[identity profile] sshg-smutmod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sshg_smut
Title: Reel Around the Sun (1/3)
Author: (anonymous for now)
Summary: After years of service, Headmaster Snape steps away for the summer. The sea calls – but he is not the only staff member to answer.
Prompt: Romantic Smut: a slo-oh-oh-oh burn. Severus and Hermoine both take a holiday away from their respective teaching jobs at Hogwarts. Unbeknownst to either of them, they have picked the very same seaside town to call their home-away-from-home. Crashing waves and steep cliffs, fog and long hair whipping in the wind... a thumb across a bottom lip starts it all...
Prompter: [livejournal.com profile] snapebraille4tu
Warnings: None.
Notes: Title comes from the Bill Whelan musical masterpiece of the same name. Lyrics at the beginning of each part belong to Damien Rice’s fitting song, ‘Colour Me In’. Inspiration has also been taken from the Margaret Atwood quote: “Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.” Thank you to the incomparable group of three women who guided, edited and wrangled this into submission. Dear prompter: please forgive the long length, but I hope to give you every single one of those ‘oh’s in your slow burn request.



I tried to repress it
Then I carried its crown
I reached out to undress it
And love let me down

So I tried to erase it
But the ink bled right through
Almost drove myself crazy
When these words led to you


Part One

Summer, 2016

Admete Cottage

In a small white house on a hill, a wild-haired woman let herself inside and closed the door, barely glancing at the light, pleasing furniture. Slowly, she turned until her forehead leant against the thick wooden door and she rested her palms flat on the surface. The room was warm as the last dregs of the day's sunlight filtered in through the open window. Wind stirred up the air, rustling parchment on the desk set at the side of the room. She could feel the breeze on her skin, tickling the tiny hairs there, igniting something within her very blood.

The waves of the wide open ocean crashed upon the rocks outside. It was all she could hear, all she could sense; it was everything that she knew she'd needed.

.
.
.

The NorthLink Ferry

The sea was wild, harsh and strong. It battered the ship, its waves smashing into the hull, its force lashing the sides. The vessel dipped and dived, carving out a path through the battleground of the oceans that met underneath. Atlantic and North fought for dominance in a dramatic display; perhaps I should have heeded the warning of the captain, and found a seat within to wait it out. I chose instead to stand huddled in the open, my feet anchored to the floor by a charm, the spray of the sea hitting my pale face. Each droplet of ice-cold water that inched its way down my skin marked me as a free man; for the summer, at least.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the waters began to calm. I drew my cloak around my body and waited, eyes fixed on the sky. The air tasted of salt and tang and grass.

I was desperate for it. I had waited for it. I thirsted for it, for sky and air and wind. The Headmaster’s tower at Hogwarts gives one ample chance to be king of all he sees, but it is a prison. A prison cloaked in eccentricity and power, but a prison nonetheless.

I gave it seventeen long years of determination and dedication. Still, the castle holds sway with me but I have reserved these weeks for myself, and for myself they shall remain. Perchance I may liken it to any other profession – responsibility is all well and good, and the Headship is rightfully mine. I am glad of it; after many years of submitting to the will of Albus years ago, sitting in that chair has healed me far better than loneliness ever could. For there, I may direct, I may command. I may right wrongs and most of all, I am not idle.

Summers have been spent there, in the Head’s chair. For years, it was necessary; the war left a veritable bounty of paperwork and bureaucratic procedures. It seems that defeating a Dark Lord only brought with it death, sadness and filing. New teachers were needed, repairs were required. For weeks between hospital visits, organising repairs and interviews with the MLE, I stood at burial after burial and watched lifeless body after lifeless body be taken up in flames, the smell of smoke magically whisked away. My students, the lot of them.

That I had failed was inarguable.

And so I stayed, and I worked. For seventeen years, I submitted.

I am not fool enough to believe that these weeks of summer interlude will draw me in and turn me out again a new man, but I have hope. After many years of harried business, solitude calls. Isolation calls.

Is there a better location for this? If there is, I do not know it. Miss Lovegood is the new owner; she has sent me a brochure each year for the last five. Her letter of acceptance when I owled a last-minute reservation was written with enough stray ink-spots as to scream of her triumph. I shall allow the witch her smugness, and more than this: I shall praise her for it! For she regretfully informed of a prior commitment on the Continent—something about Brexit and taking trips while she can, which speaks volumes of her tendency to throw herself into ridiculousness—and unfortunately for her, she will not be present. I am not to worry; there is an able-bodied friend there, experienced and ready to cater for anything I may need or desire.

I cocked an eyebrow at that; schoolmaster I may be, but a man I am first. There was nothing in it, and yet there was something in it. Still, her flowery words can be dismissed easily enough. It would be impossible for any woman that I might possibly take an interest in to suddenly appear in such a remote location. Far be it from me to wish for impossibilities.

The captain’s voice is not so easily avoided. Fingering the shrunken trunk in my coat pocket, I turned and made for the side whereupon the best view was promised.

It was a view indeed, and the breath left my body in a sigh of indulgence and pleasure.

The Old Man of Hoy and his surrounding minion-like cliffs were imposing; I stared without reserve, drinking in the very evidence of the insignificance of man and wizard alike. And it was this that was heady; it was this that was intoxicating. The ship led us around the cliffs, and there was a town there, Scandinavian more than anything—which might be a lie for all I knew, having never been to such places—but it was the cliffs, it was their presence. The stone buildings of Stromness wrapped me up and coaxed me in, and I knew that I would wander through the streets and old pubs with time, but on the ship, it was the cliffs. It was the power of it – the sense of it.

Almost as if they were alive. A very strange thing, indeed.

When instructed, I disembarked and followed the crowd into the small town. Stepping into a small lane and retrieving Miss Lovegood’s handwritten guide to locating the B&B, I muttered the steps to myself in order to keep them in my mind. They were nonsensical and filled with her penchant for vagueness; I grinned with wry amusement. I have always been fond of her unapologetic personality.

Headmaster Snape,

As the birds soar above and the wind pulls you every which way, demanding your submission, disobey it! Walk south-west on Ferry Road, the Road you stand upon as you read this letter. Walk away from the town, Headmaster, though your throat may call for a whisky, or your stomach for a meal. You shall find all of this and more at your final destination. Take the left so as to stay on Ferry Road. Continue along this way, and pause every now and then to look at the cliffs and thrashing waves. The sea air will follow you, and you will smell it clearly now, clearer than from within the confines of Stromness. Walk on, Headmaster. Walk and turn right on John Street, and walk some more. The fields will embrace you, and there is not a tree to be seen.

You shall find us not long after.

Yours etc,

Luna Lovegood
Admete Cottage.


I followed the instructions and paused when the witch suggested it. I was entranced as I wandered, my cloak rippling out behind me in the wind that seemed hell-bent on dragging me in seven different directions. The fields stretched for miles over rolling hills; the young Miss Lovegood had been succinct. There was not a tree to be seen; it might have been unnerving, but this was no Hogwarts. There were no forbidden forests to beckon and lure, but rather moors and fertile lands tamed by ploughs. In the distance, rain was falling, though I walked with the sun upon my face and for a few lucky seconds, the wind was at my back.

And then I saw it: her Admete. The building was small and white, its pointed roof dark under the grey clouds. It was perched not far from the edge of the land, overlooking the rolling, vicious waves. There was a box of a tiny red car parked outside, and nothing else to draw the eye, bar sea and cliffs and sky.

I stood and drew breath, and I was captivated. With a thrumming heart, I made for the house.

.
.

A fortnight earlier

She was desperate for it. It was perfect, arriving just in time to save her from maudlin thoughts that were bogged down in self-pity. For the sake of her pride, Hermione took herself in hand just enough to beam widely and throw her arms around her gift-giving companion, instead of dancing around on the lawn. The two witches clung to each other; Hogwarts cast a shadow in the blinding sun, softening the harsh rays as they laughed.

“It’s just what I need,” she declared into Luna’s fair-as-ice hair.

Her close friend chuckled in her airy way as she returned the embrace. “It’s not paradise,” she warned her, her voice muffled by Hermione’s curls. “I mean, it is, but for you I think it’ll be something else. I’m worried the isolation will drive you…”

“What? Mad? Can’t be anymore mad than I am now.”

“I was going to say wild,” Luna admitted, withdrawing just enough to pat her cheek. “There’s something about it – all that land, sky and water. It’s…”

Hermione closed her eyes, hearing the crash of the waves in her mind. The anticipation was thrilling – unbearable, even. She thought she’d run mad from excitement, not from the location.

“It’s just what I need,” she repeated in a whisper, pressing her lips together to stave off the inevitable quivering. “I’ll take care of the place, don’t you worry about that.”

“Oh,” Luna dismissed, “I know you will. That’s why I asked you, after all. But you’ll take care of yourself, won’t you? I’d hate to arrive home and find you stark-raving, walking over the fields in wellies with your hair streaming everywhere, rain, storm, or shine.”

Blinking, the older witch raised a bemused eyebrow. “Another tale from your mysterious vegetable man?” The rugged islander responsible for delivering Luna’s weekly load of fruit and vegetables—only the ones that she couldn’t grow herself, mind—had been a significant feature of their conversation the evening before.

“He isn’t mysterious,” answered Luna matter-of-factly. “You’ll meet him when you’re there.”

Hermione grinned and looped her arm around that of one of her dearest friend’s. The two witches turned back and walked through the gates of Hogwarts, pausing as they always did to take in the beauty of the castle in summer. It was a gift that was rarely displayed to any but its teachers, who saw the bright sun shining warming the old building, coaxing out its charms.

“It almost sounds like an adventure,” Hermione said, already thrilled with how her summer was beginning. “I’m so pleased that you’re trusting me with it. I know how you care for the place – this is a true gift, Luna.”

They walked slowly towards the main doors, and she noted the Headmaster slipping through them on his way out. He held no bag; his belongings may have been shrunk, but to Hermione, he cast a lonely figure as he strode down the steps.

“Enjoy your summer, Headmaster,” she called kindly, offering a half-wave that he did not return. He passed them, nodding with a grimness to his face that pained both witches. They were left with an impression of his robes cascading about his figure, enveloping his long, straight hair, the colour so reminiscent of the deepest India ink. Turning—for she was unable to stop herself—Hermione watched as he exited the gates and Apparated away in one quick movement.

“The same?” Luna asked heavily, holding the door open.

“The very same,” she agreed with a sigh. “Every summer, I find myself hoping that something will work its magic on him – heal him, or lead him on the road to it. It doesn’t seem fair that you’re gifting me with this, and he’s left to be wherever he’ll be. I hope he won’t be alone.”

For five years, she’d worked with him. Or under him, she supposed – he maintained a distance as Headmaster that Hermione had never quite managed to close. She knew that he was friendly with the staff members who he’d taught alongside in the years before his appointment, but he maintained a respectful relationship with all four of the younger staff members. It was no longer frustrating; she felt that his eyes smiled when his mouth did, and that was enough. He could be kind when he wished, and she knew him well enough to use his first name and know that he preferred coffee in the morning and a builder’s tea in the afternoon. Aloof he was, yet harshly handsome – unreachable, all the same.

She shook her head. Really, there was no point in thinking about it.

Luna hummed under her breath and shrugged. “I’m sure magic will be worked. Now – you don’t have any work to take with you, do you? I don’t want you holed up with your lesson plans. We don’t have anyone booked—I made sure of that, due to my absence—but there might be a last-minute reservation and if you’re all right, I won’t decline it.”

“No, no!” she said as they reached her office. She opened the door behind the desk and ushered Luna into her private quarters. “Just leave me a good list of what I may need. Anything you want me to do, I’ll do.”

“Good.” Luna trailed her fingers over the spines of the Arithmancy Professor’s many books before turning and smiling faintly at where Hermione was already heading into her bedroom with the aim of assessing what clothes she’d take. “I only want you to be open to it, Hermione,” she called softly, crossing the room to lean against the open doorway of the bedroom.

“Open?” Hermione asked over her shoulder, grinning. “Easier said than done. But I’ll be present; I’m still using those mindfulness exercises you gave me last term.”

“I’m glad. But I do mean it. Be open – with your heart, your mind. Your eyes, too, of course. The islands are alive, you know.”

“Alive?” Puzzled and caught between being intrigued and realistic next to Luna’s tendency to throw herself into fables, Hermione paused. “Do you mean alive with history? Culture?”

The witch gave a small nod, but her answer was no answer at all. “All of that.”

“And more?” Her stomach was beginning to twist into small knots of excitement; she hadn’t been away on her own for years, having often chosen to spend her summers at the castle or with friends and family. With half of her mind on what books to take, and the other spinning off into vibrant threads detailing long walks, crashing waves, and languid nights, Hermione was barely listening.

“And more,” was all Luna said, with one of her slow, bemusing smiles. “Simply: more.”

“More,” echoed Hermione. “Good. I want that. I want all of that. Thank you, Darling,” she said again, striding to her friend and embracing her again. “I don’t know how to even begin to thank you.”

Laughing, Luna said, “Just make sure the sheets are clean and the ice-box is stocked. If a guest comes, you’ll be run off your feet. I don’t think you’ll be thanking me at all.”

“Run off my feet?” She brushed imaginary lint away from her chest. “Me? Capable me? No, never. Now, off you go and let me pack. You’ll have to go before I get envious of your holiday in France, you lucky duck.”

“Does France compare to the Orkneys? I don’t think it does.”

“No,” Hermione murmured, her smile widening to a grin of pure pleasure. “I suppose it doesn’t compare at all.”

“Correct,” trilled Luna, mumbling to herself as she stuck her hand into her shoulder bag and fished around inside. “Here,” she said, producing a small figurine of a fulmar in flight. “Your Portkey. It’s not to the cottage itself, mind – it’ll bring you into an old loo in Scrabster for the ferry.”

“An old loo? You’re too kind,” Hermione deadpanned, snorting.

Luna tilted her head, her lips curving just slightly to the left. “I think so. Anyway – come anytime this week. Don’t leave it later; Michael mentioned something about strikes coming up. I’ll Apparate out tomorrow, so it’s yours from then.”

“Michael now, is he? Not just ‘vegetable man’?”

The younger witch flushed a light, becoming pink. “Michael’s his name, that’s who he is, and that’s enough out of you.”

Miming zipping her lips, Hermione tossed away the key and pulled Luna into another hug, squeezing her and giving in to the urge to sway. “You’re too good to me, love. So, so good to me. Thank you.”

With a light, tinkling laugh, her friend of countless years stepped away and made for the door. “Thank me when you return home. I think this will be good for you, Hermione. Just remember what I said.”

She was out the door before Hermione could call her back, and the witch sat down on the end of her bed with a sigh. Luna’s instructions were as they always were: stay open, with heart and mind. She wasn’t sure that it was entirely possible; openness had given her nothing but loneliness thus far, and it was tempting to shut herself in and hide away instead of inviting life in again.

But she would try.

Hermione let herself fall onto the bed, turning to where her suitcase was half-open on the floor. Yes, she thought with a smile. She could certainly try.

.
.

Hermione,

Are you settled in? Have you enjoyed your first week? I’ve been following the online news – no storms thus far, but listen closely if one does occur. Anything but the normal creaks and groans needs a renewal on the stability charms on the house and the cliffs. I’m writing this assuming that you kept my instructions and didn’t set them aside in favour of my bookcases…

And also, darling, a guest has made a booking for the next three weeks. He’ll be there on Wednesday.

With love and light,

Luna.

/

Luna, darling,

You could have given me more notice! Have no fear - I’m up to my arse in baking. Hope your mystery guest likes fresh bread. He’ll (really? You’re shutting me up with a man for three weeks? Luna…) be here in a handful of hours. I rang the ferry terminal in Scrabster, but they wouldn’t tell me if he’d boarded or not. Did you know that Legilimency doesn’t work over the phone? Well, it doesn’t.

Somehow I’ve got to decide what to cook for his dinner, then I assume dessert. Good thing Michael popped by yesterday – he brought some lovely strawberries. He said you’re allergic, and you haven’t let him plant any.

You must tell me, when did you acquire this allergy? I’m writing this whilst recalling sharing strawberries and cream with you the last time we broke in a bottle of white. Methinks the lady doth protest too much…

With love and baking powder,

Hermione.


.
.

Light was shining through the front door of the house. I had passed over the wards; they were subtle and well made, and even the most attuned Muggle wouldn’t have sensed them. There was no telling just what sort of dwelling it was – it was too pronounced on the land to be Magical. With narrowed eyes, I scanned the outside of the house; only a faint shimmer indicated some sort of charm upon it. It was tempting to discover what it was, but three weeks were laid out before me and they were irresistible in their utter blank form. I had no plans save moving through each day tranquilly – or as close to it as I could get.

I had not yet connected my knuckles with the door. Awkwardly, I cast an eye over my clothing; cloak, coat, trousers, boots. Having stopped in Spinner’s End for a week, they were not my usual castle garb, yet it was similar enough to offer slight comfort.

Once, twice, thrice; I rapped on the dark wooden door. Through the two panes of glass, a woman approached, and she was bathed in warm, golden light. For a fleeting moment, I entertained the idea of returning home from a journey; the woman was my own, and the horrid, haphazard curls piled on her head belonged to—

Hermione Granger pulled open the door, met my horrified gaze, and gasped.

The last thought that spun through my mind before my face fell was that even with a streak of flour on her tanned cheek, she was lovely.

.
.

“Headmaster! Oh, I—oh!” Hermione’s hands flew to her mouth. She was mortified – he was here, and he was so terribly disappointed; his thin lips were downturned, his face was hard. There were no tender feelings present in his face at all. Her surprise—and excitement, she recognised—plummeted. He didn’t want her to be here. He didn’t want to be here with her.

Pride forced her to offer him a smile, though she knew it was more of a grimace. “Welcome,” she said firmly, stepping back. He scowled, turning to glance over his shoulder at the town, then returned to look at her again.

“Professor Granger,” he said stiffly. “I apologise.” Grimly, the Headmaster crossed his arms. “If you would only provide me with the timetable, I’ll be on the next—”

It seemed like the worst idea in the world. At that moment, it struck her that it was the worst idea in the world. She was filled with a strange energy that was entirely focused on making sure that the scowling, hesitant man on the doorstep came inside and stayed there.

“I won’t,” she blurted, ignoring the way his black eyes widened. “It’s—it’s—there are strikes!” she managed, sure that he was, at some level, becoming amused. “There are strikes, or there might be, and I’ve made up your bed and stocked the ice-box. I’ve got dinner on. Stay.”

Severus shifted on his feet; he was still frowning, but he was lingering, not leaving, and she grasped the opportunity with both hands.

“Stay, Severus. Please.” Then, softening her voice: “Come inside – this is your home now, as well as mine. Come in.”

Quietly, and with a decisiveness that stole her breath, Severus Snape bowed his head and took one step forward. He directed his next words to his black dragon-hide boots. “I have a booking for three weeks. Is that…”

“It’s on,” she said immediately, thrilling to it. “You’re my only guest. Come on, come inside. Come in out of the wind.”

He looked at her when she said this, and she realised that surely he’d never truly looked at her before; if he had, it’d never been like this. His dark gaze was like fire, and Hermione reached out a hand to the wall, steadying herself. The Headmaster’s eyes darted to her fingers, then returned to meet her own.

“Very well,” he murmured, and his deep voice slid into her, warming her until she smiled widely. She moved aside; he stepped through the door.

.
.

The first night was awkward at best. Though Midsummer had not long passed, the wind had taken a cold turn and Professor Granger—Hermione—served a simple meal of pasta and rich, red wine. She dithered after setting the plate down with accompanying herb bread; in the end, the witch shrugged and sat at the place beside me. The wall of the dining room was all glass and the sea stretched out below, glittering under the sun that would not properly set for some time yet. The sky was burning; purples, reds, greys. We sat together in the eventide, and I could not begin to fathom how I had even come to be here with her on the island.

Even inside, I could taste the air; the salt of the sea was present in my own plain yet homely room of white bedding and dark wooden furniture, and here in the dining room, it surrounded us. It was ethereal.

“I hope this is all right,” she commented, smiling nervously. “If you’d prefer your privacy—”

“No,” I muttered, reaching for my cutlery after she’d picked up her own. “I haven’t the faintest of how these things are supposed to work, but there’s no use in putting yourself out for m—”

Hermione pointedly cleared her throat. I recognised the sound from observing her classes now and then; to this day, I still haven’t decided whether I should have been disgruntled by it or not. Bemused was closer to the truth at the time.

Distractedly, I eyed a faint patch of roughness on the white tablecloth.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said. “I recognise that you might have come with your own designs about how to spend your time here. And I don’t at all want to intrude on what you may have planned… Although…” Here she paused, and I held my breath. She sipped her wine and I raised my own glass to my lips, swirling the pleasant heaviness with my tongue before swallowing.

“Although, I’d like to join you. When you’d feel all right with that, that is,” she amended, twisting pasta around her fork. “What I mean to say is: I enjoy spending time with you, and if you’re not averse to it, then—”

I wished then that I knew what thoughts were in her mind, but there was no hope of that. Cutting her off, I said firmly, “I am not averse to your company. In fact I…” Hesitantly, I turned my gaze away from her curious dark eyes to the sea.

“You?” she prompted. Silver cutlery clinked.

The honesty came swathed in hesitation. “I would welcome it,” I admitted. Was there ever any question of saying otherwise? I glanced at her flushed cheeks and shy smile, fascinated with how her errant frizzy curls were piled up so artlessly. She wore white and denim, and I recognised a hunger brewing within the depths of my very soul.

Hermione made a soft humming sound in agreement; I turned my attention to dinner.

“This is good,” I grunted, remembering how she so liked to be praised.

Even as a Professor, she beamed at one good word during staff appraisals. I could count the amount of times on one hand that I’d offered her such praise during my tenure as Headmaster, but there were times that I’d catch a secretive, delighted smile upon her lips and wonder what on earth it was that I’d said to make her smile so. As a teacher, she was pleasantly unremarkable – this is a good thing, when one is consumed by paperwork, Board demands and Ministry evading.

Upon hiring her, I’d gritted my teeth, expecting to fend off her questions and comments and impertinent remarks. The woman thwarted me, for I received none at all. I had come to believe that this was a result of two things: my own stubbornness, having attached to her a personality that she’d long outgrown, and her quiet determination to either prove me wrong or simply remind me that my views—and myself, probably—were outdated.

The reminder that she was indeed my subordinate did its job to lessen my interest in how the candlelight displayed vibrant chestnuts and gold in her hair, but ultimately it was futile. Both fortunately—and unfortunately, when one considers the object of my attraction—I did not have a reputation for nepotism nor, indeed, passionate love affairs. If a miracle occurred and the Board themselves found us stark naked on the Head’s desk, I have no doubt that they’d simply mutter about the cost of cleaning the rosewood.

At the table, she said not a word, though I did not fail to see how she pressed her lips together, pleased.

When I lay in bed two short hours later, I closed my eyes and thought of that fleeting look of satisfaction. The ocean was swirling, curling, and it echoed the desire that commanded my body until my hand trailed down, down, down my chest and cupped the hard evidence of the power she unknowingly held over me.

.
.

At seven the next morning, Hermione checked her watch before wiping down the kitchen counters for the third time. Her guest had still not ventured downstairs; thanks to the thick walls, she had no chance of even eavesdropping to check for the rustle of a turning page or his footsteps moving about. She clutched her second cup of coffee for the morning, vowing to disobey Luna’s stern orders the next day and sleep in until at least six forty five. Still, it was treat to watch the dawn announce itself.

When the skies were clear and blue, she heard the pipes groaning. Grinning, she filled the kettle.

To say that it was bizarre to find herself making coffee in a B&B for the Headmaster was an understatement. He was quiet – almost unnervingly so, but that wasn’t unexpected. What was unexpected was the apparent ease with which he’d taken to her company. Over the years, she’d sat herself beside him at the Head Table merely a handful of times, and only if Minerva was away. More practical than idealistic these days, Hermione had felt triumphant from the welcoming nod of his head; his silence was expected. Here, though, on the island…

Pensively, she sliced a knife through a fresh loaf of bread. The evening before had been… not blissful, not perfect, but… comfortable. It’d been full of awkward silences and not a small amount of terrible jokes—from her end, of course—yet she could not deny that she found him arresting. She always had, though it had been an observation made from a distance; whether or not the rumours about Harry’s mother rang true, to her he was a man that was comfortable being alone.

Without the heavy robes and constant work forcing his shoulders to stoop and his brow to furrow, Severus seemed lighter, more at ease. He’d come to the table in only a formal black shirt and trousers, and instead of keeping her eyes on the magnificent ocean, she’d found herself staring at the broad set of his shoulders and his long, pale fingers. His hair, too, caused something within her belly to flip; at the castle, he wore it pulled back in a clip and she was often none the wiser as to its true length thanks to his loose robes of the same colour.

She’d been surprised to find that the long strands hung past his shoulders, ending beneath his shoulder-blades. And more than that, she’d been stunned to register a craving to run her fingers through that soft, ebony hair; to wind it around her wrists; to feel it sliding over her breasts. In the bath after he’d gone up for bed, Hermione had sunk down and let her hair flow out and around her face, resembling something like a never-ending nest of frizz and curls. She’d touched herself then, the base of her palm pressing down on her clitoris as she imagined bathing with him, the water swirling his long strands of ink and mixing them with hers.

When she slept, Hermione dreamt of a man underwater; a selkie, perhaps, or a merman – she’d woken and forgotten. His hair was long and black, and his chest was lean and white as winter snow. The only memory that had carried upon her waking was of gleaming dark eyes and thin lips wrapped around her nipples, suckling in time with the swirl of the sea above them.

With effort, the subject was set aside for later scrutiny.

Frowning, Hermione poured milk into a small jug for the breakfast tray then swore under her breath as it spilled out underneath.

“Bugger,” she muttered, drawing her wand to repair the crack. She wiped the tray and started again; whether or not she then reached for a flower from the vase on the bench to add to his tray was entirely her own business. Only moments later, his boots were causing the stairs to creak.

“Good morning, Headmaster,” she greeted him cheerfully, reluctant to venture into unfamiliar territory by anything less formal. For all she knew, he’d gone to sleep annoyed at the prospect of spending three weeks in her company. The half-smile he threw her said otherwise.

“Hermione,” he returned, dithering at the door. “Shall I…?”

One had to walk through the kitchen to enter the living and dining area that boasted of the floor to ceiling windows.

She looked anywhere but at the grey jumper that clung to his upper body. His hair was braided back and for the first time, she saw that even his dragon-hide boots sported buttons on the side.

Hermione swallowed, suddenly off-kilter. “Oh, no, there’s nothing to be done here. I hope you’re hungry. Luna offers a full Scottish breakfast, so that’s what you’re having.”

Severus eyed the beans in the pan and shrugged. “Whatever you wish is fine. I’ll be…” The sentence went unfinished as he headed into the dining area. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief; she hadn’t quite understood just how hard it would be to ignore her attraction to her superior, but it hit her with full force as she made their breakfast.

The doors in the other room opened and closed; he was outside, then, sitting at the small table and chairs. Staring at the view, she reckoned, and smiled to herself. If she put enough effort into the ruse, she could even trick herself into believing that he was her lover, and they’d booked the place to have entirely to themselves.

It couldn’t be further from the truth. Disappointed with reality, Hermione yanked the pan away from the stove, embarrassed that she’d almost let it burn.

She managed to sit with him for breakfast, though it was with relief that she excused herself to visit the town. To her faint surprise, Severus asked to borrow the car to see some of the sights; she acquiesced, eager to treat herself to the short walk to Stromness. Perhaps gathering wildflowers by the road would serve to force her body not to ache for the black-haired man.

Date: 2016-08-29 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mywitch.livejournal.com
Luna!!! You are the best!
What a very enticing start - I can't wait for more!

The ocean was swirling, curling, and it echoed the desire that commanded my body until my hand trailed down, down, down my chest and cupped the hard evidence of the power she unknowingly held over me.

I must admit, anytime I read about Severus taking himself in hand... Well, my stomach does flip-flops, that's all.

So very much enjoying this!!!

Date: 2016-09-07 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenaa1987.livejournal.com
Me too, oh me too. Thank you!

Date: 2016-08-29 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krissy-cits.livejournal.com
I love the set-up for this, and your descriptions are stunning. I can picture the cottage so clearly. And Luna, bless her, always does seem to know what's best. Enjoying this so far!

Date: 2016-09-07 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenaa1987.livejournal.com
Thank you! The cottage was inspired by a real-life one, though I tried to be sensitive and not include them in a smut fest... hehehe. I'll pop a link on my LJ here.

Date: 2016-08-30 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snapebraille4tu.livejournal.com
Oh MA....you are casting the most exquisite spell over me. The atmosphere of this piece is SO PERFECT- and you are hitting all of those glorious high notes for me:
I could feel and taste the ferry trip,
The Old Man of Hoy continues to beckon to me,
Stromness (I could visualize Severus roaming those remarkable streets, and it made my heart flutter)
The cottage
The wind
The water
Long hair, then longer still,
Selkie or mermaid spirit,
The land being alive.....
With each new detail my smile grew wider and wider! And there's more!
*eagerly clicks foward*
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Date: 2016-09-07 07:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenaa1987.livejournal.com
High notes... I'm so thrilled. It's my gift to you, for being so wonderful. Thank you so much. I'm really delighted that you enjoyed this chapter!

Date: 2016-08-30 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] too-dle-oo.livejournal.com
Oh, and you're sending them to a place I adore!!! Oh, Orkney!

This image: I chose instead to stand huddled in the open, my feet anchored to the floor by a charm, the spray of the sea hitting my pale face. Each droplet of ice-cold water that inched its way down my skin marked me as a free man; for the summer, at least. I love that ferry ride, and fully acknowledge that I would have needed a spell to stay up top when the winds picked up steam.

Brexit. Snorts and grumbles under my breath.

THIS IS MARVELOUS! I'd be quoting the whole thing back to you, but I must say, I love the dynamic you've set up between these two. Really, you are a master at sensual description in every way! All the details of this ring true to me from my time in Orkney, especially tasting the salt indoors when you're close to the water.

Date: 2016-09-07 07:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenaa1987.livejournal.com
AMusingly, my mother is very rational and sensible. She travelled a lot when younger, and the ONLY time she truly believed she was going to die, was on the ferry to Orkney. It was so bad that they all had to lie down on the seats and hold onto the armrests, as they were dipping to the side that much! She was terrified, but she can laugh about it--albeit anxiously--now.

Thank you! Your comments throughout really gave me such smiles!

Date: 2016-08-31 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodylepetit.livejournal.com
This is off to the most lovely beginning! I'd say more but I'm too eager to read on. ❤️

Date: 2016-09-07 07:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenaa1987.livejournal.com
Thank you dear friend!

Date: 2016-09-08 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beffeysue.livejournal.com
This first chapter has given me a place of comfort to cheer on my OTP as they get to spend some unexpected time with each other. It's lovely!

Beth
Edited Date: 2016-09-08 08:58 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-08 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stgulik.livejournal.com
I love this beginning, and I'm dying to see what comes next.
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] too_dle_oo referenced to your post from [NSFW] FIC: Hermione/Severus, Reel Around the Sun, by lenaa1987 (http://crack-broom.livejournal.com/2562757.html) saying: [...] [NSFW] Title: [...]
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] too_dle_oo referenced to your post from [NSFW] FIC: Hermione/Severus, Reel Around the Sun, by lenaa1987 (http://crack-broom.livejournal.com/2562757.html) saying: [...] Around the Sun [...]
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