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And then, there was silence. Complete silence as they stared at each other and Hermione found herself wanting to climb over the table. She wanted, in equal parts, to kill him and to kiss him. But she waited - and then he laughed?
He laughed and she was taken aback, stumbling back a bit before steadying herself, waiting for him to start making sense again. And then there was a potion and an explanation and she sat herself down, eyebrows lowering in confusion. "Is that an invitation to stay?" She asked, pushing the potion away. "Because I have always wondered what your chambers would look like." So there. That'd show him trying to force her to sober up.
"You insufferable, ARROGANT, UNBEARABLE KNOW IT ALL"
Snape couldn't remember a time when his patience had been tested so much so as to raise his voice in such a manner. Severus Snape never raised his voice: he killed comments with a single passing glance, or a murderous sentence uttered in hardly more than a whisper.
He was about to lose his wit and all composite when silence hit them both, and it was easy to slip back into his usual controlled self. (After all, he'd been so during almost all his lifetime). His conscience could be at least put at ease knowing he had enough mind clarity for them both.
and she was being nonsensical.
snape staggered inwardly, trying to put the pieces slowly together. the apprenticeship, his feeble attempt at a duel, the separation, now this...
no, he hadn't anticipated any of this. miss granger was clever (oh, she was clever) but he would have at least glimpsed a sign or two. (right?) or could she really be that controlled when not on edge?
severus tried not to think too much how he felt about all this. (because, judging by the ridiculous attachment which he had just recently began to acknowledge, there was only one way to go, and it was downhill from there, and snape was raised better than that).
but she seemed insufferably hell bent on giving him the night (more like the year his mind retorted), as was evidenced by her next words.
"miss granger" he almost interrupted, impatiently before controlling himself. he retorted seriously but with brutal stoicism --a miracle given his inner turmoil over all the things he wanted but shouldn't (and would never be) (
ooc: phrasing chosen exclusively for dramatic purposes, of course)
then he realized, truth hitting him hard like cold water over his long hair and robe, that she was very likely playing with him.
well. "you'd be disappointed to find my chambers uninteresting. unless of course, you intend to get yourself expelled by being fucked by a professor of about the age of your father within these walls."
"and, in case it had escaped your notice, these aren't my chambers. this is the headmaster's floor."
snape waved his hand (quill gripped and all), exposing all the numerous portraits that were pretending to be too perfectly sound asleep.
and he was certain he would be getting two month's worth of disapproval by the dumbledore hanging on the wall, high up and right across of his chair.
he could tell him all he wanted. nothing was going to happen, and that should be enough to put the painted authorities at ease.
slytherin headmaster, slytherin way.
Obviously that had been a stupid idea.
"I'm not your student, headmaster" She reminded him - and it was true; she was well set to become a professor when Professor Vector finally decided to retire, which should have been in the next year or so. "And so if it was my intention to be fucked, you would have no grounds to expel me." And despite herself, despite how intoxicated she felt, she was offended that he seemed to think that having sex with her would be so deplorable, so disgusting. She wasn't the most beautiful woman in the world, sure, but the idea that she disgusted him so much that he would say it like that made her frown.
And with that, an unsteady on her feet Hermione Granger stood, and with as much dignity as a drunk twenty-something could muster, turned to leave Severus Snape's office. But before she descended the steps, she looked back at him, only to add: "I expect a potions lesson between Christmas and New Years."
From then on, they met multiple times a week - and things had been going especially well. Hermione had gotten her potions lesson, and then had spent the morning of January first reading about the potion he had taught her. The next day at breakfast they had discussed. Since then, she spent at least three, sometimes as many as five, evenings a week with him - learning, reading, discussing... eating, being friends. She found a companion in Severus Snape that she had ever had in any friend she'd had in her life: not only was he smart, he also respected her brain and her goals, and he had a knack for keeping her grounded when she got riled up about something.
The relationship they had might not have been perfect, but it caused her to take pause when Ron asked her whether she'd like to go for dinner on Valentine's day. She'd tucked the owl away. Looked at her calendar. Honestly considered it. But she and Ron had tried. He didn't listen to her. He didn't care about the things she cared about. And so when she looked at the calendar and saw that she had a session scheduled with Severus - Potions, not Defense or any sort of mind training - she decided to decline Ron's invitation, and suggest he ask Lavender.
When the day arrived, she realized how foolish it was - that she shouldn't have assumed that their session would still be on. They had never officially discussed her rather forward request over Christmas, and she doubted they ever would - but some part of her wondered if he was seeing someone, or if he had some other plan for Valentine's day. Still, she arrived at their scheduled session, in her hand a small box of truffles, which she'd ordered after he had mentioned them off handedly a few weeks prior. It wasn't much, but she thought that even if he pretended not to appreciate the gesture, he likely would.
She arrived on time, setting out the book he'd asked her to always bring, though she didn't open it yet as she unpacked her cauldron, vaguely wondering if he would show.
(this is so long, i'm sorry)
watching her leave felt exactly like watching lily walk away from him after rejecting her help and calling her Mudblood. To some extent, his conscience was put at ease knowing it was really the right thing to do.
the right thing to do, nonetheless, had an awful tendency to be exactly the opposite of what he wanted.
old age-lines that aged a man younger than his years were worth became more prominent as he stared into the now empty spot, across the room.
perhaps she already knew, but even if so snape didn't think she need to be told she was truly, quickly becoming a powerful witch.
and, for christ's sake, he needed to change that bloody password.
he was still astonished to find she hadn't missed a single day in the agenda, after the terrible misunderstanding of the night of christmas. but as time passed, it became less and less of a surprise, to make way, instead, for the astonishment of their growing bond.
he'd promised himself to be less of a condescending git and to make use of his excellent manners from that day on. although he hadn't verbally apologized for his behaviors (and that was certainly bound to remain a sore spot, for snape found nothing in him that he could ever apologize for, even despite his contradictory guilt of having pushed her too hard in the past) he had hoped she would catch on in the subtle changes he'd made in behalf of their acquaintance since their unfortunate meeting.
but it had become quite trying for the past few weeks to adopt a normal --neutral-- composure with despicable german (or whatever) dunderhead orbiting around her practically everywhere she went. it was frankly pathetic, but perhaps the most pathetic thing about the entire matter was that, well. it bothered him.
his reasoning was perfectly logical and rather commonsense, if one may say so. if he, severus bloody snape, wasn't exactly what you'd call the best miss granger could do, then mister krum was definitely eons away from even attempting to get a shot.
but, he'd assumed, nevertheless, that she'd be off on valentines day with the imbecile god knows doing what (he cringed). so he was in for yet another surprise when he found her already there, waiting for him.
"well, well. i am amazed." and there was a time when that certainly didn't happen often. "tell me i can celebrate over victor krum getting knocked out with a quidditch ball for the day". he quipped sarcastically, as was his nature.
but perhaps there was a bit of jealousy, too, in that assertion.
Her answer was simple: "I can't imagine why a headmaster would celebrate over one of his professors being injured" She shot back, though she was still very touched by the fact that he had taken notice of Viktor's affections - and that they had bothered him. "I'm sorry to report to you that the only injury to your flying professor is one to his ego, as I turned down his multiple requests for dates" She added, since that was probably what he was angling for.
She handed over the truffles without much ceremony, "I already had plans" She said simply, and she thought the implication of the gift and her words was abundantly clear.
snape smirked as he went to his shelf to pick up one of his potions volumes and some of the ingredients. of all the numerous smirks he had, this was of the most devilish sort. "slytherin pleasures." he responded simply. "but the red lion in you wouldn't understand".
and he was yet to be surprised, once more, by her comment, though snape stood in place, his eyes skimming through the pages of the book he was holding, pretending to find in them something he wasn't even looking, trying hard not to appear too moved by the news she had just given him.
"did you, now..." he drawled.
it was only when she told him that she 'already had plans' that his gaze travelled back at her. snape looked at her, silence taking over for a brief moment, before he responded back.
when he did, it was with palpable reverence.
"and i am pleased" beyond measure to have you here for the evening.".
but the moment didn't last long, as he strode over to her side to place four hefty books (not that she wasn't accustomed to them) in front of hermione. it was the indication that this was certainly going to be one long day.
the question came quite out of the blue, after two and a half hours of intense potion brewing, and ten minutes of boring wait.
"regardless of whether you've turned down his requests or not" he clarified. he had after all starred the embarrassing moment of reading out loud to the class some of rita skeeter's invented stories, some of which involved her and krum. the news was headlined in all the worst papers --and she had danced with him, after all.
They set to work, which in some ways was more of a dream date for Hermione: she liked brewing potions, and she liked doing it while elbow to elbow with him.
THe next time he said anything of consequence was hours later, and she looked at him, a slow smile spreading over her lips: "If I didn't know better I would think you were jealous" Hermione said simply, then looked down at her book again: "For your information, he isn't my type. I prefer someone I can hold a conversation with. Or brew a potion with. Or sit for hours in silence with, without them silently undressing me with their eyes. Both Viktor and Ron don't fit. But I had never been noticed as a woman before and their attentions were nice." Schoolgirl fancy, but she didn't want to draw attention to her age, in the moment: "I'd like to think I'm more mature now than I was when I was fourteen and thought that masculinity was defined by sport"