“Did you get an invitation, too?” Harry asked her the next morning over breakfast. Just an hour ago a house-elf had delivered a crisp white envelope to her, containing an invitation for the first Slug Club meeting of the year. She had looked at it with furrowed brows for a couple of moments, but when she had become aware of the other girls’ looks, she had hastily thrown it into her school bag and left for breakfast.
“You mean from Professor Slughorn?” Hermione asked while buttering her toast. “I did indeed. I guess it would be impolite to refuse to go, even though I have no idea what this Slug Club is even supposed to be.”
“Professor Slughorn seems to invite students he views as talented or otherwise promising to those gatherings,” Harry explained while digging into his pile of eggs. “Professor Dumbledore told me about it after he and I visited Slughorn during the holidays. My mum was a member of that club once, did you know?”
“No. But you definitely make it sound like it’s worth going there…” Hermione said, completely ignoring the look Lavender bestowed on her. She had decided not to pay the girl any mind from now on, because it was obvious that Lavender strongly disliked her, for whatever reason. “Should we go together then?” she asked, noting that Ron had stopped eating, two places to her right. Idiot. How could he even assume that Hermione and Harry were something more than friends? The thought alone was ridiculous. But sometimes Ron’s jealous streak made him forget all rationality. Still, she had not done anything wrong, not anything at all and therefore she really had no reason to feel guilty.
Harry nodded happily, totally oblivious to what happened around them. “Yeah. Sounds like a good plan. If it’s awful we at least still have each other,” he mumbled and even though Hermione thought the wording was a bit unfortunate, she nodded.
“Maybe it will even be nice,” she said, smiling a little. “Professor Slughorn is a very nice and competent Professor, after all.”
Harry did not say anything to that, but for a moment she thought he was rolling his eyes at her words. Whatever. Now that she had Severus, Hermione did not care that much about Harry’s approval of her love of learning. It was okay to be different than all the others, because she knew that there was always a person who understood.
“How did your first Slug Club meeting go?” Severus asked while sitting on Hermione’s pillow in his raven form, staring at her with curious, black eyes. They had not properly seen each other the whole day, which would not have been a problem a while ago. But somehow he had not been able to make it through the day without her, his heart aching from being separated from her for too long.
“ Well ,” Hermione mumbled while an awkward smile was playing on her lips. “It felt like being under the microscope, to be honest. This dinner was like a never-ending interrogation, mostly focussed on my heritage. Professor Slughorn was of course very polite about it, but… ”
“ You still felt like an oddity ,” Severus finished for her. “ You don’t have to say it, Hermione. I was a member of his little club myself when I was still a student. I have suffered through at least twenty of those dinner parties and seen it all play out, in all its awkward, stiff glory. Horace Slughorn advertises being very tolerant towards Muggles, but he still can not help being a bigot.”
Hermione stared at him with a stunned expression. She probably had not expected him to be so openly disapproving about a colleague. But he had never been one for sugarcoating things. “At least he’s trying to be nice about it. Not like Draco Malfoy. Whenever I spoke he looked like he had an awful smell in his nose, ” his friend mumbled, staring moodily at the bed’s ceiling. She was already clad in her pyjamas, as it was already rather late. But luckily the other girls had already gone to bed, so that she could let him into the dorm without problems. And it wasn’t like they had to get up in the morning, as tomorrow was a Saturday. Therefore he could stay a little longer.
“ A bigot is still a bigot, Hermione, no matter how polite they are about it. They will still pass you over for someone of ‘better breeding’ ,” Severus said, looking at her seriously. “ You do not have to take that kind of behaviour from a ny one . Do you hear me? ”
Hermione nodded, stunned. He knew she would not change her behaviour right away, as she was brought up to be polite and she was still unsure how to navigate the wizarding world. But he would teach her if she let him do it.
“Draco has done that thing with his nose ever since he was a child, by the way, ” Severus said in the hope of lightening the mood again. “ Lucius does it, too, which sometimes made me think it was a Malfoy family trait. Do not worry. He will not insult you during those meetings and if he does, Slughorn will not tolerate it. Horace does not tolerate bullying and he is very averse to Death Eaters. I wonder what even made him invite the boy…” Maybe it had been Albus’ idea, he thought. Maybe this was his idea of keeping an eye on Draco Malfoy or to let him connect with people outside his own house. It really wasn’t a bad idea, now that Severus thought about it. Maybe that was also the reason his godson was patrolling the corridors with Weasley now…
“Well, Draco is talented with potions. I am sure you as his godfather are aware of that, ” Hermione said, a yawn escaping her mouth. Subconsciously she snuggled deeper into her blanket and Severus had to hide the smile that he felt at the sight. It would not take long for her to fall asleep, he thought, and realized that he was looking forward to it. Watching Hermione sleep was one of his favourite things to do, but he rarely stayed long enough for it to happen. Today he had barely arrived though and he could feel the bond urging him to stay a bit longer. He would gladly oblige it, as those were the moments where he could uninhibitedly stare at her and study every freckle and dimple on her relaxed face.
“ I am. He might not show it, but he is working very hard to achieve good grades. Lucius has communicated his desire for his heir to be amongst the best students very unmistakably, ” Severus explained while shifting on Hermione’s pillow, to make himself more comfortable. “ Not all parents are as understanding and supportive as yours. ”
“I know,” Hermione mumbled, her eyelids slowly dropping. Then, suddenly, he could feel her shift closer, her forehead coming to touch his feathered wing ever so slightly. Severus closed his eyes, determined not to move an inch. The girl was obviously tired and he would not disturb her or make her feel unwelcome by shifting away. No, he would just sit here, enjoying her feather-light touch until she was deep enough asleep, that she would not feel him leaving. It might take a while for her to do so, but it wasn’t like he was in any kind of hurry right now; on the contrary, he had rarely felt so comfortable in his life.
Severus awoke when he felt a body shift against him, mumbling his name accompanied by a delicate, little sigh that went directly to his groin. He knew without a doubt who it was snuggling into him and burying her face into his chest and he realized that he must have unintentionally fallen asleep in her bed. It was time for him to go, to get back to his own chambers before the girl awoke and realized how much he was enjoying himself, because he was, and his body reacted quite unmistakably to the witch in his arms.
“Severus,” he heard her mumble in her sleep, her body pressing even more against him before he heard her awake with a little gasp a moment later. She did not move right away, her mind probably needing a moment to process the situation and following an impulse, he closed his eyes in hopes of being allowed to stay a little longer.
Finally, he felt her move, her body disentangling from him ever so slightly and while he was still contemplating what she was doing, he suddenly felt her fingers on his face, her fingertips touching his lips ever so slightly. His body reacted instinctively, his arms closing around her possessively while his eyes snapped open, staring at her and searching for an answer to the question, that repeated itself over and over in his head. But he could not find it and instead registered as her pupils widened when she locked eyes with him.
“Sorry, I did not want to wake you,” she whispered, her breath tickling the skin of his neck as she spoke. He shivered.
“It’s alright, I should go,” he said, willing himself to let her go.
Before he could make a move though, her hand tenderly cupped his cheek, her eyes looking at him pleadingly as she said: “Please stay. I want you here, with me…”
Somehow he knew that she wasn’t just asking for some more innocent cuddles between friends, but for so much more than that. And for a short moment he considered giving it to her. To hell with what the others thought, she was of age and she wanted him.
But then his mind caught on and the doubts started to creep back. “Hermione I… we cannot… we should not…” he said, but he was unable to move, to pull away. His eyes could not help but focus on her lips, which were opened ever so slightly and glistening with moisture where she must have licked them a moment before. Gods, he wanted to kiss her so bad, to pull her against him but…
He could not finish that thought as she was suddenly moving against him, her eyes never leaving his as she moved closer until her lips finally brushed against his. It wasn’t really a kiss, more a question, or a silent invitation for him to continue, to close that little bit of distance remaining between them. And without consciously deciding to do so he did, his arms cupping her waist while his lips moved against hers slowly and gently. Hermione melted against him with a sigh as she closed her eyes and her thumb brushed against his cheek, his stubble scratching against her skin. She did not seem to mind, as her lips curved into a smile before she kissed him back, her fingers playing with his black hair as she did.
It felt glorious to just hold her like this, press her against his body while his lips showed her how he felt for her, pouring his heart into every kiss she eagerly received. Kissing her felt so right but also oh so tempting. Gods, it had been ages since he had been with a woman and his body quickly made him realize what he had been missing out on. Every little sigh from her lips seemed to pool up in his stomach, encouraging him to deepen the kiss and pull her even tighter, his right hand wandering down her back ever so slowly until it reached the hem of her pyjama pants. There it stilled, waiting for her to give him permission to move further and the little nod against his lips was all that he needed. His fingers trailed lower, admiring the delicate curve of her arse that seemed to fill his palm just right. Gods, this was heaven and at the same time a torture more intense than he had ever known.
Severus heard her moan into his mouth, before she deepened the kiss even further, her fingers digging into the hair at his neck, her fingernails scratching his skin just enough to make it obvious that she liked what he was doing. N either of them spoke as there was simply no air left to form words with and talking seemed like a waste of time anyway. They understood each other perfectly, using the ancient language of passion. Her shivers and sighs told him everything he needed and wanted to know right now.
Severus' hands were eager to feel even more of her skin and one of them trailed back upward, following her spine until it reached her shoulder blades, the loose fabric of her pyjama top giving him enough room to explore her back below her clothes. Hermione arched into his touch, before her hands let go of his hair, coming to rest against his chest where they started to fiddle with the small buttons of his robe. He could feel her hands shake a little, if from nervousness or passion he could not say.
“Not fair,” she mumbled, breaking her kiss to look down at his chest with furrowed brows. “You’re all buttoned up and I don’t think I’m able to undo a single one of them. But I want to touch you, too, just a little…”
Severus smiled down at her understandingly. “I could help you,” he suggested, his hands trailing over her back before letting go of her to get his wand from his sleeve. “It’s just a little flick of my wand.”
Hermione nodded, her eyes staring at him with eagerness and adoration. To see her like this made his heart melt, as well as his resolve to not do this, to wait until she was no longer his student. A silent spell undid the buttons of his robe and the shirt below, making the fabric spring open to expose his pale and almost hairless chest. He could see Hermione’s eyes taking in the sight of him, full of curiosity, her hands reaching for him carefully as if she was afraid he would pull away any second. He did not, but kept himself perfectly still to let her explore his skin without feeling pressed or intimidated. And Hermione did so with growing courage and interest. First her fingers traced his ribs, finding his nipples a moment later, her thumbs stroking them while a little smile broke out on her lips. It was obvious that she had never before touched a man like this and the realization that he was her first, that she chose to do this with him, was almost enough to make him lose his restraint. But he did not, the shiver running through his body the only reaction that could have given him away.
Severus watched her in fascination for a while and enjoyed the touch of her skin. But finally he could not take it any longer, because he desperately wanted to give something back. His hands reached for her face, cupped her chin and pulled her into a lingering kiss, while his other hand trailed back towards her bum, pulling her closer against his body. She went willingly, one of her legs wrapping around him, so that her midsection was pressed against his straining erection. He groaned at the contact and for a moment she stilled, staring at him with wide eyes, before she continued to kiss him, her hands roaming his chest with nimble fingers. It took all his restraint not to grind into her and instead just to enjoy her attentions, his body not taking more pleasure from her than he was freely given. Still, they lost themselves more and more in their desire, her mouth travelling from his mouth across his face to his throat, kissing and sucking his chest eagerly. It was just when he brushed her hair aside to reciprocate her attentions that he heard her moan…
...and awoke to the realisation that it had all just been a dream, a dream they had just shared while sleeping wrapped around each other in her bed. But now they were awake, both of them, her eyes staring at him with a mixture of panic, embarrassment and arousal. There was no denying that he had enjoyed their shared dream. His arousal pressing into her thigh made that pretty clear, for both of them. Fuck.
Hermione awoke to the realization that it had all just been a dream and that Severus was still there, right in her arms. He stared at her with wide eyes, his body stiff like he was frozen in place. Merlin, she could have sworn she could still feel him, taste him, and her body was still aching for him in a way that made her feel hot and cold at the same time. Was he feeling the same? Was his heart thumping as heavily in his chest as hers?
“I should go,” Severus whispered, his voice sounding strangely hoarse. Her mind knew he was right, that those feelings for him and the aching for his touch was madness, but on the other hand this whole scene felt like a dejá vu of her dream and she ached to know what kissing him would really feel like.
“Please don’t,” Hermione found herself whispering, like following an unwritten screenplay that only the both of them knew.
His black eyes stared at her contemplatively, his brows furrowed like he could not understand what she was saying. Was he not feeling the same desire, the same ache to be close to her? Because if she was reading his body language correctly he very much did.
“Hermione, please, I need to go now,” he murmured, his body suddenly starting to move away from her. “This…”
But she did not want him to continue, did not want him to go and so she did what she had done in her dream; she grabbed the front of his robe and pulled him into a kiss. His lips felt dry and soft against hers and for a moment she could have sworn he kissed her back, his eyes closing for a moment and his lips moving against hers before Severus suddenly pulled away. His eyes were open again and stared at her unreadably, but Hermione still realized that she had made a mistake, that he did not want the same things she did.
“Hermione, please, this was just a dream. You must not confuse it with reality. I know it’s hard, especially with those… hormones still raging through our bodies. But it is not real, this is not real,” he said, while pulling even farther away. “No matter what you think you’re feeling right now, it is just the dream playing you, playing us. You’re still young, you might not know the difference…”
Hermione could just stare at him, the dream fading more and more into the background leaving her with this strange situation, where she had just kissed Severus, swearing that it was the right thing, only to be pushed back by him. “Severus, I…” she tried, but she did not really know what to say to him.
“It’s alright. I am not holding this against you. It is not your fault. Let us just… cool down a bit and we will talk about this tomorrow, alright?” her friend said, while carefully getting up from her bed, his body transforming back into his Animagus form.
“Alright,” she mumbled, because what else was there to say? He did not want her, not in that way at least, and she would have to learn to accept this. Could it be that those dreams were just created by her desire to be more to him, to be more than just a friend? It was possible.
‘What a mess!’, she thought while carefully climbing out of her bed, opening the window for Severus to get out. She watched him leave her bed and the dorm with three quick strokes of his back wings, his small figure disappearing into the night, while the heaviness in her heart and the aching need in her body remained. It would be impossible for her to fall asleep anytime soon with those feelings still raging through her body. Gods, she wanted to continue her exploration of Severus' body so badly, wanted to see and taste that scar she had felt at his chest. And in the seclusion of her bed she would, Hermione decided, her mind replaying all the details she still remembered from the dream while her hand would take care of the ache she felt. It was probably a mistake to give in to that urge and focus on things that were not meant to happen, but right now Hermione found that she did not care.