her eyes drawn to his lean form and felt her mouth go dry.
Her words came out breathy. "My eyesight is perfect. I see what's there."
He looked at her, obviously confused by the look in her eyes…she licked her lips and his control seemed to break.
She was caught in a wave of lips and hands…kissing him like there was no tomorrow. It was like a dam had broken inside him and she was the lucky female who was caught in the flood of emotions…not to mention those long clever fingers that were caressing her body in the most demanding way.
She was sure there was something she was forgetting…but she didn't care, lost in the heat of his mouth…
He didn't speak but most of her clothing seemed to melt away under his clever fingertips.
He was shaking as he buried his head in her neck, kissing her smooth skin until she moaned.
"Hermione." He breathed her name in that rolling, luscious voice. The sound tightened things that had nothing to do with her ears.
He took the look on her face for assent and picked her up. The oak door guarding his bedroom flew open as he strode through the room. He laid her on the bed like a treasure. His hand smoothed her curls away from her face. Then his lips returned to feasting on hers and she was lost in a hazy passionate overload where one touch blended into another and moans became gasps.
She didn't notice that what was left of her clothing disappeared until she felt his fingers brush across her most intimate folds. She felt a moment of slight embarrassment when she realized how very wet she was, but the slight leakage from the hard member that she was stroking distracted her. She wanted to taste it. The texture was sublime under her mouth, hot and smooth, but oh so hard. He didn't let her explore long before he recaptured her mouth with his own.
She thought she'd die of relief when he slid two long fingers inside her. Her hips bucked and she broke their kiss with a rapid intake of breath.
Severus chuckled, but moved his sensual assault to her pebbled nipples, licking and sucking while his fingers moved inside her with slow deep strokes.
When she was just beginning to come, he moved down and took her tiny pearl in his hot mouth and sucked lightly.
His neck and hands were covered in the flood of liquid. She nearly passed out.
He released the sensitive flesh from his mouth and slowly kissed his way up her sweaty body. "How is it that all of your fluids are so sweet?" She was too boneless to answer.
He kissed her deeply and put the head of his cock at the entrance of her swollen passage. "Do you want more, or are you done for the night?"
Her eyes flew open at his threat. "Don't you dare."
He smirked. "I wouldn't want you to pass out."
"Severus I swear…"
He stopped her words with a kiss. "Don't swear witch. Just feel."
He slid inside her. She bit his shoulder lightly as he filled her completely. "Oh dear Merlin…don't stop."
He kissed her sweetly. "I couldn't if I wanted to."
She wrapped her legs around him and moved with him as they kissed. Her fingers flitted over the damp skin of his back and his tight bum.
She shattered before he did, but within a few strokes she felt his release.
She snuggled into his warmth; away from the cold…wait…why was it cold again?
The crisp morning light woke her…or perhaps it was Severus's fully clothed body huddled around her…or the fact that she had apparently used a root for a pillow.
"What in hell? How did we get out here?"
Severus stirred. "We walked out here…last night, following the students, remember?"
"Yes of course…but…" she looked around, confused. "I thought we went back to the castle?"
Severus laughed. "No, we fell on a patch of these damned puffball mushrooms."
"They were disillusioned. I believe that when we question those three trouble makers we will discover that the puffballs are an ingredient in those daydream charms that the Weasley's sell by the gross to our students…I think White, O'Hare, and Coney might be trying to earn some pocket money by gathering ingredients in the forest."
She moved stiffly. "We stayed out here all night?"
He smirked at her, still wrapped around her body. "Are you always this slow on the uptake in the morning? I awoke from the first dose of puffballs and then you managed to get a second. I couldn't do magic, I was too dizzy to walk so I stood guard until dawn, using the heating charm I placed on you to keep both of us warm."
She shivered. "It's worn off." She tried a warming spell and they both relaxed slightly as it warmed their muscles.
"As has the magical interference from the spores apparently."
"You deduced all this while I slept?"
"Thinking helped keep me awake." He looked at their entwined bodies nervously. "And since I was forced to hold you for warmth or face freezing, I needed something to think about."
He pulled his lean body away from hers. "Come, if we hurry, we won't be missed at breakfast."
She looked up at his extended hand thoughtfully.
"Why are you staring at me Professor Granger?
"Are you absolutely certain we never left the forest?"
"Quite certain." She allowed him to help her up. "Why do you ask?"
"I had the strangest dream…"
"Most likely the influence of the mushrooms."
She looked up at him curiously. "I suppose so. Still, it was a rather wonderful dream." She smiled up at him thinking about their lovemaking…and reminded herself that it was only the product of her subconscious.
Severus looked at her with real concern. "Are you certain you're quite all right? You didn't happen to hit your head did you?"
"No, I'm fine, truly…it's just that the dream was so real…except that when I look back, I suppose there is some question about the logic and proportion…"
He looked deep into her eyes. "We'll get you to Poppy, just to be sure."
"Well, let's get back before Minerva has our heads."
Severus helped her out of the clearing and she wondered…how much was dream, and how much was simply her mind trying to tell her something?
"Would you care to join me for a drink in Hogsmead tonight? I have a copy of Magik and Sorcery that you might be interested in reading…"
He looked at her, surprised. "Why yes…I just finished reading a new acquisition, Hexenmeister , which might interest you as well…but I'd feel more comfortable keeping rare tombs like those in the castle."
She smiled at him. "My rooms or yours?"
"If I'm not mistaken, my rooms are larger."
"Then I'll see you tonight."
He looked confused…pleased, but confused.
She hid a Cheshire-cat grin.
If there was one thing she knew how to do, it was how to lure a bookworm. Now she just had to find a way to make last night's dream a reality.
AN: Hope you liked it! Thanks to heartmom88 for her attention to detail!