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Lost & Found

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Disclaimer:  All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.

 

--

 

It all began with a broken kettle, a missing kneazle, and a Floo connection that badly needed to be severed, lest Hermione commit some sort of atrocity upon one of her best friends. 

 

She’d been trying to boil her kettle to make herself tea that morning, when she heard the post owl tapping its sharp little beak on the kitchen window. Hermione had been so thoroughly distracted that she’d idly opened the window to let the irritated thing inside while she fussed over the faulty electrical appliance that was coming between her and her caffeine fix that morning. She didn’t notice when her little grey kneazle kitten had bounded up onto the kitchen counter curiously, wanting to get a better look at his new feathered friend, nor was she aware of him slipping out through the window when the owl took flight after she retrieved her mail. 

 

It was only afterwards, when she had been plating up some of his disgusting cat food pate, that she knew he was not inside the house. 

 

Flustered and beside herself with worry, Hermione had realised her error when she saw the kitchen window was still open. By this point, Galahad was long gone, and she was no longer concerned about the lack of caffeine, or indeed, getting to work on time. All she cared about was tracking down her cheeky, adventurous little part-kneazle kitten, and bringing him home. 

 

Living in a Muggle neighbourhood, she knew that she was going to have to go about trying to find him largely the muggle way. She went around to the houses along her street and the next to see if anyone had been him. When her search came up with nothing, she went home, allowed herself a moment to cry out her frustrations with herself over being irresponsible, and called the local animal shelter to put them on alert should someone come forward with him.

 

Hermione decided to put up posters, glad she had thought to keep a lot of the Muggle amenities when she moved in her house a few years beforehand.  She had a computer and printer, and a lot of paper, and she ended up taking the day off work so she could put up “Lost Pet” posters throughout the local area, before swiftly making her way home so she could take any calls or visitors if someone found her blasted pet. 

 

Everyone had warned her not to get a kitten - they were a lot of work and required much patience and training. But she’d been so devastated by the loss of Crookshanks just six months earlier, she wasn’t able to be reasoned with. And now he was missing. She spent the rest of the afternoon at home, chastising herself for not being more careful, and browsing the internet on her Muggle computer, trying to find a new kettle to replace the broken one that had started the chain of events. 

 

Just as she was about to give up hope, her front doorbell rang. 

 

Scrambling to her feet, Hermione looked down at herself and realised she looked like a slob, wearing an old jumper Molly Weasley had knitted her years ago, and lounge pants with slippers. Sighing heavily, she decided it wasn’t worthwhile to change, and she hastened over to answer the front door. She pulled the door open, and her jaw immediately went slack causing her to gape rather unattractively at her unexpected visitor. 

 

Severus Snape, in all his tall, dark and brooding glory, stood before her. His expression was one of part mild annoyance, part impatience, and clutched in his arms was the fluffy grey of her missing kitten. 

 

‘Galahad!’ she exclaimed, her eyes widening. 

 

Snape’s brow rose then, and he held the little cat out to her. ‘Miss Granger,’ he drawled, his velvet rumble wrapping around every syllable. 

 

‘Hello, Professor Snape,’ she greeted, blushing as she received her cheeky little cat. ‘Thank you for bringing back my naughty cat.’ 

 

‘Yes, well. Do try not to lose the blasted thing again,’ he said curtly, lip curling a little in distaste. ‘It was in my back garden, terrorising a post owl and running around through my herbs.’ 

 

‘You live near here?’ Hermione asked in surprise. 

 

His lips thinned into a hard line, but he nodded. ‘Yes, Miss Granger, I do,’ he answered with a long-suffering sigh. 

 

‘Can I offer you tea or something else to drink for your trouble?’ 

 

He shook his head firmly. ‘That is not necessary,’ he replied. ‘Just try not to let it happen again.’ 

 

And with that final parting shot, he turned on his heel and strode away. She noted that even without his flowing black teaching robes, his departure was no less dramatic. His gait was long and purposeful, but it was almost like he was gliding when he walked. Shaking her head, she clutched Galahad to her chest and walked back into the house, closing the door behind her. Once inside, she lifted the mischievous creature so that they were eye-to-eye and affixed him with what she hoped was a firm look. 

 

‘You can’t go around scaring me like that again, do you hear me?’ she scolded lightly. 

 

He answered her with a tiny meow, licking the end of her nose and purring. She sighed and hugged him to her again before placing him on the ground and wandering back into the kitchen to feed him the food he’d missed out on earlier. As she was watching him eat, a thought popped into her head, causing her to blush beet red: Severus Snape had seen her in her messiest house clothes. The man himself had been clothed in his usual black, but she noted that he’d exchanged his austere frock coat for a short black sport coat. And what was worse, he didn’t look half bad. 

 

Her cheeks heated, and she shook her head, willing away the strange feeling that came over her after seeing her former professor for the first time in a few years. 

 

Hermione’s attention, however, was swiftly diverted when she heard the sound of her Floo channel come to life from her library, and she rushed into the other room to see who had come over uninvited to her house. When she came around the corner into the doorway, she was not at all surprised to see Ron standing there, dusting off the soot that clung to him - he’d never really gotten the hang of travelling by Floo. 

 

‘Ron, what are you doing here?’ she asked flatly, crossing her arms. 

 

‘Just thought I’d drop in to see how you went finding your cat. Ginny told me the little bugger had run off somewhere,’ Ron replied sheepishly. 

 

Hermione sighed. ‘That’s all very well and good, and I appreciate the concern, but I thought we’d already discussed boundaries and that you can’t just Floo over whenever you like, Ron,’ she said, trying to be patient with him. 

 

‘I thought that was only for strangers and stuff,’ he said, running a hand through his ginger locks roughly. ‘You said we were friends.’ 

 

‘Ron…’ she began, pausing to think what to say. ‘I don’t mind if you come here. I’d just rather you gave me some notice beforehand. I could have people over, or I could be walking around my house starkers for all you know. If you don’t want me to put a limitation on your visits, then you are going to have to be more polite.’ 

 

Ron looked at her as though she had grown another head, gaping at her like a fish. ‘But ‘Mione,’ he whined. ‘It was you that wanted to call it quits. We could always try again…’ 

 

Hermione frowned and cut him off. ‘Don’t even try to suggest it, Ron,’ she said, exasperation leaking into her tone. ‘We discussed, at length, why you and I don’t work as a couple. We’ve gone over this so many times already - it’s a no from me.’

 

His shoulders slumped, and she felt a momentary pity for him. He needed to meet a new girl and give up on the idea of the two of them together - it had already been far too long. She walked over to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. 

 

‘Thank you for coming to check on Galahad,’ she told him. ‘Someone brought him back a little while ago.’ 

 

Hermione didn’t know why she neglected to mention Snape, but she didn’t think that bringing him up while Ron was in one of these moods was a wise choice. She led him back over to the fireplace and held out the little pot of Floo powder she kept on the mantle towards him. He took a pinch between his fingers and held it, looking down at her. 

 

‘Sorry for doing this to you again,’ he said, his cheeks flushing red. 

 

‘It’s fine,’ she reassured him. 

 

Ron tossed the floo powder into the fireplace and stepped back through to his flat, and Hermione let out a sigh of relief that he hadn’t fought her too hard this time. Closing her eyes for a moment, she massaged her fingers into her temples, before wandering back to the kitchen to prepare her dinner, and to spend some time with her cheeky kitten. 

 

--

 

The week following Galahad’s disappearance and subsequent return was like any other week in Hermione’s life. 

 

She got up, went to work, came home, spent time with her kitten, read books and went to sleep just to do it all again. Her weekends consisted of a number of social engagements, followed by more time at home reading in the little study nook and library she had made for herself. She had a lovely little window seat where she liked to sit with her legs tucked under the throw blanket, and there was a fireplace, armchairs, and wall-to-wall bookshelves of the tomes she had spent her whole life collecting. Some of them had been gifted to her from Albus Dumbledore’s collection after the war, but largely she had accumulated it all herself. 

 

Ginny and Luna had both tried to set her up on a few dates over the years, but each time she had come away disappointed. It had been nearly five years since the end of her ill-fated attempt at a relationship with Ron, and she still couldn’t stop him from dropping in to see her whenever he felt like it. 

 

Sighing heavily, she curled up on her window seat after lighting the fire. Summer was over now, and Autumn had set in with a slight chill in the air, so she’d taken to lighting the fireplace in the evenings. Just as she was getting comfortable, she heard the doorbell ring and looked up at the clock on her mantle. It was nearly eight in the evening, and she wasn’t expecting anyone. She stood up and thought to herself that she needed to stop dressing in her pyjamas so early - she was answering her front door dressed far too casually lately. 

 

She unlocked and opened the door, once more surprised to see Severus Snape standing before her, his snarl firmly in place and her mischievous grey beast clutched in his arms. Her eyes widened. ‘How on earth..?’ she stammered, unable to comprehend how her cat had managed to get out of the house this time. She had been diligent in the week since Snape had been by to drop off her cheeky pet. 

 

‘Would you care to explain how this bloody menace ended up back in my yard and home again, Miss Granger?’ Snape demanded, thrusting Galahad into her arms. 

 

‘I couldn’t tell you…’ she began quietly. ‘I’ve been so careful not to leave any doors or windows open.’ 

 

And then it dawned on her: he was part bloody kneazle. Magical pets weren’t necessarily constrained by the boundaries of walls - especially kneazles and krups. She gritted her teeth, realising in that moment that this disappearing act was probably going to be an ongoing problem, and her cheeky little devil in disguise had formed an attachment to the grouchy man before her. 

 

‘Galahad is part-kneazle,’ Hermione said quietly, not looking Snape in the eye. 

 

‘You imbecile,’ he growled. ‘You need to find a way to keep your blasted pet off my property.’ 

 

She was shocked for a moment, before remembering that she wasn’t his student any more and didn’t have to put up with his acid tongue. 

 

‘Thank you for returning my cat, Professor ,’ she said curtly. ‘I will do my best not to inconvenience you again.’ 

 

And with that, she strode the few steps back inside and shut the door without another word, seething over his tone. Despite her annoyance, Hermione couldn’t help but notice he’d tied his hair back that night, and that it made him look rather distinguished. She cursed her hormones for being so out of control - she really needed to meet someone if someone as unlikeable as Snape was holding any appeal to her. 

 

Hugging Galahad to her chest, she dropped a kiss to his head, and determined that she would find a solution to keeping him where he belonged. 

 

-- 

 

After researching as much as she could on the matter, Hermione found a solution a few days later - or so she thought. She’d warded the house, and tried a spell that would tie the creature magic in her mischievous little pet to the house, hopefully keeping him there. Hermione left for work that day, pleased with herself and hopeful it would work, but when she returned home that evening, she was frustrated to find the house empty and Galahad gone. Knowing Snape would be by with him at some stage, she deliberately didn’t shower or dress in her pyjamas as she normally would have the moment she returned. 

 

Instead, Hermione lit the fire and bustled around the kitchen preparing tea because she would be damned if she didn’t offer given that this was the third disappearance of her cat in a three week period. Like clockwork, she heard the doorbell, and she walked over, steeling herself for a tongue lashing from the miserable git, but armed with her plan to force tea and biscuits on him to shut him up. She forced a polite smile onto her face, and opened the door. Predictably, Snape was scowling, but this time was nursing her cat close to his chest while Galahad was curled close to him asleep. 

 

‘Come in and have some tea,’ she told him, spinning on her heel and pulling the door open wider to welcome him inside. 

 

Snape made an annoyed sound, but followed her inside nonetheless. Hermione closed the door behind him, and walked past him, leading the way into her kitchen and turning on her new kettle to boil - she’d had it for a few days, and so far it was even better than the one she’d replaced and had a bunch of fancy temperature settings for different types of tea. 

 

‘Please have a seat,’ she said politely. 

 

‘Where shall I deposit your… Galahad?’ he grumbled. 

 

‘I’ll take him off your hands,’ Hermione told him, walking around and gently easing him away from the potions master’s chest. 

 

She felt her arm tingle where it brushed up against him, and he was surprisingly warm. Her nose detected sandalwood, leather, and yes - some parchment. She felt a little flustered by it if she was being honest with herself, and quickly moved away with her Galahad firmly in her grasp. She dropped a kiss to the top of his head, and he opened a sleepy eye to look at her before closing it again and purring. She walked into her library and placed him on the window seat on her blanket where he liked to sleep, and returned to make the tea. 

 

‘Thank you for bringing him back again, sir,’ she said as she scooped some tea leaves into the teapot she’d prepared. ‘I did attempt to create wards to keep him in, but his magic is clearly trickier to contain than I thought.’ 

 

‘It doesn’t matter,’ he replied, his tone gruff but lacking its usual bite. 

 

Hermione glanced over at him while she poured the boiled water into the pot, noting that he was sitting rather stiffly in the chair. She was just as uncomfortable with him being in there as he was being in the kitchen of his former student apparently. Carrying the tea tray over to the table, she placed the pot between them, passing him a cup and plopping the plate of biscuits in front of him. She loved spiced biscuits, and she was going to eat them even if he didn’t - dinner be damned. 

 

‘So, Professor,’ she began, pushing the teapot in his direction and watching as he served himself, his long, elegant fingers performing a dance as he stirred milk into the steaming brew. ‘What are you doing with yourself these days?’ 

 

Snape raised one dark brow at her and took a sip of scalding tea before he replied. ‘I am not a professor any longer, Miss Granger,’ he said quietly. 

 

‘Mr Snape? Or perhaps you would prefer Master Snape?’ 

 

His lips twitched to form a smirk. ‘Either will be fine,’ he answered. ‘To answer your original question, I am the Head of Potions Research at the ministry.’ 

 

Hermione’s eyes widened. She supposed the ministry was big enough that it was unlikely she’d run into the same person two days in a row there, but to never have run into him in the four years she had been working there was surprising to her. 

 

‘That sounds interesting,’ she said with a smile. ‘And far better suited to you than teaching, yes?’ 

 

He snorted at that assessment but nodded and took a mouthful of his tea. ‘What are you doing with yourself, Miss Granger?’ he asked a little stiffly, like he wasn’t used to making small talk. 

 

‘I work at the Ministry Library and Archives,’ she answered.

 

She saw him smile then. A real, honest to goodness smile for the first time in their whole acquaintance then, and it completely threw her. His hardened features were much softer when he smiled, and he looked a little younger too. His smile devolved into a chuckle that was rich and dark. It was strange to hear, but no less captivating than his sharp, cutting remarks and the way he spoke when he was lecturing on potion-making. He might not have been a passionate teacher, but his voice was positively dangerous. He also wasn’t too bad for a man of 44 - if her calculations were correct. The cut of his muggle sport coat was flattering, and he was as tall as ever and looked to be in good shape despite his sedentary job. 

 

‘Did I say something amusing?’ she asked, completely flustered. 

 

‘Typical of you to end up working in the part of the ministry where all of the books are kept, as it were,’ he replied, with an amused smirk. 

 

Hermione flushed, and knew her cheeks would be red. Annoyed, she snatched up a biscuit from the plate and shoved it into her mouth to try and cover her embarrassment. So she liked books? She had it on good authority that Snape was just as fond of the written word as she was, so who was he to tease her for her job? 

 

‘I don’t just sit around all day reading books,’ she said with a huff. 

 

‘I never suggested you did,’ he replied smoothly. ‘It’s just interesting to know that not a whole lot has changed since Hogwarts.’ 

 

‘You can hardly say either of us knew one another all that well at Hogwarts, Master Snape,’ Hermione pointed out. 

 

‘You may have a point,’ he reflected before draining the last of the tea from his cup. ‘I must leave.’ 

 

He stood from the table, and Hermione hastily followed, seeing him out to the front door. The two of them stood awkwardly in her entryway then, and she swallowed a lump that had formed in her throat. He was close enough that she could feel the warmth radiating off him again, and caught a whiff of his wholly masculine scent. She wrenched open the front door to cover her discomfort and plastered a smile on her face. 

 

‘Thank you again for tolerating my cat,’ she told him. ‘I will continue to try and find a solution, and apologise if he manages to get into your house again. He seems to have taken quite a liking to you.’ 

 

‘Yes, well… do try to keep on him,’ Snape said, looking a tad uncomfortable. 

 

And with a brief nod, he was down the stairs and walking down the street towards his house. Hermione stared after him for a little too long, and when she came to awareness, inwardly chastised herself for being such a daft hinny. There was not a single universe that came to mind in which Severus Snape was a suitable relationship prospect for her, and even less where he would be so inclined. Sighing, she closed the door and went to the window seat, finding Galahad still asleep on her blanket. 

 

She patted his fluffy little head and scratched around his ears, musing that her life might be less complicated if only she were a cat. 

 

--

 

Try as she might, Hermione could not get a single one of her solutions to keep Galahad at home to work. Three times the week following her tea with Snape, he’d managed to worm his way out of her house and into his. 

 

Snape had erected wards of his own to attempt to keep him out, but Galahad could not be deterred, and by the time Saturday of that week came around, she was at her wits end. She was frustrated with her cat, confused by her growing attraction to her former professor, and annoyed that she didn’t know what to do about either situation. Snape hadn’t stayed for tea since the week before, which she found disappointing. Despite her determination to see him only as an acquaintance, another part of her wanted to know the man better. 


Hermione went through her day off in a daze, scrubbing her house from top-to-bottom the muggle way to distract herself. Galahad followed her around throughout most of it, and only late into the afternoon he disappeared suddenly, leaving the house eerily quiet. She immediately knew that he’d gone off to annoy the potions master. She finished up what she was doing, stripped off her dirty, sweaty clothes, and switched on her shower to get cleaned up. She re-dressed in a comfortable knit dress with a high neck, not wanting to seem like she was trying too hard, and made her way downstairs, donning her house slippers just in time for the doorbell to ring. 

 

She felt almost giddy and there was a gnawing feeling in her stomach as she pulled open the door to greet Snape. He was wearing a black turtleneck that day, beneath his jacket, and she felt her breath catch in her throat. She swallowed thickly and stepped aside to allow him inside. Galahad looked pleased with himself as the potions master wordlessly walked past her into the house. Hermione frowned, shutting the door behind him and closing her eyes for a moment to steel herself. 

 

‘I take it you haven’t found a solution still,’ he murmured as he walked into her library and deposited Galahad on the window seat. 

 

Hermione found the sight of Snape in her library utterly distracting. He looked good standing near the fireplace all in black with the bookshelves all around. She cringed at herself inwardly, chastising herself for her errant thoughts. 

 

‘If you wanted to stay in here with Galahad, I can bring some tea?’ she offered. 

 

He looked up and nodded. ‘This is quite the room,’ he commented, gesturing vaguely. 

 

Though he had been inside her house before, and walked past that room, he had never actually been inside it. ‘It’s my favourite room in the house,’ she said simply. 

 

With that said, she walked out of the room and to the kitchen, trying to put a little space between herself and her former professor. She made the tea and carried the tray back to the other room, placing it down on the coffee table between the two armchairs. Snape had sat down in one of them, and Galahad had jumped onto his lap. Hermione found her eyes immediately drawn to his long fingers as they scratched under his chin. She smiled at the sight. 

 

‘If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were starting to like him,’ she quipped, pouring their tea. 

 

Snape looked up at her and accepted the cup she passed him. Her fingers brushed against his and she felt a jolt that felt like electricity. Her cheeks flushed and she busied herself with pouring her own tea, casting her eyes down to the cups. She was being ridiculous, she knew. 

 

‘I have grown fond of the cat, I’ll admit,’ Snape replied, his voice low and velvety. 

 

She darted a glance at him. ‘I hope he didn’t disturb any plans you might have had,’ she said quietly. 

 

‘None of the plans I had have been overly disrupted,’ he answered smoothly. ‘I was simply going to eat, read and sleep.’ 

 

Something about the way he said “sleep” sent a shiver down her spine. ‘Oh.’ 

 

Snape’s dark eyes held hers for a moment, and something passed between them unspoken. She opened her mouth with the intention to ask if he wanted to stay for dinner, when the fireplace turned green suddenly, and Ron stumbled out of the flames, dusting soot from his clothes. There was a moment of awkward silence, when he looked around and took note of who was in the room, and the tops of his ears, as well as his face, turned red. 

 

‘I didn’t realise you had company , Mione,’ Ron spat, looking as though he’d caught her doing something she shouldn’t be. 

 

Hermione grit her teeth in annoyance. ‘Perhaps you might have if you had bothered to call ahead first,’ she replied, standing and walking towards him, grasping the pot of floo powder from her mantle as Snape watched on in silence. 

 

‘Here now, I stopped by to invite you to drinks with Harry and Gin,’ he said, looking both flustered and embarrassed. ‘Why is he here?’

 

Hermione chanced a glance over her shoulder at Snape. ‘Because the Professor was invited over,’ she said, using the title to try and remind Ron to be respectful. ‘And you were not. Tell Harry and Ginny I’ll have to catch them next time.’ 

 

She held out the jar of powder towards him, and gave Ron a hard stare to indicate she wasn’t joking. He shot a dirty look at Snape before taking a pinch of the powder and throwing it petulantly into the fireplace, speaking his destination and disappearing in a flurry of green light. She placed the jar back on the mantle and stood with her back to Snape, hanging her head and taking a moment to compose herself, embarrassed at the scene Ron had just caused. He would no doubt be running off to tell Harry and Ginny all about being kicked out of her house and Snape being there. 

 

She turned around and saw that his face was an impassive mask. ‘I apologise for that,’ she said shyly, sitting back in her armchair. ‘Ron doesn’t really understand the concept of boundaries.’ 

 

Snape’s eyebrow rose at that. ‘Perhaps you need to block him from your floo?’ 

 

‘I’ve threatened it in the past, but after that scene, I am seriously considering it, for a while at least,’ she replied. ‘I am sorry - truly. I have a feeling you are quite possibly going to be hassled about being here. Ron has as big a mouth as Molly, and I have no doubt he’ll tell pretty much anyone who will listen to him whine about this.’ 

 

‘That boy is infatuated with you,’ Snape pointed out in a clipped voice. 

 

‘I broke things off with him nearly five years ago, but he hasn’t received the memo apparently,’ she said with a shrug. 

 

‘You would have been a terrible couple,’ Snape said, before thinning his lips and appearing annoyed with himself for the statement. ‘My apologies. I do not normally make commentary on my former students romantic attachments.’ 

 

‘You aren’t wrong, though,’ she said with a sigh. ‘Ron is stubborn, and I think I could use a little break from our friendship while he hopefully finds someone else to latch onto.’ 

 

‘Not that this conversation isn’t thrilling, but I think it might be time I took my leave,’ Snape announced, placing his cup on the tray. 

 

Hermione stood and saw him to the door. He paused, looking at her from the corner of his eye but not bothering to turn around and face her. ‘You may call me Severus, if you’d like,’ he said, his expression completely unreadable. ‘If you are expecting some form of public haranguing, it might be less awkward if you aren’t calling me professor or master.’ 

 

Hermione chuckled and smiled, feeling a lightness in her chest despite what had just transpired with her friend. ‘Well then, Severus,’ she said, trying his name out and finding she rather liked saying it. ‘You’d better get used to calling me Hermione then.’ 

 

‘Very well,’ he murmured quietly. ‘Goodnight, Hermione.’ 

 

As he walked away, Hermione closed the front door and simply stood in the entryway, unable to move after hearing her name caressed by his velvet tongue. Blushing, she made her way through the house with a ridiculous grin plastered to her face, but decided to leave dissecting that until later.

 

--

 

The house was silent that afternoon as Hermione dragged herself through the floo and up the stairs to shower. 

 

She’d had a monstrously bad week at the ministry after Ron went and ran his mouth to anyone who would listen to him. It had started with whispers behind her back on Monday, louder talk and more overt staring by Tuesday, people asking her questions Wednesday, back to talking behind her back on the Thursday, and had culminated in an article about her and Snape having an illicit affair behind closed doors on Friday - written by none other than Rita Skeeter, of course. Hermione decided against going to see Snape in his office to avoid more gossip, and simply hid in the library all day, agonising over how he was taking all of it. 

 

If there had been any chance of him wanting anything to do with her before all of the gossip, there was no way he’d want it now. The man did not seem like the sort of person who enjoyed being gossiped about or involved in relationship drama. 

 

As she showered, Hermione rested her head on the cool tiles, letting the water sluice over her as she tried to wash the week away. Once she was clean, she threw her hair up into a messy bun to get it out of the way and dressed in her comfortable lounge clothes, sliding her feet into her most comfortable slippers. She wandered down to find Galahad and was surprised he hadn’t gone off to visit Snape that day. He was snoozing on the window seat, curled up in her throw blanket. 

 

She smiled, not wanting to disturb him, and was surprised when the fireplace glowed green as she moved to leave the room, and even more surprised when Snape’s face came into view. 

 

‘May I come through, Hermione?’ he asked. 

 

‘Oh,’ she breathed. ‘Yes, do come through.’ 

 

A moment later he stepped through the flames, still dressed in his signature black, but she noted that he’d foregone a jacket and was simply dressed in a black turtleneck and trousers. He didn’t have a speck of soot on him. Galahad jumped down from the window seat and immediately meowed in greeting and began rubbing himself against Snape’s leg. The wizard bent down and picked the cat up, affectionately stroking him from nose to tail. 

 

Hermione balked, unable to process what she was seeing. ‘Can I offer tea?’ she croaked. 

 

‘Tea would be nice,’ he replied, following her to the kitchen. 

 

Hermione busied herself with making them drinks, looking over at Snape with her cat from the corner of her eye. She hadn’t expected to see him after the week they’d had. Galahad had mercifully decided not to go wandering that week, as though he could sense something was amiss with her. So she hadn’t seen Snape since the awkward run-in with Ron the previous weekend. And now he was in her kitchen, cuddling her cat and looking very casual, and rather attractive in his muggle attire. He smelled good, and his hair was clean and tied back as he had taken to wearing it. She couldn’t believe how infatuated with him she’d become. 

 

‘I’m sorry,’ she blurted out, as she waited for the jug to boil. 

 

‘Whatever for?’ 

 

‘This whole week,’ she answered meekly. ‘It’s been a disaster. I am sure you’ve been hounded.’ 

 

‘We already knew to expect something like this, Hermione,’ he reminded her patiently. ‘It’s not as though Mr. Weasley is known for subtlety.’ 

 

‘I still feel awful,’ she said with a frown. ‘I accept full responsibility for the disruption of your life. If it hadn’t been for Galahad and his constant intrusion, you might not have been here, and then Ron wouldn’t have barged in on us, and you wouldn’t have had to deal with the ministry gossip. And the paper! I should have squashed that bug back in fourth year when I had the chance…’ 

 

‘You’re babbling, Hermione,’ Snape murmured once she had finished her tirade. 

 

She blushed and tipped tea leaves into the pot and filled it with water. She levitated it all to the table, too lazy to hunt around for her tea tray at that moment, and plopping down at the table beside him. She reached her hand out and gently scratched the top of Galahad’s head as he lounged in Snape’s lap. 

 

‘You’ve been spoiling him,’ she told the man across from her. ‘He normally isn’t allowed to sit on my lap at the table.’ 

 

‘He is terribly determined to have his way,’ Snape replied. ‘Not unlike his mistress.’ 

 

Hermione huffed and ignored the jibe as she poured their tea. She knew how he liked to take it now, and added a splash of milk to his cup. 

 

‘You look tired,’ he commented, not unkindly. ‘This week has possibly taken more of a toll on you. After all, the insinuations are much worse for you - being associated with the black-hearted murderer of Albus Dumbledore and spy is hardly good for your career. People already think I am a bastard, the added layer of assuming I would have seduced a student is hardly worse than what they already think.’ 

 

Hermione sucked in an annoyed breath at the reminder. ‘The gall of people! What were they thinking? You’d never look at me that way…’

 

‘Wouldn’t I?’ 

 

Her eyes widened and she looked up at him to scan his face. He’d dropped the mask of impassiveness and his black eyes were impossibly dark. She could barely read it, but there was a note of vulnerability mixed with hope in them, and she wondered if her own eyes were playing tricks. 

 

‘You couldn’t possibly-’ she stammered. 

 

‘I am but a man, Hermione,’ he said, his voice a little tight. ‘You are… magnificent. Only a blind man couldn’t see it. Only a fool could ignore how beautiful you are - how fascinating your mind is, your innate kindness.’ 

 

Her breath caught in her throat. ‘Oh.’ 

 

Snape let Galahad slip from his lap and pad over to his food bowl to nibble on the kibble there. He stared straight at her, clearly waiting for her to do or say something

 

‘Don’t get me wrong, you are a bossy, stubborn little virago when you want to be,’ he said, continuing where he left off. ‘But these past few weeks… suffice it to say, you have enchanted me, witch.’ 

 

She gaped at him, but realised herself quickly and snapped her mouth shut with an audible click. ‘I-’ she began, her hands trembling a little. She clasped them together in her lap and took a steadying breath before she continued. ‘I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in you too.’ 

 

His mouth upturned at the corners then. Snape reached over and picked up his teacup, taking a sip from it before setting it back down on the table. ‘If you don’t object, I think I’d like to kiss you now,’ he said plainly, laying his cards out for her to see. 

 

She blushed but smiled. ‘I think I would like that very much.’ 

 

He scooted forwards on the chair he sat on, his knees brushing hers as he leaned forward. One of his surprisingly warm hands came up to cup her cheek, and she leaned into the touch as his lips brushed against hers in the lightest of touches. Unable to stand his teasing, she leaned forward a little more and pressed her mouth more flush to his, and smiled against his mouth when she caught his slight inhalation of breath. Emboldened by the sound, she crept her tongue out and swiped it along his surprisingly soft bottom lip. Who would have thought that lips so used to scowling and sneering could be so soft? 

 

Snape made a noise akin to a growl in the back of his throat at her bold move, and in a flash, his other hand came up to hold her head and tilt it before he captured her mouth in the most blinding kiss she had received. His lips moved over hers hungrily and then his tongue pressed between her lips and joined hers in a dance as old as time itself. Hermione welcomed the intrusion, and was pleased that his kiss was not sloppy or fumbling. He knew what he was doing, and she delighted in it. 

 

After a few minutes of shameless snogging, she pulled back to catch her breath, wondering when she had slid her arms around his neck. She idly toyed with the hair pulled back and tied at the nape of his neck, both of them breathing hard. His dark eyes were sinful as he gazed at her. She could barely think straight, but once they had cooled off a little, she recalled that she was wearing her most frumpy, comfortable lounge clothes and blushed, releasing him. 

 

Snape gave her a questioning look, and she laughed. ‘Of all the things I could have dressed in, I chose my ugliest and frumpiest outfit,’ she said, answering the unasked question. 

 

He smirked. ‘It’s not anything I haven’t seen before, if you recall.’ 

 

‘Yes, but I wasn’t snogging you in my kitchen and hoping I could convince you to join me upstairs back then,’ she said, trying not to blush at her forwardness. 

 

Time stood still for a moment while he processed what she had just said. Had she really just propositioned Severus Snape in her kitchen? She bit her bottom lip as doubts flooded in and anxiety took hold of her. But she needn’t have worried, for a split second later his mouth was on hers again, his tongue sliding past her lips and tangling with her own while he grasped her waist and hauled her out of her chair and up onto his lap to straddle him. Apparently she wasn’t so far off the mark propositioning him. 

 

Hermione snatched the tie out of his hair, delving her hands into the silky lengths and scraping her nails gently over his scalp and the back of his neck. He moaned, releasing her lips and trailing his own on a scorching path down her jaw and neck to suck at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. She could feel his hard, burning length beneath her bottom, and resisted the urge to grind herself against him. It was gratifying to know that a man as disciplined and strict at Severus Snape could become undone by their shared kisses. 

 

He pulled back finally, breathing hard. ‘Shall we find a bed? I don’t fancy the idea of doing this in the kitchen if it’s all the same to you.’ 

 

Hermione smiled, sliding off his lap and holding her hand out to him. He took her hand, and she felt the delightful frisson of electricity again. They calmly made their way up to her bedroom, and once inside it, she felt a little awkward and went to cross her arms anxiously across her chest, but Snape had other ideas, and stalked towards her with a heated look in his black depths. His mouth was on hers again, and he didn’t waste any time pulling her jumper up, breaking their kiss to toss it aside. She could feel a coil of desire spreading through her abdomen as his fingers grazed over her shoulders, and down her back to flick the clasp of her bra. This was no fumbling boy, and for that she was grateful - her last couple of lovers had been woefully hesitant and she had been left wanting. 

 

Her bra joined her jumper on the floor, and she made a small noise in the back of her throat when her nipples grazed his turtleneck. Grateful he wasn’t wearing his formal wizarding attire, she tugged the fabric upwards and he took his lips from where he feasted on her neck and allowed her to pull it up and over his head. She noted he was thin, but there were wiry muscles to be found and a strength to him despite his slenderness. She ran her fingers down the plane of one shoulder and slid it downwards to gently finger the fine hairs of his chest that dusted the space between his pectorals. 

 

They made quick work of the rest of their clothes, and Snape guided her over to the edge of her bed, urging her to sit and lay back. He held himself over her, trailing hot, open-mouthed kisses down her sternum, before sliding right and capturing one of her nipples, gently grazing it with his teeth before wrapping his lips around and suckling, stroking it with his tongue. It tore a loud moan from her. His other hand also skilfully manipulated the rosy bud of her left breast, scraping it with his nail before switching his mouth over to ravish it as well. 

 

His lips left her breasts and he continued his journey down her body until he was kneeling on the ground before her, his fingers dancing lightly around where she wanted them to be. As he moved in to nestle his head between her legs, she stopped him.

 

‘You don’t have to do that,’ she told him, her voice husky with her desire. 

 

Snape smiled. ‘I can assure you, if I did not want to do this, I would not,’ he replied, and without any further ado, he used his long fingers to part her folds and lapped up the dew of her arousal. 

 

Hermione threw her head back, hips bucking upwards from the intense pleasure he was bringing her with his lips and tongue. He sucked on her clit, slipping two fingers into her passage and held her steady with his other hand until she was a panting, writhing mess. Her orgasm took her by surprise, thighs clamping around his head as he continued to lap at her through it, gentling the strokes of his tongue as she came down from the high. 

 

‘Oh gods,’ she muttered, as he slid up her body. 

 

He kissed her, and she was surprised to find she didn’t mind the taste of herself on his delightfully skilled mouth. She reached for his straining cock then, determined to return the favour, but he shook his head and simply lined himself up and with a gentle push, slid home. He grunted a little as her walls clamped around him on entry, stilling his movements. He murmured a spell under his breath, and the bed raised up some, so he was able to stand and grip her hips, using his feet on the floor as leverage to fuck her. 

 

He leaned down and stole another kiss as he began to thrust into her, his fingers digging into her flesh, firmly but not painfully. He moved his mouth to her ear and kissed the shell of it, his hot breath washing over it and down her neck, causing her skin to tingle. 

 

‘You are magnificent,’ he said roughly. ‘It’s like your pussy was made for me.’ 

 

His lascivious words shot straight to her core, and she wrapped her legs around him to draw him even deeper within. 

 

‘Fuck.’ 

 

‘I never thought my bossy, swot of an ex-student would want me to fuck her,’ he said, so low it was barely about a whisper. 

 

‘You can’t say that now,’ Hermione replied breathily, moaning as he jerked his hips into her harder, pounding into her with abandon, his balls slapping against her. 

 

‘Tell me you want this.’ 

 

‘I want it!’ 

 

‘I need to hear you say how much you love being fucked by me, my little know-it-all,’ Snape growled, his thrusts unrelenting as she began to teeter on the edge of another orgasm. 

 

‘Gods, I love being fucked by you,’ she uttered, between panted breaths. 

 

‘I want you to come now, witch,’ he murmured, slipping one of his hands between them and pressing his fingers in urgent circles around her clit. 

 

Hermione’s body arched up at his command and she came with a choked moan, her body pulsing around his length. He thrust into her several more times before he too came, a groan ripped from his velvet throat. She could feel his cock pulsing inside her, spilling his burning seed within. His thrusts slowed to a stop then, and their bodies were drenched with sweat. He withdrew from her, and his warm hand settled over her abdomen as she heard him cast both a contraception and cleansing charm to whisk away the evidence of their coupling. 

 

Hermione returned her bed to its normal height, and scooted over a little, entreating him to join her on it. Snape stared at her for a moment, and she could tell he was weighing up whether he should stay or not, but ultimately decided to join her, sliding up against her. She kissed him languidly, and he returned it, his hand drifting down to her waist, stroking her soft skin. 

 

‘I wasn’t expecting this,’ he said when their lips parted. 

 

‘Neither was I, but I’m not unhappy about where it’s led,’ she told him with a smile. 

 

This seemed to reassure him, the tension melting from his body as he relaxed against her. ‘I don’t suppose you want to kick me out now you’d had your fill?’ he asked with a smirk. 

 

‘Who says I’ve had my fill?’ she snarked back at him. 

 

‘I think we are going to get on famously.’ 

 

Hermione rolled him onto his back and straddled him, leaning down to capture his lips in another divine kiss, and the two lost themselves to their passion anew. 

 

Meanwhile, downstairs on the window seat, a little grey cat was curled up on his favourite blanket. He was awfully pleased with himself for tricking his two humans into being together, and blissfully content with his lot in life. 

 

--

 

Fin.