Archive: Sycophant Hex: Ashwinder (Alternate Universe)
Title: Chapter 4a A Night To Remember
Characters: Harry Potter World
Pairings: Severus Snape and Hermione Granger
Summary:Professor Snape gives Hermione the apprenticeship documents to read and cautions her to wait until morning to sign them. Hermione gets up the courage to talk about the Pensieve memory that is causing her embarrassment.
Word Count: 2326
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I’m just borrowing some of JKR’s characters for a little story.
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“Elf, we’re right on…”
Hermione looked around. Elf had disappeared right before her very eyes. Standing alone in the hallway, in front of the Professor’s door, Hermione suddenly felt very nervous and out of place. She had to have been out of her mind to have accepted this invitation. What had she been thinking? Merde! She felt the chill air of the dungeons on her bare forearms and shivered. She wished she had worn her normal attire or at the very least had the good sense to bring a wrap.
She took a deep breath, raised her wand and tapped it to the door. And she waited. Shifting her weight, she pondered her options: knock again, go back to the common room, or go to the laboratory.
She glanced around nervously. What if one of Snape’s Slytherins came looking for him and found her standing in front of his door dressed like this?
“Come on, professor. Open the door. Please. Please. Please. Open the door. Now, please,” she pleaded, bouncing lightly on her toes. What was taking him so long to answer her knock? Maybe she should rap again. No, if he was indisposed, her impatience might upset him. Moreover, she did not want to start out the evening on a wrong foot.
“Professor, please,” she said softly, furtively looking down the dungeon corridor. She didn’t want it to look as if she had been waiting for him. ‘Act natural Hermione. Raise your hand as if you are just about to tap the door, and when the door…’
Suddenly, the door swung open startling Hermione, and her wand arm dropped to her side.
As their eyes locked, they stared at each other as if each was seeing the other for the very first time.
Swallowing, Hermione became conscious of her breathing and the pounding of her heartbeat in her ear. Her knees felt weak, and she was sure her legs were trembling as she stared into the obsidian depths that burned with an intense passion. She had seen this intense, heated look before in his dark eyes. Determinedly, she met his sultry gaze with all the innocence she could muster.
Hermione was a vision of serene loveliness dressed in the gown she had worn to the Yule Ball. Over the summer, she had transformed into a captivating, beautiful young woman. The loose tendrils framing her face lent a look of innocent sophistication to her youthful face. He wanted to speak, but his tongue felt glued to the roof of his mouth, and he was not able to articulate a sound.
Though he was weak and barely able to stand, her beautiful, shimmering eyes compelled him to action. Her naiveté held him captive. The raw energy radiating from her body coursed through his entire being, centring itself at his core. ‘Dear Merlin, lay bare my soul. May she see me as I am and know that I desire her, and her alone.’
Unabashedly staring at Professor Snape, Hermione’s eyes travelled appreciatively over his body, taking inventory of his attire. Her eyes piqued with interest as she noted he was not wearing his customary robes and frock coat.
Tonight, he appeared ruggedly handsome in black, woollen trousers and zippered, black jumper, a look she was unaccustomed to seeing on him. A slight opening at the neck of the jumper revealed a white shirt underneath - the undone buttons piqued her interest. The scent of the musky, earthy Forbidden Forest wafted towards her, assaulting her senses, as an air of dangerous mystique surrounding him. Looking into his dark eyes, which spoke of hidden passion, she became aware that she desired him above all others.
The professor could not take his eyes off her as he watched her eyes move slowly over his form.
Staring at her, he found himself unable to act the part of the gracious host. He hoped she could read in his eyes how much he wanted her here tonight. He gave a slight nod of his head in a gesture he hoped she would interpret as inviting.
Hermione felt goose pimples as she realized what she was seeing…masculine, ruggedly handsome, dangerous, mysterious, virile...exuding sex appeal.
The spell was broken as Professor Snape finally managed to ask hoarsely, “Are you going to stand in the hallway gawping at me, or are you going to come in and join me for supper?”
Self-conscious, blushing with embarrassment, Hermione lifted the hem of her dress. As she made to step over the threshold, she froze, ‘Did Lily feel the same way about him as I do? Lily! For a brief moment, she had forgotten what she had seen the night she sought sanctuary from McLaggen. Of course, Lily! After all this time, does he still think of her, care for her…love her?’
She was jolted from her reflections as her eyes travelled slowly around the festively decorated room. ‘This is nothing like I expected,’ she thought. Turning to face the professor, she felt a soft brush against her cheek. Startled by the unexpected caress, she defensively raised her hand. A low chuckle near her ear caused Hermione to quickly turn and face the professor.
"You appear to be as nervous as a first-year – called to be sorted,” he said softly, “or has the kneazle finally gotten your tongue?” he asked, drily.
“N – N-No, sir, it’s just, so perfect, no one has ever…oh, professor, I can’t get my breath,” she breathed, bringing one hand to her bosom as her eyelids fluttered shut and a smile crept over her face.
“This will be a birthday to remember,” she added in a hushed tone.
She could do this. ‘I am an adult,’ she thought as she composed herself. She opened her eyes and found herself gazing into the dark, obsidian orbs that fanned the embers of her suppressed passion and fuelled her heart’s desire.
‘In more ways than one, Hermione,’ he thought, staring into the iridescent brown eyes that he wanted to be lost in forever. A seductive smile played around the corners of his mouth as he ushered her into the dining area.
Elf stood by the fireplace watching the interaction, and a big smile came over her face. ‘Master Professor have happiness look. Master Professor be having happiness. Elf have family.’
Hermione thought, ‘Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly. I best be on my guard tonight lest my true feelings for Professor Snape surface and betray me.’
“You look lovely tonight, my dear.” His voice was hushed, and his words were soft. The soul-stirring pronunciation sent a shiver down Hermione’s spine. His words, the whisper of silk, stirred her desire.
She couldn’t take her eyes off of him. Her heart was starting to race, and breathing was becoming difficult. She had a vivid impression of what she was seeing: masculine, ruggedly handsome, dangerous, mysterious, virile…exuding sex appeal.
At that precise moment, Hermione knew she was looking into the eyes of her soul mate. He was the tall dark stranger that had captured her heart with his eyes.
Hermione answered him with a nervous smile. Now, that she was here, she felt like a first-year. Glancing around the room, she wished she had declined the invitation.
“Elf has prepared a delicious meal in recognition of your special day, and we must not keep her waiting. Before we sit down, I would like to make a toast in honour of your 17th birthday,” he said, turning away to retrieve the champagne bottle nestled in a silver ice bucket.
Hesitantly, Hermione nodded her head in acceptance. ‘I am dining with Professor Snape! I am going to wake up and find this is all a dream.’
“Have you had champagne before, Hermione?” he queried, giving her a sideways glance, as he removed the wire hood surrounding the cork.
Caught off guard at hearing Professor Snape use her given name, she swallowed anxiously and stammered a reply. “I…I think…once…with my parents. It tickled,” she said, twitching her nose at the memory.
“Ah, yes, the bubbly will do that. Never turn your back on the bottle once you have removed the muselet. You must remain ever vigilant,” he continued as he skilfully coaxed the cork from the bottle. With the faintest of hisses, he expertly extracted the cork. He slowly filled their champagne flutes and handed one glass to Hermione.
Lifting his glass, he waited a moment to watch the tiny bubbles rising.
“Six years ago you were a student striving for knowledge and acceptance. You have made friends, excelled at potion brewing beyond my expectations, and progressed from being an insufferable know-it-all first-year to the attractive young witch standing before me tonight.
“Your presence in my classroom, at first a minor irritation that grew to a general dislike, was not welcome from the onset. Eventually, I began to see your potential, admire and appreciate your skills – you are someone whose brewing prowess rivals my own. To your past, present, and future – may they all come together to bring you the happiness you so richly deserve. Happy Birthday, Hermione,” he said sincerely, as he raised his glass and smiled at her before taking a sip.
Hermione was speechless. Mesmerized by the tiny bubbles rising in her glass, she realized although she had heard him speaking, she did not remember exactly what he had said. She recalled a word here and there, but her concentration was lacking. ‘Oh, why did I come? I feel out of place, and I do not know what to do. Now Professor Snape is actually smiling at me – well sort of a smile – at least for him it would be considered a smile. I thought this was what I wanted, but now I am not so sure.’
Hermione ducked her head shyly, feeling her face grow hot. “Thank you, Professor,” she replied before taking a sip, not certain what was expected of her.
He dripped sophistication and oozed sensuality.
‘Professor Snape is older and more mature than I am. He must think me a silly school girl to have dressed as if I were going to a ball. What can he possibly see in me?’
Hermione lifted her glass and smiled, “To Professor Snape…you are…you are a man I have always respected, but…I have not…always trusted,” she gave him a half-smile. “These past months while I have been working with you…I have learned…that I…I made an error in judgement,” she said, looking apologetic. “You have shown me compassion…kindness…and…provided comfort…when my world went wonky.” Hermione’s smile broadened as her confidence increased, “You have demonstrated integrity…shown responsibility…and…you have my sincerest gratitude,” she said, feeling her cheeks grow warm.
The professor, a look of shock and disbelief on his face, started to say something then thought the better of it.
“Know that I am by your side until the end,” she finished. “I will never leave you…Se…Sev…Professor,” she added, in a barely audible whisper. Hermione took a sip from her glass.
“Hermione, for once I don’t know what to say. That was unexpected coming from you. Thank you. Now. Come. Elf is waiting,” he said as he moved to stand beside her, placing his hand on her upper back. In a smooth move, the hand caressing her bare shoulder casually slid down the side of her breast to encircle her midriff as he forcefully propelled her to the dining table. His nimble fingers traced the outline of her ribcage as his thumb gently grazed the underside of her breast. As he seated her he felt her body tremble. ‘My conduct has caught her off balance. Dare I hope she will sign the contract tonight?’
Hermione moved to the table in a daze. Did she really know the professor? Here with him now, she was not sure – the champagne, the candlelight, his arm firmly guiding her….
'Did the professor just fondle my breast, or did I imagine it? Hermione thought to herself.
Hermione's eyes glanced in Elf's direction. Elf was standing in a corner of the room, her face beaming with delight. Hermione hazarded a look at the professor and gave him a half-smile. There was something off about the way he was looking back at her. It was as if he was seeing more than Miss Hermione Granger, student/potions assistant. Maybe she was overreacting, but she wished she had told someone where she was going.
Professor Snape held her chair as she sat down, and then seated himself at the opposite end. He lifted his glass one more time and said, “Here’s to celebrating many more birthdays.”
Hermione sipped and smiled bashfully. Before glancing down at her lap, she looked around the table. It was beautifully set with crystal and china.
“Yes, sir.” As she answered, she noticed he winced, almost as if she had slapped him. The moment passed quickly, and the professor regained his composure.
“I was under the impression we had a harmonious working relationship. So, tell me. Why do you seem nervous tonight? One might think I was about to bite you.”
“Oh, no, sir! It is just…all this…is so unexpected. I am overwhelmed and yes, I am a little nervous. I didn’t know what to expect for the evening. It’s uncomfortable to uh…uh…perhaps I should…maybe…I have overdressed…uh, not dressed…” she stopped speaking, realizing she was talking as if she had imbibed a Babbling Beverage.
“Hmm hmm heh,” he said, shaking his head as his lip curled in amusement. “Au contraire, Miss Granger. I would think you must feel very comfortable here…in the dungeons…with me. After all, you are the same Hermione Granger who, on more than one occasion, concocted a scheme to procure accommodations in my quarters.” Professor Snape cocked one eyebrow and gave her a knowing look.
Hermione felt her cheeks burn. He had some nerve to say that she had plotted to spend the night in his rooms.
Hermione straightened up in her chair, head held high, took a deep breath, and responded, “I did no such thing,” she replied. Then a little voice in her head said, ‘Or did you?’
Snape stared into her eyes for a moment, and Hermione feared he might be hearing her thoughts. She swallowed but did not break eye contact.
The professor cocked an eyebrow and said knowingly, “So you say.” Then he raised his glass and downed the contents, leaned back in his chair, and called, “Elf, you may serve.”
She set her glass down, surprised to see it was almost empty, and sank back in her chair. ‘That was close,’ she thought.
Elf brought the first course, poached oysters on the half shell with a chive sauce. She set one plate for the professor and gave him a big smile. Then she set a second plate in front of Hermione and smiled shyly.
“Hermione, Elf planned this menu especially for you. I believe you will find she has prepared a delightfully, simple yet elegant supper.”
“It looks delicious,” she said, waiting to see how the professor was going to eat it.
Elf turned to Hermione with a hopeful look on her face.
“Thank you, Elf. You are very thoughtful.”
Elf continued to stare at Hermione waiting for her to the special disk she had prepared. Hermione smiled at her and then looked back at the plate.
She glanced at the professor and watched him deftly spear the oyster with a small fork, dip it into the sauce, and then pop it into his mouth in one bite.
The corners of Elf’s mouth began to turn down and disappointment clouded her eyes. Hermione realized the little creature was waiting for her approval, so she took a deep breath and bravely picked up the fork, emulating the professor’s example.
Hesitantly, she put the oyster into her mouth and swallowed. It was delicious. Her eyes widened in surprise and she said, “Elf, you made a wonderful choice for the menu. The oysters are delightful.”
A broad smile on her face, Elf puffed up her chest with pride. “Elf know what Miss need.”
Elf disappeared to fetch the next course.
Hermione watched as Elf attentively served a carrot and ginger soup, followed by a sea bass with lemon potatoes. As she set each dish in front of her master, she gave him a loving look, adoration in her eyes. Hermione realized that Elf enjoyed being here, and she loved her master. Maybe not all house elves were treated badly, but that did not make it right. Should they not be allowed to be free to work as they pleased?
In an attempt to make polite conversation Hermione asked, “Professor, how long has Elf been with you?”
Professor Snape looked over at Elf. “Elf has been here as long as I have.”
“Oh, and before that? Where did she come from?”
Elf began twisting the corners of her tea towel nervously. She remembered talking with Miss before. Master Professor not being happy. She set her mouth in a grim line, determined not to utter a word.
The professor looked at Hermione with a hint of exasperation in his eyes. She could be a pain in the arse. “What does it matter where she came from? Elf is here now.” He turned his attention back to his plate and refused to make eye contact.
Hermione felt as if she had ruined the mood. When Elf brought out a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, the professor looked over at her and smiled. There was a look in his eyes that said, ‘I am sorry I was upset with you.’
He asked, “Did you enjoy your birthday supper, my dear?”
“Yes, sir. Everything was delicious. Thank you very much for this surprise celebration. No one at Hogwarts has done anything like this for me before.”
Hermione pushed back her chair. As much as she wanted to bring up the Pensieve memory, she couldn’t bring herself to broach the subject. “It is getting late; I should be going.”
“What a pity you must leave. I had hoped to speak with you about an offer.”
Hermione’s interest piqued, she asked, “Offer? What offer would that be, sir?”
“Your talent for brewing potions has become widely known in the wizarding world. Paired with the proper Potions master, it is believed that your potential could be limitless.”
“Do you really believe my potential is limitless?” she asked breathlessly.
Professor Snape ignored her question and continued. “I have been authorized to oversee your education and offer you an apprenticeship,” he said as he silently summoned the sheaves of parchment from the sideboard.
“But, I am still a student!” she interjected.
“You are not just any student, my dear. You are a brilliant student. You can take the exams at the end of the school year and still graduate. The only difference being, you would be apprenticed to the Hogwarts Potions master and thus exempted from classes.”
Without hesitation, Hermione replied solemnly, “Professor, I would like that very much.” ‘I would be a blithering idiot to pass up this opportunity.’
“Tsk, tsk, Miss Granger. It is a seven-year contract,” he cautioned. Glancing over the documents, he added, “It is unwise to act in haste.”
He handed Hermione the documents. “These are the official documents outlining the obligations and responsibilities of the apprenticeship,” he said, caressing each syllable. “The required signatures and seals have been affixed. The second copy is for you.”
Hermione put out her hand to accept them, but he pulled back slightly, giving her a sardonic look. “Always the eager one, aren’t you, Miss Granger. May I suggest that you read the contract carefully? Take your time before accepting the offer – because it is a magically binding contract. I do not want to hear any complaints that you were coerced.” Warmth no longer showed in his dark eyes. The amicable mood that had permeated the room had disappeared. The atmosphere was downright chilly – and it had nothing to do with being in the dungeons. The warmth in his eyes was gone, replaced by a sinister stare.
“I suggest you study them in the morning. Should you decide to refuse the offer, only the bottom parchment requires your explanation of refusal and your signature. I expect your answer no later than noon tomorrow.”
Severus allowed himself a sigh of relief. He delivered his speech with the exact amount of discouragement and warning that he felt would persuade her to do the exact opposite of what he suggested.
Hermione gingerly lifted the parchment and eagerly read:
Click to read the contract:http://joannie3.livejournal.com/1855.html'
Click to continue reading Chapter 9 A Night to Remember http://joannie3.livejournal.com/2146.html
Source used for information on medieval guilds:
http://www.ancientquest.com/embark/guilds.html Ancient Quest Official Website of author Karen Ralls