Chapter 8 – The Dream

Horses, a lot of beautiful horses with their ribs shining in the sunlight.
A dark man is riding one of them, black robes billowing around him.
Oh, it’s me; I’m riding fast, very fast and without any control. The horse seems to know what to do; I don’t have to direct it.
I’m taking a closer look at the gorgeous animal underneath me. It’s a ginger stallion, and when an occasional ray of light hits it, its hair shimmers almost in different shades of dark red.
I ride like hell.
Other horses can’t go as fast as we do, so they are soon left far behind.
Now the sun doesn’t shine anymore.
I’ve arrived in some misty moor.
Everything around me looks very soft and hazy.
I see someone riding, with a horse white as a pearl, ahead of me.
I can’t see very clearly, but she has the most alluring shape, and her long and curly hair is burning with wind in it.
Abruptly I feel much excitement, and my horse runs like crazy, but we are unable to get anywhere.
I feel the wind blowing my face, but I am not moving.
I get extremely frustrated.
All of a sudden I notice a garden to my right; the woman has descended from her saddle, and is now walking towards its gate.
It’s an old fashioned English garden; just like the one I spent my summer days in as a child.
A high brick wall surrounds the garden, and I can see the rose and vine climbers growing there, covering it everywhere.
Oh Gods, she is on the other side, and I can’t see her anymore.
I feel a terrible feeling of loss.
What is this?
She comes to the gate and waves to me.
Her hair frames her face as she smiles at me invitingly.
I feel my blood boiling and swear that I would sell my soul, not that anyone would like to buy it, to hold her, to be with her, all over her, inside her…
Suddenly my horse takes a huge leap over the wall, and I fly like a quaffle, just to crash boisterously on the ground.
I think I have died.
I notice that the garden is full of fig trees. Nothing but lush fig trees, full of ripe, honey dripping fruits.
Yes, I have died, and I am lying in the Garden of Eden.
I get even more assured of my suspicions of death, when an angelic face bends down over me.
I lose my breath because of her indescribable beauty.
She reaches out her delicate hand.
That hand… her hand...
I am startled when I recognise her.
She comes closer to me, tender and more loving than I have ever managed to imagine a woman could be.
She presses her hand gently against my abdomen, whispering something in my ear.
I can’t hear her!
I try to speak, but am restricted.
“Are you hurt?” I hear her most attractive voice, and it makes me feel so relieved. “I’ll ease your pain; just let me touch you…”
She slips her hand between my legs and kneads softly.
Oh my God, NO!
I find myself to be a little boy again.
What is this; I have wet pants all of a sudden… wet pants… wet… DREAM!

Unable to decide whether to be sorry or relieved that it wasn’t really happening, Severus forced himself to get up from his bed and crawl to his bathroom, where a luxurious old bathtub with golden paws waited for him as a statue of consolation. Without wanting to see his own reflection, he sat inside it and turned hot water on. As clouds of hot steam started to obscure his vision, he could think clearer than anywhere else. “I’ll think it away.” He told to himself like a father tells his son not to be afraid, since he’ll drive that big, bad bogeyman off for good. Then he started to rationalise and analyse his feelings in order to get them out of his system.

A few hours later, he was still soaking in the now cooling water. And he had accomplished nothing. Odd feelings were pounding ever still inside his veins. “Oh fuck, am I in trouble now.” He said as quietly as a sigh. I have never appreciated lying to myself, so I’m not going to start now, not matter how badly I want to.
So, I see that no amount of water is able to wash this away… what ever this is.

Severus felt as if his manly body had betrayed him, and taken his mind as a hostage. And the worst of it was that it seemed his emotions had joined the enemy troops led by his hormones and they were about to run away with his rebellious body sensations. “Fuck!” Should I be worried, that it seems to be the only word that I feel like saying? He thought, not at all amused by his sudden insight.

Okay, one last time, let’s sketch out the facts that can’t be denied: I feel better than I have in a very long time. That’s good, I’m grateful, though slightly embarrassed. Her… hmm… healing sessions have raised some feelings I’m unable to label to the surface.
Or am I? What if I’m just so cowardly, that I’m afraid to name them?

What the hell, she is a woman, and I am a God damned man, aren’t I.

I want her, period.

At last he was ready to finish his “brainwashing”, unsuccessful as it was, and get up. I have certainly made a fool of myself in front of my own eyes, but I’m not so self-destructive, that I would do the same mistake in front of hers. I’ll never let her know, he swore while searching frantically for his clothes and the parchments he needed today.

Chapter 9 – Gentle Rain

“Harry, it worked, it worked, he did it again, but I didn’t lose my power. I was nothing but amused! Do you understand how important this is to me? It’s brilliant, I feel like I’m a whole different woman now. This is a breakthrough, I’m so excited!” Hermione yelled, her cinnamon eyes shining, like of a child who has just learnt how to ride a bike, or broom, for that matter.

“Oh great, so you came here to tell me you want to have sex with me as an indication of gratefulness?” Harry yawned, arising slowly from underneath his warm bedcovers. Hermione looked as she was about to scream, but instead she grabbed a feather pillow from his bed and smashed it with all her might onto Harry's ruffled up head.

“You filthy little twisted-minded psycho, I wouldn’t sleep with you even if I had to choose between you and our malicious ex-Potions Master, do you hear me!”

“Hey, woo, calm down now lady, it was just an innocent question,” Harry mumbled, spitting feathers out of his grinning mouth.

“Innocent… if that’s your comprehension of innocent, I should buy you a new dictionary as a Christmas gift.” Hermione said rolling her eyes, amused though.

“Besides,” Harry continued as if he hadn’t heard Hermione’s last comment. “It’s surprising to hear that you keep Professor Snape in so high value, maybe you did take my advice too literally? You know, I didn’t exactly mean you to start loving him… uh…”

“Why are we having this conversation? I'm going nuts because of you, you helpless, little brat.”

“Not so little, not so little at all, don’t you dare to underestimate something you refuse to take a look at…“ Harry said, rising his cover enthusiastically.

“Aargh, I’m going now, see you at breakfast, dressed, I hope.” She looked at Harry under her eyebrows and left trying to hide her giggle, so that Harry wouldn’t hear it.


It was the most beautiful morning. Snow had descended, gracefully covering Hogwarts’ realms with its blessed beauty, and some early sunrays made it glimmer like a diamond blanket. Hermione was in an exceptionally good mood, and she was loading her crispy and golden toast with a good amount of apple jam.

Hmmm… what do we have, yes, first is a double lesson with fourth year Gryffindors, what an excellent class they are. Then… I have one free hour and afternoon’s lessons are with Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw first years. Great. A sudden urge to turn dragged Hermione out of her thoughts, as if there was something tingling slightly on her neck. Peeking behind, she saw a raven black figure moving nearer, his carbon black eyes nailed to her. Startled Hermione turned quickly to face her plate and tea mug. Well, isn’t that nice, Mr Gloomy is back on his feet again, thanks to me I suppose? Severus Snape whirled straight past his benefactor and sat down next to Professor Flitwick. Right after that Hermione felt, really felt and not so slightly this time, tingling in her neck.

“Oh Harry, you made it before noon. Good for you!” She teased her sleepy looking colleague.

“I’m so blessed; both my lover boys came inside almost at a same time. Life can’t possibly get any better…” Hermione scorned and noticing that Harry was just about to twist her words and make another ambiguous joke, she stopped him with such a sharp voice that everybody in the high table turned to look at them, Professor Snape included. “You don’t want to say it, you’ll be so sorry if you do! Get a life and quit tormenting me with your dirty imagination, you sex maniac!”

Hermione blushed heavily as her last words were echoing between the dignified walls of the ancient Great Hall. She saw Professor McGonagall raise her brows to the shape of a question mark. Wish I wouldn’t have said that last part… so loud. She thought and when hearing the unbounded titter of Madam Sprout and the very condemning snarl of Professor Snape, she tried to invent some ingenious new spell that could erase her words from their ears.

“Look at what you got me into. Now everybody thinks… uhh, I don’t even dare think about what.” Hermione hissed to Harry’s ear. “I go now, and you start treating me with a little more respect… when we are in the middle of other people.”

“Okey-dokey, babe.”


All of a sudden Severus didn’t feel like eating anything, except that little git’s head. He is SO like his father. Sometimes it makes me wonder if it really is him, messed with a time-turner and new pairs of eyes. Her eyes…
Of course I know that despite of many similarities, he is not alive anymore, but can’t a man wonder.

Severus drank his coffee with a swift movement of his arm and rushed to his class. For his relief, after only ten minutes wait, he got to throw his anger onto the group of innocent and fearful students. It always worked, and after five hours of constant yelling, snarling, picking and scolding, he almost felt like he was back on track again. He didn’t feel like working late today, which was quite an exception to his normal working routines. Instead of staying in his office and painting essays and exams with red ink, he withdrew in peacefulness of his dear chambers. While there, he undressed his robe, the secret of his impressive looks, and loosened his tight black vest. Then, after a short glance at his cache, he found an old bottle of port and brew some relaxing mix of herbs with it. Inhaling a wonderful aroma of a red and spicy drink, he sat down on one of his antique leather armchairs and closed his eyes. I wonder will any amount of vine be able to drown this lust either. He thought adapting words he had written once he finished his long bath a few days ago. Ha… I’m not trying to be any poet, I know better than that, but scrawling my thoughts into a visible form allows me to reflect on them more objectively. He snatched a book with a beautifully ornamented cover from the floor and summoned his quill. The book contained bare hand-written text and was only half full. He flipped through the pages before stopping to read aloud:

“I wonder, will any amount of water
Be able to wash away
This lust.

I turn over,
Again and again
Still remembering
Your name.”

Disgusting… but true, he thought, smiling to himself.

“One moment is enough
To fill my need
Soft drops of silence
Drums behind the veils

Just a little bit of wilfulness
And it touches
Like a gentle rain”

Severus sipped delicately from his glass and put the book away. Nothing to add here, he thought, except how unbearable Potter JR is, but I’m not going to pollute the pages of my valuable book with his name. I’ll save that space for something more essential, like how the hell am I going to get my insanity back! It certainly is not wise to fall for… what? An ex-student? A woman? Or… just her? Is it because of her personality? Then why the hell have I fallen in the first place? It's not my style to become attracted to someone just because she has a pair of boobs and a cunt.

Or hands as soft and skilled as hers…

Taking a sip so big that he almost emptied the whole glass, he wondered what was bothering him the most. It was definitely a matter of serious thought, so he poured some more of the excellent warm and spicy port into his glass and sank deeper into introspection.

If I could have her, though I never will since I’ll never let her know in the first place... And yes, I'm clearly aware she wouldn't want me even if she knew, and honestly, I don't blame her.
Where was I?
He said to himself wanting to quit that train of thought.

What would I do if I could have her?
Shag her senselessly?

So is that it? Is it the reason for all that inner turmoil, my natural needs too long neglected? For heavens sake, Severus, you can do better than that. When has it been a reason to… to feel anything towards a woman?
You are getting old, I fear, old and soft as a rotten pumpkin.

It's not about just getting laid this time, is it?
Answer me you pathetic moron, is it?

There was a long and silent pause inside his head.

Chapter 10 – Merry Little Christmas

It was the nineteenth of December and Christmas was rushing on its way to Hogwarts. Hagrid had brought in a huge Christmas tree, which seemed to get larger and larger every year. The house elves were buzzing everywhere looking rather pleased as they could help with decorations and do nice little surprises to everyone. For example, Hermione had found a delicious pack of chocolate elf-figures hidden in her sock in her cupboard. The elves had forgotten their little misunderstandings with her over the years and Hermione had finally understood the inner nature of those little creatures better. Even though it still was difficult for her to let them take care of all the dirty work, in her opinion, she didn't want to offend those generous servants by taking care of the tasks herself.

Since this was the last working day for the teachers, Dumbledore had insisted they would throw a nice little Christmas party for the Hogwarts’ crew. There would be a dinner with lots of Christmas desserts, music, dancing and everybody had been asked to bring a small gift, so that they could put them all in a Santa’s sack and then share them to everybody. It was quite difficult to try to think of a gift that would suit, for example, Madam Sprout as well as Mr. Filch. Hermione had given it a lot of thought and had finally come up with, not so surprisingly, a small and beautifully illustrated book about Hogwarts Christmas traditions through the centuries. Of course it certainly wasn't something that Mr. Filch would be dying to get, but so what. She wasn't going to wrap any chains or daggers in snow-angel decorated gift-paper either.

Tomorrow morning Hermione would leave to her holiday. She had planned to go to her parents first and stay there for a few days. Then she would go to the Burrow on Christmas Eve to spend a couple of days there and then return to her parent's home to stay over the New Year. Spring term wouldn't start before the eighth of January, so she would be able to spend a few days in Hogwarts too before the children came back.


Dressed in a lovely gown made of soft and shimmering peridot green velvet, Hermione arrived in the Great Hall. She felt like entering in to the truly magnificent world of Christmas. Magical snowflakes were falling gently from the ceiling, which was bewitched to look like deep indigo blue sky with thousands of bright stars and a shooting star every now and then. It was breathtaking and beautiful. A string quartet was playing old medieval songs in one corner of the hall. Next to it was only one long table, which was sagging of the most delicious festive foods that one could possibly invent to have something to do with Christmas. The elves had certainly exceeded themselves this time.

The floor in the middle of the hall was empty, as if someone had been optimistic enough to think, that there would be someone to dance in there. Hermione liked dancing, though, but whom would she dance with? It would be nice to dance with Harry, but she didn't want to encourage anybody to think that they were romantically involved, not any more that they already thought. I don't care, I'll dance by myself if I want to! She thought and took a few turns in the invitingly empty floor.

Around the dancing area and near the walls were many extravagant red velvet armchairs and a few couches, for those who would prefer to watch than take part to whirling on the floor. Hermione knew who they would be. Surely we aren't going to see Professor Snape on the floor tonight, or any other night, in that matter. Hermione tittered by herself, trying to imagine that grim and awkward character in the middle of wild cha-cha.


“It’s so nice to see you all. We now have a very nice term behind us and before we turn our hopes to the next one, it’s time to forget everything about work and relax! Please, my dear friends, enjoy the offerings of the table and feel free to have fun!” Everybody clapped their hands to the Headmaster’s welcoming speech. Dumbledore had always known that the best speeches are the shortest ones. And before the echoing clapping had ceased, everybody was sitting around the table and loading their plates with the marvellous dishes.

After the dinner Dumbledore politely asked everybody to rise from the table and be seated on the armchairs and couches around the dance floor. “Now the moment we all have been waiting for has come. It’s time to hand out our little Christmas presents. Let’s all say ‘Accio Gift!’ aloud at the same time, and then we will all get the gift most suitable.” Dumbledore seemed to be so thrilled and happy about that little idea. He had always been a very social and warm person, who really enjoyed the company of others. Dumbledore seemed to be in the spring of his life, he had only gotten younger and younger after Voldemort had left them for good, and that left Hermione wondering, if his bosom friend Nicholas Flamel had left a little something in a bottle for him as a heritage.

The old wizard opened the sack and after everybody had said “Accio Gift!” some more enthusiastically than others, they all started to unwrap the papers around their Christmas presents. Hermione wanted to cherish the moment and watched others to open their packages before opening hers. Professor McGonagall had got her book of Christmas Traditions and she seemed to appreciate it greatly. Hermione was happy that Dumbledore had thought about how all the presents would go to the best possible receiver. Now there was no worry to find a shape-changing dildo, or something like that in her package. In other words, she would not get Harry’s present. Maybe he wouldn’t have dared to wrap anything like that inside a reindeer gift paper, what if it would have gone to Professor Flitwick, or Snape… Hermione couldn’t hold her laughter anymore, but luckily everybody else was also laughing, since Hagrid had found a small pink fluffy-bunny in his package. Hagrid was cuddling it under its chin and his rich baritone guffaw filled the whole room.

Harry got a magical choker with a leash, obviously from Hagrid, which could tame even a dragon, or so it said in the instructions inside its box. Suddenly Hermione saw how Professor Snape was surrounded by his hilarious co-workers. Severus held a small heart shaped bag in his hands. "Well, open it!" Madam Sprout encouraged him with an uncharasterically loud voice. Severus pulled gently the bindings and poured several small, also heart shaped little gingerbreads on his palm. "Now, taste them, taste them. I made them all by myself!" Madam Sprout kind of yelled and tried to thrust one of the gingerbreads into his mouth.

"Now, please, I am still totally capable of feeding myself." Severus snarled and took a small bite of one of them.

"They are not just any gingerbread, you know," Madame Sprout whispered into Hermione's ear, “I put some ingredients in the dough…" The older witch jolted for the restrained laughter. "You'll see…"


The man, who was the only one wearing all black, watched colourful figures spinning on the floor with a sour expression on his face. Ridiculous, if they only knew how stupid they look…

“Severus, dear friend, why are you not showing off some swift moves on the floor?” asked Dumbledore, his face gleaming with sweat and a large smile. His eyes followed the icy lines Severus’ glance had left, chopping the air of the Great Hall.

“Oh, that’s why you are sitting all here alone, with your face all puckered up. It’s your own fault, you know, Hermione has danced with everybody who has asked her. She’s so lovely, isn’t she, and oh, how she looks just stunning with that green dress of hers, don’t you agree… Severus? Do you hear a word I’m saying?”

He’s nothing but a nuisance, that Potter-boy, can’t even dance properly, hmph. Severus felt someone gripping his shoulder and woke up with a jolt.

“I said that it’s no use to sulk here while you could just get a hold of yourself, swallow your pride and ask her to dance with you.”

“I’m afraid that after all those gingerbreads there’s no room in my stomach for such a big bite.” Severus scorned with a scowl, but it just made the old wizard burst into laughter.

“Don’t be a baby, it’s perfectly all right to ask her. It would be such a nice act for her kindness towards you. I’ll ask the band to play something convenient for you two. Stand up, open your mouth, utter a nice proposal and give us something to remember for…”

Dumbledore was tugging Severus up from his armchair with such physical strength he had never known the Headmaster to posses, and pushed him towards Hermione, who had just finished dancing with Harry. Severus tried to think fast how to act in order to rescue as much of his pride as possible. Hermione turned to face the Potions Master and took a few steps backwards so as not to get Professor Snape to fall onto her, since Dumbledore had shoved him a little bit too hard. Straightening his robes he tried to do the only reasonable thing that came in his mind and as he offered his arm to her, he asked Hermione to dance with him.

“Oh, there is a gentleman in you after all,” she said, smiling enchantingly.

Not that I‘m aware of, there isn’t. Severus wanted to say, but instead he pulled her into his arms tightly and started to lead the dance.

“Not bad, not bad at all. I’m impressed!” Hermione murmured, her eyes glimmering. She had drank one too many glasses of hot red Christmas wine, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, vanilla and a tiniest pinch of black pepper, and it had made her blood stream freely and a warm relaxed feeling all over her body. In fact, it felt fine to be pressed firmly against that slender body. It was so totally different than dancing, for example, with Harry, or anybody else she had ever danced with. He felt so sure and it was somehow very exciting, to be held that way.

All of the sudden total blackness swallowed everything in its obscure maw, music stopped and Hermione felt a bewildering and forceful kiss pressed heavily on her unexpecting lips. It was gone as fast as it had came, and there she was left standing, stunned, wondering what had happened, if it ever really had happened, while the others had illuminated their wands and Minerva was already lighting the abruptly died candle lights.

“Oh, it certainly was that ill-mannered poltergeist, does he never tire of teasing us with his sick sense of humour…” Professor McGonagall complained, but Hermione was unable to hear or see anything, except that another ill-mannered ghost-like male had vanished.

A Merry Little Christmas to you too… She thought tottering towards an empty couch.

Chapter 11 – A Train of Thought

The train was gently jerking Hermione’s sluggish body and she would have fallen asleep if her thoughts didn’t need her to be totally aware. She tiredly gazed over the snow-covered landscapes through the frosty window and tried to organize her thoughts about yesterday’s events.
Harry had dozed off opposite her, and would evidently sleep the whole journey to London; he had been stewed to the gills last night.
It was fun though, to watch him dancing on the table imitating every member of the Weird Sisters… at the same time.

Oh yes, the party was a great success.
It seemed that everybody had enjoyed themselves. Even Mr Filch had danced cheek to cheek with Madam Pince, while Dumbledore had dropped out with Minerva to do some angel figures on the snow.

Suddenly Hermione remembered her gift. She had totally forgotten all about it. After watching the others opening their presents had been so amusing that she had just jammed her package into her purse and forgotten about it.

With limp arms she lifted her handbag from the dirty floor and rummaged through it. In no time at all she was holding a small present wrapped in brown paper with a red seal on top of it. She cracked the seal and unwrapped the present with careful movements. Inside she found a small and elegant vial of something that smelled like… perfume?

Is this a bottle of perfume, how weird. She thought, surprised, and sniffed the opened bottle again, a light and fresh aroma evaporated from it. It reminded her of tangerines and green tea.

She had never been really keen on using women’s scents because she was very sensitive to different and especially strong fragrances. Normally she preferred an odourless choice with her intimate productions, but this one didn’t smell so bad. And the vial was quite charming. P O E was engraved in cursive letters on its side.

I wonder what that means. It’s quite an odd name for a perfume, unless it isn’t really perfume, but instead it contains bottled horror stories.

Who is this from? The vial suggests heavily to Potions Master, but the aromatic liquid inside doesn’t, unless it’s really a poison.

Yes, he could have created some potion that you think is a perfume and when you put it on to your neck, it’ll strangle you while you’re sleeping…

I have to check this through at home. I don’t want to wear anything that contains some magical effects unknown to me.

Why would I think it’s from him? It could be from anyone, for example from Madam Pomfrey… or Dumbledore, he has such a good taste, except when it comes to sweets… of course Harry could have bought this too from Hogsmeade. There is that little boutique-like shop where he spends a suspiciously long time for a man…

Am I avoiding a certain subject here?

Back to it then: What in Morgana’s name happened yesterday?

Someone kissed me, and kissed me hard, no doubt about that.
Her heart started to pounder and her breath quickened just thinking about it.

Could it have been Harry?

Of course not and you know it!

Who am I trying to fool?

How it could have been anybody else than the man I danced with?

He was the only one who could have managed to do it, since I was standing so close to him.

Of course it was him but why?

Certainly he has not wanted me all the time and all that scoffing has been just an act to try to hide his true feelings of passionate love.

Oh please, I’m killing myself in laughter, it’s too wild!

Maybe he just had a strong yearning for the touch of female lips that he couldn’t help himself…

No, it was I, not anyone he would consider as a desirable woman.

Maybe he had been drugged with those gingerbreads of Madam Sprout. She did hint about some secret ingredients.

Oh holy Circe, she isn’t that kind of a witch who would grow some illegal pot in a restricted area of greenhouses, not to mention to put it secretly in someone’s Christmas cookies, into Snape’s Christmas cookies… an interesting idea as it might be.

She smiled mischievously, although she highly disapproved of everything that had something to do with drugs. In her opinion they were just a lousy and unhealthy substitute to magic.

Is my mind so mundane, there are other herbs too, magical herbs...

Oh, I just don’t know, it all feels so surreal. I wish I could hash this out with someone, but I have a feeling Harry may not be the right person this time.


All the time until the train arrived to a platform 9 ¾ Hermione reflected on Professor Snape’s behaviour during this autumn to get even a slightest hint to help her solve the mystery.

I have always considered myself to be an exceptionally clever and observant person, not someone to be easily fooled. Then why do I feel like a fool now?

What was the meaning of the kiss?

Was it some kind of a joke?

Or revenge, no?

Well, it certainly was not something that I would think as revenge.

Then what?

I suppose my head is going to explode with all these unanswered questions and then I’ll never get to know.

What an unbearable situation!

All of a sudden she was carried away by a reminder of those strong arms around her waist and that captivatingly cultivated but deeply manly scent; cedar, sandalwood, a little hint of bergamot and… was it frankincense?

Hermione shook Harry awake and together they got off the Hogwarts’ Express.

"I think I'd better try to tidy myself a little, and a strong cup of coffee wouldn't hurt either," Harry said with a thick and dry tongue that was a consequence of being a too excessive party animal. "I feel sick, but I don't want to look sick when I’m in front of Molly Weasley’s x-ray eyes."

"Oh, I'm feeling just fine, but I can lead you to some nice café, I'll even hold your hand if you need me to," Hermione said to her pale, ghostly looking friend.

"Would you, that's nice. I'm feeling a bit shaky, so thanks." Harry took Hermione's warm hand and leaned on her looking miserably weak. "How was your evening? You’ve hardly said a word after my little show on the table. Was it that bad, huh?"

"No Harry, it was the most amusing thing I've seen after Fred and George fooled Ron to eat that gnome poop,” Hermione replied and laughed as she remembered that funny occasion a few years ago. Fred and George had gotten Ron to eat some gnome droppings as their new invented “chocolate beans” and when he realized their little trick, Ron lost his temper and chased his twin brothers all over the Burrow with their mother’s old bra as a weapon. He intended to lasso, strangle and finally hang them on an apple tree with it. Harry, Hermione and Ginny had laughed till they couldn’t breath anymore and finally Mrs Weasley came and ended the chase with one huge fit of hers.

“You’re right,” Harry smiled faintly; “It was such a silly looking scene. But why do I get a feeling you’re trying to avoid something here? What happened? Did you drink yourself under the table and wake up in Mr Filch’s bed?”

“Gods, NO! Where do you get these crazy ideas?” Hermione snapped in a tone which was too defensive to be believable. “I mean, it wasn’t my fault, I behaved as a nice and decent young woman should, as I always do…”

“Yes? That sounds the most interesting? What wasn’t your fault?” Harry looked suddenly very curious and feeling a whole lot better than he had five minutes ago. “You have to tell me everything.”

“It’s nothing, never mind, I didn’t mean to say anything and you know what, you’re acting just like those gay friends in some muggle TV-series like ‘Sex and the City’ et cetera.”

“Who’s trying to change the subject here?” Harry teased with a singing kind of voice. “I just need to know. Tell me so I don’t have to start inventing any more possibilities myself.”

“Yes, please, don’t!” They had arrived at a small and nice café called ‘Parnassos’ and ordered an espresso and a pepperoni-salami-sandwich for Harry and a mint tea with a croissant for Hermione. Harry sat down and cast a very demanding look to the other side of the small and round table. Hermione tried not to notice it and ate her croissant until she got so annoyed of Harry’s silent and insistent questions that she gave up.

“Okay, you win, fine. I danced with someone and then, when the lights went off, that someone kissed me.”

“What? Who, who was it? You danced with everybody, including Mrs Norris… and what do you mean by the lights went off?”

“I’m not surprised. At that time you had put your head in the Christmas wine bowl and pretended it to be your diver’s helmet. Perhaps you got cloves in your eyes.”

Oh, that was it then. I was wondering what those black little things in my ears and hair were in the morning. Harry thought, but as he was determined to find out all the intriguing details about Hermione’s night, he asked again, “Anyway, tell me immediately who the kisser was, or I need to do some legilimens with you, and then I’ll get to know what you bought me for Christmas, not to mention all the other little secrets that nest under you hair.”

“I don’t know who it was… or, maybe I do, but it’s just so unbelievable that – “

“Yes…” Harry tried to encourage her to say it aloud.

“I danced with Professor Snape, since Dumbledore made him ask me, and then it happened.”

“You were kissed by Professor Never-Heard-Of-Shampoo Croockedteeth! Arrgh!” Harry almost fell of the chair as he howled with mixed astonishment and disgust.

“Maybe so, I can’t be absolutely sure, since I didn’t see him when he did it.”

“Well, what happened then?” Harry took a firm grip of the table with two hands, so that another shock wouldn’t be able to unbalance him again.

“Nothing. When Minerva re-lighted the candles, he was gone. I haven’t seen him since. Not that I’d want to, anyway.”

“That is such an incredible story; I can’t wait to tell Ron. I’m sure he’ll puke, it’s so sick! Yikes!”

“No Harry, we can’t tell Ron, nor anyone else!” Hermione pleaded. “Believe me; it’ll be so much better if he never knows. Trust me on this one!”

“Okay, you may have a point there. He’s always been pretty sensitive when it comes to you, and he still is. But please, tell me more… did you kiss him back? How did it felt? Was he good?” Shudders of repulsion ran down Harry’s spine and for a moment he thought that there was something unnatural about his curiosity. Do I really want to hear this? He asked himself. Hell yeah!

“You are putting me in quite an embarrassing situation here, as always, but if you want to hear facts, then here you are: first of all you have to remember that it was dark, so I couldn’t see him and at first I didn’t realize it was him. Secondly, I had drunk a teeny-weeny bit of that wine.”

“Hey Herm’, you don’t really need to make excuses to me, I’ll understand.” Or at least I’ll try.

“It was okay, I guess. In fact it felt fine.” Hermione had sudden goose bumps on her skin when she remembered the sensations that the kiss had caused her. His strong hands around her, understated scent of… was it sandalwood and bergamot, hmm… I’ll have to find that out… Hey wait a minute; No I don’t have to! What was I thinking?

“Fine? Just fine? Harry asked, as if he had read something more on her face.

“Well… it’s a bit hard to…”

“Hard? He was hard?” Harry led her words a little bit further.

“No, or, I don’t know… do we have to talk about this? I’m starting to feel very weird.”

“Just tell me all, and then you’ll never have to talk about it again,” Harry insisted leaning towards her, so that he could hear all the details clear and loud.

“Well, he didn’t say a thing to me, but he was a amazingly good dancer, smooth and confident. He had a strong grip in his hands and held me close enough to notice that he smelled very good.”

“Yes, sure… What about the kiss? Any tongue?”

“Oh please Harry, it felt fine, exiting, good, passionate, forceful… what else do you want to hear? If my pants got wet?” Hermione burst out, surprising herself more than she ever had before.

“Did they?”

Hermione rolled her eyes frustrated and said tightly, “Now you know everything you ought to know and a little bit more. This is the end of the subject! I’m dying to see my parents. Let’s go!” She stood up and yanked her too-curious-for-his-own-good friend up to his feet.

“Do you want to share a taxi or would you rather apparate?” she asked as they left the café and dragged their baggage along the icy pavement.

Chapter 12 – Lesson to Learn

Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. Why did I do that? Have I gone completely and utterly mad? Severus Snape strode back and forth in his chamber trying to make some sense about the last night’s events.

It was so totally unlike me, totally unlike anything I am or anything I planned.

Not to tell her, remember, I decided NOT to reveal my pitiful feelings to her, NOT TO KISS HER! Then why the hell did I do it? Damn!

I wish I could wrap Albus’ beard around his neck a few times and hang him on the highest candlestick on the wall in the Great Hall with it. It was an unforgivable, just despicable deed to do. Why has he always got to stick his big nose into other people’s affairs? What was he thinking for Merlin’s sake?

And what exactly will I say to her? She and her impertinence, certainly she won’t leave a single rock unturned in order to find out what happened. And why it happened? And how? And what for? And how long and…. Oh holy shit! Flooding questions of hers are causing me a headache even before they are asked. I possibly can’t confront her. Not now, not ever. Thank heavens she’s gone away for the holidays, but it’s only temporary, she’ll come back her head gushing with questions I can’t and won’t answer, and she’ll haunt me till I lose my mind.

If I haven’t already.

“Severus, my dear boy, calm down, you look dreadful,” a familiar voice said behind Severus’ back.

“Don’t I always?” Severus answered sarcastically turning swiftly to face the Headmaster whose head was hovering amongst the flames in Severus’ fireplace. “Was there something else you had on your mind, or did you just appear here to insult my looks?”

“There, there, now Severus, to be honest I was little worried since you haven’t shown up for breakfast or lunch.”

“I’m touched, but I didn’t need a nanny when I was three years old and I certainly don’t need one now.”

“Aren’t we a little edgy today? Would you mind to enlighten me with a cause for your foul mood?”

“Yes I would, but since I know you won’t leave me alone until you know, I’ll just say that your little blackout wasn’t without consequences. I assume you are satisfied, so please, leave me alone so that I may continue wrestling with my inner demons.”

“I will, as soon as you have told me the reason for why you are so mad at me. I don’t see how the short blackout at the last night’s party has anything to do with anything.”

“As if you didn’t know.” Severus scowled. “First you forced me to dance with Miss Granger, strongly against my free will and I’m afraid that against hers as well. And then you arranged those damn lights go off, so that under the effects of those gingerbreads, which I was stupidly enough unaware of at the time, I did the most idiotic thing in my life, save taking the Dark Mark.”

“What could you possibly have managed to do in so extremely short time, your clothes on, in the middle of a crowded ballroom floor that you are so ashamed of? Please go on,” the Headmaster asked curiosity dripping from his voice.

“I kissed her.” Severus blurt out with a disgusted scowl. It sounded as if he had committed a murder or raped someone at the least.

“You kissed her?” A wide and amused smile spread onto the older wizard’s face and it seemed as if someone had switched that infamous twinkle in his eyes on. “What’s wrong with that? I felt like kissing her myself,” there he lowered his voice and to Severus’ surprise whispered with a laughter in his voice, “but instead I settled for Minerva. Please, don’t let her know I said that. It would make her furious,” he said, reminding Severus for a fleeting moment of Fred, or George Weasley, who cares. “But you’re mistaken in one thing. It wasn’t I who turned those lights off, it was you.” Dumbledore continued with a little bit more sober face.

“What are you trying to insinuate? I certainly did not do it, check my wand if you don’t believe me, I would never do anything so silly. You of all people should know that for now,” Severus snapped and Dumbledore could hardly suppress his laughter. It never ceased to amaze him how childish this cool of the coolest wizard was at the times. Especially in matters where his emotions were involved.

“Not with your wand and not on purpose,” he said, trying to calm the over heated Potions Master. “The content of those gingerbreads made by Madam Sprout was quite unique, you see. They didn’t only remove the barriers around your deepest desires in your heart, but also heightened your ability to attract events that’ll help the progress of getting what you desire. Wandless magic, my friend, wandless magic. You happen to be quite talented with it even without the magical bakery products.”

“Oh, I see. So there was an unconscious desire to humiliate myself and to get me into trouble, not to mention to give Miss Granger the most repugnant Little Christmas surprise of her life,” Severus scoffed sarcastically. “If those damn cookies were really to further me towards my wishes, I would have been dashed away from that horrible get together into some cosy armchair in my own chamber, alone, some intriguing volume on my lap.” He crossed his arms over his chest defensively and looked absolutely intransigent. A silence fell between the two wizards. Dumbledore seemed to be searching for the right words, the right way to break Severus’ resistance on the subject. After a long while Dumbledore started speaking again. His face was grave and one could hear the deep care and concern under his words.

“There are no excuses for you to avoid life anymore. All the reasons to hide and run away from close relationships died with Voldemort. Nothing holds you back, except your own fears.”

“What are you talking about?” Dumbledore could almost see how Severus-the-child held his hands on his ears chanting ‘I’m not listening’ over and over again.

“She is not your student anymore.”

“Am I supposed to arrive at certain conclusions here?”

“You humour me, Severus. I wish you could allow life to humour you. If I were younger, let’s say, fifty years… well, maybe seventy, I’d want her myself. She’s a marvel. And you are not fooling me with that sullen face of yours,” Albus said with a gentle tone that a father upbraids a prankish child. “But of course, it’s you’re choice. If you rather see her hanging with Potter, the second…” he said lowing his brows meaningfully. “It’s funny how life tends to repeat similar kinds of situations as long as the lesson hidden in there is learned. Life is a more merciful teacher than you Severus; it always gives you a second chance. If you didn’t get its message the first time, you’ll get to try again. One wouldn’t like to miss it; it wouldn’t be very clever now would it?” The Headmaster’s head disappeared and Severus found himself staring a long time at the soon to be dying down flames and pondering deeply his last words.

Chapter 13 - The Holy Night

While at her parents’ home Hermione had done some thorough research and testing on the aromatic potion she had received as her little Christmas gift. She could sense that there was some magic hidden in it, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. At least she now knew it wasn’t fatal to her health. It would not kill her, damage her, even when consumed, it would not affect her in any way. Besides, she had started to love its scent. It was so very unique and yet it appeared that it had been specially designed for her. It was fresh and personal, like it was the deepest core of her soul, bottled. She had accepted many compliments because of her beautiful perfume. For example, after Hermione had embraced her dear mother, she had exclaimed admiringly how wonderfully that scent of Wild Roses becomes her. Wild Roses? Where did that come from? I thought this was a kind of a green citrus scent. Hermione wondered, but let the subject be, since she had many more important things to consider at the moment.


It was Christmas Eve and Hermione was about to Apparate to the Burrow. She had shrunk all the Christmas gifts she was going to give her friends so that they fit conveniently in her pockets. She had made a special effort to make herself pretty and she was quite pleased with her appearance. Apparating such a long distance made her a little concerned though, since she wasn’t very experienced with it. Nevertheless, she constantly turned down her fathers persuading offers that he would take her there in his car. No way, it would have been far too embarrassing; she wasn’t a teenage girl anymore who needed her father as her escort. She was an adult witch, independent and quite capable of taking care of herself.

There was one thing that made her wonder. Every time she wasn’t thinking about something specific, she found herself contemplating Professor Severus Snape. It wasn’t something totally new to her; she had spent countless of nights pondering his words before, while she was still at school as a student. But these thoughts were something else. She snatched herself every now and then in the middle of cogitation of him. Of course she turned over and over again in her mind that kiss, but there was something else too. She was slightly embarrassed to find herself reminiscing over their short times together, alone. Obviously she had put those intimate feelings raised by him into her inner storage. Those sensations of the closeness of his manly body, how soft his warm skin had felt under her hands, how he had shivered slightly and she was sure she had almost heard him moan few times. Strange but strong feelings had dwelled inside Hermione’s stomach, but since she had to stay cool, concentrated and professional, she just placed every unwanted emotion somewhere deep in her heart and focused on spreading the ointment and surviving his bad temper.


“Happy Christmas, it’s so good to see you, here take some eggnog, you must be freezing, and come on in, I’ll take your coat, and oh how lovely you look, you are such a sweet looking girl, wait till my Ronnie gets to see you…” Molly Weasley had taken Hermione in her vast embrace before she had even managed to utter a proper ‘hello’. In no time she was sitting in the cosy living room and sipping the most delicious eggnog.

“Delicious, Hermione, what do you think?” Harry lifted his eyebrows meaningfully towards Hermione.

“Harry, nice to see you too. You are the one who should tell about that. So, did you ever get the chance for a more profound taste of it?”

Harry laughed heartily as he embraced Hermione tightly. Ron had been watching his friends’ rendezvous and couldn’t help but feel a slight sting of jealousy in his heart. What are they talking about? I don’t remember them being SO close when I’ve last seen them together. I wonder if there’s something going on between them, I mean, they do get to spend a hell of a lot time together in Hogwarts, together, alone. Ron rushed past Harry and gave Hermione a loving hug.

“Bloody hell, Hermione, you look stunning. I would fall in love with you right this minute, if I hadn’t already.” If Harry’s going to sweet talk to her, I’m going to show him that he’s messing with the wrong lady.

Hermione laughed and gave a small and friendly kiss to Ron’s cheek. “It’s good to see you too Ron. Thanks for the compliment, though you shouldn’t have bothered. But I insist you to tell me everything about the past half year of your life. You should write me more letters, you know. And more words in them wouldn’t hurt either…”


“I’m so full that if I see any more food, I’ll just pop and there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” Ron bemoaned, keeping both of his hands on his stomach like it would otherwise slip into two halves.

Their Christmas supper had been nice and heartfelt, but not a tiniest bit devotional. The redheaded twins had taken care of that. They were unruly like two teenager brats and they didn’t look a day older than eighteen. Harry got what he had hoped for, since Fred and George ran on jokes, puns and carols with suggestively twisted words like two stand-up comics of the best kind. Luckily enough, Harry and Hermione laughed so much that they couldn’t eat themselves to the same condition as Ron, who was so used his brothers’ humour that he had learnt to swallow while laughing.

After the supper Mr. and Mrs. Weasley withdrew to sit and hug on a couch positioned in the corner of the living room while everybody else sat on the floor in front of the fire to open their Christmas gifts.

“Ginny, since you are the youngest, you are of course the most impatient, so you may open your presents first,” Fred teased his little sister, his ulterior motive being a wish to see his new inventions working in a real life situation as soon as possible.

“No-no, dear brother, I am not at all impatient, I’ll manage to wait ten years for the gifts from you. I’m in no hurry to die, nor experience humiliations that those innocently looking little packets will evidently give me,” Ginny grinned back with an empirical knowledge from many years of experiences.

“Anyway, ladies first. We have to remember that politeness once in a year does not ruin anyone’s reputation,” proclaimed the other twin.

“Okay then, I’ll sacrifice myself for the good cause,” Hermione said smiling playfully. “So, ladies first it’ll be. I’ll open Ginny’s gift first.” Hermione started to unwrap the packet most carefully and tortuously slowly in order to get every beautiful ribbon and gift paper saved without ripping them.

“A book, I assume? Or maybe you have just transfigured this to fool me?” Hermione chuckled as Ginny watched her.

“Oh no, I’ve never been very good at transfiguration,” Ginny laughed staring at her friend’s face to know what she was thinking about the title of the book.

“‘Samantha Heatherhill and a man with a past’, seriously Ginny, did you accidentally happen to exchange the presents meant for Lavender and I?” asked Hermione softly eyeing the covered love novel with unbelieving eyes.

“No, I just thought that because you love to read, it’s the only way to get your thoughts on men and your love life and to relax by giving you brand new and authentic ‘Heatherhill’ pocket book. Promise me that you’ll read it! There’s some exquisite hand made chocolate from Ron and mum has made you a pair of warm woolen socks, so…”

“Ginny! It’s no fair to reveal other’s surprises!” Ron moaned, his freckled face showing his disappointment.

“I know, but I just can’t bear to watch her torture us anymore by opening her presents more slowly then a handless Hinkypunk,” Ginny said mischievously. “And you had better remember to read the book cover to cover, sit in front of the fireplace, your woolsocks on and eat chocolate till you are so relaxed that you’ll forget the year the Great Giant rebellion started,” she emphasized to Hermione, who could only nod her head obediently.

“Thank you Ginny, you are so kind, always thinking the best for me and my (non-existent) love life. And as I already know what these parcels contain…” Hermione knocked two packets with her wand, and soon there was a cute, but helplessly conventional heartshaped red chocolate box and hand (or wand) made socks with green and orange stripes. Then she took a small and soft packet in her hands and started to rip the paper of more briskly than before.

“Hey, it took a long while for me to wrap it, why don’t you open that too slowly and fold the paper neatly?” Harry shouted and gestured amusingly.

“Yeah, right, Harry-dear, but this packet is tightened with label stickers from video tapes, and it doesn’t even have any ribbon, but don’t worry, I don’t mind. The thought is what I value most.” Hermione smiled knowingly as Harry blushed boyishly.

Amongst the wrinkled papers Hermione drew a set of incredibly expensive, very chic and just the right size lingerie. She flushed red as an over boilt crab and tried to hide them under the gift wrapping and stuttered embarrassed thanks to Harry at the same time. She wondered if Mrs. Weasley happened to see what kind of garments, if that unexisting amount of fabric gave them the right to be called garments, were spread on the floor of her living room. Fred and George were whistling and crowding around Hermione in order to see more clearly every tiny and sexy detail of the lingerie. She didn’t know what to do, since the twins were gazing at her and the lingerie like they were measuring in their minds how she would look with those sinful garments on.

As soon as the rowdiness had started, it stopped, when everybody happened to glance at Ron, who appeared to be petrified in his place from the look of a Basilisk. He looked like a scarlet red balloon, which was ready to explode at any moment.

“BLOODY ‘ELL HARRY! WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE? I THOUGHT THAT AS MY BEST FRIEND, YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. THAT YOU WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD TO KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY GIRLFRIEND!” His voice, trembling with fury, got Arthur and Molly Weasley to jump off the couch, meanwhile expecting and excited looks spread on the faces of Fred and George. They seemed like they had been watching an interesting turn in the World Champion Quidditch match. Ron bounced up from the floor like he had been shot by a cannon and grabbed Harry by the front of his shirt.

“Hold your horses, mate, you know nothing about the situation,” Harry said, clearly annoyed at Ron’s quick and almost false conclusions. But Ron’s temper was like an old steam locomotive. Once moving, it made such a horrible noise that it couldn’t hear anything else. He just put more wood on the fire accelerating himself finally to a speed that even a group suicide of forest trolls hadn’t been able to stop him. Ron threw accusations and insults to Harry, spit flying everywhere from his mouth. At the same time he punched Harry’s chest to emphasize the effect of his words. While Ron was shouting Fred and George had transfigured flags and banners with text ‘Harry’ on the other side and ‘Ron’ on the other. This way they could always support the one who appeared to be winning.

Hermione stood astonished against the wall. She felt humiliated, disappointed and angry all at the same time. She saw the screaming riot on the Weasley living room floor, but it was distant, like she was viewing it through a hazy veil; Ginny, who was tearing her mother away from Ron’s throat, as the twins ate popcorn and wore ‘Ron/Harry’ caps shouting their encouraging slogans to both of the quarrelmonger at the same time, and Arthur who ran, confused, to and fro, trying to fulfil his wife’s many and ever changing orders.

Damn you, half-grown idiots, Hermione swore in her mind, sucking her lower lip like when she was a child and needed comfort. I want to go home, I don’t think anyone will miss me here tonight. I am not anybody’s girlfriend, but from the bottom of my heart I hope that I can be friends with both of them. That we could all be friends, like before. Idiots, I wish they’d direct their over-stimulated libidos to other women. I feel like they care more about their own hurt, manly pride, fragile as a spider web, then they care about me. I’m sure neither one of them was thinking about how this stupid scene would make me feel. Bloody hotheads, at least Severus would never do anything as ridiculous as this. Severus…?

There was a tiny ‘pop’ and Hermione Apparated onto the snowy path near the forest. Oh my god, I have managed to get myself in trouble. That doesn’t look like home to me… Fine. Great. That’s just what I needed. Just what I was hoping for. A fancy dress, high heels and a tiny mohair jacket, and the loveliest weather for a nice little Christmas night walk… in the forest… with these pink satin shoes. Shit! On the other hand, this is much better than watching those two wannabe-gladiators fight under the Christmas three.

Hermione thrust her chin up in determination and continued to shamble forward along the dark path. After a few seconds she saw faint light gleaming from the west and the oh so familiar and dear, iron gate was drawn against the misty and grey sky. Hogwarts! I am at Hogwarts, unbelievable; I have never managed to Apparate so far. Thank god I’m still in one piece and I’m safe!

Not daring to take the risk anymore and try to Apparate to her parents’ house, she opened the gate with freezing fingers and ran towards the castle. As she put her hands under her robe, she noticed that one packet was still in her pocket. Well, while I happen to be here, I might as well go and spread the good message of merry Christmas to that spooky man living in the dungeons. Hermione smiled as her sudden insight, a contented blush on her cheeks. Maybe I’ll manage to get some answers too. There has been one thing bothering me...

Chapter 14 - That Bigmouthed Girl

“Miss Granger? I don’t recall inviting you here. Did your Youfinder give you a false alarm, or will you be using a different defense?”

“Merry Christmas to you, too, Professor Snape, it’s such a pleasure, as always,” Hermione said mockingly. “I accidentally Apparated nearby and decided to come and wish you a Merry Christmas, that’s all.” She tried to smile innocently, but failed miserably.

“Highly unlikely, I do not believe a word of your tale. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll close the door and pretend like you were never here.”

Hermione slipped her small foot between the door and pushed herself into the room. He must think I’m the most impertinent person in the world, so I might as well act like it, she thought and remembered a little parcel in her pocket that was meant for Ron. “I came to bring you a Christmas present,” she lied with a clear girlish voice and handed him a gift wrapped in red and gold paper. Professor Snape glowered at it as if it had been a dead snake’s corpse that had been lying on a hot and sunny road for three weeks.

“I hate presents. The only thing I hate more than getting a present is opening one in front of the person who gave it to me,” he snarled tartly with a disgusted look on his face that cunningly concealed the delighted, and surprised, feelings from inside his chest.

“You don’t have to pretend that you like it,” Hermione said, stretching her hand so that the present was touching his fingers.

“As if I would have,” he hissed, but a small, fleeting smile slunk from one corner of his mouth.

“Just open it… please!” Hermione pleaded with a smile on her face.

Severus took the gift, an involuntary look on his face and ripped the gift paper from it. Hermione quickly cast an enlargenment spell to the present and soon there was very nice set of herbal spices and two bottles containing the best quality Olive oil and Vinegar. Severus was astounded, how did she know he liked to cook from time to time? Anyway, the nice, suitable gift wasn’t any reason to spend more time with her than absolutely necessary.

“Well, thank you, I suppose. In case you didn’t know, I happen to have quite extensive storages of my own spices. But while I’ll continue celebrating that Merry Christmas you mentioned, alone, I wish the same to you and I assume you know your way out. Good night, Miss Granger.”

“There was something else too...,” Hermione said hesitantly.

I knew it! I could have sworn she was after something! Severus thought triumphantly.

“What ever it is, I’m sure I’m not interested. If you are not going to leave soon, I’m afraid I’ll have to throw you out of my private chambers, do you understand me?” he muttered under his breath and Hermione noticed he was speaking with his vicious tone, normally used to intimidate his pupils.

“I’m not any silly schoolgirl you can frighten anymore,” Hermione snapped back at him.

You are right about that one, you are hardly a schoolgirl anymore and to my despair I happened to notice it a while ago, Severus thought behind his silent, iceman mask.

“I’m not leaving until you tell me why you did what you did during that blackout at the Christmas party,” Hermione said in a determined way.

“I kissed you,” Professor Snape remarked blankly.

“Yes, you did. I had figured it out that far, but I want to know why,” she continued insistently.

“I kissed you,” he repeated, hoping to gain some more time to figure out something clever to say and slip out of this uncomfortable situation.

“Yes, but why? I need to know why you would do such a thing. You hate me. It’s very unusual to be kissed by someone who despises you so completely, and as you happen to loathe me, though I never have understood why....” Hermione began to feel breathless as her sentences had begun to run onto one another.

“I kissed you… because…” And so stretched a long pause when Hermione could almost see his brain smoking with too much frantic thinking. Maybe he doesn’t know the answer either, Hermione thought, starting to feel almost sympathy towards the seemingly unsure man in front of her. It didn’t last long though, since he opened his mouth again, “…Because I just did. I don’t need to explain my deeds to anybody, and least of all to you, Miss Granger.”

“Wha – hahhat? Don’t you dare try to wriggle out of this one so easily, you... Slytherin. If you don’t remember, I happened to be the object of your deed, so I’m very much entitled to hear what it was for. Let it be your Christmas present to me.” She tried to lighten up the atmosphere and attempted a wheedling smile.

“I don’t give Christmas gifts.”

“Indeed? Isn’t that a surprise. NOW TELL ME BEFORE I LOSE MY TEMPER WITH YOU!” Hermione yelled and took a few steps towards the now very surprised Potions master. He could smell her scent more clearly and precisely now; tangerine, green tea and ginger – She’s wearing my perfume and she’s furious and so beautiful. Severus felt a sudden childlike joy wash over him. Without realising it himself, he was staring at her and a stupid trace of a smile flickered on his lips as he observed her every feature, now trembling with rage.

Hermione couldn’t believe her eyes. Either he had gone absolutely insane or he was just about to say something so mean that it would take years of Hermione’s life to invent something even as slightly as cruel. She was standing in front of him, staring defiantly into his night-black eyes, and swallowed.

What did I say? What were we talking about? Her mouth went dry and she had to lick her lips. Like a reflection from a mirror, he moistened his lips too with his warm and soft tongue and leaned a little closer to her. She could feel her body go suddenly very weak and her breath started to quicken. Severus felt as if his heart was trying to hammer a hole into his chest in order to break free from its narrow prison. And if it did, where would it go? he thought, seeing surrealistically in his mind how his heart jerked itself out of his chest and took a wide leap into her arms. For a second he saw Hermione holding his bleeding heart in her hands; and, terrified by this sight, he forced himself to snatch himself out of the odd spell that had surrounded them for a moment.

“If that’s all, you are dismissed. I’m in no mood for defending myself from silly misinterpretations of a harrowing person such as you. Good night, Miss Granger.”

Hermione had to bite her lip so as not to explode. That’s it, this is too much, I’m going to grab that heavy vase on the fireplace and smash it onto that ugly face of his, she thought fiercely, almost reaching for the Floo powder vase nearby. But instead she took a deep breath, shot a piercing glance in Professor Snape’s direction and sat dramatically down in one of his armchairs.

“No. I’m in no mood for your silly games. I’ll sit here and wait until you follow my example and sit down too. Then we’ll have a little chat and I’ll leave when I am satisfied,” Hermione said with a firm and freezing tone that could easily compete with one of his intimidating tones any day. “Cut the crap and sit down.”

Severus was so stunned that he did as ordered and noticed that this new and dominating Hermione made he feel… aroused. Again. Oh fuck.

“Why do I get the feeling I’m talking to a mentally retarded five-year-old? For the third time, answer my question. It’s such a simple one too: Why did you kiss me?”

Severus felt his palms starting to sweat and for a fleeting moment he felt sorry for Neville Longbottom, if this was how he made him feel in his classes years ago. He wanted this to end as soon as possible, so he decided to play along.

“The question might be simple, but it doesn’t mean the answer will be. I don’t know why I did it. That’s an honest and straight answer, so I hope your are content and will at last leave me be.”

“That’s better, yes, but I’m far from gratified. I had expected more of you, since you are supposed to be such a brave and daring man, a hero, double agent and a spy, an ex-Death Eater… and then - you kiss a lady abruptly and under the total cover of darkness, and then refuse to explain your motives to her. Doesn’t sound very heroic to me, does it?”

If Severus Snape could have been able to feel abashed, he would have, but instead he was starting to feel very annoyed at the direction the discussion was taking.

“What do you want? An apology? That can be arranged. A confession of love? Hopefully not, but just tell me what it is you are after and I’ll do it, since I so desperately want to get rid of you for good.”

“Fine,” Hermione said tilting her chin to face Professor Snape. “I want you to look straight into my eyes and tell me you are sorry for kissing me and will never do it again.”

There was an icy silence while Severus weighed his alternatives. Then he rose abruptly, took a tight grip at Hermione’s shoulder and hissed viciously into her ear.

“Enough of this nonsense. You have crossed a line here and nobody, I mean NOBODY can come here and give me orders like that.” He lifted her up from her chair and pushed her harshly towards the exit of his quarters.

“I have had enough of this impudence of yours, Miss Granger. Vanish from my sight. Now!”

Hermione was upset from the sudden outburst from the inconsistent man. The physical contact by him had really startled her. His eyes were nailed to hers and she could almost see the electric lightning bolts hurling from him. Their power game started to look more ugly than challenging to her; but Hermione wasn’t ready to admit her loss - not just yet.

“There’s no need to be rude, Professor. I’ll go, since I realise your complete inability to talk about emotional issues. I’m sorry that I obviously pressed you over the limits you can handle, but you still owe me an explanation.” And I’ll get it out from you even if I have to use tongs.

Hermione lifted her face and was about to wish a good night to his infernal highness when Severus suddenly stopped pushing her.

His hands still laying on her shoulders, he said with a low and quiet voice, “Here’s your explanation, and after you’ve heard it, leave me alone for the rest of my life, do I make myself clear, Miss Granger?” Severus took a deep breath and continued with his most velvety voice, “It was all because of those damned gingerbreads of Madam Sprout. She had apparently put a great amount of Damiana powder in them. It was nothing personal, just a very unpleasant mistake, and I am sorry, (you can’t even begin to understand just how much), that it had to happen. I would very much have preferred it not happen. It was an unfortunate mistake that will indeed never be repeated.”

His words had poured down to her ear like honey, and she felt her brain functions become quite sticky. Not from the content of his words, there was nothing sweet in it, but his voice… Severus was leaning so close to her that she could feel his hot breath on her neck. It caressed her sensitive skin and sent unexpected and startling jolts through her whole body.

As he inhaled deeply he couldn’t help but notice the feminine scent lingering in his nose. Earlier, when she had arrived at his rooms, he had first recognised an aroma of wild fresh linden and some white lilies, and he had immediately known she was wearing an invention of his own, but now the scent had changed again. There was a sudden cloud of jasmine and ginger, and under the sweet fragrance of neroli, there was a growing feel of patchouli. It hit him like a bludger.

Hermione felt as if that honey in her brain had flown through her body, down, down, till it had finally reached her hips. As his last words echoed through her head, she finally understood the meaning of them. ‘A mistake that will never happen again.’ It stung her heart in the most peculiar way when an abrupt, heavy and fierce weight was pressed on her lips. The back of Hermione’s head hit the door behind her as Severus came against her like a bulldozer, kissing her with hungry and passionate lips. He wrapped her demandingly into his arms and caressed her ravished mouth with his yearning tongue. She felt as if a huge tidal wave of lust had washed over her and because of it she entangled her hands around his slender and strong body that was now heated with, for once, another feeling which was stronger than anger. Instinctively Hermione pressed her hips against his hardness, a sign of the ex-Potion master's overwhelming arousal for her. She heard a small gasp escape his throat and he moved his craving mouth to her ear and down to her delicate and delicious neck like a sexy vampire of sorts.

“You had those gingerbreads for a little snack before I came here?” Hermione asked mockingly, her voice full of laughter as she tried to kiss his lips once again.

Instead of responding, he pushed her away from him and mumbled with an unfathomed expression his eyes, “I must apologize, I don’t know what hit me. It’s time for you to go now, before I do something you’ll come to regret.”

“I’ll come to regret? Unless you were planning to beat and kill me, I don’t see how this could have led to anything I would come to regret. Stop treating me like a child. Just because you want to hesitate and don’t know what you’re doing, doesn’t mean that I am as helpless,” Hermione blurted out and sent an annoyed glance to Severus’ surprised eyes. She grabbed him by the lapels of his black shirt and forced him to walk a few steps backwards until they stood next to his large and inviting bed. She pushed him so hard that he lost his balance and fell onto it. Hermione jumped nimbly like a cat on top of him and started unbuttoning his shirt with limber fingers. She kissed his ear, neck and the bare skin of the chest, which was obviously exposed under the garment. Severus could hardly prevent himself from moaning, but he forced himself to seize her hands in his own to stop her.

“Uhh… You don’t have to do this…” Severus managed to utter.

“I don’t? Well, isn’t that a relief!” she said, smiling mischievously and kissed him teasingly on his lips.

“If you just go now, it’ll be all right…” He tried to move out from under her.

“You are worse than Lockhart, you know!”

What! She has had sex with that twit? Severus’ mind was screaming, but calmed down when she finished her sentence.

“You just never get tired of hearing your own voice.” Hermione’s hands gently probed Severus’ amazingly soft skin, but that wasn’t any surprise to her anymore. She felt an ever-growing desire to feel the touch of his warm skin on her own bare body.

“But, I just...,” Severus tried again.

“Be quiet when I kiss you; you’ll have plenty of time to babble when I give you a blow job,” Hermione said, smiling sweetly and innocently like an obedient schoolgirl.

All these years I have accused her to be such an annoying bigmouthed, impudent and bossy girl, but I never really thought her to be anything else than the toady and prudent little overachiever. Have I ever been as pleased to admit how wrong and unfair my prejudices were, Severus thought, slightly alarmed, but as Hermione had already started what she had promised, he was gladly willing, for once, to let her have the last word. And when he considered the subject even more he found there really wasn’t anything that had to be said at the moment.

The End