He hadn't woken up with hair tickling his nose that wasn't his own in a long time. Sometime in the night, he had rolled over, and she now had her head buried in his chest, his arms wound around her tightly, their legs entangled. Something had shifted in their relationship the day before; he wasn't sure when it had happened, but he could have never predicted this yesterday morning. He pulled her closer and buried his nose in her hair, detecting the scent of coconuts.
His hair must have looked a fright this morning, but he found himself not caring much. He hoped it would take her a while to wake up so he could savor this moment before it invariably went pear shaped.
A sudden banging at the door woke her up abruptly, and trapped in his embrace, she yelped, disoriented and confused.
"Wait here," he whispered, before leaving the bed. He threw the door open angrily, planning to kill whomever was on the other side of the door.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't realize you didn't have your wands until this morning! I feel so terrible. Here you go. Just tap the Portkey when you want to come home." Luna looked completely disheveled, still in her nightclothes.
"The Portkey was damaged when we arrived," he growled.
"Oh, well, you're only in Calais. Just Apparate back to London and grab the Floo home. And good luck," she responded, giving him a cheeky wink.
And before he could scream at her, she Disapparated.
He reentered the room, slamming the door shut. A daft witch knocking on the door ruined the entire morning he had planned out all night.
"Everything okay?" he heard her call out.
Returning to the main room, he threw their wands down on the bedside table.
"Yes, everything is 'okay.' As you can see," he indicated to the wands, "we are no longer trapped here."
He slammed his way into the bathroom and grabbed his robe. "And now, if you will excuse me…" He quickly Transfigured the robe into a shirt, the pants into trousers.
"Oh, and just so you know, we're in Calais." He didn't even look at her, not wanting her to see his anger and disappointment. Instead, he Disapparated to Knockturn Alley, knowing she would not follow him there.
Six weeks later
They had not spoken of their trip to France since they had returned. Snape had done everything he could to avoid her, though required common meals and staff meetings had made that quite difficult. Of course, the entire student body had noticed their respective haircuts that Monday and rumors had spread like Fiendfyre. Rumors, which he wished were true, that only made things worse through their inaccuracy.
And now he was faced with another long, solitary weekend. He knew this avoidant behavior was less than brave, but he had spent many a weekend here in years past, avoiding everyone.
It was far more difficult than the old days. In the last years, he had mainly spent his time in the staff room, hoping she would come to read or commiserate with the staff on having to read atrocious essays (she had had plenty of experience in that with Harry and Ron, she would quip). They had shared so many cups of tea and conversations, but now, that had been completely ruined. And he was frustrated by how much he missed their unplanned weekends together.
Was he stubborn? Absolutely. He hadn't got this far without a constant bullheadedness, and he would not cave simply because she now knew how he felt.
She does know now, right? She had to. When had he ever acted in such a way around her or anyone else she knew? The smartest witch of her age, she better damned well have got the message.
And yet it seemed she hadn't. She had made no attempt to reach out to him since they had got back, not even the Sunday night they returned. He had known when he returned to Hogwarts, stumbling drunk from making his way through every pub in Knockturn Alley, that she had returned; his connections to the wards from his wayward days as Headmaster still kept him keyed into certain details, including which staff members were present. She hadn't come then, and she hadn't come since.
Six weeks was a long time to think. He had had a hard time remembering when he had come to care so much about his colleague. It hadn't been directly after she had returned, twenty-six and fresh out of nursing school. She had gone straight through to achieve her master of magical nursing without pause, always with the goal of returning to Hogwarts.
He had avoided her, painstakingly, when she had arrived, the first of her classmates to return to Hogwarts to join the staff. He had expected the same nagging, overachiever of old, and frankly six years of that had been quite enough, thank you.
An accident during NEWT-level Potions had left his arm quite badly burned, and the only Burn Paste in the entire castle was in the Hospital Wing.
When she acted completely professionally, amiably chatting about how he'd hurt himself and refraining from pointing it out it was quite ridiculous that the Potions master did not have the proper treatment already made in his laboratory, he decided maybe she was worth his time. Part of her education must have included preparing medical potions, and at least he'd have someone to talk to. Loneliness got old after a while, even for him.
He did not imagine she would come to mean the world to him over the next decade. It was maybe seven years ago that he realized he regarded her as friend, another two before the comprehension dawned that he might very well love her. Three more before he invited her to his rooms for coffee. The last two years had been a cat and mouse game that he had lately grown sick of. The weekend in Calais had forced his hand, and now, rejected, he hid in his rooms licking his wounds.
He lay on his sofa, propped up against the arm, his legs stretched out across its length. He ran a hand through his hair, still not quite used to its length. He found the new ways of styling it quite helpful – the pommade protected his hair from most potion fumes, and his bad habit of fiddling with it only made it look messy. He could see why the Potters preferred the look—it did make life easier. Though the looks from some of his older female (and, to be honest, male) students did make him quite uneasy.
A knock at the door startled him, and he patently ignored it. Nothing good could come from an 8 a.m. knock on a Saturday. Let whichever student needed him go find a prefect.
The knock came again, more insistent and determined. He swore before rising and grabbing his wand, hoping his hexing skills had not atrophied since the war.
He nearly dropped his wand when he threw the door open and saw her standing there. Before he could say anything, she pushed her way through, dropping her robes on a chair and standing before him, beautifully attired in a simple dress and heels, her wild hair framing her face.
"What do you want, Hermione?"
"You, sweetie, need a haircut. Those sideburns are getting positively ridiculous. Now, go put on some nice clothes. We're going out."
After weeks of not caring, not showing up, she was here, making demands and bossing him around. And as much as he wanted to hope, maybe he was reading this all wrong. His ability to read her completely failed him, and he stood there, dumbly.
"Do you need help? Fine, let me choose something for you." She turned and walked toward his bedroom. He ran after her to stop her. He couldn't take it anymore. He grabbed her wrist and turned her around abruptly.
"Why are you here?"
"Because, after working beside you for ten years, it took Luna bloody Lovegood to make you start realizing that maybe, just maybe, you could make me happy. And instead of pursuing that, you've been hiding from me for weeks. I'm not waiting another ten years for you, Severus Snape. So, go put on some nice clothes, and let's go!"
"Go? Go where?"
"Well, first to get you a haircut, of course. Then, who cares?"
He knew he looked like an idiot. For once, caustic words weren't easily pouring forth from his mouth, easily pushing her away. That blasted Seer had put him in more dangerous positions in the preceding weeks than he had been since the war, and he was going to have words with her if he survived this conversation.
He had to say something. She was looking rather expectant, and he couldn't just keep standing there holding her wrist. It was quite awkward.
"You had mentioned something about dancing…"
"Indeed I had. Now," she abruptly rose on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, "don't make me go in there with you and get you into some more appropriate clothes!" She winked before crossing to a chair and sitting quite regally, imperiously smirking up at him, an eyebrow arched.
And so he did as he was bid.
Original Prompt (I went a little off track, but hey, mostly UST, right?):
An illegal Portkey results in Hermione being stranded, wandless (for the purposes of this prompt, Apparition needs one's wand on oneself, even if not held at the time…). A prank gone wrong? Or something more sinister? The good news: she's not alone. Snape tagged along for the ride (was he trying to help her, or was he in the wrong place at the wrong time?). The bad news: he's also wandless. The really bad news: he's in understandably foul mood. And worse, they're now trapped in a dangerous place, as the Portkey vanished/broke on arrival.
Where are they? A forest, maybe the Forbidden Forest, and Hogwarts within reach if they can survive at full moon with werewolves on their tail? Inside a labyrinth, with monsters prowling the corridors? In Azkaban, with the Dementors and prisoners to contend with? The Isle of Drear with the man-eating Quintapeds (see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)? A dragon's nest? The depths of Gringotts?
Do Snape and Hermione have a secret relationship? If not, UST, please.
Ayerf – I do hope you enjoyed this. I know I went off in left field a bit, but I hope I kept true to the spirit of your prompt. I really enjoyed writing for you!
Thank you so much to my wonderful anonymous betas, who helped me whip this into shape!