“That’s Amortentia, it’s the most powerful love potion in the world. It’s rumored to smell differently to each person according to what attracts them. For example, I smell freshly mown grass, new parchment, and…” her confidence in answering Professor Slughorn’s question wavered as she identified the base note of what attracted her. Compelled to complete her answer for the points it would award her house, Hermione breathed, “Bergamot and cedarwood,” her face flushing as she prayed no one in the small NEWT level class would identify just who the final scent profile belonged to.
Stepping back into the semi-circle of students, she allowed her already frizzing curls to fall forward in an effort to hide her face from a too curious Ron. Thankfully Harry - the more incessant of the two when he caught whiff of a secret - was living up to his dependable nature of being oblivious and had missed her whole answer. Taking a closer glance at him, it appeared the pearlescent steam of the potion was affecting more than just the witches in the class; his normally clear green eyes had turned dopey and unfocused with his mind most probably drifting off to Ginny Weasley. His distraction was all the better for her too because if there was one person who could identify her final allure to Amortentia, it was her best friend.
Until his need to suss out whatever peculiar things Draco was up to came about that summer, he had been as obsessive as her in regards to their Potions Professor turned Defense Professor. They both filed away every detail of Professor Snape as if stalking him were their job. She overcome by with a school girl crush that seemed to only grow through the years, and he equally compelled by the man and his compulsive need to prove that the man who had saved them on more than one occasion was actually pulling the wool over all their eyes.
With the impromptu quiz and demonstration of some of the Wizarding World's most regulated and illicit potions over, Hermione shuffled along with the small herd of students back to her seat. Her attention however refused to cooperate with her, Professor Slughorn’s prattling details about the competition he was holding for a vial of Felix Felicis going in one ear and out the other. Still in her buoyant, drifty state, she arranged her ingredients and tools with less care than her usual methodical ways. With her textbook open to the recipe for Draught of Living Death, she took a deep inhale of the fresh pages knowing this would be the last time the smell of the printing press clung to them, uncaring of the deeper fog her brain went into as she replaced the manufactured scents with the real thing. Charming the book to remain propped up and open, her sense slowly came back to her as she read over the published steps, focusing her mind so she could get to work. Competition or not, she had a spot at the top of the class to maintain and if she could hold it under Professor Snape’s critical and discerning instruction, Professor Slughorn was sure to be a breeze.
For the next hour, the only time she had looked up from her work was to criticize Harry for crushing the Sopophorous bean when the book clearly stated that they were to cut them. His reckless modifications of the brewing process didn’t end there either. It seemed like every instruction he took issue with and changed it to suit his current fancy. His cavalier attitude towards the published process further irked her as he produced a near perfect draught in half the estimated time. She on the other hand - always following the rules as if it would make up for the exhaustive amount they broke each year - had struggled to complete the less than satisfactory concoction that simmered in her own cauldron. The reason behind the sudden change in their aptitude for the subject was something she would later come to understand. As it was, she was consumed with envy and indignation as she watched him claim his prize and their new professor’s favor.
Sullen over her loss as top student in a class that wasn’t centered around flying or the ridiculous notion of divining the future, Hermione tuned out her victorious friend’s description of the battered and abused textbook he had pulled from the classroom cupboard. He sung the praises of the book as if its worn pages held the secrets to the universe within its crumbling spine. Frankly as far as she was concerned, his success had been won by cheating, the petty thought soothing her just a little as they fought their way through the mass of students to their next class.
By the time they had completed the upward trek from the dungeons to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom though, her mood was remarkably improved. Yes, it was a bit silly that seeing Professor Snape, of all professors, for the next hour would be what lifted her spirits the rest of the way but she was still a teenage girl who fell victim to flights of fancy and girlish tendencies. Even if certain people in her life often forgot that she wasn’t in fact just another bloke.
Taking her lone seat at the two person table while Harry and Ron opted to sit behind her, she showed much more care than she had in her previous class in readying herself for the day’s lecture. Releasing her heightened giddy nerves by stroking the velvet soft feather of her quill, she smiled as the dark, intimidating professor made his flamboyant entry complete with the classroom door crashing open before slamming closed through his showy and effortless use of silent and wandless magic. His boots hardly made a noise as he stalked up the center aisle making him all the more formidable as his robes rippled and billowed behind him as if preparing for flight. And as he passed her without a glance to spin around and face the classroom - arms crossed and neutral but assessing expression in place - she was washed once more in the base scent of her Amortentia allure; his scent. A scent that had become imprinted on her mind during her third year after Professor Lupin had transformed before their very eyes and Professor Snape had thrown himself between them and the Wolfsbane-free werewolf.
With a potent blast of his scent, his lilting and sensuous voice, and the lingering effects of the potion’s aroma still clinging to the back of her mind, Hermione quickly found herself falling into a daydream that centered around her enigmatic professor. Professor Snape - or Severus as she often called him in her mind where she was safe from ever being found out - was the very definition of a teenage dream. He was unapologetically arrogant, highly intelligent and inventive, mysterious, unapproachable yet captivating, and a bloody spy for the Order, risking his very life and reputation to help bring about the downfall of You-Know-Who. Truly any girl who did not fall victim to his dark allure at some point during their tenure at Hogwarts was mad as a hatter in her opinion.
Like the most deadly of species, everything about him was crafted to draw someone in. His too large features held a person’s gaze first for their oddity and then for the way they blurred together under closer inspection, creating the very definition of unconventional beauty. His hands, equally large and intimidating, were graceful and dexterous. A feature she could study for hours on end and never grow bored of. In fact it was something she had done countless times during his years as the school’s Potions Master; his movements hypnotic, making her yearn to match his fluidity and later feel their disciplined touch upon her own skin. It was impossible to not become transfixed by the man and freely walk into his deadly snare only to realize your error once it was too late. And too late was exactly what it was for Hermione.
Having lost herself amongst her wandering thoughts, she was woefully unprepared for the sudden silence of the classroom. Before the thick weight of impending doom could alert her adrenaline - like prey caught in the cross hairs of an apex predator - Professor Snape went in for the kill.
With his hands slamming down on the table, she startled back in her chair and released an embarrassingly high pitched yelp of shock and distress. The charges leading into her death sentence didn’t end with her lack of attention on his lecture though. No, ever the overachiever and impetuous Gryffindor, she had to reach not only for detention but public humiliation and possible expulsion.
Without thought of anything other than the never ending depth of his ink colored eyes and his crepe tinted lips, she tilted her head up and closed the gap between them. Catapulted into the seventh heaven at the sensation of his mouth against hers, she felt for herself the softness she had always imagined lurked beneath his hard exterior. And of all the impossible things, she could have sworn that she felt his lips give hers the most brief of reciprocated kisses.
Around her, the class went wild, yanking her from the moment. No student was louder than her two friends though, who sat behind her interchanging between unintelligible sputtering and calls for a check on her sanity. Pulling back as rational thought wrestled her teenage hormones wrapped in the fumes of Amortentia into submission, she held her breath. Forcing her eyes to open, she looked at the man she had been dreaming about for two years in a bid to both be fearless and read just how horrible her academic death was about to be.
The biggest surprise of all though was not her actions but Professor Snape’s initial reaction which served to solidify the stupor of a thought she had about him returning her kiss. Had she kept her eyes closed for even a second longer, she would have missed the unbelievable sight. Always in control of himself, never allowing anyone to see anything of him that he did not wish them to, he openly wore a look of bewilderment. The look didn’t stop at his wide eyes and parted lips either. Turning the day even more mad than she had already accomplished, was the faint trace of a blush coloring his alabaster cheeks. As quick as she had glimpsed it though, it was gone; his features once more schooled into an unreadable mask.
Clearing his throat of any lingering surprise, he added to the delirium she was in by tenderly brushing the tips of his fingers along her knuckles; an action that was in direct contrast with his quietly hissed words which were always far more terrifying than his yelling. “Fifty points from Gryffindor, Miss Granger and you will get out of my classroom and keep yourself removed from my sight until your detention this evening. The first of many that you will be serving for the liberties you have just taken with my person.”
Swallowing thickly, she repeatedly nodded her head like a bobble figure and shakely scurried about trying to collect what she could before he spoke again, her skin burning from where he touched her. Not bothering to put anything back into her bag, Hermione kept her head down with her curls acting like a shield against prying eyes, and all but ran from the room before anyone could see the giddy smile she wore. Reaching the relative safety of the empty corridor, she sank against the stone wall as the door closed behind her and traced her fingers first over her lips and then over her knuckles.
Not a minute ago she thought for sure she had committed academic suicide. However in light of the secret revelation, she felt as if she was seeing the world anew. What could exist between them as they were now, she didn’t know nor did she care because for once, her sense flying away had paid off for the better and she wasn’t about to chase after it when she could have something far more important to her.