Title: End of Term
Team: Death Eaters
Challenge: Christmas At Hogwarts – I can’t believe there’s no Library Challenge!! We need one.
Length: 7 X 100
I received this beautiful Christmas present today from lemonade8, which inspired me to no end. Merry Christmas to us all, and if there isn’t such a thing as the Book Club mentioned below, there needs to be.
Funny, the little lies we tell ourselves. It wasn’t attraction, it was respect of authority. It wasn’t lust, it was thirst for knowledge. It wasn’t love, it was admiration.
Here, in Hogwarts’ library, Hermione watched the Headmaster, hands behind his back, solemnly perusing a section of books on botany. She closed her eyes and tried to remember the younger, harsher version of him that resided in her memory. Raw and bitter, like cheap and badly-prepared coffee. ThatSnape had been astringently unapproachable. Every encounter became a reason for regret.
Was there anything left of that man now? Hermione asked herself.
She opened her eyes to find him looking at her, his expression puzzled and wary. “Am I keeping you awake, Miss Granger?” he asked bemusedly.
Before she could answer, he bowed slightly, turned on his heel, and left her to her dusty volumes.
Students came and went, bringing overdue books and requests for sections they had no business investigating and mopey sighs while previous boyfriends flirted with others across the study hall.
Hermione’s eyes kept drifting back to the place where he had stood, quiet and contemplative, and wondered what on earth she could conjure up to lure him back.
Christmas approached, and with it came herds of revising Ravenclaws, scheming Slytherins practicing the latest cheating techniques and cheerful Hufflepuffs, too busy enjoying one another’s company to be too much of a nuisance. Her own House, Hermione ruefully noticed, put on a brave face of being prepared for final term exams, but surreptitiously cut their eyes over to the Slytherin table, hoping to pick up pointers.
The Headmaster drifted in and out, looking preoccupied and studious himself. Hermione smiled at him, and asked if he was looking for something in particular.
The look he gave her tormented her for days.
Gods, I’m pathetic, she thought.
Christmas Eve, and the Faculty party was a lively affair, but Hermione once again found herself back in the library, among her beloved books. In her sexy. shape-hugging party finery, she had felt self-conscious and false, laughing and toasting with the others, when it was Severus Snape she wanted to be with.
He had kept to himself, as usual, but again she noticed it was not with the old, grim, stay-away-from-me glare that she remembered. He spoke to everyone and even smiled occasionally, but more than once she caught him heaving a heavy, wistful sigh.
As if sensing her thoughts, he looked up from his chair, and caught her staring at him. Silently he toasted her with his glass, and Hermione nodded in return. “Time to go,” she had said to no one in particular, and left.
Suddenly, she felt so lonesome she knew she would either cry, say something stupid, or gods forbid, Floo Ron for a holiday pity shag. That he would probably still take her up on it in spite of the fact he was married to Lavender both comforted and disturbed her.
Only one person noticed her furtive exit, and followed.
Hermione poured herself a glass of wine, and lit the candles. The aroma of books soothed her, and she stretched to ease the last of the tension from her shoulders.
She was not alone.
He moved silently, but she sensed his presence before a warm hand caressed her shoulder. “I suppose,” he began, “some would think a library an unusual place to be on a night like this.”
His voice was soft, his breath warm against her cheek. A delicious thrill of excitement raced down her spine. “Oh, I don’t know,” she replied shakily. “It seems rather appropriate to me.”
“I see,” he replied, and those two words held a universe of knowledge. He moved closer. “And since you haven’t screamed, ran away, or hexed me, I can only assume that my presence hasn’t diminished the festive atmosphere.”
Too bloody true, Hermione thought. She leaned back until his entire body, warm and solid and welcome, pressed against hers. His lips brushed sensuously against her nape.
She whispered, “Ever ah-heard of The Thousand Book Club?”
He chuckled softly, and she moaned when he cupped her breast, his touch gentle and sure. “Can’t say I have, Miss Granger. Please, do enlighten me.”