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A Brush with Magic

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A hairbrush. An object so simplistic and ordinary one’s gaze might pass over it with nary a second thought. Its intended purpose is mundane, basic enough that even a child can grasp its perfunctory mechanics. It is common. Expected. Easily dismissed.  

But, as with so much in life, things are never quite what they appear. One glance can no more reveal a brush’s totality any more than it can reveal the full spectrum of a man ... or woman. Even these words, while descriptive of passing perception, can express but a fraction of reality’s grandeur.   

Still, a glimpse of grandeur, no matter how small, is a sight to behold—and well worth a peek.  

The brush, in this instance, is a marvelous specimen purchased by one Severus Snape for his wife, Hermione Granger-Snape, whilst honeymooning on the Isle of Wight. Magical in nature, the brush is charmed to detangle, and Severus, being a practical man—with a dry sense of humor—thought it might deescalate the violence of her daily mane-taming. While he found great beauty in her hair as a whole, he didn’t enjoy being chased from the bathroom by a seething banshee who wielded her own torn tresses like handfuls of Medusa’s snakes. A magical aid seemed prudent.  

He spotted the brush in a quaint storefront as he returned from a nearby bistro with their lunch. The shop, which sold an assortment of charmed grooming products, had filled their front window with curtains of multicolored hair and then loosed an army of brushes on its snarled surface. Transfixed, Severus watched for a full minute before noticing the sign. Hochton & Pierson: The Finest Brushes Made in Britain since 1910. Guaranteed to detangle and smooth with no fuss or your money back!   Severus chose the black one.  

Hermione smiled down at the finely wrought mahogany box Severus set in her lap. “What’s this?” 

“A belated wedding present.” 

Brow quirked, Hermione lifted the lid. When she saw the brush resting on its plush, contoured cradle, she glanced up, the lines in her forehead deepening with confusion. “You bought me a brush?” 

Au contraire, I bought you the finest brush made in Britain. Guaranteed to detangle and smooth with no fuss.” 

Hermione choked back her snort. “Severus, I hate to break it to you, but I have a drawer full of charmed brushes at home. They’re helpful, but they’re not miraculous.” 

“Then I shall request a refund. The proprietress assured me we have a full sixty days to decide whether it meets your rigorous standards, and I may return it by owl if it doesn’t live up to the advertising.” 

Hermione ran a finger along the silicone handle, riding over the hills and valleys of the textured grip. “It is nicely made.” Pulling it from the box, she studied the odd configuration of bristles. “But I seriously doubt this thing is going to make it through my hair.” 

“If you don’t like it, simply put it back in the box, and I’ll return it tomorrow.” 

Pursing her lips in defiance, Hermione clutched the brush to her breast. “No! I never said I didn’t like it. It’s a very thoughtful gift.” 

With a small smirk, Snape sat down on the edge of the bed. “Why don’t you come over here and let me test it out on you? We can find out right now whether or not it’s satisfactory.” 

Her brown eyes narrowed. “You want to brush my hair for me?” 

“I don’t see why you should sound so surprised. I’ve been nothing but complimentary of your curls since the day we started dating.” 

“Yes, I distinctly recall you asking me how I ‘fit it all through the door of my flat.’” 

“I maintain that was a legitimate question. That door was abnormally narrow, and your hair anything but.” 

Grinning, she shook her head at his stubborn excuse. “All right then. I’m game. Let’s see if Hochton & Pierson are the tangle whisperers they claim to be.” 

Severus spread his legs and patted the space between his thighs, the corner of his mouth tilting in a suggestive leer.  

“You’re ever so subtle,” she laughed. 

“It is our honeymoon. I see no reason I shouldn’t enjoy myself to the fullest extent.” 

“The fullest extent,” she snickered as she took her place between his legs, bum snuggled up against the soft bulge distending his woolen placket. “You do make it sound enticing.” 

Severus started at the bottom of her locks, gently drawing the brush through the knotted ends. She made no noise of discomfort, nor did she pull away. Taking her silence as consent, he moved the brush higher and quickly worked through the lower half of her mane. “How does that feel?” 

“Fine so far. Are you sure you’re actually brushing all of my hair? You can’t just do the top layer and leave a rat’s nest underneath.” 

Pausing, Severus combed his fingers through the section he’d finished. “Rest assured, you have been thoroughly ... penetrated.” 

Hermione snorted. “Have I?” She tickled his knee. “Are we calling two times in one morning thorough now?” 

“Were you not satisfied?” he murmured, brushing her hair back from her ear so she could feel the heat of his breath. “You screamed as if you were satisfied.” 

“I was ... pleased,” she replied teasingly. “Very pleased. But satisfaction requires something more than intense pleasure.” 

“Indeed,” he purred as the soft curve of her bottom shifted against his groin. “Could it be that my feisty little lioness needs another course to satisfy her hunger?” 

Shivering, she gripped his thighs, knuckles white. “Perhaps.” 

Chuckling under his breath, Severus worked the brush up to the crown of her head. “Perhaps. You sound reluctant to admit your desires, pet. Is there something you’d like to tell me?” 

The index finger of her right hand nervously traced the seam of his trousers. “I was just thinking, it might be nice if we ... did that thing with the silk scarves again.” 

He grinned. “You want me to tie you up. I had no idea you’d like that so much.” 

“And maybe we could do some other things, too.” 

“For instance ...?” 

“I’d rather not say.” 

“How will I know unless you tell me?” 

“Legilimency?” 

“But it’s so much more fun to hear you say it.” 

“Severus!” 

“Yes?” he replied calmly. 

“Must you make this so difficult? You obviously know what I want.” 

Flexing his arse, Severus ground his growing erection into her rump. “I’ve no idea, I assure you. Please elucidate.” 

Shaking her head, a titter ghosting her lips, Hermione sighed and leaned into his hands. “I like it when you ...”—her words quieted to a whisper—“when you take me, when you’re in charge. I like it when you tell me what you want and how much you want me.” 

Severus gripped her hair in a loose fist and tipped her head to the side. Nuzzling her ear, he dropped his voice to a low rumble. “You’re so careful to avoid the word submission, as if those three syllables could diminish you if spoken aloud. Is that what you think, my love, that your desires are too taboo to mention, so shameful they might steal your strength?” 

Her eyes fluttered shut. “Submission isn’t my default setting. I don’t know how to let go.” 

“Then, by all means,” he murmured, lips skimming her temple, “allow me to show you.” 

And he did, for the eschewing of sexual repression required an experiential approach, and Severus didn’t mind playing the educator when both the subject and pupil were so engrossing.  

Although momentarily forgotten in the ensuing rumpus, the brush was recalled when Snape had his hands wrapped in her hair, steering her face up and down his rigid length. Usually his fingers became caught in her chestnut locks, at war with the ever-twisted strands, but the riot had been brushed into bushy waves, and, when he clasped her head, it felt as if he’d buried his fingers in a heap of silken thread.  

He didn’t mention the difference until later, which prompted Hermione to raise a hand to her hair, curious to see for herself what magic the brush had worked.   

Deciding it had, indeed, delivered on its promises, and declaring Severus brilliant for bringing the object into her life, Hermione gave the hairbrush a place of honor on her bureau when they returned home, and she used it from that day forward, each time reminded of the greatest wedding gift she’d received.   

That of satisfaction.  

***  

Brushes, like people, come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are thin, and some are stout. Some are curvy, while others are angular. Stiff or flexible, utilitarian or ornamental, the combinations are endless.  

Hermione’s brush is large, the bed of bristles wide and rectangular. As wide as Snape’s palm. The boar bristles, which are set at varying lengths and interspersed with flexible silver spokes, are a deep brown, the shade so rich and lustrous they appear ebony to the naked eye. The body of the brush is matte black, a charmed material that is both lightweight and waterproof. Flowing from the body to the handle, there is a magically seamless transition to the silicone grip, which, for comfort and dexterity, is moulded into a succession of puffy, close-set rings that grow wider in the center and then taper to a rounded point at the end.  

Hermione cannot help but stroke the brush’s sleek contours when she removes it from its presentation box. The shifting textural landscape keeps her nerve endings guessing, and something in her finds the gradation of smoothness hypnotic. Bumping her fingertip over the ridged handle, she often tries to count the hills, but, distracted by the strangely silky hardness, her mind inevitably wanders.   

It wanders to Severus and his strangely silky hardness. His cock. His voice. His personality. The similarities between her hairbrush and her husband are many. Both are artistically designed, a pleasure to the eye. Both cloak themselves in black, which conveys a sense of cold austerity that belies their underlying gentleness. And both could soothe and sting with equal force—a lesson Hermione learned upon their return home.  

“Severus,” Hermione called from the bathroom. “Are you still reading in there?” 

From his armchair in the bedroom, Severus replied in the affirmative. 

“Do you want to ... brush my hair for me?” 

Still awkward about naming her desires, Hermione had come to rely on the brush to speak for her. She needed only show it to Severus, and he’d take the hint, as well as the lead, transforming from her devoted husband to her no-nonsense lover faster than she could say “yes, sir.”  

“Of course I do,” he answered, his tone nonchalant. 

Piqued by his blasé response, Hermione poked her head out of the bathroom. “You heard what I just said, didn’t you?” 

In his chair by the fire, Severus continued to read. “Yes.” 

“We can skip it if you’re not in the mood.” 

As Snape turned the page in his book, he glanced up, his eyes momentarily flashing with obsidian fire. “When am I ever not in the mood?” 

Sure her clean knickers were clean no more, Hermione squirmed. “You didn’t sound inspired by the suggestion.” 

Severus marked his place and set the book on the end table. “I am perpetually inspired by you, my dear. But I am disappointed that, after our previous three discussions, you still refuse to simply tell me what is you want. You use that brush like some sort of sexual messaging system.” 

“If you’re receiving the message, what’s the problem?” 

His lip twitched in a fleeting smirk. “The problem is your flagrant disregard of the rules we both agreed on. You said you wanted our marriage to be open and honest, yet you continue to ignore my pleas for simple clarification. And when it comes to a subject as precarious as sexual dominance, I hardly think clarification is an unreasonable request. I dare say it is a requirement. 

Hermione knew he was right, but she despised talking about such things. It screamed of such gaucherie—and made her feel painfully inadequate. Huffing out her perturbation, she looked up at the ceiling, avoiding his gaze. “Oh, very well. What should I say, then? Please, dear husband, would you be so kind as to shag me rotten before we retire for the evening?” 

Severus rubbed at his mouth, obscuring his smirk. “That’s a decent start. Why don’t you get your hairbrush and bring it over here? We’ll hammer out the details once you’ve calmed down.” 

Shoulders sinking with relief, Hermione went to the bureau and retrieved the brush from its box. A good scalp massage always settled her nerves. And if he insisted on analyzing their sex life mid-brushing, at least she wouldn’t have to look him in the eye while he did it. Such matters were infinitely easier to discuss when he couldn’t see her face turning twelve shades of red. 

As Hermione approached, Severus moved to the edge of his seat and spread his legs so she could sit on the floor and lean back against him. Eyeing the crotch of his black pyjamas, Hermione smiled, spotting the shadow of swelling. She wasn’t the only one keen to get started. 

When Hermione handed over the brush, Severus grabbed her by the wrist. Hard. His eyes burned into hers, and he arched one black brow. “Lift up your nightgown and show me your knickers.” 

Biting her lip to keep her nervous giggling at bay, Hermione nodded. He released her arm, and, after shaking off the squeeze, she daintily drew up the hem of her thigh-length nighty. The material was thin—simple cotton—and the peach color set off her sun-brown skin. 

Hermione looked down at her white knickers, the sides of which were no more than thin strips of elastic. They’d seemed sweetly sexy when she put them on, but she felt utterly exposed by his slow perusal of them; she might as well have worn nothing. 

Disguising her anxiety with a cheeky grin, she goaded him with a flippant, “Are they to your liking, sir?” 

“They are indeed.” 

“May I sit down now?” 

“I think not.” 

She clutched her hem tighter. His voice excited her, the dark promise of pleasures to come, but she didn’t know what she was supposed to do. He just wanted her to stand there? 

“I think it’s time we settled this once and for all,” Severus said. “Don’t you?” 

“Settle what?” 

A slow grin spread across his lips, curling the corners with wicked glee. “It’s time to cure you of your reticence.” 

Before she could divine his meaning, he grabbed her by the hips and dragged her over his lap, upending her with an unceremonious grunt. 

Too shocked to comprehend his intentions, Hermione planted her hands on the ground and tried to push herself back up. “Severus! What are you doing?” 

He shoved her nightgown halfway up her back and held it in place, pressing the bunched fabric between her shoulder blades. “Giving your hairbrush a new interpretation.” 

The back of the brush made sharp contact with her buttocks, and Hermione yelped in surprise. Severus had slapped her arse on occasion—usually whilst railing into her from behind—but never had he struck her in reproach. The insinuation rankled. He was treating her like an impertinent child. How dare he!  

Hermione threw back her hand to block the next blow, but Severus caught her by the wrist and held her hand to the side. 

“No reaching back,” he admonished. “Take your punishment like a good little girl.” 

Kicking and wiggling, Hermione struggled against his restraint, but he had her held fast. “Severus, let me up this instant!” 

“Not until you’ve learned your lesson.” 

“What lesson? To tell you what I want in bed? Fine! You have my word. Now let me go.” 

“I shall do no such thing. The lesson tonight is not about you grudgingly forcing out some half-hearted request; it is about you willingly and unashamedly giving voice to your desires.” 

“My desire right now is for you to let me up.” 

“You know your safe word as well as I do. Are you going to call an end to this exercise before it’s begun? Or will your purported Gryffindor bravery give your diffidence a run for its money?” 

Hermione went still, turning his questions over in her mind. He’d never actually done anything she disliked. Even when he played the scoundrel, cruel and debauched, she enjoyed the manhandling. The only difference between her current position and those previous scenes was the fact that she hadn’t specifically asked to be spanked. 

And in that moment, she saw, quite clearly, that, although she had professed a desire for submission, she’d never actually submitted; she’d merely masked her control in the trappings of submissive play. It had been an act, with her as the unwitting star and audience. Did Severus know he’d taken a lead role in her inadvertent farce?

“I don’t hear you saying the magic word,” Severus crooned, his tone low and teasing. “Am I to take your silence as assent?” 

Hermione chewed at her lip for a few seconds, then closed her eyes and whispered a quivery, “Yes.” 

Snape’s brow perked. “Yes? Just like that you’ve changed your mind?” 

She shrugged, which, she realized, he probably couldn’t see. “Yes. I said I want you to be in charge, but ... I’m always the one who decides what we do. I’m in charge even though I pretend I’m not—even though we both pretend I’m not. I guess I’d like to see what it’s like to really let go with you.” 

Severus released her wrist and ran his hand over her rump, smoothing her knickers as he pondered her words. Essentially, she was telling him she trusted him, which he already knew, but perhaps she‘d never explored the depths of her trust. It would be a heady undertaking for someone as tightly wound as his wife.  

His heart swelled, touched by her willing vulnerability. Her leap of faith. 

Patting her left cheek, Severus nodded, smiling to himself. “Are you sure you’re ready to let go, Miss Granger? This will be quite uncomfortable for you ... and I don’t just mean your backside.” 

With a heated blush, Hermione smiled at the floor. He only ever called her Miss Granger when they played rough. It was a harkening back to her days as his student. He intended to teach her something, and no doubt the lesson would be hard won. “Yes, sir. I’m ready.” 

“Then place your hands on the floor and brace yourself. There will be no more reaching back. You will take your spanking like a proper young lady and thank me for giving you the opportunity to atone for your lack of marital transparency.” 

Pressing her lips into a tight line, Hermione bit back her snort. The man had chastisement down to an art. But rather than making her feel guilty, the reprimand sent her surging in the opposite direction. How soon would he discover the wetness that waited between her legs? The longer he lectured, the more saturated she was apt to become. Spreading her thighs, she encouraged him to note the degree of her earnestness.  

Snape smirked and patted her derrière with the back of the brush. “I applaud your enthusiasm for correction, Miss Granger. Let’s see if it lasts, shall we?” 

The hairbrush slapped against her bum, right where her leg and buttocks joined, below the protective barrier of her knickers. Too stunned to make a sound, Hermione froze, her eyes widening as the heat spread across her skin. 

Although he paused and watched her reaction, Severus gave her little time to recover. The brush hopped back and forth, from one cheek to the next. In its wake it left a series of pink patches that, after a minute of unrelenting smacks, merged into a single blur of deep crimson heat.  

Hermione’s attempts to restrain her complaints ended in a sudden explosion of shouts, and desperate for some tactile tension relief, she grabbed ahold of Snape’s leg and squeezed. The sting in her backside grew to an overwhelming burn, hundreds of throbbing nerve endings screaming for succor. Though she did her best not to kick, to be a good girl and take her spanking, her legs began to jerk and twitch, and the more she tried to relax, the more violent the jittering became. 

Severus allowed them both a moment reprieve, setting down the brush to free his hands. “My, my, what a red bottom, you have, Miss Granger. It seems we’re well on our way to relieving you of your selective mutism.” 

“This is not funny, Severus. My bum seriously hurts.” 

Snape pressed a finger to her cheek to watch the color change from red to white. “I’m sure it does hurt. That is the point. But I dare say, your misery lies not in your sore bottom but your wounded pride. You just can’t stand that you don’t have a say in what’s happening. You don’t know who you are when you’re not fighting, do you?” 

Caught off guard by the question, Hermione forgot her discomfort. The concept of not fighting sounded absolutely foreign to her; so foreign it hadn’t even crossed her mind. She made everything into a battle, a goal, even when that meant turning herself into the opponent. Why did she do that? 

“I don’t think you need these anymore,” Severus said, slipping a finger beneath the leg of her knickers and following the curve of her cheek down into the valley of her cleft. “Lift up for me. Proper spankings require a bare bottom.”  

Torn between arousal and terror, Hermione hesitated. For some reason, her sex longed to be on display, eager for his attention to fall on its shining glory, yet her stomach clenched with foreboding. What would the hairbrush do to her without that protective layer? She didn’t know the answer, didn’t know what to do, and she hated that sickening surge of doubt. Unfortunately, “the unknown” went hand in hand with surrender, the two essentially synonymous. She could find no liberation whilst clinging to the familiar. To have any effect, any meaning, her letting go had to be absolute. 

Taking a deep breath, Hermione closed her eyes and lifted her hips for him. 

Snape smiled. “My brave little lioness, so ready to show me her ... courage.” He hooked his thumbs into the sides of her knickers and slowly drew them down to her knees. “Spread your legs for me, little one. Let me see how pink you’ve gotten.” He didn’t specify where. 

Hermione gasped when she felt his hands on her overheated derrière. He seemed to be assessing the damage. Or temperature. A single finger traced her divide, and, in response, a trickle of wetness seeped from her sex. Gooseflesh broke out along the backs of her legs, and, when he skimmed the bumps with a delicate touch, a shiver of desire prickled up her spine. She gripped his leg tighter. 

“This looks lovely,” Snape commented. “Such a becoming hue.” 

Both his thumbs slid along her crack, and, as they ascended, he parted her cheeks, exposing her to the open air. Hermione made a noise of stunned excitement, a moan that wavered with disbelief. Although he had explored her nether regions on many occasions, tasting her passion almost nightly, he’d never spread her open like a book and studied her details. She felt his gaze penetrating her glistening folds, circling her twitching anus. Ashamed that, despite her current ambiguity, her body insisted on telling such a lurid tale, Hermione fought back a rush of confused tears. How she wished she could disavow the display, but she couldn’t deny the ache in her clitoris or the pulse of hunger that throbbed through her veins. 

Severus opened her wider, watching as her sphincter and introitus gave him a coquettish wink, the latter drooling profusely. A sign of desire. Want. Yet he could feel the reluctance thrumming through her wired posture. The human body could sometimes subvert the mind, presenting a contradictory welcome in the presence of revulsion, so he couldn’t assume her ample lubrication amounted to unreserved arousal. He’d have to test the waters—so to speak. 

“You’re even more pink in here, pet. And you smell divine. Am I to take it that you no longer object to being over my knee?” 

His pinky grazed her slippery folds, and Hermione whimpered.  

“That wasn’t an answer.” 

“No,” she mumbled at the floor. 

“No, what?” 

“No, I don’t mind.” 

“No, you don’t mind ... what ?” 

Hermione smirked. “No, I don’t mind, sir .” 

“Are you enjoying it?” 

She made a noise of indecision.  

Severus chuckled and wiggled his pinky against her perineum, which coaxed an involuntary quiver from her right leg. “I understand your reticence. Pain can be difficult to embrace. Perhaps once you experience the relief of accepting it, you’ll find a certain amount of freedom in this position. 

Hermione doubted that. 

“Let’s return to the brush, shall we? We’re nowhere near the end of this lesson, and I want to make sure you master the concept before we finish. It’s time to deepen your understanding of clear communication. ” 

Before he released her cheeks, Severus let his finger drift over her bottom hole. But rather than giving it the usual “accidental” graze, he circled back, tracing her pucker with purposeful precision. Round and round. It was time to find out whether she liked the sensation or merely found it tolerable. 

Hermione’s eyes popped open. He didn’t often touch her there. It was more of a naughty suggestion, a place that, adjacent to the main attraction, got some attention, but, being a less than pleasant destination, warranted some distance.  

Except it wasn’t unpleasant. It felt strangely sensitive. And exciting. Illicit. Hermione arched her back to give him better access. 

Snape’s cock twitched against her hip. “That’s my good girl,” he purred. “So many sweet spots—so much pleasure. Perhaps we’ll explore your submission in other areas ... once you learn to ask for it.” 

Her slapped her bum to punctuate his point, and Hermione cried out.  

“Excellent start, my love. Now let’s see what you have to say to the hairbrush.” 

A hollow pop exploded against her bum, and Hermione jerked up, almost coming off his lap. “Ow!” 

He gave no reprieve. The hits came in quick succession. Pop! Pop! Pop!  

Hermione longed to reached back and rub away the burn, but she didn’t dare. 

After a minute, Severus turned up the heat, laying on several hard licks to one cheek before switching to the other. She began to dance in his lap, her bum glowing with red warmth. Legs swishing back and forth, anxiously rubbing, desperate to kick, her knickers danced their way down to her feet. Snape kept one eye on them as they descended. When they hit the floor, he smiled and reapplied himself to her posterior.  

The wail in Hermione’s chest emerged as a moan. Everything came at her too fast: the heat, the sting, the odd pressure in her pelvis. Severus, as always, was relentless. The man had some purpose in mind, a purpose she couldn’t fathom. He couldn’t possibly want her bum any redder; her flesh felt like pure fire. And the pain of it pounded though her in constant waves, the inescapable sting growing to a roar she couldn’t bear. 

But no matter how much she kicked and shouted, he continued, undeterred.  

Pop! Pop! Pop!  

White fire seared her backside, flickering over her flesh with a demonic snap. Unable to withstand a second more, she began to beg. “Please, Severus! It’s too much. Stop!” 

Severus didn’t reply. She hadn’t said her safe word, and he knew she wasn’t so far gone she’d forgotten she could use it. If she truly wanted him to stop, she could do so with no more than a whispered syllable. No, her cries were for show—perhaps a show for herself, so that, in the end, when she fell, she could claim she’d fought valiantly. Those pleas were the final death knell of her dwindling control. 

Seeing that Severus had no intention of taking another break, Hermione’s mind went blank. There would be no reprieve. She kept telling herself that she couldn’t take any more, that she should safe word out, yet every second she survived proved her wrong. She could take more; she was taking more. Although her mind wanted him to stop, she didn’t need him to stop. The difference was subtle but not beyond her comprehension. Her bum might hurt, but she wasn’t in danger.  

The only danger was to her ego. But what did she really have to lose? What would happen if she just gave up and let the pain wash over her?  Would she be any worse off? Pleading didn’t lessen the throbbing in her backside; it only gave her the illusion of doing something about it. 

Struck by a sudden sense of ease, Hermione burst into tears, sobbing at the floor and slumping against Snape’s thigh. 

“That’s it,” Severus murmured. “Let it all out.” 

Hermione knew only pounding and pulse and pain and tears. But, despite that, her body felt light. Floating. The arguments and pleading faded from her thoughts, and she found a strangely effortless peace in her weeping. With nothing to do but lie there and feel, she was free in a way she’d never before known. There was nothing to do but be

“Your tongue seems looser now, my love.” Severus paused briefly, his swats slowing to an intermittent crawl. “Would you care to expound on your desires now?” 

Sniffling, Hermione nodded.  

“Then speak, witch. Tell me the truth. Is this the surrender and submission you seek?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“And when you wish to find this freedom again, how will you ask? Will you present me with a brush as if it were a lead and I your loyal dog who sees it and responds with predictable excitement?” 

Startled by the comparison, Hermione took a moment to process his question. Was that what she’d been doing? Had she, in her cowardice, deprived him of some humanity? It was true, she never asked him what he wanted when they played; she just assumed that, since he participated with such enthusiasm, their desires coincided. 

And perhaps they did, but, unless she asked, and they talked openly, how would she ever know? He deserved to be heard, and she wanted nothing more than to know all of his deepest, most private longings—and to be their fruition.  

Hermione sniffed her runny nose and wiped at her eyes with a shaky hand. “When I need this particular freedom, I will come to you and ask for a spanking, sir.” 

Severus smiled. “Say it right now. How will you ask me?” 

Taking a deep breath, Hermione gathered her courage. “Please, sir, will you give me a spanking?” 

Snape lightly drew his fingertips across her backside. “Excellent. And what if you’re in the mood for, say, a night of bondage? How will you ask?” 

Hermione spread her legs as his fingers feathered lower, over her quim. “Ah! Um ...” She swallowed hard and forced herself to focus. “Please, sir, will you tie me to the bed and fuck me?” 

“You do seem to have caught on to the general idea,” he replied with a note of amusement. “How, then, would you like to proceed this evening? I assume you’ve had enough spanking.” 

“Yes, sir. More than enough.” Hermione bowed her head in thought. “I ... I’d like to hear what you want. I realize I never ask; I just assume. You must have some fantasies we haven’t explored yet.” 

Snape’s heart expanded in his chest, a balloon on the threshold of bursting. With one hand, he braced his breastbone to keep it from cracking under the pressure. “Come up here, love. Sit in my lap.” 

Hermione carefully backed off his knee, Severus assisting in her relocation, both hands guiding her hips. When she was straddling him, her baked bum hovering between his spread thighs, he pulled her nightshirt over her head and tossed it aside, leaving her bare and feeling uncharacteristically shy. 

Her hands rose to cover her breasts—as if they were a secret she needed to keep hidden—but he stilled her, his fingers loose around her wrists. He brought her arms back to her sides, and Hermione blushed at the unobstructed view she provided. 

“This is what I fantasize about,” he murmured. “Your naked body, unadorned, open to my pleasure.” 

High on arousal and the lingering throb of adrenaline, Hermione closed her eyes and let the wave of uncertainty take her. As the pull of desire climbed her spine, approaching her heart, she arched her back and presented her breasts in offering. 

“Yes,” he hissed. “Your body responding to me, unable to control itself.” Severus pulled her closer, so her rosy nipples brushed the cotton of his pyjama top. “I want all of you, every inch, desperate for my touch.” 

“You already have it,” she panted. “I want you everywhere, Severus.” 

Snape growled and pressed his erection against the heat of her slit. “We’ll see about that, little one, but, whatever the results, no doubt we’ll have fun testing your theory.” 

And test it they did, that night and many others. Hermione found herself blossoming under the brilliance of Snape’s adoration, and all the sexual acts she’d been so reluctant to speak of sprouted up like a wild garden of verdant passion, as if they’d been seeded inside her and needed only the damp soil of suggestion to take root.   

Severus, ever the diligent gardener, encouraged her growth, and, when he wasn’t looking, the tendrils of her newfound freedom twined themselves around his soul, so that her energy and bliss attached to his heart like ivy to a stone wall. Her ecstasy became his own, and, likewise, his became hers, reflecting against one another and doubling in strength until they no longer knew a separation of pleasure.   

Hermione openly asked for all she desired, and Severus, happy to be her desire, provided for her gladly. Where she longed to lose herself in him, he longed to take her in completely. The harmony between them came effortlessly.   

And so it was for our humble acquaintance, the brush. When called upon, it dutifully played its part as comforter and disciplinarian, a complement to their moods and needs. They took to using the item in their games, working it into the plots of their varied fantasies: perverted professor and naughty schoolgirl, Antony and Cleopatra, Aphrodite and the satyr. Hermione even talked Snape into being her Prince Charming so she could play Rapunzel—strictly as a special homage to the brush that had been the touchpoint in their sex life.  

But it wasn’t until Hermione admitted to her newest fantasies, those inspired by Snape’s intrepid exploration of places previously unexplored, that Severus thought to expand on the role assigned to their unsung partner.  

*** 

Severus leaned back in his armchair and crossed one leg over the other, projecting a posture of casual indifference. He swirled his brandy with a laxity that spoke of unhurried contentment. 

That calmness was strictly for show. 

Behind the scenes, his cock vigorously attacked his placket, intent on Hermione, who knelt on all fours at the foot of the bed, her arse aimed toward him, a circle of fresh-spanked-red staining her flesh like a bright bullseye. They’d been at it for half an hour already, her begging for the brush, and Severus giving it to her until she let loose, her rampant tears the first step in that night’s atonement.  

But he’d concluded the spanking with a new finale, one which seemed to have left her utterly speechless.  

Although, really, what could one say when penetrated by the very object that had just brought such a scorching deliverance?  

The handle of the brush fit perfectly into her anxious little bottom hole, the tapered point providing a gentle transition to the round fullness of the handle’s textured grip. He’d slicked the black silicone in lube and pressed it to her pucker while his other hand cupped the base of her throat, his fingers monitoring the rapid staccato of her pulse as it skipped through her neck. When he told her she’d be holding the brush in her backside until further notice, she’d moaned and nodded, tears of release slipping down her face in a fit of gratitude.  

He’d never witnessed such a magnificent creature as his wife in the throes of surrender. She became something more than Hermione, more than his love. She was freedom itself. Although she appeared to be at his mercy, when she really let go, he could no more control her than the sky could control a bolt of lightning. 

He sat in awe of her power. 

Severus sipped his bourbon as he watched her. He wouldn’t drink more. Dulling himself with alcohol would be a hinderance; he just needed the smooth burn to center his thoughts and calm his overeager prick. His body longed to merge with hers, but he knew better than to rush her.  

“All good things to those who wait,” he muttered 

“Severus?” Hermione whispered. 

Snape set aside his tumbler and approached the bed. “I’m right here.” 

“I ... I’m ...” She began to silently sob, and Severus placed one hand on the small of her back. Hermione gasped through the tears. “I need to come.” 

Snape’s hand trailed down to her bum, fingers circling the brush head that protruded from her posterior. “Tell me what you want, love.” 

“Please touch my clit, sir. Please. I’m so close.” 

“Hmmm,” he purred, fingers slipping between her legs. “You are close. Look how swollen you are.” He nudged at her engorged entrance with one finger and let his thumb graze her distended clitoris. 

Hermione hissed. “Yessss! Please!” 

Smiling, Severus used his other hand to agitate the brush. “How about that?” 

“Uuuunh!” Her back bowed, her chest dropping to the bed.  

Severus switched hands, his left reaching beneath her to draw little circles over her slick pearl as his right hand curled around the brush and carefully drew it from her rectum—out ... out ... out, until only the tip remained, then he eeeeeased it back in. 

Hermione pounded on the bed with one palm and screamed into the counterpane, convulsing in a series of violent orgasmic undulations, so blinded by the sensation she hadn’t even noticed the peak’s approach. Not until she soared over it. 

Severus blinked in surprise. He’d never seen her climax so quickly. Enraptured, he drank in the sight of her quivering buttocks, the flexing of her back, the rhythmic tic of the brush that indicated the contracting of her sphincter. And layered atop that spellbinding vision, the scent of her sex tugged at his most primal instincts. His cock knew only one response to such stimuli. 

Hermione came down from her orgasm with a shaky sigh, still crying but no longer suffering the endless desperation that marked her earlier tears. “Thank you, sir. Please don’t stop.” 

“You’re ready to go again?” 

“Yes. Please.” 

“Should I remove the hairbrush? Or do you require further correction?” 

Hermione groaned against the bedspread. “I need you, Severus. I need your cock. I feel so empty.” 

Happy to oblige, Severus pulled the brush from her body and cast a silent Scourgify before sending it back to its box. “Come down here,” he said, dragging her off the bed with one arm. “Bend over. I want those legs wide apart. This pussy is mine tonight.” 

“Wait!” she exclaimed, throwing back her hand. Wrapping his cock in a tight fist, she drew his head through her arousal, slicking him in want, then, holding her breath, lifted him higher, positioning his tip directly against her pucker. “Here. Please.” 

Snape’s eyes widened. It took him several slow seconds to find his voice. “Love ... are you certain? My cock is considerably larger than that hairbrush. It’s not going to just slide right in.“ 

“I know,” Hermione whispered. “But I ... I want it.” She dared to peek over her shoulder. “I thought you might want it, too.” 

Swallowing hard, his throat thick with hunger, Severus pushed away her hand, afraid he’d come if she squeezed him any harder. “Of course I want it. I want every inch of you.” 

Hermione smiled, pleased but embarrassed. Her stomach tightened and flipped with a combination of excitement and anxiety. “Should I stay like this?” She spread her legs wider. “Is this good?” 

Growling, Severus closed his eyes and bit the sides of his tongue in an attempt to maintain his composure. “Let me finish getting undressed. You ... stack up those pillows and lie over them. I want your bottom in the air.“ 

With a blushing smile, she turned away and started to crawl across the bed.  

When Severus saw the design of her pillow arrangement, he paused his undressing. “No, love. Sideways. Turn your face to the mirror. I want you to see your expression when I fill that arse for the first time.” 

Nodding, a mad giggle clawing at her cool, Hermione rearranged the pillows and watched herself settle atop them in the mirror. At the edge of the reflection she could see Severus, his back to her as he dropped his trousers. The muscles of his buttocks bunched and stretched, and when he turned around, she bit her lip to keep from moaning out loud. He looked painfully hard, his cock thick and red, the tip already shining with a crystalline trail of pre-ejaculate. Her own body reacted in kind, flaring with heat, her pussy loosing what felt like an ocean of arousal. 

Severus froze when he saw her on the bed, their eyes meeting in the mirror. She looked almost virginal, which, in a sense, she was. It felt like their first night together, both of them desperate for consummation, so turned on every touch, every look, added to the growing fire that raged between them. But he didn’t want to burn her—or himself—in their haste. 

Moving to the side of the bed, Severus caressed her left ankle with the tips of his fingers. “Tell me right now how you want to play this. You know I would never hurt you, but if you want to ... give in to me, I can take full control.” 

Hermione’s heart slammed into her chest, adrenaline and desire spiking in a dizzy rush. “Yes, sir. Take me.” 

“You’ll say your safe word if it’s too much?” 

“Yes, sir. Please. I’m ready.” She arched her back so he would see just how ready. 

Flipping into full domination mode, Severus lowered his head, his gaze on the mirror, locked on her dilated eyes. “Talaris Incarcerous.” 

White silk ropes appeared around Hermione’s ankles and attached themselves to the bed posts, one at the head of the bed and one at the foot. Her breathing hitched, and her mouth fell open, pink lips parted in silent gasp. 

Severus grabbed the jar of lube from the table. “Don’t be quiet, little girl. I want to hear you begging tonight.” Crawling onto the bed, he knelt in the wide vee of her parted thighs. “Let’s hear what you have to say to my fingers first. Three should have you fairly vocal.” 

Hermione bit her lip and whimpered as he parted her cheeks with his thumb and forefinger then patted a dollop of chilly lube against her exposed anus. “Uuuugh!” 

“Already?” he drawled with a smirk. Severus spread the slick gel in a slow circle, tracing the pleats of her pucker with scarcely any pressure. “What a delightfully eager bottom you have, my dear. I can’t imagine what sounds you’ll make when I actually penetrate you.” 

One finger eased up her bum with surprising alacrity, and Hermione choked on her shout. It didn’t hurt, as she was still stretched from the brush, but he usually made her suffer through an agonizingly gradual insertion. The sudden invasion, the fullness, had her pussy clenching, as if jealous, and she tried to grind her clit against the pillow to stave off the resulting tension. 

“Liked that, did you?” Severus pulled out and quickly plunged in a second finger. None too gently, he wiggled them back and forth, which garnered a rather vulgar commendation. 

“Fuck! Yes!” Hermione growled, leaning her hips toward his hand. “Please!” 

“Please what?” he asked innocently. 

“Uuuunh! Please more! Sir! Gods!” 

Without withdrawing, Severus slipped in a third finger and rooted his hand firmly against her behind. 

“Aaah! Yes, sir!” She started to softly cry, awash with relief. 

Twisting his wrist and curling his fingers, Severus felt at the puffy slickness of her inner walls. Her sphincter attempted to crush his probing digits, but he resisted, fighting back by spreading them wider, stretching her until she cried his name. 

Slowly he retreated, watching her hole tauten and shift as he withdrew. When he was free, she sank against the pillows, her back rising and falling with each shuddering breath. Severus kept his eyes on her, only glancing down long enough to cast a Scourgify on his fingers and then find the lube. He greased his length by feel alone, and when he was sure he’d coated himself completely, he watched his reflection rise up behind her. 

“Eyes on the mirror,” Severus rasped, his right hand snaking under her jaw and lifting her head so they could both see her heavy-lidded gaze. Leaning back, balanced on his knees, Snape pushed his buoyant cock between her cheeks and massaged her twitching whorl with the blunt curve of his glans. “Watch.” 

In the presence of such overwhelming sensation, watching felt rather superfluous, but Hermione’s eyes dutifully remained on the mirror. To witness such a limited view of something so utterly consuming seemed wrong. Almost sacrilegious. The mirror could no more display her experience than it could reflect her love for the man preparing to impale her arse. 

Snape’s knob nudged at her rear, and Hermione held her breath as he opened her in a way she’d never known possible. The sensation couldn’t be described as penetration; it was pure pressure. Pressure succumbing to pressure.  

“Breathe,” Severus whispered, his body still, waiting at the precipice. 

Her exhalation stuttered with anxiety, as if the knots in her stomach were, one by one, escaping through her clenched teeth. The tears started to fall again, but she felt no pain. Only intensity. Physical intensity. Emotional intensity. Mental intensity. It was everywhere, in every part of her. The desire to be overtaken, to give in, ricocheted through her body, awaiting her surrender. Shattered by a want she felt incapable of surviving, the freedom that tapped at her senses found an outlet in her cracked facade and spilled down her cheeks in rivulets of liberation. 

“I can go no further,” Severus grunted. A spade could pierce the earth with sheer force, but not when the earth was stone solid. “You have to relax for me, love. Breathe.” 

Hermione’s sphincter spasmed in response, as if to mock his gentle entreaty. 

Severus chuckled. “No? We’ll see about that.” His fingers tightened under her jaw, firm against her throat. “I think someone’s little bottom needs some encouragement. Always so shy. But we both know how quickly she changes her mind. Do you need another spanking, love? Perhaps with the riding crop? Or do you just need a little ... nudge? ” 

Hermione’s eyes rolled back as his fingers dropped down to lightly massage her clit. “Uh!” 

“Yes,” he purred. “That’s right. Relax for me. There’s so much pleasure just waiting for you, love. Let go. I’ve got you now.” 

As he said it, her anus shuddered, as if caught in an earthquake, and his head breached her tight ring. 

Hermione inhaled sharply, tensing for a second, scared she couldn’t take it, but when he groaned out a breathless, “Good girl,” her body melted through the last layer of resistance, basking in the heat of his approval. She sank against the pillow and sobbed out the overflow of tension.  

“That’s it,” Severus whispered. “Nice and full. Such a good girl. Open up for me, little one.” Releasing her throat, Snape covered her body with his and rested against her back.  

Her rectum slowly sucked his cock inside, one agonizing centimeter at a time. Wrapped in the tightest, hottest, most intimate welcome he’d ever experienced, Severus lost track of the world around them. The bed disappeared. The room vanished. All he knew was the strangling pulse of acceptance the uninitiated would call “her arse,” but Severus, a man who’d learned how deceiving appearances could be, preferred to call love. What other substance could such ineffable pleasure be made of? 

Hermione sobbed as his cock sank even deeper, overcome by a completeness so absolute she lost all sense of herself in its perfection. The joy of union, of fulfillment, tore from her throat in crackly bawls, and she trembled with bliss, high on the vocal release of matching sound to sensation. Happiness colored the furor that rang through her depths, transforming every twinge into a thrill of delight. Her body sang with him. 

Severus slid both hands to her wrists and, pinning them to the bed, held her captive beneath his weight. “Do you feel that?” he growled, grinding his hips against the soft padding of her buttocks. “Can you feel how deep I am inside you?” 

Hermione whimpered in reply. 

“You’re so tight,” he whispered. “So sweet.” He brushed aside her hair with his nose and kissed her fevered cheek. “You’re ready for me to fuck you now, aren’t you? Say it, love. Beg me. I want to hear you.” 

Hermione opened her mouth to comply, but a broken gasp of inarticulate need was all that emerged. 

“Yesss,” Severus hissed, pulling his hips back an inch and then easing in once more. “Say please.” 

She nodded, desperate to indicate her willingness yet unable to form the word. She blubbered out a “P-p-p,” which must have been sufficient, as he immediately increased both the pace and depth of his thrusts. 

Her body limply thrashed beneath him, and Snape smiled as she made a noise of mindless desire, the moan jagged and drunken from the gentle bump of their delirious ride.  

He kept at it as long as he could, lost in her tearful praise. But just as he began to find his rhythm, something in her bowels unwound, and he sank into her. To the hilt. 

“Aaaaahhhhh!” Hermione froze, startled by the sudden shift, but Snape’s heavy weight kept her from retreating. 

“Fuck,” Severus panted. “Are you all right?” 

After a breathless second, she nodded, buttocks gradually unclenching. 

“Do you want me to stay still or move?” 

Sniffling, Hermione inhaled deeply and wiped her face on the bed. “Move.” 

“Hmmm,” Severus hummed, kissing her shoulder. “She speaks. Let’s see what it takes to make you forget how again, shall we?” 

Hermione smiled. “Yes, please.” 

Pressing his lips to her sweaty temple, Severus tested her with a few shallow thrusts. When she wiggled her arse for more, he groaned and gave it to her a bit harder, bouncing her hips against the pillow until she keened. 

Hermione felt herself floating away, surfing the all-encompassing wave of abandon that crashed through her body with each pump. The push and pull of Snape’s length dragging against the sensitive ring of her rectum was so bizarrely spectacular, the rest of her body felt numb by comparison. And it never stopped. Like the throb of a bass note grounding a melody, the beat of his cock kept her steady. Deep. Deep. Deep. 

Severus, amused by Hermione’s disjointed babbling, hid his smirk in her brunette curls. Her body undulated beneath him, and when he agitated the motion with a particularly deep incursion, she made a sound he’d never encountered, a sort of guttural snore, as if she’d been momentarily fucked into a coma. He would have laughed if his vocal cords hadn’t been tied up with his own wheezy growls.  

The ever-churning whirlpool in Hermione’s arse began to take on a life of its own, and it dragged her back to the land of alertness. She felt the coarseness of Severus’s pubic hair rasping at her sore cheeks, the heat of his breath on her neck, the damp layer of sweat trickling down her back. Slick and limp, she felt like sex incarnate. 

The inner churning switched to a rumble, like the vibration of an approaching avalanche. Confused, Hermione’s brow furrowed. The sensation wasn’t unpleasant. Just ... profound. And fierce. Unstoppable. 

Without warning, the rumble shattered into a million pieces, and her insides bloomed with a teeth-rattling implosion. She seized up, thunderstruck, but then wailed as the fallout flared through her limbs, scorching her reality with incomprehensible ecstasy. 

Severus hissed as she locked around his cock. He heard her scream but, deafened by the pounding pulse in his ears, her cries sounded worlds away. The tension in his bollocks was dragged forth, milked from his sac with such force his vision faded to black stardust. Choking on a roar, he came, still thrusting, but with a disturbing lack of finesse. His pelvis had fallen under the command of some unseen energy, which rode him mercilessly, stealing his seed in a torrent of hot convulsions that surged from his sex like electric silk. 

She outlasted him by several seconds—several long seconds, where her tenacious backside tore at his tired genitals until they’d been sucked dry, leaving him nothing but a weary husk. Gasping and dizzy, Snape closed his eyes and dropped his face into her hair, hoping he didn’t smother her before regaining consciousness. 

After a minute, Hermione’s voice returned, and she managed to pant out a raw, “Bloody hell.” 

Severus replied with an indistinct grunt. 

“I’m so tired,” she rasped. “And sore. Need sleep now.” 

Smiling tiredly, Snape kissed her head. “I’ll heal you as soon as I regain the use of my limbs.” 

“You most certainly will not,” she muttered, a yawn distorting her declaration. “I want to remember this for as long as possible.” 

And she did. Every morning, brush in hand, raking through her tangles, the memory of what they’d done flashed through her body like a heatwave. A phantom twinge in her bum gave way to a ghostly ache of impalement, and her pussy would gush with excitement, assuming satisfaction to be imminent.  

She started to request her husband’s assistance with her morning grooming, and, on more than one occasion, she found herself late for work, bottom sore inside and out. A smile on her face. Makeup mussed.  

But her hair perfect.  

Behold the brush, an object so simplistic and ordinary one’s gaze might pass over it with nary a second thought. Its intended purpose is mundane, basic enough that even a child can grasp its perfunctory mechanics. It is common. Expected. Easily dismissed.  

But, as with so much in life, things are never quite what they appear. One glance can no more reveal a brush’s totality any more than it can reveal the full spectrum of a woman. Or man. Even these words, while descriptive of passing perception, have expressed but a fraction of reality’s grandeur.   

Still, a glimpse of grandeur is a sight to behold—and well worth a peek—for in that glimpsing lies the heart of magic. The boundless source of all possibility.   

Imagination.  

Pleasure.  

Love.