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Hermione gazed down at the sleeping man in bed beside her. After cancelling the Charm on the mirror, her professor had promptly fallen straight to sleep. His sated, exhausted visage was so peaceful—at odds with Snape's usual expressions—and she felt somehow that putting him to sleep was more of a victory than making him come. Victory. If only that were the victory that would free her of this curse. Although, she had to admit, her curse wasn't such a terrible thing at the moment.

Hermione reluctantly tore her eyes from the face of her sleeping professor and looked around the room. She had not had much time to study her surroundings earlier. Other matters had been more… pressing. A tiny smile spread across her face as she took in the details of Snape's bedroom. The plain furniture, the lack of decorations, the rumpled duvet lying on the floor at the foot of the bed, and the entire wall behind the headboard was an enormous window. Odd. Perhaps his quarters were not in the dungeons after all. She wished she could see out the window to get an idea of where his chambers were, but it was so dark that all she could see was her own naked reflection.

Finally, Hermione allowed herself to study the mirror over his dresser. She had avoided even the slightest glance at the object all night, but was drawn to it by morbid curiosity. From the vantage point of its silvery surface, Lucius Malfoy had been watching. It should have bothered her more than it did, but she only felt glad that this night had come about, no matter the means. An ache clenched at her heart as she turned back to her professor. How would he treat her tomorrow? What they had shared was life-altering. But then, he had enjoyed the other times as well, and had never treated her differently.

Does he expect me to stay? Hermione bit her lip. If she stayed, the best case scenario would be that he held her close and whispered in her ear and maybe even repeated what they had just done. Not likely. The worst case scenario was that she would be humiliated. And also, she didn't have any clothes here, so whenever she did return to her dorm, it would be in a nightgown. And that would be a disaster. Sighing sadly, Hermione realized that she was being too hopeful. Snape was her professor. He didn't want to cuddle.

So she gave herself a moment more, imprinting the image of his sleeping face permanently in her mind, before slipping her nightgown over her head and looking for the door.

When Severus woke, morning light was already filtering into the room. For a moment, he was still, reveling in the sensation of waking well-rested for once. Then he remembered the night before and bolted up in the bed. The girl was gone, he realized. She must have left all alone after he had fallen asleep. He cringed. It wasn't like him to doze off so completely and unintentionally. But Granger had certainly worn him out. He groaned at the memory of her beautiful face twisted in ecstasy as she climaxed above him. And the way she had whimpered and begged him to enter her. Her legs wrapped around his waist as he pounded into her. And an orgasm so overwhelming that it left him breathless. He pressed his nose into the sheets, inhaling the sweet fragrance of Hermione. Already, he wanted her again.

Sighing, Severus slipped out of the bed and began to prepare for the day. He was meeting Lucius at the ministry at nine. It seemed so ironic that he had enjoyed his end of the deal so much more than he would Lucius's. But it had to be done, and Severus was no stranger to fulfilling unappealing demands. And so, when he was dressed, he headed up to the cave and Disapparated.

"Ah, Severus!" Lucius smirked. "Punctual, as always." Severus suppressed a shudder of revulsion as the other man winked. "I must say, if that is what you have waiting for you when you leave our little parties, I don't blame you for abandoning us so early." The dark wizard only smirked in response. "Come," Lucius beckoned and the two men headed to the Department of Magical Transportation.

Exiting the elevator, they stepped immediately into a large office space, housing a dozen or so cubicles. On either side were doors marked for specific sects of the Department, presumably leading to more offices. And in front of it all was one little desk and a portly man who seemed to withdraw from them as Lucius approached.

"Johnson," Lucius addressed the man.

"Er—it's uh—Thompson, sir."

"Yes. Whatever. This is Professor Severus Snape. He's a good friend of mine, and I want you to take good care of him, do you understand?" The little man nodded enthusiastically. "Good. You give the Professor whatever he asks for." Then the blond man turned to his friend. "Severus, I have some business downstairs. I do hope you find what you are looking for." The dark wizard nodded to Lucius and turned back to the man. He had spoken with Albus, but the old goat didn't really know what he wanted to look into yet.

"I was hoping to have a word with the Portkey office," he drawled. Severus had learned long ago that his voice held all the authority he needed to make lesser men obey. Thompson immediately jumped up and led the dark professor through a door and down a hall, passing Lucius's instructions on to a rigid woman with a grey streak in her hair whom he called Louisa.

"How may I help you, Professor?" she inquired in a bored tone.

"I need a copy of your records for current Conditional Portkeys in Britain." He replied smoothly. She nodded and stood up, walking over to a large, black filing cabinet. Tapping her wand on the top, she pulled out the second drawer and rifled through the papers a moment before withdrawing a thick manila folder. She brought it to the desk and tapped her wand on it again to make a copy. Handing the duplicate to Severus, she returned the original to its drawer.

"Anything else?" she asked in the same dry tone. He hesitated.

"Not today. But I will be back." He nodded curtly before turning to leave. "Good day, Louisa," he growled.

Hermione woke with a yawn, stretching beneath the soft red sheets of her four-poster bed. Profound contentment surrounded her like a haze as she blinked her eyes open to the new day. And images of the night before began to dance through her mind. Hermione's lips spread in a lazy smile as she remembered the way he had touched her, kissed her. Finally, after all this time, he kissed me! Hermione jumped up with excitement and ran on tiptoe to the bathroom for a shower.

Scalding water poured over her skin in waves of awakening heat. She had never understood the desire for a hot shower before. But now, reveling in this new awareness of her body and the yearnings of her flesh, she welcomed the fire of the pounding torrent. In her mind, she could see her professor's eyes connecting with hers as she moved above him; the intensity of his gaze as she found her first orgasm against his skin. Hunger had been written plainly across his face and his eyes seemed to devour her. And then, the touch of his mouth on hers. Hermione moaned as she lathered soap across her aching flesh. How she wanted him to consume her with that mouth again. She could be lost in his caress and never care to surface.

But he was her professor. And he would probably treat her as such today. She needed to prepare for that inevitable truth. It might hurt, after what they had shared, to be suddenly catapulted back to the roles of teacher and student. But it was unavoidable. After all, as much as she had relished her night with him, as clear as it was that he had enjoyed it too, and despite the tenderness of his touch that told her there was more to it than business, she could not allow herself to forget that ultimately it was all for the Greater Cause.

There was a lot to do today. Hermione had not gotten any homework done the day before and would need to catch up immediately. But first, she planned to meditate some more. Yesterday, she had begun to follow Professor Snape's instructions in preparation for the first test of her new spell today. The Three certainly seemed to be embedded in her mind, if nothing else, and she was confident that they would be merged as one by the time she went to visit her professor. Ignoring the tingle of excitement that flashed through her at the thought of seeing him again, Hermione headed off for a bit of breakfast before shutting herself away in the Room of Requirement.

Severus was grading a stack of third year papers when he heard a knock at his office door. Knowing who it must be, he steeled himself before responding.

"Enter," he called, and timidly the door began to open.

"Hello, Professor," she murmured meekly, obviously unsure how to act and more than a bit embarrassed.

"Miss Granger," he replied in greeting, not looking up from his work. There was a heavy pause.

"I've been working on my spell," she said.

"Oh?" he inquired, setting down his quill to look at her. And for a moment, it was hard to breathe. She was dressed in simple muggle attire, but that did not detract from the vision of an angel that she was to him. Her skin was radiant with a soft, pink glow and those cinnamon eyes seemed to sparkle with renewed vigor. Her hair was down in all its splendor. And those rosy lips were upturned in the simplest suggestion of a smile. If the circumstances were different, he'd take her on the desk right now.

"Yes," she was saying, "And I think it's ready. I really feel like it will work." Her excitement was barely contained and it reminded him of the excitement she had demonstrated the night before.

"Alright. Show me," he said. Then he arched his wand through the air several times to ward the room. "That should keep it safe." The girl hesitated.

"You want me to do it here? In your office?" He smirked down at her and lowered his voice to a dangerous growl.

"Did you have another place in mind?" He watched with satisfaction as the girl's eyes grew wide and a delicate flush spread across her pretty cheeks. Severus allowed his gaze to travel down that lovely neck to the rosy collarbone barely revealed by the neckline of her blouse. He remembered how that tender skin tasted; how she moaned as he opened his mouth against her throat.

"No—I don't know. I just don't want to break anything…"

"You are confident that this spell will work?" he smirked at the glimmer of arrogance in her eyes.


"Well, my wards are very strong. If you are wrong."

The girl stood from her chair, removing her wand and facing a bookshelf that contained some of his oldest books. But he was not worried. His wards would hold, even if this attempt was a failure. Although, he was fairly certain it would work. He knew that she was closing her eyes, focusing, repeating the words. Her knuckles were white around her wand and he could practically feel the magic building in the room. Just then, green flames burst from his fireplace and the Head of Albus Dumbledore appeared.

"Terribly sorry to bother you, Severus, but I was hoping you would come have a look at something. It won't take long." Severus growled impatiently but reluctantly agreed.

"Wait here," he told the girl. "I'll only be a moment."

As he stepped through the flames into the Headmaster's office, Albus was already back at his desk, bending over the file from the Portkey Department. He gestured for Severus to come closer. The Defense Instructor complied; his gaze turning to the entry that the Headmaster indicated. His heart seemed to stop as he read the little, black name written in the middle of a list of objects. Hermione Granger.

Hermione watched her professor disappear into the green flames and felt a rush of frustration. She had been just on the verge of attempting her spell. What atrocious timing! She paced the length of the office, anxiety beginning to rise up inside of her. Oh, what the hell. He had warded the room. What could possibly go wrong?

As she stood before the bookshelf, saying the Incantation in her mind, concentrating on her Intent, and repeating the wand movements mentally, she remembered her promise to herself to search for Eileen Prince first. A flash of excitement shot through her and she opened her eyes. Swaying her wand from side-to-side like a muggle metal-detector, she pushed all of her concentration into the words. "Ostende verbum Eileen Prince!" And with a flick of her wand, the three books closest to the tip lit up. She jumped back in surprise, not expecting to find anything about the girl here of all places. She looked closer, and there, in front of each of the spines hovered the words "This book is the Property of Eileen Prince." Baffled, Hermione swept her wand across the length of the bookshelf, finding several more books with the same inscription. They appeared to be the oldest tomes and her heart began to beat wildly with the implications. Was she his lover?

Just then, green fire erupted once more in the fireplace, and Hermione cancelled the spell before her professor stepped through. She knew that he would see right through her if she dared turn in his direction, so she kept her face turned toward the bookshelf, counting her breaths in an effort to calm her blustering emotions. She heard him huff a sardonic breath to see her still standing there, and took that as her opportunity. "Don't tease me, Professor. I want to keep my concentration. This is very important to me, after all." She could practically hear the smirk in his voice when he spoke.

"I would expect nothing less of you, Granger." Her chest clenched with guilt to lie to him this way, but she didn't want him to know that she had discovered this secret. She had no way of knowing how he would react.

"Ready, then?" she bit back impatiently.

"Are you ready, Miss Granger?" his voice was a dark purr and she shuddered at the semblance of a double entendre. Heat was rising in her cheeks and in her belly and fire shot through her when he spoke again, revealing himself to be right behind her. "You're not nervous, are you?" Her lips fell open and her lashes fluttered closed as his voice sent trembles through her body. She was under his spell. Shaking herself out of it, she tried to concentrate on the task at hand.

"Well it's hard to concentrate with you watching me like that," she sniped. His low, rumbling laughter told her that he had done it on purpose. But he retreated, slipping behind his desk to take a seat there. Hermione took a deep breath and concentrated on her Intent, saying the words in her mind and remembering the feel of the magic as it had gone through her the first time. I can do this. "Ostende verbum Chaos!" She felt the magic rush to the tip of her wand, but nothing lit up immediately. It was a bit anticlimactic compared to her first attempt. She swept the tip of her wand along the bookcase and gasped when one of the books lit up. Stepping closer, she could read the bit of context that was hovering in the air before the spine. "Chaoskampf (German for "struggle against chaos") is a recurring theme throughout cultural myths and legends…"

"Chaos, Miss Granger?" Snape growled, his voice bringing her back to the present. She snapped around to look at him.

"Yes, sir. It's just something I've been researching. I read a bit about it over the summer and wanted to learn more." He quirked an eyebrow at her as she turned her gaze longingly back to the shelf. "Do you… that is to say, would you mind terribly if…" he wasn't helping her. "If I could possibly… borrow… this?" He considered her a moment and she felt her cheeks heat under his gaze.

"Don't you have enough of my books, Miss Granger?" Her eyes grew wide.

"Oh, but, I don't need this one anymore! You can have that back!"

"How… gracious of you." She flushed. Deciding not to press him any further, she glanced back up at the ragged, old tome. Beneath the layer of dust and grime from years of being handled and left on a shelf, she could just barely read the title: Serpents. What could Serpents possibly have to do with chaos?Her heart began to beat wildly and her breathing was shallow and slow. She wanted that book. Behind her, her professor let out a long-suffering sigh. "Just be careful with it, Granger," he relented. From his tone, she knew that he was amused by her, but she couldn't help the wide grin as she flashed the dark wizard a look of gratitude.

"Thank you, sir! I'll be very very careful, I promise!" As if to demonstrate this care, she slowly removed the old tome from the shelf, staring down at its cover in excitement when she had it in hand. This would be the first book she read thanks to her new spell. On the cover was a stylized picture of a giant snake wrapping its body around the figure of a man, its fangs bared. The image sent a shiver down her spine. She returned to her bag and carefully stowed the text within its safe confines before looking back up to her professor. "Thank you so much, sir. I don't know how much longer it would have taken me without your help." The quirk of his eyebrow suggested that it was presumptuous of her to assume that she ever would have done it, but she refused to believe that that was the case. Next time, she told herself, I will do it all on my own.

"Glad I could help you with your first… experiment, Miss Granger" he growled and Hermione flushed at his words. "I assure you," he continued with a wicked smirk, "it was my pleasure."

Too impatient to wait until she reached the common room, Hermione pulled out the Serpents text and immediately flipped to the index as she walked. She was disappointed to see that there was only one page that mentioned Chaoskampf and no entry for Chaos. But she eagerly turned to the page so see what this was all about.

"Chaoskampf (German for "struggle against chaos") is a recurring theme in cultural myths and legends across the world. The motif has often been portrayed in the form of a fight between a Hero—usually representing courage in the face of danger and self-sacrifice for the Greater Good—and a Chaos Monster—usually a Serpent, Dragon, or Sea Monster.

"How fitting."

This theme most likely began in Proto-Indo-European religion thousands of years ago, but may have reached as far as Japan, and has lasted until the present day. Famous examples include Thor vs. Jörmungandr, Yahweh vs. Leviathan, Zeus vs. Typhon, and Jesus vs. Satan.

Hermione made a mental note to research Typhon in her Mythology book later.

There was nothing else mentioned about Chaoskampf in the book, but she found herself studying it anyway. She turned back to the cover, tracing the elegant curls of the snake's tail and imagining Voldemort's face on the monster. Then a sudden thought occurred to her and she flipped open the cover. There, right inside the old book, stretched across the top, were the words "This book is the Property of Eileen Prince." Her heart seemed to skip a beat at the sight. Then it was pounding horribly as she traced a finger over the little letters. It felt forbidden that she would have this woman's book. Who was she?

This new puzzle made her realize once again just how little she really knew about Professor Snape. Was this Eileen a girlfriend? A wife? She found herself unreasonably jealous at the thought, and brushed those feelings away. Don't be foolish. He's your professor, after all. And so what if he had a past? But if he still has her books, does that mean that she died? Hermione gasped aloud as a pang of sympathy burst inside of her. Could that be why their dark professor was always so moody? He was pining after a lost lover? Hermione was filled by a tumult of emotions all at once. On one hand, she felt indescribably sad for Professor Snape. But on another, she felt horribly jealous and even, irrationally, betrayed.

When she reached the Entrance Hall, Harry, Ron and Ginny were just coming down the stairs. "Hermione!" Ron called. "Where've you been? We haven't seen you all day!" Hermione was taken aback, unsure how to answer, but then Ron noticed the book in her hands and saved her the trouble. "Oh, of course it would be the library. Why do I even ask?" She shrugged her shoulders and grinned at him as they swept her with them into the Great Hall. It was dinnertime, she realized. Amazing how the time goes by.

As they all seated themselves and the other three began discussing the tryouts, Hermione found herself disconnected from the group once again. She drifted back to thoughts of Eileen and couldn't resist opening the book to look down at the inside of the cover, studying her name. Of course his lover would be a Potions prodigy, she thought bitterly. I'm rather good at Potions, too.She had gotten an Outstanding on her OWL, after all. But she couldn't deny it. With the Prince's help, Harry far outshined everyone in the class, including her.

She must have been an odd girl to refer to herself as the Half-Blood Prince. I wonder when she started putting her real name in, instead. That was an interesting thought. This book certainly didn't look any newer than the Potions book. And that was another thing; this book didn't have any annotations. At all. She flipped through the pages once more. Nothing. Strange. Perhaps she didn't have any thoughts on the subject of Serpents? She turned back to the name, studying the little letters. Eileen had very small handwriting and the letters were very straight; forcibly so. But then, she couldn't really compare because she had only seen the Prince's inscription once.

The more she thought about Eileen, the more it bothered her. It was silly, she knew. After all, what she had with her professor was strictly business. Wasn't it? But he had shown her such affection. Hadn't he? And then again, Severus Snape was a brilliant actor and they had been playing for an audience. Her chest felt as if it might cave in as a sudden hollow inside burned with a terrible ache. She could picture him with a raven beauty; brewing potions, sharing notes, discussing theories. Making love. The image was too much for Hermione to bear. How could she be so heartbroken by a foolish, schoolgirl crush? A sudden desperate need to escape overwhelmed Hermione and she fled the hall.


Oh no! Haha sorry guys :P Drama, drama, drama. Don't hate me! But please review!