The look on his face...the sneer fading away to desperately hide the hurt and disappointment in his expression, was very nearly devastating to Hermione. She'd never once in a million years thought he'd accept her as an apprentice. He'd never taken anyone on for as long as he'd taught at Hogwarts – she'd checked in the Library. Had she somehow hurt his feelings in not even asking for it?
She tried to express her despair and repentance in a single word, "Fuck."
He cocked his head and stared at her, as if he were some bird of prey and she was some interesting little rodent ready to be eaten.
The desperation lurking behind his fierce gaze was hypnotic. "Why didn't you ask me for an apprenticeship? And don't answer with 'fuck' or I won't even listen to your real answer."
Open-mouthed, she shook her head in amazement. "I—I honestly didn't think you took apprentices. You never have before."
"I would have made an exception for you."
Suddenly, her question was too intimate. His frustration was heaping up on him and he closed his eyes, running his fingers through his lank hair. "Why, she asks. For the same reason I've never taken an apprentice before. No one else was worth the effort."
He broke off and stared at her, daring her to ask him to repeat what he'd just admitted.
Hermione stood still, shocked, confused, completely unsure where this detention...this conversation was going. He said he would have made an exception for her because she was the only one worth his effort. With the collision of doubt and giddiness warring in her brain, the only word that kept floating to the forefront was another 'f' word: Finally!
He's finally recognizing my efforts! He does see me! Finally! Finally!
They stood still, staring at each other in the silence, waiting for the other to break it, make it normal again. She couldn't dare let it go back to normal, now, so she decided to say something, "Do you mean it?"
God, dumbquestion, Hermione! Why would he say it if he didn't mean it!
His nostrils flared but he did not respond. The answer was evident, wasn't it?
She cast about for something else, something less stupid, "If—if I applied to you, would you accept?"
She could practically feel the fear in her expression. Perhaps it was that which convinced him of her sincerity, for after inhaling slowly and relaxing his shoulders back, he croaked out a quiet but emotional, "Yes."
His answer was surprisingly full of feeling and Hermione stared at her dark professor, thinking through all the signals he'd been sending her this day. She carefully whittled down every happening and her body trembled with the possibility that perhaps he...
Drawing in a deep breath, she cast out a single question to seek any other reason than what he'd already stated for wanting her as an apprentice, "Why?" If he even hinted at something akin to what had been burning through her dreams and breaking into reality today, then she swore, she'd tell him the real reason she'd not applied to be his apprentice.
His surprise and confusion was evident in his expression, and he glared at her as if she were being deliberately obtuse. She panicked and elaborated, "Is there any...other reason you might want to...keep me here?" There, that was as far as she was willing to put her meaning into words without some greater sign from him.
He just shifted backwards, standing tall and pulling his dignity around himself like his robes in a protective layer. Maybe she should put her meaning out there again in a different way, but then, what if he laughed? What if he rejected her? She'd be without any recommendation at all...but then she did have fourteen other programs ready to accept her. What it really came down to was, which was worth more to her: Rowan's program, or a chance to find out what Professor...Severus thought of her...
A tiny bit of bravado left in her sparked at the thought that she may not have an opportunity like this again, that she should take it with both hands. Any kind of rejection today would not fare well for her original plan to seek him out after graduation. The fear that stubbornly still resided in her after the Final Battle kept her from grabbing the opportunity with both hands, so she tried one more tactic. "Because...I ask you because—"
She broke off when his eyes unfroze a bit to actually seem interested in what she had to say. Her mouth hung open as she firmed up her strength to continue, "I had another reason for not applying to you." She tried desperately to give meaning to her words through a beseeching gaze, but Professor Snape's own eyes darkened into anger. Hermione panicked again, reached out with her hand and blurted out, "I mean, I can't imagine the board would allow a relationship between Master and Apprentice and I...I would like—I wanted to—"
He stepped directly into her space and she inhaled again the spicy, heady, earthy, manly scent of him as she looked up to find his enveloping stare...warm on her. There was even a hint of a smile in the corner of his mouth. She looked down where her hand was lit on his arms, which were still crossed over his chest. She didn't see him look down with her, nor did she see the softer smile that accompanied his look, but she did see his hands shift slowly free of their enclosure to meet his right hand with hers, holding it lightly like a gentleman would.
Unbelievably, their hands moved. It must have been his will, because they were moving up and she had no recognition of giving her hand permission to do so. His fingers folded beneath hers, clasping them to bring her knuckles proud and pulled her hand, displayed as such, up to his waiting...lips, oh dear God, his mouth was on her hand! Her head was swimming, her heart beat heavily in her chest and her lips were dry from breathing, gasping her surprise at his courtly manner.
He smiled on her knuckles as he looked up and caught her wetting her lips with her tongue. The smile melted into a deep, velvety chuckle and he pulled her hand closer, to nestle against his chest beneath his arm curled around it. It forced her even closer still and she might have moaned a little. She wasn't sure. Was she dreaming? Was this real?
His dark, liquid voice caught her attention once more, "And what makes you think the board wouldn't allow a relationship between Master," his voice dropped down at the word 'master' and continued but a hair's breadth away from her ear in an extremely sex-laden tone of voice, "and Apprentice?"
He slowly and triumphantly backed away with a self-satisfied smirk and waited for her response, which was quick coming.
A relieved breath of air broke into a smile on her face, nearly bringing tears to her eyes. Professor—Severus—was holding her hand—had just kissed it!—and wanted her as not only an apprentice, but also something more. More! "Really?"
His dark eyes were soft and steady as he reached up with his free hand to brush a loose curl away and cup the side of her face. Chuckling, he answered, "Don't be this thick as my apprentice. I'll have a hard enough time keeping the Board of Governors in check."
She scrunched her brow in wry rebuttal and shook their clasped hands between them, delighted that he wouldn't let go, "I'm not thick. I'm just surprised. At a lot of things."
He leaned forward just a hair, "Oh? What things are surprising you right now?"
Breathlessly, she replied, "You. You're surprising me." She angled up a little bit.
He smiled just a little bit closer and rejoined, "You do like your conjugations, don't you?"
She swallowed and slowly pressed into him, light-headed with the sensation of actually touching Severus' wool coat and feeling the delicious warmth rolling off of him in waves. "Con-conjugations?" Her mind quickly diverted to a similar word: conjugal.
Hermione took a deep, shaky breath and looked from his obsidian eyes to his sculpted mouth. His mouth was parted, his lips moist, the small bow and peaks of his upper lip captivating her imagination. How would his mouth feel on hers? How would it feel on anywhere?
His lips started moving and her brain had to run to catch what he was saying, "...fucked, fucking, fucker...fuck you," his voice deepened impossibly low and did silly things to her insides, "fuck me." Just hearing the obscenity dripping from his mouth like sin made her lean into him even more. How did they get this close? When? It had been crawling upon them and now their breaths commingled. That deliciously sexy mouth of his was only...
He took the initiative and kissed her, deeply. His hand was still at her face and slipped around to the back of her head, holding her in place for his suffocating, life-giving kiss. She could feel the scratch of his beard starting to grow in, and the rasping against her chin and cheeks only fevered her. Her free hand flew up to the back of his neck, lacing into his hair and pressed herself even harder into his kiss.
Their hands started to get in the way, still being clasped between them, but she was loathe to let go of him for even a second. She was terrified this was all a wonderful, erotic, delicious dream. Their lips tasted and moved, pressed and joined in a kiss Hermione knew would last in her mind forever. Without even thinking about it, her tongue ran out and licked the very tip of itself along the bottom of that sinfully sculpted upper lip of his. He groaned, yanked his hand from out between them, and crushed her body against his, delving his tongue deep only to retreat and start again...and again and again...
Somehow they were moving backwards, up against a workbench and she clung desperately to him as he let go to brace his arms against it. His kiss deepened and demanded more from her, pushing her backwards into the furniture.
He was so strong, holding both their weight upright against the table. Her libido soared and as one leg was pinned between his own, she found the other was not, so she lifted it and wrapped it around his rock hard thigh. They both cried out at the elevation of intimacy, rocking into each other in an unconscious search for relief. His cock was both soft and hard against her hip and her breasts tingled with each rocking rasp of his frock coat against the front of her blouse. His thigh pressed harder between her legs as one of his hands wrapped around the small of her back. The top of his thigh ridge moved against her hot center, making her keen with desire and flatten her sex against it. She couldn't help it when her teeth grazed his bottom lip, but he merely growled darkly and proceeded to scrape his teeth against her jaw, down her neck to nuzzle his lips at the join of her shoulder, finally suckling her skin at the indentation there.
Her body responded to the call of desire and started rocking against his leg, aching deliciously for more...and more...
Without warning, Severus grabbed her hips and lifted her up onto the table, pushed her legs apart and stepped between them.
Their breathing was heavy and sharp...but Severus had stopped. Hermione whined and reached up to his face in order to bring it down to hers again, but he simply grabbed her wrists and stood rigid. She stared at him in panic and once she swallowed to catch her breath, she asked, "What did I do? What's wrong? Why are you stopping?"
His dark chuckle resounded through his classroom as he let go of her arms. "Trust me, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to."
He slipped a finger over her lips and stepped into her once more, holding her very close.
She was utterly confused, so asked, "Why would you want to stop at all, dammit?"
The amused tilt of his head nearly broke into a smile, "So impatient, my little foul-mouth."
Her fingers slowly, slowly crept around his sides and gathered his teaching robes there into her fists. "I don't understand."
With a light kiss to her mouth, he explained, "You are still my student for the rest of this year. Save me some propriety, please?"
Her brow tightened into further confusion, "So what was all this about, then?"
Severus looked nearly ready to giggle. That in and of itself was surprising, but what he said was even more so, as he stepped back from her and turned to the chalkboard. "Ah, well, I needed a sample of your handwriting, for one thing." He tapped the board with his wand and it neatly flipped and folded into a curl of parchment, landing in his hand. He Accio'd a quill from his desk, leaned over the table next to her, and signed his name with a flourish. He blew on the ink for a moment, tapped the scroll with his wand and handed it over to her.
"I also needed to be sure you felt the same way I do."
With a dubious and wary expression, Hermione unrolled the parchment and read through what appeared to be an Apprenticeship Contract. She didn't even need to sign it, it was already there. Looking over to him in shock, she blurted out, "How did you know?"
She watched him lean his hip against the table right next to her, fold one arm across his chest and support his other arm as his hand came up and tapped his temple. He smirked at her, "I knew you wanted it, but I couldn't figure out why you hadn't applied. Very nice selective Occlumency, by the way. Was it on purpose, or were you hiding it even from yourself?"
Her mouth fell open at his audacity, but was pleased with the outcome. She had no idea how to respond, so she just smacked him with the scroll, then grabbed his robes to pull him in for an almost-kiss. She stopped just shy of his lips and growled up at him, "Don't think this lets you off the hook for stopping what you started."
He smiled and raised his eyebrows in mock-innocence, "I?"
"Yes, you. I can't believe you're going to make me wait all year to finish..." she waved between them and in the general direction of her panties, "this."
She could say he smirked, but his smile was too wonderfully filthy to relegate as a smirk. He leaned into her and purred, "I'm not the one who's been saying fuck all day long."
Chuckling, "Fuck you!" into his mouth, she stole another kiss from her professor, soon to be Master, who was already on his way to being her lover.
Neither one of them were aware of the third-year Gryffindor currently being taken to task by the Headmistress for attempting to slip his Potions professor an Alexander Candy and mistakenly feeding it to the Head Girl instead. In fact, when the Head of Hogwarts floo'd Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes to chastise George for even inventing such a thing, she learned that it had a time table that was just about to expire.
Why bother telling the Head Girl about this? It would only upset her further and the young third-year seemed to truly understand the ramifications of his prank. She sent him along to detention with Filch and resolved to simply ask Hermione how she was doing in the morning.
After all, Hermione's luck was bound to change for the better, wasn't it?
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