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Chapter Fourteen

After breakfast – once the students who were leaving had all gone down to Hogsmeade – Hermione picked up her beaded bag (which she had packed the night before), said goodbye to Crookshanks (whom Hagrid had promised to look after when she was gone) and went down to Snape's quarters. They wouldn't be able to spend the entire break in Cornwall – Snape's presence as Deputy Head was required at the end of the week as McGonagall had business elsewhere. They would get five days, though. Five glorious days away from students, patrolling and anything that didn't involve each other.

“Have you got everything?” he asked as he let her in.

Hermione held up her bag. “I'm all packed. Are we Apparating?”

“No.” Snape gestured to a blue plastic flower pot sitting on the desk. “Portkey. It's not time-activated but is good for two uses. We tap it when we want to leave and when it's time to return.”

Hermione took a steady hold of his robes, and he wrapped his arm tightly around her waist in return. Pulling out his wand, Snape glanced down at her. “Ready?” At her nod he tapped the flower pot.

Both it and them materialised on a green hill. The sun was shining, but the wind that whipped Hermione's hair around her face was cold. They were standing on a narrow country lane. In the distance, she saw the Celtic Sea, vast and blue.

“Let's get inside.” Snape picked up the Portkey and they started walking. A little ways up the road was a break in the tree line, where Hermione spotted an even narrower road merging with the larger one.

As they turned onto the new road, where she assumed Snape's house was located, she felt the outer wards reach out to her magic. They buzzed slightly before settling down. “You have anti-Apparition wards?”

Snape smirked. “It's warded almost as heavily as Hogwarts.”

Laughing, Hermione bumped his shoulder. “Why doesn't that surprise me.”

They rounded a bend in the road, and suddenly a house appeared, set back a bit from the road.

The two-story house was partially stone-clad and surrounded by shrubbery and several large alder trees. A low stone wall that looked centuries old stretched out around the house. Snape led her to the blue front door, situated on the left side of the property. There were more wards there, and he dismantled them quickly before ushering her into a tiled entranceway.

“I'll get a fire going,” Snape said, shrugging out of his outer robes, “then give you the tour.”

After hanging her coat on a hook in the entryway, she followed him through a hallway into a large kitchen. Leaning against the kitchen table, she took in the room while he started the fire; the space was bright, with dual aspect windows and a set of glass doors that led to a small conservatory. The decorating was modestly done but with rich, warm toned wood on the kitchen cabinets and dining table which made it feel warm and welcoming.

Straightening from where he'd been bent over the fire, Snape put his wand back in its sheath. “Come, I'll show you around.”

He led her through a sitting room filled with bookcases and up a flight of creaky stairs. The first floor housed three bedrooms; one furnished as an office (with more bookcases), and the other set up as a guest room (“Not that I've had any guests,” he pointed out). The master bedroom had views towards the coast and an en suite.

“This is beautiful,” Hermione said once he'd shown her the potions lab in the basement and led her outside. Green rolling hills surrounded them, and in a large flat area close to the house was several gardening beds. If it was this beautiful in late March, she couldn't wait to see this place in the turn of the seasons when everything was in bloom.

By her side, Snape hummed in response. “It's a shame I don't get to spend as much time here.”

Hermione leaned her head against his shoulder. “I know what you mean. I'm thinking of subletting my flat for next term; I'm hardly there and it's just sitting there costing me money.”

Going back inside, Hermione started unpacking while Snape made the house habitable. It was a Muggle house, and as such needed to get the heat and water turned on to be liveable after being empty for months. The biggest shock of her life, though, came when Hermione stepped out of the bathroom to see Snape drawing back the curtains dressed in jeans and a rust coloured jumper.

Once she could speak again, she smiled. “You look good. I didn't know you owned Muggle clothing, I've never seen you wear any at Hogwarts.”

Rolling his eyes, Snape stepped forward and caught her waist. “Of course not, I've a reputation to uphold. Here my usual attire would be more hassle than its worth with the locals. Hence the Muggle clothing.”

Putting her hands on his chest, Hermione tilted her head back. “I'm finding out new things about you every day, it seems. I suppose next you're going to tell me that you know how to drive?”

His eyebrow arched, and her jaw dropped.

It turned out, not only could he drive; Snape actually owned a car. The nearest Muggle village was ten miles away, and he couldn't well Apparate there to buy groceries. There were appearances to uphold, after all. Food was next on the list since the only thing in the cupboards were a few cans of baked beans and one lonely tea bag.

Hermione got into the old car apprehensively. Her fears were – mostly – unfounded as Snape proved to be a competent driver, and they made it into the village and back without incident. The village itself was quaint and quite sleepy, with a narrow high street that seemed to rely heavily on the business from summer tourists.

The next morning, Hermione had decided that she loved being there. Waking up with Snape's body wrapped around her and seeing the sunrise over the hills filled her with contentment she'd not felt in a while. Detangling herself from his limbs with some difficulty, she padded across the room to the loo. The floor was cold and the room chilly, and her flesh broke out in goosebumps as she sat down on the toilet. As she washed her hands she caught a glimpse at herself in the mirror above the sink. Her hair looked atrocious, and the small love bite on her neck made her flush. She didn't remember him putting that there.

Snape hadn't moved from the position she left him in, but he stirred when she climbed into bed, opening a bleary eye and lifting his arm so she could snuggle into his chest. “Morning.”

“Good morning.” Hermione kissed his shoulder. His body was warm, and she pressed closer and put her toes on his shins.

Hissing, he recoiled. “Bloody hell, woman, you're freezing.”

Giggling, Hermione wrapped her arm around his torso to keep him close. “Yes, and you're not. How else am I going to get warm?”

A wicked grin spread over his face. Then he dug his fingers into her sides, and she exploded in laughter. Rolling on top of her, he pinned her legs with his lower body and upheld the attack.

“No, Severus, stop,” she managed to wheeze out between laughs, pushing at his hands.

Snape relented, resting his elbows on either side of her head and brushing back the curls from her forehead. He smirked down at her. “There. You're all warmed up.”

Hermione ran her hands up his torso and tucked his hair behind his ears so she could see his face properly. “Wanker.”

Snape's eyebrow arched. “Don't mind if I do.” He lowered his head and kissed her deeply.

Her chest arched into his, and she parted her legs to he could nestle closer. The warmth of his morning erection pressed against her thigh, and she moaned into his mouth. The coarse hairs on his chest brushed against her sensitive nipples when he trailed kisses down to her neck and collarbone. Her head fell back and her mouth opened as Snape kissed down the valley between her breasts. Her stomach clenched when his tongue dipped slightly into her navel, and her hips started moving on their own against him.

“So soft,” he murmured, tracing his fingers over her wet folds.

Hermione panted his name, back arching and fingers reaching out to grasp the sheets tightly. He touched her slowly, almost reverently, exploring every part of her until she was almost sobbing with need. She bit her lip to stave off her whimper when his mouth finally, finally, descended on her. She was so close already. He took her to the brink, then backed away, planting wet kisses on her inner thighs until she urged him back where she wanted him. She was losing her mind as her release again, and again was denied her. Her legs were shaking, breaths heavy and she thought she might die if she didn't come soon.

When he backed away yet again, she let out a sob. “Severus, I need to come.” She lifted her head and found him looking at her, dark eyes clouded with lust. “Please.”

“Soon, witch.” He pressed a kiss to her trembling stomach and moved up her body.

Grasping his face, Hermione kissed him fiercely, moaning as she tasted herself on his lips. Her hips snapped up against his, and she felt his cock nudge against her entrance. “I need you,” she mumbled against his lips.

Snape pulled back from her mouth, lifting up on his elbows to regard her. “Now?”

She groaned. “Yes, now!”

He pushed in slowly, and her eyes fluttered shut. She was so close. Her knees drew up around him. Once he was buried to the hilt he flexed his hips, once, twice and it pushed her over the edge. Fingers gripping his shoulders, her body shook and she was vaguely aware that she was chanting his name over and over. Her body was weightless, floating away, and only his weight was grounding her.

When she could finally breathe, she opened her eyes. His face was twisted in pleasure, and she could feel him twitching inside of her.

“You are breathtaking,” he breathed as he started moving.

His pubic bone was brushing against her clit with every thrust and Hermione whimpered, still sensitive from her earlier release. She touched every inch of him she could reach, running her hands over his shoulders and torso and down to cup his arse to encourage him deeper. She raked her nails against his skin on her way up, making him groan and bury his face in the juncture between her neck and shoulder.

She lifted her legs higher on his hips, and the change in position made them both cry out and her dig her nails into his shoulders. Snape lifted his head and she could have wept at the look on his face. His lips were parted, cheeks flushed and he looked glorious.

“I love you,” she moaned, reaching up to capture his mouth. She was going to come again, she felt it building deep within her.

He tore his mouth from hers. “Are you close?” he panted, hips snapping faster and harder against hers. “Fuck, Hermione. You feel –”

She nodded, clenching against him. “So good.”

Seconds later, his thrusts grew erratic and she felt his release. Another deep thrust and she followed him over the edge, drawing her legs tighter around him and crying out. He collapsed on top of her for a few seconds before rolling them over and slinging his arm around her waist. Once she'd caught her breath, she lifted her head and rested her chin against his chest.

Snape flexed his lower body with a grimace. “I think I pulled a muscle.”

Hermione laughed. “I'd feel sorry for you, but your teasing almost drove me insane so I'd say that's fair.”

He chuckled, reaching out to tuck her curls back behind her ear. “Minx.” His thumb stroked her jaw. “I love you.”

Leaning up, she kissed him lightly. “Don't think I won't get my revenge,” she grinned wickedly when she pulled back. “I'll get you when you least expect it.”

Snape snorted. “Whatever you say, dear.”

True to her word, Hermione did get her revenge. The very next day whilst lounging on the sofa, she pulled down his trousers and teased him until he was a dishevelled puddle of need under her touch. Only then did she let him come, taking him deep in her mouth and feeling him spurt down her throat. Once she resurfaced, he glared at her. She only grinned and patted his knee.

For all that they'd had an active sex life before, something about being away from the castle and having no obligations made them more desperate for each other than before. They experimented with mixed results – it turned out trying restraints was a very bad idea – and Hermione was grateful there weren't any close neighbours (she didn't know she could be that loud).

The rain that had started chucking down their first night didn't let up, which suited them just fine. They sauntered around the house in Muggle clothing and thick wool socks, reading and drinking tea and making love all hours of the day. They played chess (which Snape was superior at) and drank wine and stayed in bed until noon, just because they could.

On their last night before they were due back, they were sitting in the conservatory after dinner. Curled up by Snape's side, Hermione looked out over the green hills. The rain had finally let up, and the sun was starting to set. She sighed and burrowed closer.

Snape tilted his head to catch her eyes. “What is it?”

She smiled slightly. “I just can't believe we're already going back to Hogwarts tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But this has been so lovely and I don't want it to end.”

“What if it didn't?”

Hermione's brows knitted together, and she pushed up from her reclined position to better look at him. “What do you mean?”

Snape shrugged. “This house is frankly too big for just me, and I'm sure your orange furball would prefer roaming the hills chasing rabbits to being stuck inside a flat all summer.”

Her heart was racing. “You're asking me to move in with you?”

“You said it yourself; you're paying a lot of money for a flat you're never at. It's the logical thing to do.”

Hermione chuckled. “You realise that my moving in would also mean the chance of Harry or Ron stopping by? And Crookshanks sheds, a lot.”

“I'm aware.”

She blinked twice. “Wow, you must really love me.”

His gaze softened. “I do. Very much. My reasoning for you moving in is purely selfish. Having you here these past days has made me realise how empty it felt before.” He cradled her face in his hands. “I want you with me, always. I can no longer imagine this house, or my life, without you.”

Tears pooled in the corners of Hermione's eyes. How she adored him. This wonderful, snarky man who had come into her life in a way neither one of them had anticipated.

He frowned, thumb catching an escaped tear and wiping it away. “Why are you crying?”

Hermione let out a short laugh. “I don't know! I'm just happy. You make me happy.” She leant in and kissed him softly. “And yes,” she murmured against his lips. “I want that too. This house, and you. Always.”

“I'm going to regret giving Potter and Weasley access to my home, aren't I?”

Hermione touched his face. “Don't worry, love. I'll protect you.”

The corner of his mouth twitched and he leaned in to kiss her again.