Continuing Tales

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 12 of 35

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Just Let It Happen

Even an hour-long soak in the warm, perfumed waters of the Prefects' bathroom had never felt so good. Hermione stood with her chin resting against her chest as she let the delicious hot stream pound against her back. One by one, her aching muscles finally, finally released the very last of whatever tension had been left over after Snape's spell, and she watched through heavy lidded eyes as the remains of dirt and blood ran down her legs, swirling away into the drain. She was very nearly in a coma when there came a loud pounding on the bathroom door.

"Surely even you're clean by now, Granger," Snape's voice called thickly from the other side. "Get moving."

Hermione reacted instantly as though a switch had been turned on the back of her head. She jumped out of the shower, dried herself furiously with a towel and threw on the ratty jeans and t-shirt. Subsequently, it was then she discovered that the clothes Snape had secured for her were so big that they nearly swallowed her. In fact, the pants were so outsized that she actually had to hold them up with her hands to keep them from falling right back down to her ankles. Snape had said that the girl he saw was "about" her size.

Great, so Snape thought she was a whale. Perfect.

"I need a belt," Hermione snapped irritably as she entered the room.

"No, you don't," Snape replied without looking up from the pile of wizard and Muggle money that he was sorting on the bed.

Hermione made a loud noise of indignation. "You're joking, right?"

Snape looked up then, his jaw twitching at the sight of her: Hair still wet and dripping from the shower, the collar of her shirt nearly slipping over her shoulder, and the enormous handful of fabric she was forced to hold in order to keep the pants on her body. After a slight pause, he shook his head in defeat. "Alright," he grumbled, standing up and fumbling with his own belt buckle.

Hermione felt as though her stomach had just done a quick series of summersaults as she watched Snape free the strangely tricky clasp and slide the belt from around his waist in one slow, fluid, perfect motion. He held it out to her and Hermione paused for a moment before plucking it swiftly from his grasp, her heart thumping in her chest.

Honestly, she mentally berated herself. Get a grip.

Snape went back to sorting money as Hermione hesitantly slipped the belt through the loops in her own jeans. She tried to ignore the fact that this very accessory had just been wrapped around Snape's body, and shuffled back to the bathroom to dry her hair.

"Come back here, Granger," Snape called an instant later, before Hermione had barely even had time to touch the towel to her head.

She peeked around the doorframe. "Yes?"

Snape walked over and shoved a pair of metal scissors in her hands. "Here," he said.

Hermione stared back at him questioningly. "Well?" she said after a slight pause. "What do you want me to do with these?"

"I want you to cut your hair, as short as you can. The more drastic the better."


"Please, Granger, refrain from spewing your feminine woes of vanity. It's just hair. I even hear tell that it grows back."

Hermione seethed at his condescending tone. You should talk, she thought bitterly, and it took every inch of self-restraint she had to keep from slamming the door in his smug face. Instead, she turned to stare at herself determinedly in the mirror.

She supposed she was being a bit stupid. Snape was right, after all. It was just hair. And what was a little haircut when faced with possible torture and death? Hermione ran a hand through the long mass of damp curls on her head and pursed her lips. Even though she often complained about how unmanageable her hair was, she couldn't help but feel a certain attachment to it. She had always felt that it made her sort of... special, in a way.

With a sigh, Hermione grabbed a big handful and slid it between the sharp edges of the scissors. Special. That was exactly the reason why she needed to get rid of it.

Snip by snip, Hermione sheared away her hair until it was nothing more than a curly bob that barely concealed her ears. Her lip trembled involuntarily when she looked in the mirror and suddenly realized that it was all gone.

"Are you finished?" came Snape's irritable call from the other room.

"I-I guess so," Hermione replied in a barely suppressed wail. She emerged from the bathroom more self-conscious than she'd ever felt in her life.

Snape was standing with his wand out and at the ready, and Hermione gave him a wary look.

"That didn't help much, did it?" he growled.

Hermione was aghast. "What do you mean it didn't help? I cut it short just like you asked, and to be quite honest, I-"

Snape studied her with narrowed eyes, motioning with his finger for her to make a little turn.

For once, Hermione did not obey. "Look," she snapped. "I did what you said, I cut it all off, now can't we just leave it at that?"


Hermione threw up her hands. "Fine then, I give up! What do you want me to do?"

"For a start," Snape barked, "I would advise you not to take that tone with me again. In case you haven't noticed, Granger, we are both in extreme danger. And, seeing as I am your superior in all facets of existence imaginable, I will be making the decisions every step of the way. You will do as I say without question, any question, is that perfectly understood?"

Hermione glowered. And did not respond.

Snape merely raised his eyebrows.

Hermione shrieked.

"BLOND? You turned my hair BLOND?"

"It would appear so."

"I understand you cutting it, even straightening it, but this is cruel!"

"Keep your voice down, Granger," Snape hissed, slithering over to take another look out the peephole. "For pity's sake, I'll turn it back when we arrive at our destination, if it means that much to you, don't throw a bloody fit."

Hermione's mouth was still gaping open as she stared at her now thoroughly unrecognizable hair, when Snape once again shoved a pair of scissors in her hand.

"I think it's short enough!" she snapped, giving over to her hissy-fit impulse and throwing the scissors back on the dresser in a huff.

Without missing a beat, Snape swiped them up and pressed them back into her hands. "I don't want you to cut your hair, you petulant child, I want you to cut mine."

Hermione felt the color drain from her cheeks. "Seriously?"

"Look at my face," Snape deadpanned.

His face looked pretty serious.

Then, without waiting for her reply, Snape pulled out a chair and sat down expectantly. "Get on with it."

His tone was so nasty that Hermione thought very hard about telling him to cut his own damn hair and then promptly locking herself in the bathroom again. But she couldn't help being curious as to how this was all going to play out.

She cleared her throat. "How do you want it? Medium? Short?"

"I could care less, Granger, just shut up and do something, for Merlin's sake."

Short it is then, she thought snidely. Hermione approached the chair and positioned herself directly behind Snape, frowning as she tried in vain to make her body stop trembling. Must still be an aftereffect of the Cruciatus, she reasoned.

"Any time now."

"Right, sorry." Hesitantly, Hermione reached out and ran her hand through the side of Snape's greasy hair, pulling it up and away from his face so that it wouldn't obscure her vision and cause her to accidentally cut his ear off in the process. A small thrill ran through her gut as she did this. She tried to ignore it. She took a moment to gather herself again, and then she did the same on the other side.

However, just when she pulled the hair up and caught a brief flash of something very unexpected, her body gave an enormous, electric jolt, and she jumped backwards with a squeak.

There was a loud thud as Snape leapt up and his chair toppled to the floor. He stood back, gaping at Hermione, his breath fast, and a long lock of golden hair — one that had so long been hidden, tucked away behind his ear — now framed the right side of his face.

"Did you feel it too?" Hermione breathed.


"What was—"

"Does it look like I know?"

"Well it happened when I... When I touched... I thought you got rid of that." Hermione pointed at the offending mark.

"Believe me," Snape growled, "it wasn't for lack of trying." He tucked it quickly back behind his curtain of greasy black hair, once more hiding it from view.

"You mean you couldn't—"

"Cut it, dye it, anything. The damn thing is just as persistent as you are, and nearly as irritating."

"Is that why you wanted me to cut your hair?" she asked quietly. "Do you think I might be the only one who—"

"There's only one way to find out, isn't there?" he snapped, reaching down and righting the chair in one flawless motion. "Pick up those scissors. Complete the task you have been given."

He eyed her menacingly once she had the scissors back in her hands.

"And don't you dare try anything funny with those," he said.

Hermione sat on the edge of the paisley bedspread, trying her best to ignore how depressingly light her head felt (and how utterly ridiculous it was that she cared). Even Snape had been a good enough sport about it all. Though that could have been largely due to the fact that Hermione did have the power to cut "the damn thing" as it turned out. She took secret pleasure in leaving enough so that it was still exceptionally visible.

Snape was currently in the bathroom taking a shower. Upon seeing Hermione's handiwork, he had simply scowled, snarled, "I suppose it will have to do," and then stalked off without so much as a word of gratitude. Not that she had been expecting any, really.

Once alone, and upon reflection, Hermione thought his new haircut looked sort nice in a way; the splash of gold at his temple was startling, but not in a bad way. She kind of liked it. In fact, she thought the whole thing was a bit funny. All this time, she never knew that Snape could actually look... alright. And with nothing more than a simple haircut. Granted, his teeth were still more than a bit crooked and his nose was hopeless, but with his hair combed just right... and under the right lighting... and if she was standing back a ways... Hermione was convinced that he could maybe, probably, sometimes, look somewhat... un-repugnant.

All of a sudden the bathroom door opened and Snape emerged, once again fully clothed in Muggle attire. He even seemed to be sporting the suspiciously fast-growing hints of five o'clock shadow along his tightly clenched jaw. His hair was still damp from the shower, but "the wet look" most definitely worked in his favor. He looked rugged and dangerous and infinitely more intimidating than usual.

Scratch un-repugnant, Snape looked borderline hunky.

Hermione suppressed a fit of giggles. She must be clinically psychotic. She could not believe that she had just put "Snape" and "hunky" in the same thought without any sort of "is the farthest thing from" in between. He should definitely grow in a beard more often, she thought dazedly, as the man in question gave her an irritable scowl and motioned her to follow him out the door.

They took the stairs this time, and when they entered back into the hall on the first floor, Snape took an unexpected turn. He headed directly towards an exit door that had the words "Employees Only" plastered in big bold letters across the middle.

Accustomed to having to check out of an inn before leaving, Hermione felt mildly nervous as they barged through the restricted exit and out into the alley in which she had awoken the previous night. They were in disguise, running from mortal peril, and so there were likely going to be many illegal things on their future agenda. She would just have to get used to that, Hermione reasoned with herself as she trotted along to keep up with Snape's long strides. They were now out of the alley and on the main street. Back in public at last! Hermione had never been so happy to see strangers.

She had no idea where they were going or how they were going to get there, though Snape seemed confident enough. She could ask him, of course, but then she wasn't exactly up to getting her head bitten off just yet. For heaven's sake, she hadn't even had breakfast.

She wished they could simply Apparate as far as possible, and then resort to Muggle travel. Harry made Side-Along Apparition sound so easy. Admittedly, she supposed they couldn't just Apparate anywhere, in case there were Muggles around. And it was probably a safe bet that most of the designated "safe" Apparition zones were being watched by unfriendly eyes. Snape knew what he was doing.

Or did he…

"Do you want me to hail us a cab?" Hermione suggested helpfully as they finally came to stop at a crosswalk.

"Do I want you to what?" Snape snarled in return.

Hermione gave him a sly, sideways look. "You do know what I mean, don't you, Professor? Surely you know how to hail a cab…"

He glared down at her where she stood just beside his right elbow, and after a long moment, he rolled his eyes. "Why should I be fluent in such inane Muggle customs?"

"Gee, I dunno, perhaps for an occasion like this?"

"I didn't exactly plan on having an occasion like this, did I?"

"What, and I had it circled on my calendar?"

"Maybe if you had, you might have shown the good sense not to go frolicking off into the forest like a deranged little twit."

"If by 'frolicking' you mean 'dragged off helplessly by a demented rampaging troll monster' then yes, I suppose you're right. I don't know why I wasn't better prepared for that."

Snape opened his mouth to say something, but Hermione cut him off.

"The light's green," she snapped, brushing past him. "And don't worry," she called over her shoulder. "I am fluent in inane Muggle customs, so I should have no problem getting us a cab."

Their travels for that day were long, miserable, uncomfortable, but surprisingly uneventful. They went by cab, train, and eventually even airplane. Hermione had no idea how Snape did all of these things. Somehow, taxicab notwithstanding, he always managed to be prepared for everything that came their way. Needless to say, Hermione was grudgingly impressed, and despite their perilous situation, she found that she felt safe with Snape—safer, even, than she might have felt with Dumbledore. After all, Dumbledore was not exactly the type of person who could easily disappear in a crowd.

Once she finally worked up the courage to ask, the most Hermione could weasel out of Snape about where they were headed was that they would eventually end up somewhere in southwest Switzerland. Once there, they would take yet another cab to some undisclosed remote location, where, supposedly, a member of the Order would be waiting with a couple of broomsticks and directions for the final part of their journey.

The only hiccup in their plans occurred when they arrived at the airport and realized that they did not have near enough Muggle money for the appropriate plane tickets. At that point, Snape's powers of improvisation clearly came into play—as did that "illegal agenda" Hermione had so been dreading. They hung around the check-in line until they espied a young couple who were also booked on their intended flight, and Snape (with Hermione tagging warily along behind), followed them towards security.

Halfway there, Snape suddenly grabbed Hermione's arm, hurried up a few steps, stuck one of his large feet directly in front of her, giving her back a good, hard push.

This sent Hermione catapulting to the ground with a yelp of surprise — or, what would have been the ground if the sadly oblivious couple had not been right in her path.

"I'm sorry — terribly sorry — all my fault — such a klutz — let me help you up — I don't know what came over me—"

By the time Hermione had managed to get herself, and the poor woman she had knocked over, off the floor, Snape was already sitting calmly on a bench a dozen yards away, looking just as bored and casual as always.

"What the hell! What the bloody hell was that?" Hermione stormed over to him, fighting the overwhelming urge to pull out her wand and shove it right up one of his oversized nostrils.

"Language, please, Miss Granger," Snape said with a smirk. Then he slowly pulled a pair of plane tickets out of his sleeve. "Wouldn't you know, it seems that you have a surprisingly useful quality after all. You managed to provide a very effective, albeit... ungraceful distraction."

"Fine — whatever — ha, ha — very funny — did you steal those?" She made to snatch the boarding passes out of his hand, but he pulled away too quickly.

"What do you think?" he drawled. "Of course I stole them. I had to—"

"But those people will notice their tickets are missing the second they reach security!" she whined. "They're not stupid, they'll know it was us. Or at least they'll know I had something to do with it. I thought you wanted to 'avoid suspicion.'"

"You do have an extremely unhealthy habit of interrupting people, Miss Granger," Snape said icily. "If you had let me finish my sentence, you would have known that I stole their boarding passes, replicated them, and then returned them — and all in the brief thirty seconds that your ridiculous floundering afforded me. I must say, sometimes I impress even myself."

Hermione felt her anger drain away. "Oh."

That was rather clever, actually, she thought (though she clearly did not articulate this particular observation). Then, just as Hermione opened her mouth to say something semi-congratulatory, she paused. "Hang on," she said slowly. "Let me see those tickets."

Snape gave her a wary glance, then handed them over.

Hermione took one look at them and groaned.

"What now?" Snape snarled.

Hermione exhaled noisily and pointed at something she could not believe he had overlooked. "Are there going to be two Mr. and Mrs. Concannons on the plane, then? These tickets have to have our names, not theirs. We need different names, different seats, and a whole bunch of other different things that I don't even know about!"

Instantly Snape stood and snatched back the boarding passes. Then he took off towards a row of phone cubbies.

Hermione followed quickly, wondering when the hell he would actually fill her in on what he was doing. She saw him pull out his wand, and did her best to shield him from public view as he poked at the tickets, magically adjusting the names, but nothing else.

"Don't you think the gate agent is going to notice something?" Hermione hissed in a whisper once they had cleared security and made their way towards the gate. "What if the same tickets won't go through the machine twice? If those Concannon people have already—"

"Then we will just have to be on the plane first, won't we? Let them deal with this gate... person."

So, that's what they did. Snape and Hermione slowly inched and butted their way into the front of the line, a few scant feet ahead of the unsuspecting Concannon couple. Hermione held her breath as she handed the gate agent her boarding pass, surprised when the woman was far too busy making disgusting flirty eyes at Snape (who, needless to say, was paying her absolutely no attention).

They made it through, and then hurried down the bridge as fast as they could without seeming like they were hurrying.

Hermione was a nervous wreck from the second she sat down in 27 E, until the final moment when she heard the unmistakable sound of the hatch door closing. Thankfully, the Concannons never showed up. Hermione couldn't help feeling a small pang of guilt at their expense.

Much to her chagrin, Snape had managed to nab the window seat, which left Hermione squeezed uncomfortably into the middle, right next to a very portly man whose long hair smelled dreadfully of molten tar and peanut butter. She knew this because he had an appalling habit of leaning his head against her shoulder — after which she would discreetly shake him off and lean even farther towards Snape (who would then, with one reluctant finger, immediately proceed to push her right back).

If there was one thing she learned on that flight, it was the fact that Severus Snape and Muggle flying did not agree one bit. He spent the entire time either puking into a bag, or sitting with his hands clenched in white-knuckled grips on the armrests, a noticeably green sheen on his cheeks.

Despite the smell of tar, peanut butter, vomit, the sound of retching, and the enormous snores coming from the fellow on her left, Hermione did manage to catch some sleep. However, the little sleep she had was riddled with nightmares: Visions of those horrible red eyes and that chilling laughter. This time, when the cold hands wrapped around her throat, she could feel warm, sticky blood bubbling out of the corners of her mouth as she tried desperately to scream but couldn't.

When she finally woke, she was shaking violently, her breathing fast and labored, and her face drenched with sweat. She began to feel extremely claustrophobic. There was nowhere to run. She was trapped, squeezed into this tiny seat, closed in on every side. They were thousands of feet in the air and there was nowhere to run. People were trying to kill her — not just people, but wizards, dark wizards, Death Eaters. Her breath came short, she couldn't force her lungs to expand, she involuntarily began to make a nervous whining sound in the back of her throat. Any moment she was going to scream! She didn't care who heard her, or what sort of spectacle she made, she just wanted to get out! GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT-

Then, all of a sudden, she felt a slight pressure on the back of her hand. The gentle, yet forceful, enveloping touch of a warm palm. She looked over just in time to see Snape pull his hand away and rest it back on his lap.

He made no other indication that he even acknowledged her existence, instead continuing to stare stoically out the window, his face blank and unreadable as always.

As if by magic, Hermione felt herself calm. Her heartbeat slowed, and her breathing became even and natural. She knew that Snape had probably only done that as a silent warning for her to "get a hold of herself' or to "stop drawing attention," but it calmed her more to think that on some level, deep down, he had merely wanted to comfort her.

In any case, she felt better.

Snape was there, she was safe, and they were well on their way to Switzerland.

They taxied for what seems like hours (something about ice on the runway). In her boredom, Hermione took to studying the mark on her palm, tracing it subconsciously with her fingers. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Snape was watching her actions avidly. He never said anything about it, however, and when she turned towards him, he looked hurriedly away.

Maybe he's embarrassed, Hermione thought to herself moodily. Ashamed to have had his life saved by an obnoxious Gryffindor brat like me. Well, he can bloody well get over himself. She looked at him again, discreetly out of the corner of her eye. God, what a wanker.

Finally, they managed to get off the airplane. Just as the two of them made their way into the main lobby of the airport, Snape suddenly grabbed the back of Hermione's neck and forced her head down. She let out a yelp of pain, and Snape covered her mouth.

"Shut up," he hissed in her ear. Then he forcefully turned her head in the direction of a large waiting area. A man was standing there wearing a bright yellow rain coat, a kilt, and neon crocs on his enormous feet.

"That's Goyle Sr. there in yellow. Do you see him?"

Hermione's heart leapt into her throat. That was why the man looked so out of place. He was a wizard. A Death Eater. "Does that mean they know about us?" Hermione gasped. "Do they know where we're going? Should we go somewhere else? Should we—?"

"Be quiet," Snape hissed. "We'll discuss this later. At present, we need to move."

As Snape dragged her away, Hermione looked over her shoulder to see Goyle reach out and grab a girl with curly brown hair by her backpack, whirling her viciously around to stare her right in the face.

Hermione was suddenly very grateful that her hair was blond.

"So?" she said quietly as they crammed into the back of a taxi.

"If that had been anyone other than Goyle, I would say that we were in trouble," Snape replied, sweeping his dark eyes over every window as the taxi pulled away from the curb. "But the fact that it is him tells me the Dark Lord does not think it very likely we are here."

Hermione felt herself breathe a little easier.

Snape gave her hard look. "We will continue with our original plan. You... take a nap or something. Rest your eyes. We have a long night ahead of us, and I don't want you going narcoleptic chipmunk on me in the middle of the forest."

Barely suppressing a groan, Hermione hunched down against the cab door and shut her eyes in hopes of nightmare-less sleep. Sleep did not come easily. Her brain was wide awake, and all the events of the past three days kept playing over and over again in her head. It certainly had been an adventure. Hermione wondered briefly what Harry and Ron were doing back at Hogwarts. Did they know what had happened to her? Did they know she was safe? She assumed Dumbledore had filled them in, but those two had always been prone to worrying. Worrying, and doing... rash things.

Just as Hermione finally began to drift off, she wondered hazily who from the Order would be waiting with the brooms at the "remote location."

Her stomach rumbled.

Whoever it was, she hoped they brought food.

Thankfully, Snape took pity on Hermione's grumbling stomach about an hour into the journey and asked the cab driver to pull over. They hurried into a small deli and bought a couple of sandwiches with the rest of Snape's stash of Muggle money (making sure to first set a portion aside for the cab fare).

Hermione devoured her sandwich in minutes; the terrible airplane food had not done much to hold her over.

"How much farther?" she asked, licking the last few drops of mustard off her fingers.

Snape continued to stare out the window. "Another two hours at least. We will then proceed on foot through the woods. A mile, perhaps."

Hermione nodded tiredly. She had been expecting that. "Remote location" almost always meant no roads.

Hermione gave her overlarge sleeve a final, angry yank, and winced as it ripped on the branches that had ensnared it.

They were in the middle of a forest, the sun had fully set, and the mosquitoes were out in swarms.

The tramp through the woods had been extremely miserable for Hermione. Half because of the bugs, and half because Snape had substantially longer legs than she, and did not like it when she fell behind. He took to shining his wand light directly in her eyes until she could catch up, the resulting glare causing her to trip constantly and snag her clothing on sharp branches (which obviously only impeded her progress even further). And all the while Snape continued to make his customarily nasty, smarting comments under his breath. The kind that set Hermione's teeth grinding and her hands itching to grab the nearest tree branch and beat him across the face with it.

Snape motioned Hermione to follow closely behind him as they spotted a small dark figure in the clearing ahead. This figure was definitely human in shape, but his (her?) hair stuck out at odd angles, and beneath the faint glow of moonlight, it appeared to be a strangely bright color of pink…

"Tonks?" Hermione shrieked happily. "It's you! Tonks, it's so wonderful to see you!" Hermione launched herself out of the woods and directly at the small woman, throwing her arms around her neck and nearly sobbing with delight.

Tonks laughed, returning Hermione's hug. "Wotcher, Hermione. Glad to see you too," she said with another chuckle. "Hah — I'll bet it's nice to see a friendly face for a change, yeah?"

Hermione tightened her already vice-like hold. "Mmmh, friend," she mumbled into her shoulder.

Finally, Tonks managed to pull herself out of Hermione's arms. When she did, she let out a gasp. "Good grief, what's he done to you, poor girl? Look at that hair! It's so short and straight and... blond!"

"Oh, I know, isn't it dreadful?" Hermione whined, running a hand through her hair, still smiling despite it all. "But Professor Snape said he'd change it back whenever we get to... wherever it is that we're going."

Tonks gave another gasp as Snape walked into the circle of wandlight. "Holy Hippogriffs," she breathed. "Is that you, Professor? You look... well I mean... smashing. And believe me, I never thought I'd be saying that to you of all people... er... Who's responsible for this? You or... Surely Hermione. I wouldn't trust you within ten feet of my head with a pair of scissors. Honestly, though, honestly, you look ten years younger, easy. And all it took was a simple—"

"The brooms, if you please, Nymphadora. And once you stop gaping like a thunderstruck buffoon, would you mind telling us where in bloody hell we're supposed to be going?"

Tonks straightened her face and gave an audible humph. "I see you're still a fluffy little ball of sunshine, aren't you?" she quipped, turning to give Hermione a quick wink. Then she walked over to the nearest tree and grabbed something up from the base of its enormous trunk. "Well, here you go," she said, holding out two very questionable looking brooms. Cleansweeps, both of which appeared to be extremely old. "And mind you, don't get lost. There are only so many hours of night time here, and you don't want to be spotted when the sun comes up. Especially with that flashy gold thing you're sporting on the side of your forehead there, Professor."

"Disapparate already," Snape growled.

"Alright, alright I'm going. No need to get snarky on me."

Hermione was sad to see Tonks go, but she knew that she and Snape needed to get on their way. She gave the woman one last hug, and then waved goodbye as Tonks turned on the spot, and with a sharp pop, disappeared.

Snape handed Hermione her broom.

"Uh…" Hermione cleared her throat. "I guess there's something I sort of haven't told you..."

"I trust it isn't anything else illegal, is it, Miss Cottontail?"

Hermione blushed. "No, it's just. Er... I'm not exactly the best flyer—"

Snape scoffed. "Is that all? You're fine. Mount up, and stop complaining, we're nearly there."

"No really, I—" Hermione started to protest, but Snape was already in the air.

Muttering and cursing, Hermione kicked off from the ground and the battered old Cleansweep swept upwards in an extremely wobbly arch.

I can do this, she thought determinedly to herself. I can do this. If Ron can do this, I can bloody do this.

She looked up to find that Snape was already a small black dot high above her head. Petrified of losing him in the dark, Hermione urged her broom into as much speed as she dared. Then, just when she thought she'd gotten the hang of it, an enormous gust of tailwind slammed into her back. Startled, she leaned forward and shot upwards into the sky, completely out of control, shrieking all the way.

She blew right by Snape, still screaming and hugging her body in a death grip to her broom handle. Then, just as quickly as it had come, the wind left, Hermione fell back, and once again began to coast at a calm, normal pace.

She heard the sound of a deep, rumbling chuckle, as Snape flew up to join her.

"Excellent, Granger. Longbottom would be in stitches." There was a distinctly amused timbre in his voice.

"Stuff your jokes," Hermione gasped. "That was really scary."

"It was also really entertaining."

"I think I'm going to throw up."

"Please do so in the other direction."

"You're not being very considerate, you know."

"And you are being an impossible nuisance, which I think evens the score a bit. Additionally, I would advise you to stop screaming like a banshee with a head wound. You are going to get us both killed."

"I thought you found it entertaining."

"I do. What I don't find entertaining is having to face Turnus Frend when he is out for your blood."

"Oh. Right."

After a few more traded insults and unpleasant commentary on Hermione's "form," Snape finally conceded that Hermione was, indeed, a terrible flyer, and reluctantly agreed to tow her the rest of the way. He held on to the front end of Hermione's broom, while she wrapped her arms with much trepidation around his waist.

The wind was icy cold, and Hermione pressed her cheek against Snape's warm side, wondering at this new, but strangely wonderful feeling of his powerful body so close to hers.

While Hermione was acutely embarrassed about having to be towed, she was also secretly very pleased about the advantages that being bad at flying had afforded her.

I hope we get there soon… Hermione smiled, tightening her grip ever so slightly. But not too soon.

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 12 of 35

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