On the morning of the fourteenth, November 1999, the Order of the Phoenix had gathered in the small kitchen of Grimmauld Place, discussing the disturbing news of a marriage law, furtively passed as an addendum to Article [XII], a law that would grant equal rights to those affected by lycanthropy. Waning magic, they had said, a problem supposedly spotted by the Department of Mysteries nearing the end of the war. Adding to the issue, few had taken to producing more offspring in the wake of freedom, perhaps out of fear of recurrent conflict, and there had been a worrying shortage of babies, no ‘boom’ to speak of.
When word reached the Daily Prophet, confusion had quickly morphed into outrage across Wizarding Britain, sparking daily protests outside of the Ministry of Magic, a development that many feared would draw unwanted Muggle notice. Unfortunately, however, the addendum was ironclad, and soon, it became evident the predicament they all faced. The country had collectively been given three weeks to find a spouse, after which the staff within the Ministry would locate one for them. Everyone within childbearing age had been affected by the law, including many of the Hogwarts staff, something that brought a flicker of hope to Hermione Granger’s chest.
It had been a secret she had harboured for the last few years, hiding away in the recesses of her mind where few would ever be privy to it. Perhaps only the man himself could prise the truth from her – though she would part with it willingly in such an instance – but he seemed as repulsed by her as ever. Biting on her lower lip, Hermione pushed away the feelings of unhappiness at the thought and drew her attention to the topic at hand, watching as the adults argued with one another over the table.
“And what would you have us do, Minerva?” Mrs Weasley started, waving a chart with all the names of the childbearing-aged members of the Order. “Unless each of them has someone they could readily marry, wouldn’t it make sense to pair everyone together?”
Professor McGonagall crossed her arms over her chest, glowering at the woman. “We are not going to marry them off like cattle, Molly. I think you’ll find that they are all still capable of choosing for themselves.”
“But marrying them off to people outside of the Order could be dangerous,” Mrs Weasley continued heatedly. “There are still Death Eaters and sympathisers out there who could abuse their positions within the marriage. I certainly don’t want to see any of them–” she gestured at the young adults at the table “–being given away to the Malfoys or worse.”
Hermione cringed, having received a petition from Draco some two days ago – a letter she’d promptly incinerated.
“She has a point, Minerva,” Kingsley Shacklebolt said, cutting off whatever reply Professor McGonagall had started. “It is our duty to protect them.”
“We’re not children,” Ron threw in, looking pink about the ears. “This meeting is fairly degrading, mum, having you talk about us like we’re not in the room.”
Molly Weasley looked over at her youngest son, her expression softening infinitesimally, “Yes, Ron, but you’re not the concern, here. You have Hermione to–”
Hermione couldn’t help it, but she turned her face away from the onlookers with a grimace, feeling heat travelling up from beneath her blouse. While she still loved Ron, truly, it was certainly not in the same capacity it had been before he’d abandoned them while they were on the run. While she had forgiven him his moment of weakness, they’d both known, then, that things would never be the same again.
“No, mum,” he spluttered, “we’ve talked about this. Hermione and I are not–”
“Ronald, unless you have something useful to add to the conversation,” she interrupted with a frown, her arms akimbo, “please let the adults speak.”
With a roll of her eyes, Hermione scanned the room, taking in the varied worried expressions and landed her gaze on the man that occupied her waking thoughts, only to notice he was staring directly at her. She was immediately taken aback by the intensity of his mien, his dark eyes penetrating her very soul, and she swallowed thickly, lowering her eyes to her threaded fingers.
She was only dimly aware of the conversation going on about her, not least because of the heavy stare boring into the side of her head, and she stood, muttering weakly, “I need some air.”
Professor McGonagall gave her a sympathetic glance, misinterpreting Hermione’s expression, and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Take all the time you need, dear.”
Hermione nodded gratefully, weaving her way about the chairs and left the kitchen, making a beeline for the library. Throwing the heavy door shut behind her, she walked to the fireplace and clung to the mantel with a white-knuckled grip, feeling her heart flutter against the walls of her chest.
For the life of her, she couldn’t understand why he’d looked at her in the manner that he had – a gaze full of raw emotion – especially given that he’d seemed so resentful of Hermione saving his life. He’d glanced up at her from his hospital cot, his eyes near black, and had hissed that she should have left well enough alone, stunning her into silence. Hermione had then left St Mungo’s, feeling wounded by his declaration, and had gone home in a foul mood, pushing her burgeoning crush to the far corners of her mind. Even unacknowledged, her feelings for the man grew with time, until it roamed beyond control.
Though likely inappropriate, her feelings for Professor Snape had started shortly after Harry had revealed the man’s true allegiances, and she’d spent the next year at school secretly fawning over the man. Hermione hoped that she’d not been terribly obvious about it; however, she’d also known herself to be a horrible actress and suspected the man saw right through her – a dreadfully embarrassing thought. Professor Snape’s gaze this evening was so incongruous with the manner he’d treated her at school – cold and distant – that Hermione couldn’t make sense of his behaviour.
Hermione spun about, her heart in her throat, and took in Snape’s severe attitude with a wince, wondering whether he’d come to chastise her for some perceived wrongdoing. “P-Professor Snape. I hadn’t expected to see you here.”
“No,” he said, a gleam in his gaze, “I expect not.”
Hermione’s pulse beat steadily against her eardrums, so loud that she couldn’t quite make out his follow-up statement. “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t catch that.”
Tilting his head to the side, Snape eyed her with an unreadable look on his face. “You seem distressed.”
Shaking her head, she stammered, “N-No. Just surprised to see you, sir.”
“As I said,” he continued, a faint smirk on his features. “I have a proposition for you regarding the ill-fated marriage law. I had anticipated that you would take up with the Weasley boy, though your reaction suggested otherwise.”
The spark of hope in her chest burned suddenly brighter at his words, and it took significant effort to keep her expression neutral. “Ron and I were never a couple. Not after–” she broke off, feeling as though she would be betraying Ron’s trust by divulging his moment of error. “It doesn’t matter. We’ll never be anything more than friends.”
“I see,” he replied, closing the door behind him, and stepping further into the room. “Then I imagine you have another candidate for marriage.”
Feeling lightheaded at the direction of the conversation, she smiled weakly. “Not unless you count Draco Malfoy, sir, and, frankly, I’d rather die.”
Quirking an eyebrow, he gave her a once-over that had her feeling overly warm, his eyes grazing over her body like a soft caress, and murmured, “My proposal, then, Miss Granger stands thusly: I would that you marry me, instead.”
Hermione choked on her spittle at his words, her heart hammering against her breastbone. “I beg your pardon?”
The gleam had returned to his expression, and there was something predatory in the way he stalked closer until he loomed over her. “I’ve seen the way you look at me when you think I cannot see you – with such longing,” he said, wrapping a tendril of her hair around his forefinger. “And I have not forgotten the debt I owe you, Miss Granger, for saving my life.”
Her mouth suddenly dry as parchment, and she stammered, “B-But you were so angry! And you treated me so poorly at school, I thought…”
He traced a thumb along the edge of her jaw. “Thought what?”
Swallowing past the knot in her throat, Hermione met his gaze directly. “I thought you hated me.”
“I could not treat you with obvious favouritism this last year, Miss Granger, not least because I would have been subject to the Board of Governors’ disapproval. Not to mention the damage our resident Headmistress would have inflicted upon me had she found out I’d been fraternising with her favourite student.” He traced his finger along her throat, coming to a rest at her pulse point. “No, I had to wait.”
“I’ve fancied you for ages,” Hermione said with a rush of bravery, goosebumps trailing down her skin at his touch, and she let out a shuddering exhale. “Ever since Harry–”
She broke off suddenly as Professor Snape’s lips swooped down onto hers with an urgency that had her feeling faint, and she kissed him back with equal fervour, opening herself to his advances. She moaned against his mouth, delighting in the way his control seemed to slip as he held her, his firm lips moving against hers in a way that made her feel hot and carnal. He devoured her like a man dying from thirst, as though she was his only salvation, and his need drove her to new heights.
Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer, and revelled at the smooth glide of his tongue against hers, the growing length pressing against her hip, and a low groan escaped her throat. He brought his hands up to her face, cupping her cheeks, and slanted her face, enveloping her in a deeper kiss that had her feeling shaky at the knees.
When she’d been thoroughly snogged and looked mussed by his efforts, he pulled back gently, wearing an altogether smug expression.
“Don’t,” he interrupted, pressing his finger to her lips. “I am no longer your Professor and think it inappropriate to be addressed as such. Especially given our current circumstances. Call me Severus.”
Unable to stay the brilliant smile of pleasure that exuded from her being at his invitation, she surged forward again, carding her fingers through his hair, and kissed him soundly. His fingers teased the hemline of her jumper, edging it up a fraction to run his fingers along the skin of her abdomen, and she gasped as he took hold of her bra-clad breast.
“We should take this somewhere else, Severus. I’d rather Mrs Weasley not find me debauched by my former professor.”
His eyebrow quirked at her choice of words, and the corners of his lips turned upwards in a suggestive smile. “Debauched? My, Miss Granger, you certainly are forward.”
“Gods, keep touching me like that, and I’m going to have to insist that you call me Hermione.”
Murmuring her name in an almost reverent manner, Severus circled his arms about her and, with a loud crack, Apparated the pair of them away.
How Hermione found herself intimately splayed on Severus’s bed, his hands running eagerly over her body, remained rather blurry in hindsight. She felt as though she couldn’t get enough air as he trailed open-mouthed kisses along her stomach, coming to a stop over her breast.
“I’ve thought about this,” he murmured against her skin, “how you’d feel, taste. I wanted to spread you out on my desk and fuck you into abandon.”
Those words in that voice had Hermione quivering, clenching her knees together to ease the ache at the apex of her thighs. She wanted it all, every dirty word, every thought that flashed through his mind – she wanted to be engulfed by him, consumed.
“Yes,” she whispered, arching her back as he enveloped her nipple with his mouth, sucking on the skin and teasing it to a peak. He nipped her lightly before leaning over Hermione’s chest and offering the same unrestrained attention to the other. “Oh, god.”
Trembling under his ministrations, she thrilled as he moved his hand lower, cupping her and tracing the folds of skin with his thumb.
“What shall I do to you now, I wonder?” he murmured, sliding down her body and inching her legs apart, coming to a rest between her thighs.
Hermione couldn’t be wetter if she tried. Severus’s attentions had pushed her past the point of embarrassment, and she could only revel in the skill with which he treated her. Feeling almost delirious with lust, she propped herself up on her elbows and watched as he lowered his head to her flesh, grazing his tongue over her clitoris and pushing two fingers into her.
It was the most erotic display she had ever witnessed: this powerful wizard on his knees, his face buried against her, pleasuring her in ways she’d never thought possible. Her toes curled at the sensation, and she fell back into the pillows, her vision dimming at the frankly overwhelming pleasure coursing through her.
Hermione moaned his name into the air like a prayer, and she could feel her orgasm thrum ever near, playing on the edges of her awareness. As Severus moved his fingers within her, teasing her, she couldn’t help but feel like she was balancing at the precipice of a cliff, about to fall and submerge herself in the furious waves below. Finally, he sucked Hermione’s clitoris into his mouth and pushed her over the edge, careening her into an earth-shattering orgasm that had her quaking in its wake.
Once she’d recovered, Hermione pulled him up and over her, aligning him with her entrance, and felt a rush of something extraordinary when he drove into her and buried himself to the hilt. His face contorted in an effort to control his steadily approaching orgasm, and he grunted as she tightened herself around him.
“If you want this to last more than a few seconds, Hermione, you won’t do that again,” he said hoarsely, pulling out only to sink back into her with an agonisingly slow pace.
Hermione grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him desperately, nipping on his lower lip. “Faster, Severus.”
Obliging her, he drove into her at an unyielding pace, swallowing each of her feverish moans until he reached between them and rubbed his finger over her clitoris. With each measured stroke, he brought her nearer and nearer to her orgasm until it crashed over her in unrelenting waves, and she dragged him down against him, biting at the juncture of his neck and shoulder.
“Hermione,” Severus said through clenched teeth, a subtle sheen of sweat covering his shoulders, “you are remarkable.”
“Come in me,” she replied and smirked at his expression, one of slipping restraint and unfathomable desire. It made Hermione feel important, powerful even, and she clenched around him once more, pleased beyond measure to hear him groan above her, coming in a forceful wave.
With quivering arms, he lowered himself and rolled onto his side, pulling Hermione alongside him.
“That was incredible,” she whispered, playing with the sparse hair on his chest and looking up to smile beatifically at him.
“Severus, what are we going to tell everyone else? I don’t want them thinking that you were in any way untoward with me.”
He huffed, shrugging with one shoulder. “You are of age, and we did not engage in a physical relationship until you completed school. If anyone thinks ill of that, it’s hardly our concern.”
Biting on her lower lip, she asked, “When do you want to get married?”
Severus groaned suddenly, dropping his head back and placing a hand over his eyes. “Are you always this loquacious after sex, Hermione?”
Smirking at him, she pecked him on the cheek and said, “Always.”