Surprise! A little Christmas gift from me to you, to say thank you to my loyal readers for putting up with the long waits between posts and for me forever pimping my Demelza Hart writing.

It's a funny thing, writing. I have so much I need to work on, yet ... I do this instead. But it made me happy. Poor Severus, he's been a little left out, so, here I am, not leaving him out. I squeezed this in after finishing my Christmas shopping in the pouring rain and watching Jane Eyre. It didn't exist at 4pm GMT.

The usual Laurielove conditions apply here. Hermione is a nineteen year old student returned to finish her NEWTs. Snape has miraculously survived - huzzah! - and is still Potions Master.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all. Love, Laurielove xxx

The Potions Classroom, Hogwarts Castle, December 18th, several years ago.

'That concludes your last Potions lesson of this term. You are dismissed, no doubt to inflict noise, excessive joviality and inebriation on an unsuspecting population. I am, I feel obliged to add, relieved in the extreme that I shall not be near any of you to witness it.'

Professor Severus Snape barely glanced up as his Seventh Year class gathered their things and hurried out. If he had deigned to look at them, he would have noticed several trying to catch his eye and smile. But no, he drew his robes about him against the encroaching chill of winter, and applied himself to his parchment.

He assumed they had all left. Good. Peace at last. In his experience, Christmas was to be endured, not enjoyed. It had been like that for as long as he could remember, and now, with time and familiarity, he derived a certain comfort from his reclusive disdain.

'Thank you, Professor Snape.'

It was a female voice. He didn't look up but managed to grunt a dismissive response.

'I hope you have a lovely Christmas,' the voice continued.

Lovely Christmas. An oxymoron if ever there was one.

'An impossibility,' he murmured, at last raising his eyes.

He was a little surprised to find the Granger girl standing there. He was always a little surprised by the Granger girl: surprised by her astounding intelligence (not that he'd admit he admired it); her common sense; her unswerving loyalty; her bravery in the face of the worst life could throw at you; her dedication to academic excellence (she was the only one of the trio who had returned to finish her NEWTs); the depth of humanity contained in those large brown eyes. He noted that in particular now.

She was looking across at him, clutching her many books in her arms, hesitating before leaving. She had a faint smile on her face. It caused a strange warmth to brew inside him.

'Oh, don't say that,' she added. 'Christmas is a time for sharing and laughter.'

'As you may have noticed, Miss Granger … I tend not to engage in laughter.'

Her smile deepened. 'You do say odd things, Professor.'

He stared at her and frowned in bewilderment. Why was she still here? 'Miss Granger, surely your friends are waiting for you?'

The young woman gave a little sigh and glanced at the door. 'I suppose.' Good. She'd go now. He looked back to his parchment. 'What about you, Professor?'

Snape rolled his eyes. Still here. 'What about me?'

'Your friends? Will you see them over Christmas?'


'Oh. I'm sorry.'

'I am more than satisfied with the situation. I shall stay here. I have plenty to do, at last without the encumbrance of … children.'

'Some of us aren't children any longer, Professor.'

He glanced up again. His eyes fell on the prominent swell of her breasts and the slender rise of her hips. No … she was very much a woman, he could only admit. A woman in all ways: physically and emotionally. She had suffered, he knew that. And she had won through. He supposed he could allow himself a grudging admiration.

How old was she now? Nineteen, he reckoned, but so much more in terms of experience and intuition. Why she insisted on remaining in this forsaken place, he could not comprehend. But then … he remained here too. He couldn't even leave it for Christmas. Why should he? It was the closest thing to home he had.

She was smiling again. He gave a strange grunt of acknowledgement and dropped his head once again. He'd read the same sentence five times now. Bloody hell! Couldn't she just leave? It was proving most distracting.

'Well … good bye, Professor. And I wish you all the best for Christmas.'

Fine. Good. Now go. He didn't look up this time. If he did she may choose to linger again. It made him uncomfortable.

But he couldn't hear her going. Damn it. He glanced up. Sure enough, she was still there, seemingly rooted to the spot, still with that strange smile on her face. Her smooth skin glowed warm in the candlelight.

'Yes, well … and … to you,' he mumbled.

At last, she turned and walked out. He was alone. That's how he wanted it.


The students and most of the staff left that evening, and the snow came in. It invariably did on the last day of term, falling soft but thick around the castle and covering it with a muffled down of white. McGonagall bid him goodbye; she was off to her niece's in Edinburgh. She'd asked him to join them on one occasion, but he had declined in no uncertain terms. She hadn't asked again.

The Christmas tree remained in the hall. It would magically vanish before the children returned, but for now, its light and brilliance still cast a benevolent glow over the now abandoned castle. Snape stood, staring up at it, enjoying the stillness and isolation.

He went for a walk before returning to his rooms for a small supper. He cast a tall figure as he paced through the grounds, venturing down to the lake, enjoying the crunch of his regular footfall through the newly crisp snow. The blackest of blacks against the purest white.

When he returned to his rooms, he noticed a silvery glow coming from his classroom. He'd extinguished all the lights, he thought. With a huff of annoyance, he pushed open the door and swept in. There was something giving off a bright light from his desk. Some ingredient left out, no doubt. He paced across, his long strides carrying him over in no time.

On his desk was a glass sphere. This was what was giving off the light. For a moment, he was transfixed. It was a beautiful thing. He stared at it hard, unable not to. Inside were snowflakes. Not the wet blobs which fell from the sky, but clear crystal shapes, each perfect in their individuality and design. They fell continuously but not downwards. Once they had formed, seemingly out of nothing, they would float around in the globe, trailing a magical glowing stream behind them. They formed a pattern, constantly changing, constantly evolving, utterly hypnotic. Snape reached down tentatively and touched the round glass. It was an exquisite thing.

It was only then that he noticed the card underneath. His heart was thudding in his chest, he realised. Clenching his fists together, he reminded himself who he was. This would never do. He didn't get excited.

Slowly, almost indolently to convince himself it was of no matter, he moved the sphere to the side and took the card. On it was written, 'Professor Snape'. He recognised the handwriting. He had read papers and exams written in the same hand many times over the past seven and a half years. His heart was still thudding away. He gave up trying to steady himself.

He pulled the card from the envelope. On the front was the design of another snowflake, similar to the ones inside the sphere. He opened it. The same writing again.

'If you wish, there is no need for loneliness. Red: my favourite colour of Christmas. Seek and ye shall find …'

His breath caught. His mind was in turmoil. What was the meaning of this? He darted his head about. He was alone, surely. He glanced down at the globe again. It was glowing with that same silvery white light.

Damn it. All he wanted was a quiet time alone. But he couldn't look away. And what the hell was this business of red?

His stomach growled. He was hungry. He had come back for supper and supper he would have.

He left the globe where it was and paced into the small set of living rooms behind his classroom. Snape hurriedly made himself a ham sandwich and sat at his table to eat it, pulling out 'Clutterbuck's Principles on Medieval Potions' to pass the time while he assuaged the inconvenience of hunger. He was only halfway through the large volume. He'd been intending to finish it this evening. He had no marking to do, after all.

His classroom was still glowing. The light shining through the half open door kept distracting him.

He nibbled his sandwich to the crusts. Why they insisted on making bread with such ridiculously hard crusts was beyond him. He picked up the book and settled himself in his high backed chair. The snow swirled against the dark sky outside and the wind started to moan, occasional little whines to remind him of the desolation of the season. He liked that. He liked having to wrap up against it, shutting himself away in his heaviest robes.

But the sphere was still glowing.

Seek and ye shall find.

Damn it.

The carriage clock on the mantelpiece chimed ten. He could go to bed. He wasn't particularly tired, however.

Perhaps he should check on the Great Hall and the tree. Just to make sure it was secure.

He stood up, decided, and paced to his door. Then stopped. No. No point. He looked at his bed. The pillow sat there without a crinkle on it, so starched it looked almost unyielding. He creased his eyes and glanced about his room. Books. One rug. The remains of his supper. Little else. Had he always lived like this?

He turned for the door again. There was that glow.

Damn it!

Seek …

Throwing open the door he walked across and picked up the sphere. A strange tingling rushed along his arm and into his gut, causing an almost overwhelming sense of well-being. It was so alarming that he raised his arm to throw the thing to the slate floor.

But he stopped himself. No. That would make mess and noise.

With a loud huff he paced quickly over to the large lockable cupboard near the classroom door, determined to shut the thing away. As he moved towards the door, it changed colour; the white shifted to blue, a pale sky blue. He stared at it. The snowflakes still pranced around inside. It really was quite beautiful.

He slowly walked back towards his desk. The glow became paler again, turning back to its original white as he moved further into the room.


He turned once more towards the door. This time he would shut it away for good. Again, as he moved to the cupboard near the door, it shifted to blue.

He wondered …

Snape stepped out of his classroom and took a few steps down the corridor towards the steps. The sphere brightened and the glow changed into a deeper blue, sapphire this time. He turned back and it paled once more.

It was changing colour depending on where in the castle he was.

He felt that bubbling inside again, that same brewing sensation he'd got when talking to the Granger girl earlier. He wanted it to go away; it was most distracting. But, what would happen to the sphere if he went up the steps leading away from the dungeons?

He started up them, slowly, staring fixedly at the sphere. As he walked it shifted from sapphire blue to emerald green. By the time he had reached the top and moved deeper into the castle, the glow had changed to a deep yellow. Warmer.

He turned one way, it turned green again. He shifted around and took steps further around the courtyard and back into the castle. By now it was orange, a deep, warming orange which seemed to spread warmth right through him.

As he came closer to the Great Hall, it deepened, becoming darker and deeper, a reddish-orange, like the setting sun.

He paused. He was near the Christmas tree.

He took a step towards it. Deeper. Darker. Redder.

He took another step. And another. He glanced up. The tree loomed above him, shimmering, verdant and radiant, almost daring him to acknowledge the warmth of Christmas goodness.

He went closer and glanced down. He knew what he would find. Despite, the glow of the tree lights, the air around him was throbbing with it: red. The sphere in his hands was glowing the deepest, richest ruby red. The snowflakes were still tumbling around inside, but the glow emanating from the glass was pure, perfect red. Seek and ye shall find.

'Hello, Professor.'

He spun around. There behind him was Hermione Granger.

'You found it, I see,' she said.

He narrowed his eyes and raised himself tall, remembering to present himself as normal. 'From you?'

'Yes. I thought you'd recognise the writing.' He had, but he didn't want to admit it. 'Do you like it? I think it's amazing. I found it in a shop in Hogsmeade. It doesn't have any particularly magical properties, but I find it utterly beguiling.'

'It is magic. It led me to …' He couldn't finish.

'I entranced it so that when it was near me it would glow red.'


She stepped in closer to him. He inhaled deeply and smelt her perfume, warm and spicy, like a Christingle.

'Because, like I told you, you don't have to be alone at Christmas if you don't want.'

He seemed to be struggling to breathe slowly. 'Why are you here at all? You should have left with the others.'

She shrugged. 'Perhaps. But I've done all that before. I wanted something different.'

'There's nobody else here.'

'You're here.'

'I told you …' He thought he should be backing away, but for some reason his feet stayed planted. 'I like solitude.'

'Well, you see, Professor …' Did she have to call him that? It caused that warmth inside to flame into something quite different. 'I'm not entirely sure that's true.'

'Miss Granger … Do you presume to tell me what my needs and desires are?'

'Your needs and desires, sir? No, I simply think that you would probably like to try not being alone if you were given the chance. But if you want me to guess what your needs and desires are, I can do that too.'

He swallowed hard. Her voice was low and husky – still her voice, the voice which had tormented him in class for years – but now it had taken on an earthy, elemental quality which had him riveted. Merlin! Was this really happening?

'This is … highly irregular, Miss Granger.'

'Is it? Two people, alone save for each other in a large building, talking? I'd say that was quite understandable.'

She was so close he could see the highlights in her eyes, reflecting off the sphere he still held. It was now glowing yellowy-white, a warm, soft light matching the lights on the tree which made her look completely … beautiful. Yes. Utterly beautiful. The most beautiful thing he'd seen since … His chest tightened so much he could barely breathe.

'Stop,' he murmured.

'Stop what? I'm not doing anything.' But she was nearly touching him and she wouldn't stop that low, heady whispering and she wouldn't stop looking into him, entirely confident in her intentions. 'Going back to your needs and desires, Professor … let me guess … what would you like … right now?'

He should go. Run. But he realised running was hard with … Merlin! That! Damn it! Bloody hell! He had an erection the size of Ben Nevis.

'I'd …'

Her hands came up and rested against his chest. He could look nowhere but into her.


'I'd like …'

She slid them up and curled them around his neck.


'I'd like …'

She reached up and kissed him. Her lips, soft, warm and giving, pressed into his and he became one of those snowflakes, tumbling around in his own space and leaving a trail of stars behind him. When was the last time he'd been kissed? When was the last time he'd kissed? He kissed back now and it was as if he'd kissed her a billion times, as if she was made for him to kiss.

When at last they broke away, he whispered, 'That. I'd like that.'

She smiled and rested her forehead against his chin. 'Me too. And I'd …'


'Like more. If you would.'

If he would? Hadn't she felt what was pressing against her when they were kissing? Perhaps she thought it was the glass sphere.

But this was so sudden. Too sudden. She was his student; he was a professor. Oh Merlin, if they were found out. And yet – how convenient – it just so happened that there was nobody else at all in the castle.

'I wouldn't presume …' he murmured, reaching in for another kiss.

'Oh, please do presume,' she replied, pulling him down hard again. He held out his hand and the sphere floated away, coming to rest on a nearby shelf, then he pressed himself fully against her, letting her know exactly what his needs and desires were.

'Where?' he murmured in the few moments he could leave her perfect mouth.

'Well … we do have the entire castle at our disposal, but I thought perhaps … my room.'

He murmured in confirmation and together, barely parting, they hurried through the Castle, into the entrance behind the portrait and through the Gryffindor Common Room. He'd never seen it. He didn't see much of it now either.

Hermione led him swiftly through into a single bedroom, all hers – it helped being a war heroine. A fire crackled in the hearth and the walls were hung with pictures and tapestries. Every free surface was covered in books. But he could study that later, right now, she was the only ornament in which he was interested.

She smiled, utterly content and confident. Snape was suddenly overcome with bashfulness. He hadn't revealed his body to anyone for years. What if he disappointed? What if he was too pale? Too skinny? But her hands skittered over his coat, quickly undoing the buttons which had shut away any intimacy for so long. She made light work of them and smiled up at him. 'I've wanted to do that for longer that I should probably admit.' He lifted his arms and helped her take off his shirt. There was no hiding now.

She placed her hands on his lean frame and glided over it, stroking and smoothing the pale skin. 'You are the loveliest thing,' she said and reached in and kissed him. He felt his eyes hot and squeezed them shut. Something soon made them dart open, however. Her hands had moved to the buttons of his trousers.

'Hermione,' he moaned. 'I'm your teacher.' Was she sure?

'Come now, Professor. I'm nineteen, and anyway, I won't be a student for much longer,' she said before her mouth curled into a wicked grin. 'And anyway … it makes it all the more thrilling, don't you think?'

And, with a bite on her bottom lip, she reached in and took hold of his erect shaft. He sucked in with a sudden gasp and, instinct overcoming all, plunged his mouth down to hers again.

Desire drove him now. Desire which had been reined in for an age. He helped push off his trousers and underwear and he was soon naked before her. Gone was the shyness of earlier. He was infused with the certainty which dictated all his actions. His hands made light work of the rest of her clothes and she was soon as naked as him. It was Hermione's turn to stare wide eyed with wonder.

He cocked an eyebrow. 'Miss Granger …' He reached up a hand and tilted her chin up to look at him. 'Speaking of needs and desires … you kept yours well hidden.'

'I hope, Professor, that I make myself clear now.'

He stepped in, subduing his own need, and brought his hand between her legs. A long finger sought between the wet folds until he found the exact place he wanted. Her eyes, held in his, widened and she gasped with pleasure. Merlin, she was wet and warm. 'Oh yes. Very clear indeed.'

Leaning in, he kissed her again, long and slow and deep, working his tongue into her mouth with the same precise refinement he demonstrated in all he did. Meanwhile his fingers kept up a steady glide and rub along her dripping sex, ending with a firm nuzzle of her clit each time. He was in no immediate hurry. What would she sound like when she came? What would she feel like and look like? Right now, it was all the knowledge he sought.

She clung to him, her arms curled around him and her fingers nestled in his hair, holding him onto her. When they broke away for breath, he moved to her ear and murmured into it, 'Hermione.' It was then that he felt her breath hitch and hold. He rubbed harder, concentrating on that sweet swollen nub of flesh, and pulled back a little to look.

She held his gaze yet her eyes seemed blank and unseeing. Her mouth fell open and she juddered forward with a groan. 'Oh! Oh!' she managed, barely articulate. He rubbed hard and her eyes rolled back as pleasure continued to cascade through her.

When it left her, she stood, breathing hard, her eyes closed, a skewed smile of bliss on her face. 'Oh God,' she panted. 'Thank you. Thank you. I can't believe that just happened.'

He wasn't sure he could either, but by now the ache in his groin was so overwhelming that he couldn't stop. Her bed was behind them. He took hold of her arms and moved her back towards it. 'Want you,' he said, low and ready. She fell back on the bed and he pushed her legs apart, positioning himself between them. But a sudden panic overcame him. What if she was unprotected? What if she would regret it? Gods, what if she was a virgin?

He hesitated. She looked at him, large eyes pleading, body begging. 'What? Oh God, please do it.'

He swallowed, barely able to restrain his furious cock. 'Are you sure?'

She nodded desperately. 'More sure than anything.'

'Are you protected? I have nothing, I'm afraid.'

'Don't worry. I'm on the pill.'

'Oh.' That was some Muggle thing, wasn't it? 'Does it work? Have you been taking it?'

'Yes! Do you want me to show you the bloody packet?!' she practically roared, arching her pelvis towards him.

'So … you've done this before?'

'Oh God, yes, please, hurry!'

Fine. As long as all was in order. He wondered briefly who had been her first. Faces started to pop into his mind. He cast them out quickly.

Hermione stretched her arms out through her wild hair and bent her legs up, beckoning him in. Doubt was banished. If he didn't get inside her he would die, surely.

He placed himself, locked eyes with her, and thrust. She was pushed up the bed with the force of his drive forward and groaned out with the magnitude of it.

Hell, that was extraordinary. He just stopped for a moment to feel. Warmth, wetness, welcoming tight heat all around him.

'God, you're big!' she said, forcing him to focus back down on her.

'Are you alright?' he asked.

'Oh God, yes.' She bucked on him, causing pleasure to surge through again. He had no option but to move in her, hard and deep. Taking hold of her hips, he pulled out a little only to push fully back in, making her back buckle and forcing another groan from her.

'Again!' she demanded. Pulling out his long, thick cock, gleaming in her juices, he forced it immediately fully back into her. This time the groan came from him. He threw his head back, his neck straining, and let it out.

Then, leaning over her and bracing himself with one hand beside her, he moved, concentrating on her pleasure as much as his. He stared down at her and was met by that same deep infinite intelligence that had been present for so many years. Now it was here, under him, encompassing him. She moved, raising her hips and changing the angle of his thrusts. She liked that, he could tell. Her eyelids fluttered and her breath caught. He moved through her in this position, rocking them both back and forth, his back strained, his long limbs tight. His other hand managed to find her clit. Determined fingers stroked it again.

'Yes,' she hissed. 'That's right. So good, Severus. So unbelievably good.'

Had he heard right? She'd said his name. Gods, that made him happy. Truly happy. He ploughed into her, deeper and harder than ever, pushing her down into the bed. His thrusts were accompanied by a regular groaning now; he couldn't help himself, but she seemed only to feed off all of him: touch, sight, taste and sound.

'Want you to come into me,' she said, working her body hard on him, clenching her perfectly warm, tight pussy on him in time with his plunges forward.

He couldn't stop it. He couldn't hold back any longer. With a final long push, he broke. His pleasure burst out, propelled deep and hot into her three, four times. She followed. As his face creased in bewildered ecstasy, she came too and he felt it. Her orgasm was so strong it clamped down on him. She cried out, digging her fingers into his back and holding onto him as if he was her rock at sea.

They lay, him on top of her, not speaking, for some time, silent save for their breathing. It was as if the sanctity of the moment could not be broken.

Eventually and reluctantly, Severus felt he should probably give her a chance to breathe freely and rolled to the side, slipping out of her in the process. She still stared above her, wide eyed and with a smile on her face. When she turned to him she held his gaze and stroked his face. 'Thank you for finding me.'

He drew an arm around her and pulled her in tight. 'Thank you.' What more could he say? Words seemed ridiculous.

'Can I stay here? For the whole of Christmas, can I stay?'


She smiled and nodded. 'I'd like to. After all … we have the whole castle to try out.'

He threw back his head and laughed, long and loud. She drew herself up and looked down at him. 'I thought you didn't engage in laughter, Professor?'

Holding the back of her neck, he pulled her down for another kiss. 'I know this castle very well, Miss Granger … all its hidden corners … all its secrets … I would very much like to share them with you.'

'Like I said … Christmas is a time for sharing and laughter.'

'It seems perhaps I understand that after all,' he smirked.

She kissed him again and broke away only to whisper, 'Merry Christmas, Professor Snape.'

'Merry Christmas, Miss Granger.'

And Merry Christmas to you all. xx