[identity profile] sshg-smutmod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sshg_smut
Title: For Safekeeping (1/4)
Author: (anonymous for now)
Summary: Hermione forgoes undergarments to protest avoidant behaviour. Severus benefits.
Prompt: Severus has voyeuristic tendencies. Hermione likes to be watched. Hermione pretends she doesn't know she's being watched. Severus understands the game and abides by the rules, until he decides to break them.
Prompter: [livejournal.com profile] bonsaibetz
Warnings: Voyeurism
Notes: There's a plot here somewhere, I could have sworn I packed one in my bag before leaving the house...


Part I

The damned classroom, its ceiling arched and oil-stained like a grimy church, had not been touched by the war. When he sat behind his desk, stalked the length and width of his old haunt, lectured and snarled, it was as if he were back under deep cover, his entire life structured and illusory.

His sense of sickening guilt over what he had instigated as a young adult had turned into a less gut-churning feeling of obligation at some point during Potter's first year. Seeing flashes of his old bully in Harry's behaviour as soon as he'd come to Hogwarts, seeing how uncanny the facial resemblance was, had rather lessened the guilt. It was much easier to distance himself from the remains of his feelings for Lily when he could see the likeness of his tormentor so clearly in what he had before then considered her child. And so, by the time Voldemort had managed to resurrect himself, Lily had been turned into a greying memory, less a person than an ideal. He had carried his obsession with the caricature of her into the Occlumency lessons he had been forced to have with Potter, the invasion of his privacy an impetus to finally revisit memories he purposefully turned away from.

He recalled the pain, the torture of feeling he had to bend to fit the idea that Lily had of him, the older they grew. He had so much anger, was raw with it, and from this she would distance herself. He couldn't have stayed unaffected by the cruelty of his father and his peers forever, could not have continued to curb the unpleasant parts of himself, the downright ugly bits—he had noticed the way she had begun to pull away from him, the way she avoided saying certain things, or spending time outside of class with him. Severus' anger had got the better of him. He was a sombre child, a bitter teenager, a vicious young adult.

Lily had possessed a greater depth of kindness and understanding than most people, where he was concerned. But the longer they stayed friends, the more Severus realized that she would not look directly at him, see him for what he was, confront him even. Until the end, of course. He had had to explode before she would become angry, look directly at the source of her discomfort.

Sooner or later, she would have left.

Severus could see it when he walked the lengths of his worst and best memories of her. One day, she simply would have faded from his life forever, a slow, drawn-out abandoning of their friendship. She would not have been cruel. She would have simply left without resentment, without confrontation. He had known it then, he just hadn't wanted to live through the quiet rejection.

So he had struck first, felt the vicious pleasure of twisting the knife, the horrible pain of destroying his friendship. A display of power, of self-assurance, to convince himself, more than anyone, that his anger at Lily could be self-righteous. It was a regret he would carry with him always, even if it no longer hurt him. He should have let their friendship fade.

But he had a taste for ruining things. He was good at it.

He cared so little for the company of other people in general—why should continue to feel regret at the way his life had turned out, at one single isolating mistake he had made as a teenager? Why not instead accept who he was and use it to his advantage? The pride of his two self-appointed masters had required that he fit their assumptions about his character, who he was at his core. To Voldemort, he had been a man obsessed with achieving his petty revenge against Dumbledore and the memory of James Potter. To Dumbledore, he had been a man obsessed with Lily, tortured by his unrequited love for her. They never deigned to look further as long as he matched the tone they expected from him. They both had him all figured out, of course. How could they not? They were in a league of their own.

Severus had counted on it.

Had drank in the cold sense of superiority he felt whenever he had steered them, just so.

Vows, marks, morals—whatever Voldemort or Dumbledore each felt bound him firmly to their side had eventually become irrelevant. They had no longer owned him: if he so chose, he would kill himself. He would continue to spy, pass information back and forth, influence the undercurrent of the slow-boiling war until he tired of it. He had endured with the mantra of just one more day, sustained himself on the ideal—a new ideal—of both dying and living out of spite. He took enormous risks and drank in the adrenaline, the pure gratification of knowing himself superior, essential to both sides. Near the end, Severus had lost the thread of himself a few times, his sanity a bit touch-and-go. Just one of the casualties of such a drawn-out war.

He hadn't wanted to live past it, really. It had become his life—his whole life. Rarely had he imagined living happily-ever-after, or anything beyond it at all: miserable child he had been, miserable bastard that he was, those sorts of visions were not easy to come by. Alcohol seemed to bring them on occasionally, but they got little more than a snort of derision from him before they were dragged back under the tide of drink.

So he hadn't been very happy to wake up after the war was over, to find out that some horrible busybody of a person had decided they could save his life. He had intended to die. To hold the secret of the Elder Wand's true master behind Occlumency walls until he took his last breath, taunting Voldemort with the knowledge that he had committed a fatal miscalculation in trusting Severus Snape. Making a show, for the first and last time, of mental force as he pushed Voldemort's desperate probes into his memory aside, crashed his way into his former master's thoughts instead. Severus had savoured the look of astonishment that had twisted onto Voldemort's face turn to fury as he had ordered Nagini to attack, the only way he could manage to interrupt Severus' vicegrip on his memories.

Severus recalled in perfect, agonizing detail, his final moments, gurgling out blood and grating laughter at the look on Voldemort's face as he realized that Severus would lose consciousness and die before any part of his mental defence could be breached. The burning hatred that had been directed at him, a hatred born of being humiliated by someone Voldemort had always considered beneath him. Severus had lost consciousness with vicious satisfaction, the purpose of his life fulfilled.

Only to wake up in the hospital wing and discover his death ruined.

"Ackerly," he snapped. "You will slice more carefully if you do not want to lose a hand."

The first year did not say anything, though the hand that held the knife he had been quartering Pixie Trumpets with did flinch rather badly. If he didn't lop his hand off, he would lose it in an explosion borne of badly-prepared ingredients. Rather a difficult feat, to make a shrinking solution explode, but he had incredible faith in Ackerly's ability to make such a miracle happen.

Little cretin.

The wizarding world, post-war, was a flurry of activity—celebrations, memorials, press, photos, memoirs, tributes... It was awful. Severus had found himself in the very odd position of being lauded as a hero (thanks to Saint Potter, the prat), while also being avoided for his former status as a Death Eater. Perfect strangers would give him nods, but nowhere he might actually have had any inclination to work would let his Curriculum Vitae rest on their desk for more than a few seconds before disposing of it as though it were a stinkbomb about to go off. He received a generous amount of offers, but the grand majority were for jobs of questionable repute, whose duties held little of interest for him. So, back to Hogwarts he had gone, accepting Headmistress McGonagall's grudging offer with matching enthusiasm. He really had been well-rid of the place.

Or so he had thought. Hardly a week back at the school had led to the irksome discovery that he felt "at home" in the dungeons, and "comfortable" in his old classroom. He would never admit to such out loud. The headmistress would laugh herself hoarse at his misfortune. Or at the irony of his good fortune—one of the two.

"You should have already added your final ingredients by this point," Severus drawled, though of course he expected this from exactly none of them. He simply enjoyed seeing them sweat. Such weak constitutions, the lot of them.

What Severus had come to realize after the war, upon spending time back in the classroom, was that he genuinely enjoyed being unpleasant. He enjoyed putting others on edge and being on edge, himself. He liked to watch others fail. He enjoyed the sort of tension that was generally agreed to be unbearable. What he hated was the way that the media (and those who had been colleagues and associates in the past) had begun portraying him after he had woken from what should have been a fatal injury. They told him he was no longer shackled, that he was free to live the way he so chose (he had chosen to die). They commented on the tragedy that was his life, his lost love (no doubt, that overly-romantic interpretation could be attributed to Potter). They projected onto him what they themselves thought they might feel. Perhaps when he had been younger, when he could have actually used their support, their compassion, their assumptions may have been accurate. But their attempts at understanding now were laughably off the mark.

He didn't think himself depressed. He hadn't lived with regret in a very long time. He didn't particularly hate himself. He deserved to live. He simply wasn't interested in the New World. There was nothing for him here. It was too quiet; he had nothing to occupy his time except to teach and avoid the public... which was what he had managed to do before the war had ended. Except he had also been maintaining his cover as a spy. Simply teaching, in his little bubble of pre-peace Scotland, was not enough. He felt like he might be starting to go stir-crazy.

He could no longer sleep.

His head was so empty of problems and observations that he was unable to analyze until his brain switched off from sheer exhaustion; he constantly fall asleep now by clearing his mind and relaxing. He was beginning to develop a bit of a paunch, too. No longer having to run for his life or dodge curses had caused him to go soft, quite literally. And the lack of stress had caused his skin to clear enough that someone at the staff table had had the gall to say he was "looking healthy". It was truly abominable.

"Anyone who has not set a sample of their potion on my desk by the end of class will receive a failing grade," Severus informed them, matter-of-fact, as he stalked back to his seat at the head of the room. He always enjoyed the end-of-period scramble.




Shortly after the start of term, Severus had taken up his old sport: prowling the halls. Of course, now, rather than making his rounds in order to give his legs something to do while his mind went to work on his latest dilemma, he made his rounds in order to try and escape the yawning, empty pit that was his brain. Comparatively, at least. Catching couples sticking certain appendages into other cavities was particularly enjoyable, he could admit, but it happened far more infrequently that one would be inclined to think. Spontaneous fighting, even less. And the satisfaction of scaring the pants off of a student wandering the halls alone was significant, but short-lived; not to mention, it had become a rare occurrence. Either he had lost his touch, he had found himself thinking one night, or the majority of the students had suddenly turned rule-abiding.

It was while he had been turning that unpleasant thought over in his head that he had stumbled upon the school's resident celebrity reading in a disused classroom, a fist-sized blue fireball crackling away on the armrest of a squashy chair—both of which he assumed she had conjured. She sat in a position that should not have been comfortable, but which must have been; she seemed boneless, her ever-wild tangle of hair creeping over the side of the chair, her spine curved strangely. She rested one leg on the floor, the other thrown over an armrest. Her nightdress was bunched just below the waist, her outer robe trailing on the stone floor. He could see her plain-white kickers.

It took her a moment.

"Professor!" she yelped, nearly falling out of the chair and onto the floor. Her hair passed through the flame but did not catch fire; he grudgingly admitted to himself that it was a nice bit of charmwork.

"Miss Granger."

"I was just—it's quiet," she began, her voice sounding as if it were about to launch into a babble, "I'm of age, I'm not bothering anyone, just reading—that's all, just a spot of research before bed... I've been finding it difficult to sleep lately and I thought—well, no one is really using this part of the castle, it's almost like being in the middle of nowhere and—"

"Miss Granger," he tried again, tone considerably more discouraging.

She pressed her lips together, chastised.

"While there is no rule against—" He paused, searching for the right word, and then pressing disdain into it; "returning students being out of their quarters past midnight, it nevertheless sets a poor example for their younger counterparts." He gestured minutely at his side. "Nor does it reflect well on you to sit with such impropriety for all and sundry to see."

"With what?" Hermione squeaked, incredulous and forgetting herself for a moment.

"Impropriety, Miss Granger." He gave her a level look, enjoying the ease with which he was able to push the right buttons."Impropriety."

"I was sitting and reading," she retorted, anger beginning to steamroll her incredulous tone. "Hardly causing mischief! And I can assure you, I was not putting on some sort of display." She began to sport a bit of a scowl. "I chose this spot precisely because it was so removed."

"Be that as it may, Miss Granger," Severus drawled, not particularly caring for her explanation (or any other she might have given), "if you do not wish to lose points for your house—"

"Points," She echoed, cutting him off bitterly. "You really think I care about points?"

Severus drew himself up to his full height, and gave her an awful sort of smile. "Perhaps not." He took several steps towards her and clasped his hands behind his back. "But you care deeply about the opinion of the Headmistress. I don't imagine she would be particularly happy at a sudden loss of points from her former house; nor do I expect she would be impressed with your behaviour here tonight were I to explain to her what I had the misfortune to stumble upon."

Hermione's expression turned thunderous, but she said nothing. The armchair and blue flame winked out of the room, plunging it into darkness. He heard a sharp intake of breath, and then, "goodnight, Professor," as if it had been forced through barred teeth. She took her leave.




After having returned to his quarters, his mind having raced the whole way, Severus had absently undone all his buttons and left his cloak, robes, and underclothes in a wrinkled pile on the rug next to his bed. He'd been far too distracted to do anything with his wand other than drop it on his bedside table, where it made a small thunk. He got himself under the covers (pulling with some annoyance at the over-tight way the House Elves had tucked in the sheets) and cocooned himself on his side, staring, unseeing, at the opposite stone wall. At some point, he had fallen asleep, but before that—he had been turning his strange meeting with Miss Granger over in his mind, wondering just what in the hell had gotten into her.

His prevailing feeling, while getting dressed the next morning, had been regret for having revealed his presence right away. He could have trailed her over several days, pieced together her reasons for being in that particular disused classroom—had she been meeting someone? Had she really been there just to read? He would never know, now. After all, without Potter and Weasley back at the school to influence her, Severus found it unlikely that she would get up to any more rule-breaking. Not that she had necessarily been breaking rules... but she did care a great deal about what the other professors thought of her and he expected his threat would be more than enough to warn her off of future nighttime wanderings. It was a bit of a pity.

Severus took a sip of his morning tea: bitter, murky brown.

"I had the funniest star chart land on my desk yesterday," he could hear Aurora saying in a hushed voice to Rolanda and Filius, "the cheeky little bugger had a very interesting interpretation of the positions and star configurations of Ophiuchus and Scorpius—to my eyes, they looked like a cock." Rolanda and Filius tried to muffle their snorts; Severus smothered an errant smirk with another sip of his tea. "I gave him detention, of course—could barely keep a straight face. Honestly..."

"That is the sort of mischief I don't mind seeing in the classroom," Filius chuckled, mopping up the egg yolk on his plate with a chunk of brown bread.

"Well it's harmless, isn't it?" Rolanda remarked, finishing her coffee in high spirits. "They don't want to hurt anyone, just draw dingleberries all over the place. If I weren't the professor I'd be right in there with them, holding a couple of bludgers up to my crotch and giggling like mad."

Filius just barely avoided a guffaw at the head table, and Aurora shook her head with a wide smile. Rolanda shrugged with her typical grin.

His morning brewing class with the NEWT students was typically the least eventful (or interesting) of his week. All of them were at least competent enough that he could trust they would not inadvertently cause a meltdown or explosion; they all had enough common sense to realize when they needed to ask questions, or for help. Not to mention, all the years spent in his classroom had rendered them all somewhat jaded where his attempts at intimidation were concerned. For these reasons, he spent the majority of his time in NEWT-level brewing classes behind his desk, grading assignments.

"Excuse me, Professor."

Severus looked up from the red scrawl covering the parchment before him. Her hand was in the air, but stayed steady—it no longer waved and trembled as it always had in years prior.

"What?" A good night's sleep had no bearing at all on his manners.

"I've just realized I forgot my chicory root, sir." Miss Granger shifted in her seat slightly, falling into a bit of a slouch. "May I take some from the school stores?" she asked, glancing down at her workbench. She sat at a station in the second row instead of her usual spot, front and centre. Then he realized.

"Sir?" She prompted again, after there had been no response.

"Fine," he enunciated, drawing out the word. He looked back down at the essay on his desk as if nothing had been amiss.

Except she had parted her legs at some point during her question, and she hadn't been wearing any knickers. He had seen everything—well, the lighting in the classroom was dim, and her skirt and the desk had cast an awful lot of shadows... but he was reasonably certain it hadn't just been a trick of the light. No undergarment to speak of. He could hear her moving bundles of dried herbs in the store room and his fingers tightened on his quill.

Granger must have known. It couldn't have been accidental. She had arrived early (earlier than was usual for her), and sat at a different workstation. She had "forgotten" an ingredient as an excuse to get his attention (Severus could not recall the last time the know-it-all had come unprepared to a class), and then she had deliberately looked down, as if inviting his gaze to wander. It must have been deliberate.

But why?

He had absolutely no idea.

Severus shifted in his seat, much as Granger had done, in order to relax the taut fabric of his trousers. Of all the things he had expected to experience during his morning potions' class, arousal had been—well, not on the list to begin with. He looked up again to watch Granger return to her seat (she appeared focused on her cauldron, a stasis spell having frozen it mid-boil), and when she sat, her thighs parted again, giving him an even better view than before. If Granger was at all aware of what she was displaying, she made no indication; there was no knowing smile, no attempt to catch his eyes—nothing. She didn't appear to notice what she was showing off, so focused was she on preparing the borrowed ingredients she had fetched for the assigned potion. But she must have known. She must have. Severus felt a bit of a thrum in his chest at the increase in blood flow; Granger had thrown him for a loop. Him.

Severus applied himself to finishing his grading for the rest of the period. He did not want it hanging over his head that evening.

Date: 2016-09-02 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] too-dle-oo.livejournal.com
Intriguing opening! I love Snape's acknowledgement of his position in this new world. Nothing for him, indeed!

Date: 2016-09-02 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mywitch.livejournal.com
Yes, yes, yes, the start of this fic! I love how Severus is explained and revealed, and all this inner thoughts about what had gone on before and what is going on now.

He enjoyed the sort of tension that was generally agreed to be unbearable.

Perfection.

And now Miss Granger has caught his attention. Holy gods, I can't wait for the next bit!!!

Date: 2016-09-02 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bonsaibetz.livejournal.com
Ooh, great beginning of the story, MA. I'm already beginning to squirm like Severus. I don't mind if this rambles and the plot got away from you. Been there, done that, still immensely enjoying this. On to part 2 now.

Date: 2016-09-02 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adelaidearcher.livejournal.com

This is a brilliant start! Looking forward to the rest :)

Date: 2016-09-04 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayvyn2k.livejournal.com
BRILLIANT. Absolutely brilliant. Snape, in character, sullen, angry, bored.

Hermione, sharp, also bored, devious.

OH, I can't wait to read the rest. :)

Date: 2016-09-09 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodylepetit.livejournal.com
Off to a fantastic start! I'm rushing off to read the next bit because I just can't wait.

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