Continuing Tales

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 32 of 35

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Just Let It Happen

When both were spent and lay together, panting, sweaty, and awash with a deep, satisfied happiness, the clouds had passed outside, and the moonlight was once again bright and luminous.

Hermione's heart still beat heavily inside her chest, her nerves tingling faintly beneath her skin.

Snape lay somewhat beside her, mostly on top of her. She luxuriated under his pressing weight, his warmth.

"That was…" Hermione said, unable to think of quite the right word.

Snape groaned and burrowed his face in the crook of her neck, kissing her there, slow and soft.

Exactly, Hermione thought with a jolt of pleasure, threading her fingers into Snape's hair.

This was nice. This was new.

Hermione realized that she had never had the chance before to be in Snape's arms, to have him hold her for an extended period of time, and under such calm, perfect, circumstances. It was so very much the thing that she most desperately needed, but had never quite known that she needed, that Hermione was unable to do anything with her mind except let it sink into a hazy, peaceful doze.

The time eventually came, however, when it was apparent to both Hermione and Snape that they were still damp from the bath (in more ways than one), and that they could not very well lay there forever.

Snape rolled away slightly, freeing Hermione from his immediate embrace.

"There should be some manner of appropriate attire in that wardrobe," he said in a tone that suggested Hermione should get up and look.

"Oh yes?" she replied, lightly. "And you can't, in all your stately manner, walk over there to confirm this yourself?"

"I could, of course. But then I would be denied the pleasure of watching you in all your stately manner walk across the room to confirm it."

Hermione snorted and gave Snape's shoulder a playful shove. "Don't say I never did anything for you," she replied as she crawled over him—his wandering hands hindering her more than helping her in the process—to the other side of the bed and then slid deftly onto the floor. She added over her shoulder as she walked, "Though I'm not entirely sure you deserve the honor."

"A very great honor," Snape rumbled back in a very pleased, very pleasant voice.

Hermione laughed and shook her head in mild disbelief.

When she reached the wardrobe, she pulled it open and was met with a sight that exceeded even her expectations.

"Oh, how thoughtful," she breathed, as she pulled out a long cotton bathrobe, colored a deep crimson, and with a golden lion emblazoned across the back. She wrapped herself up in it, so soft, she was immediately in love.

Then she saw what must have been meant for Snape on the next hanger. She pulled it out and tossed it to him across the room. His robe was made of luxurious black silk, with a silver serpent threaded onto the left front pocket. Snape caught it deftly, and after inspecting the material thoughtfully and seeming to find it to his liking, he slipped it on.

Hermione jumped as a fire suddenly roared into life in the fireplace. A few scattered oil lamps flickered on in different places around the room. She looked at Snape and giggled at her own nervousness.

Perfect, perfect, glorious room, she thought.

With all the lights on, and now swathed in her cotton robe, smelling wonderfully like perfumed soap and other things… Hermione found their situation quite cozy indeed.

But it couldn't last.

Hermione's smile died as she gazed at Snape from across the room.

"Shouldn't we, um, think about unlocking the door now?" she began guiltily. "It's been sort of a while, after all, and I don't know how long Harry meant to wait before coming to get us, and the Order is supposed to be assembling, so… shouldn't we… shouldn't we think about getting on?"

The shutters had closed behind Snape's eyes, and he had become all of a sudden quite unreadable again.

"No," he said simply. "Not at the moment." Then he paused before adding, "Unless you particularly want to be getting on."

"No, no, no, absolutely no," Hermione was quick to reply. "I just mean… Oh, you know what I mean! What are we supposed to do about this?" She waved her arms around at their (she had to admit) rather suggestive environment. "They could be here any minute, knocking at the door even now, and what are we supposed to say when they realize we've locked them out?"

Snape stood smoothly from the bed and walked casually over to the sitting room, near the blazing fireplace. "We fell asleep," he suggested simply, "and the room locked them out. Quite unbeknownst to us, of course."

"Well…" Hermione walked over and sat on the couch facing him, drawing her legs up beside her. "I suppose that's potentially believable. But…" She glanced over her shoulder at the drenched and rumpled sheets they had just vacated. "There's only one bed. How are we supposed to explain—"

"This room has an extraordinary capacity," Snape said, a bit sharply, cutting her off. "It will change whenever we need it to change. For now, however…" He turned his gaze from the fireplace to her, and he leaned back against the mantle piece as he did so. His expression remained blank. "I would rather it stayed as it is." He paused. "Wouldn't you?"

"Yes," she said stubbornly.

Snape made no move to join her on the sofa, yet there was something about him that seemed to reach out to her. Hermione could see him, his posture, softening.

In usual Snape fashion, his tone when he spoke betrayed none of what Hermione thought she sensed. "You know me well enough, Granger," he said quietly, and with a candor she found familiar, but without the snark or bite to which she had become accustomed, "to know that I am not usually one to express myself in any open or honest capacity. However, despite my inherent nature, I dare risk such exposure in order to tell you that I am comfortable at the moment. I am as close to happy as I think my inadequate emotional system is capable of registering, and I would prefer that, for as long as we dare, we say sod them all to whomever might be lurking outside our door, and take advantage of the time and place we have so graciously been given. I assume you understand, but I will nonetheless reiterate, that once I inform the Order of the Dark Lord's whereabouts, perhaps even to the moment, we are off to war. You and I shall once again be separated, and the fact is, Granger, I very well may not return."

There was such a lot of information in what Snape had just said that for a moment Hermione was too overwhelmed to sort it all out in her head. Once she had managed to let a good portion of it sink in, however, one thing stood out like a blazing beacon in the front of her mind and she felt her stomach begin to twist itself into knots of fury. "Return?" she managed to grind out through clenched teeth.


"You mean to tell me that you imagine I will remain behind?"

"Certainly you will."

"I MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT." Without even realized she'd done it, Hermione had stood from the sofa.

Snape remained where he was, very still, though no longer relaxed. His posture had become rigid again. "Yes, you most certainly will," he replied coolly. "May I remind you that I will not be alone in this decision, and as such, the most intelligent thing for you to do would be to act in accordance with what is normally a more than adequate sense of maturity, and obediently follow the order you've been given." Snape crossed his arms across his chest. "War is no place for you, Miss Granger."

"OH ISN'T IT?" she snapped back furiously. "Don't think I can handle myself, do you?"

"Under the circumstances, I doubt that the Order will need to stoop to relying upon undergraduate wizards who have barely even learned how—"

Hermione was on him in an instant, striding up with fists clenched tightly at her sides. "Who saved your life with ancient magic?" she snarled. "Who rescued you from Frend?Who broke you out of Azkaban? I did, Severus, I did, and I'm not usually one to trumpet my own horn, but getting you out of that prison was not easily conceived or executed, as you ruddy well know!"

"I recognize the gravity of your actions," Snape said back, beginning to lose his coolness, his eyes beginning to show a flash of passion. "My respect for you and your abilities is great, and I am, despite what you may think, enormously grateful for your help. But this is war, dammit, this is not something you understand, not even with all the ruddy books in the whole ruddy world, it's a danger you can't begin to imagine. And despite everything that's happened, despite everything you've been told, you never seem to be able to get it through that glory-be-to Gryffindor head of yours that you're still only a—" But Snape stopped suddenly, catching himself.

"A child," Hermione finished for him, shakily. "A child, am I?" She gesticulated wildly to the bed behind her. "Oh yes, of course—but only when you don't feel like screwing my brains out! Because then I'm all kinds of grown up enough for you, aren't I!"

"You know that isn't—" he sputtered, "—You know that's not what—What I—Of course I only meant that—"

Hermione let out a shriek of frustration and shoved him, hard, against the wall. Then she tried to pull away, but Snape had hold of her arms and was preventing her from going. She struggled against his grip, gritting her teeth, growling, "Let go, you bastard, let go I said!"

"No, I—Confound it, you foolish girl, I—" he was struggling just as mightily as she was, not only to keep her there, but to find the words he so suddenly seemed to have lost.

His fingers were digging into her upper arms and Hermione kicked him in the shins; she hit him in the chest; she struggled and struggled against his hold, all the while snarling, "Selfish bastard, horrible brute, let go of me, why did you even do it, why did you even let me, why did—"

"YOU STUPID GIRL I CAN'T LOSE YOU AGAIN," Snape thundered, giving Hermione a strong shake. She was so startled, she stopped struggling at once.

"Of course you're not a child, you know that isn't what I meant to say—and how old or young you are, or whether or not you can handle yourself against a fully armed Death Eater doesn't make the least fucking difference when I see your death every time I close my eyes and even think about you staring down an enemy's wand. Alright, yes, you saved me from Frend, yes you won that battle. But do you remember that I had to watch you die before it was over? I watched you fall, I stared into your lifeless eyes, Hermione, and I wasn't able to control myself. I wasn't able to fight, and in this war, I have to fight, I have to fight, you understand. And I can't bloody do it, Hermione, I can't let you be there in the way of it all. Don't you understand? I couldn't bear it again."

Their arms had fallen back to their sides now, and Hermione stood there trembling. She felt her cheeks grow warm and her eyes began to sting. Then she whispered thickly, "And maybe I couldn't bear it either. Maybe I want to protect you and you won't let me."

Snape paused. "I suppose that puts us both in a right fix, then, doesn't it?"

"I suppose it does."

Snape grunted in response and then reached up to rub his chest where she had hit him. "You know," he said, "for someone who claims such ardent affection, you do manage to strike me more often than seems entirely necessary."

Despite it all, Hermione took a breath, her mouth quirked into a small smile, and then she rolled her eyes. The tears left just as suddenly as they had come. "You were asking for it every time."

"Funny, I don't recall ever voicing such a request."

"I'm intuitive that way."

Snape ran his hand distractedly through his newly cut hair and stepped away from the wall, away from Hermione. He paced slowly around the sitting room. "The fact remains," he said after a pause, "I wish you to stay, and you wish to go, and one choice or the other is going to greatly upset at least one person in this room."

"I have the right to be there," Hermione said fiercely.

"And I do not wish to fight with—"

"You think I do?"

"No. But it seems a rather unavoidable facet of our nature."

"Unfortunately enough. We spend more time arguing than we do anything else."

"Of course, given past circumstances…" Snape continued to pace, studying the carpet with a disproportionate amount of interest. "Perhaps if future circumstances achieved some… degree of normalcy, we might… become more agreeable."

Hermione felt her heart lurch and that tenderness she had for him, always close at hand, rose once again to the surface of her emotions. He was trying, in his own stunted way, to make peace with her. He, Severus Snape, was attempting to rationalize and appease, to end their fight and give their relationship hope—at least for the moment. To take advantage.

"Perhaps," she conceded. "But this is a fight that is not going to go away. And whatever the outcome between us, I will be posing my demand to the Order, and I will have Harry to back me up."

Snape threw up his hands and turned away, stalking off towards the piano in the corner, mumbling darkly to himself, of which Hermione could only catch a few words: "… stubborn, ruddy… sword-wielding… Gryffindor glory…" And then, "… stubborn…" again.

"Oh, yes, and isn't that the pot calling the kettle black," she muttered to herself in reply.

Severus was not yet ready to give up. As he sat there at the piano, its sleek surface glowing by firelight, he thought for a moment and knew that something about him was different. It had to do with whatever parts of him had come loose during his stay at Azkaban, the parts that he needed to somehow put back into place. But he did not want to put everything back in the same place. He did not want to be exactly the same man he had been, because that man had never before experienced the certain happiness he had felt when folded so closely around her, with her arms around him.

How little human contact he'd been given over the years, Severus thought. Throughout his life. No one had ever held him before, not in that way, not for that long.

He had been thrown a bit out of sorts by the suddenness of their argument, and the nerve of her ungratefulness, her cheeky, pigheaded abrasiveness. By all accounts he felt he had the right to lash back. He could have snipped, and berated, and grappled with her further, and felt perfectly justified in doing so, but instead, as he sat there, Severus began to play the instrument in front of him.

At first, he played something silly and simple, the easiest song he could recall: something one might say was the wizard's equivalent to "Chopsticks." This was partly, he concluded, to keep his hands busy, and partly in order to annoy Granger—who still stood where he had left her, sulking prettily by the fireplace, her hair a damp, tangled mess, her scarlet robe askew, the collar only a breath away from slipping off her shoulder. She paid none of this any mind, but Snape could do nothing but stare at her as he played and wonder which parts of her he had not yet laid his lips upon.

Granger jumped slightly in surprise when Snape struck up a tune, startled, perhaps, by the sudden noise. She did not turn immediately, and simply stood there, listening for a moment. Then, she slowly faced him and said, "A bit beneath your talent, don't you think?"

She was following his lead, he realized with relief. She was ready at last (for now, at least), to change the subject.

In response, Severus transitioned seamlessly into a different song, his eyes never once looking at the black and white keys. This song was more complex. A slow, delicate waltz of sorts.

To him, it conjured elusive thoughts of clouds and windy cities, street lamps at dusk, red wine, and dancing on rooftops.

"I wrote this song," he said eventually, "for you. It was intended to be your gift, you remember, as promised in our letters. That is, until… certain events came to pass. Pesky Death Eaters, and Ministry arrests and such."

"Pesky… yes," she replied, sounding dazed. As though only half-awake, Granger walked a few steps to the sofa and then sank down upon it, regarding him almost dreamily with her wide brown eyes over the back of the cushions.

He continued on through the melody, managing to catch himself up in it, relaxing into the music, and every so often hearing a soft response from Granger. Who could not, it seemed, successfully piece together an entire sentence: "The most beautiful… I've ever… That anyone has ever…"

When Severus had finished playing, he crossed the room. Without a word, her eyes shining, she pulled him down, and they made love again on the sofa.

Her every moan and gasp of pleasure was just as much a musical gift to him, as his notes on the piano had been to her.

He did his best to vastly minimize that list of places he'd never kissed. She didn't seem to mind helping him find them.

Then they lay there on the sofa before the fire, robes hopelessly askew, holding each other in the echo of the room they had both found so familiar and revolutionary.

The sitting room in Pruitt cottage was where they had first confronted their desires, and it seemed only fitting that this same sitting room would serve as the last place (for now, anyway) in which they consummated those desires.

The symmetry was not lost on Severus.

And he smiled slightly to think that perhaps it was not lost on Granger either.

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 32 of 35

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