[identity profile] sshg-smutmod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sshg_smut
Title: For Safekeeping (4/4)
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 IV

Hermione had timed herself to arrive five minutes early, and so stood waiting in front of the door woolgathering. She barely felt any of the usual dungeon chill with her heavy cloak gathered around her shoulders, which was a good thing because she had sadly forgotten to put on several items of clothing as she had dressed for the evening. Everyone made mistakes. Even Hermione Granger.

"Enter."

She hadn't actually knocked—though, it wasn't at all surprising that he would have registered her presence some other way. She let herself in. It was surprisingly warm, with a fire burning in a grate; there was a line of cauldrons sitting over flames on the longest worktable. Several others, more spaced further apart, were set up towards the back of the room.

Professor Snape's cloak was draped neatly over the back of a chair beside the only other door into the room, beside which was a writing desk with stacks of notebooks upon it, its surface littered with scraps of parchment. She doubted he kept any notes of true value amongst the mess, given the public nature of the lab, but still she could easily imagine that reading through some of those logs would be fascinating. Professor Snape had noticed her interest in the desk and was giving her a raised eyebrow.

"Are these the potions that you'd like me to monitor?" Hermione asked, gesturing to the neat row of cauldrons closest to her. She kept her voice neutral as she unclasped and began to remove her cloak.

"Yes. I trust I will not need to hold your hand through an explanation of what each one is."

"No, sir."

He said nothing more, and returned his full attention to the potions toward the back of the room. His hair was pulled back from his face, gathered into a loose ponytail at the nape of his neck. His usual crisp white shirt was rolled up and buttoned at the sleeves—Hermione could not recall the last time she had seen his pale forearms, if ever. He was almost always covered up to his neck in wool, hide, and cotton. To see his forearms, so matter of fact, was almost uncomfortably intimate.

Hermione had not quite worked out how she would get his attention, so she forced her eyes to focus elsewhere, and put herself to work. The hospital wing needed supplies, and regardless of any other intentions she had for the evening, she didn't have any desire to spoil potions that the Hogwarts matron had requested. She began by identifying each one—by colour, consistency, and smell (if they did not seem to contain immediately poisonous ingredients). All but one were in their last stages, no longer requiring much other than the occasional stir or a small adjustment to flame. The blood replenishing potion had barely been started, however. Hermione judged it to have been left to simmer about a third of the way through... which would slowly degrade the ingredients' magical properties until the whole mixture became completely inert. She couldn't imagine the error being accidental.

Severus Snape was watching her.

"Problem, Miss Granger?"

"No sir, not at all."

She could still save it. Possibly. Implements were along the left wall, but ingredients... the only other time she had been asked to work in the supplementary lab (at the request of Professor Slughorn), she had been required to bring her own ingredient kit. There were none in the room—apart from what was laid on the worktables that Professor Snape was moving back and forth between. She would have to ask him.

"Actually," her voice came out in a sudden burst, "Could I—this blood replenishing potion, sir, it's nullifying." She waved at it, her hand arcing to rest on the stirring rod beside the cauldron. "Is the classroom still open?"

His raised his eyebrow at her, always economical in his manner of expression.

"I thought I might be able to get the necessary ingredients from the school stores," she elaborated, all the while realizing the potion was probably already beyond salvageable.

He let out a small, but telling sigh. "Very well." Turned. "Follow me."

Hermione rounded the worktable (hopefully without seeming too eager) and went to join him at the door in the back of the room. Beyond it was a dim hall, smaller than she was accustomed to seeing in the castle; could it be part of his personal chambers? Impossible to be certain. The stone walls were completely unadorned, like any other section of the dungeons, dark or tinged green in some places because of constant dripping, of the damp. The professor turned immediately to unlock a door to their right with a muttered incantation and several lazy-looking wand movements—deceptively difficult to copy. It was no surprise at all that he should have a store room (a private one?) just outside the lab, but Hermione could not say she had expected to be allowed inside of it.

The lights began to turn on when he stepped into the long, narrow room, tall strips of light squeezed between columns of shelves—shelves of all different sizes. Light that was soft and inert, so unlike fire, so much better for accurately assessing the state of ingredients. There were some books near the door, a small rickety shelf of some of the most popular references and texts for herbs, fungi, precious stones, liquids, as well as a handful of specialized volumes on potion elements that were harvested from all sorts of other living beasts and creatures. She looked up at a high ceiling half-pierced by murky circles of light, at the two spindly rolling ladders that would allow one to climb all the way up to the shelves that the light could not reach.

He left her standing just inside the doorway, staring, to go pick through some of the shelves further in.

Hermione could not help but lurch towards the closest set of bottles, analyzing the organizational system with confusion and hunger—it was nothing like the classification they used in the store room students had access to. It was not organized according to use, or alphabetized. There were no labels below each shelf to indicate its general contents, no labels on the ingredients themselves to explain exactly where to replace them. Most, she noticed, had no labels at all except for a date or a measurement, sometimes. Further in, her feet carrying her while her mind was otherwise entertained, she found shelves that were warm as the inside of a body, or icy cold; a whole collection of shelves that contained humid atmospheres. She would bet anything pickled specimens were up in the unlit shelves, to stay preserved longer. Stasis spells were generally the worst way to keep ingredients potent in the long term.

"The armadillo bile is in the fourth shelf from the top."

Hermione flinched at the sudden noise, the finger that rose from her side, pointed lazily to the column of shelves to her left. One of the ladders rolled to a quiet stop where the finger had been pointing. She looked back at the professor, who was holding (she assumed) the rest of the required ingredients to his chest, one of the larger glass bottles tucked firmly in place by his wide palm. She was beginning to understand.

Without a word, she took hold of the highest rung on the ladder that she could reach, and began a slow climb to the shelf he had indicated. She kept her legs spaced far apart as she did so, the cold store room air freezing the wet points high on her inner thighs. He had to be watching. She took her time looking through the bottles and tins on the fourth shelf from the top, leaning forward deliberately for ingredients that had been placed all the way in the back even after she had identified the correct bottle of bile. The freezing, wet points between her thighs spread, enlarged as she descended, armadillo bile firmly in hand.

"I trust you know your way back?"

She did. Had he seen? She nodded and left.

It was obvious when she placed the bottle she had carried onto the table that the blood replenishing potion had completely spoiled. There was sediment at the bottom and a thin film of oil floating on the top; it couldn't be brought back from that point no matter what she threw into it. She would have to brew it from scratch. Luckily, very little in the way of ingredients had been wasted. Professor Snape, who had probably been replacing his wards and protections on the store room, finally joined her, placing all the ingredients he had been carrying in a cluster beside the bile.

"What happened?" Hermione heard herself asking with a gesture at the cauldron before she realized that she had opened her mouth.

"You were late to tend to it," came the reply, more matter-of-fact than irritated.

The interesting thing was that it was obvious, just by looking at the potion, that it had been simmering for hours—the change in expected colour and texture had proved it as soon as she'd taken a look at it. It wasn't a question of her being too late. The separation she had come back to after having been in the store room for a handful of minutes told her that she had never stood a chance at stabilizing it. She would have had to come a half hour, an hour earlier than the time he had requested she be there.

There was no one else to posture for, no one else to humiliate her in front of. Somehow, she didn't think he was trying to anger her. So Hermione spoke back to him.

"Clearly you started it too early."

The look he had been giving her changed, and his fingers gripped the edge of the table as he stepped around it, invaded just the very edge of her space.

"Absurd," he said, a quiet statement. "Do you make a habit of accusing all your professors of incompetence?"

"Only some."

The irreverence was all bunched at the tip of her tongue, her heart pounding with the anticipation and the fear of letting it all tumble out.

He moved closer, picking up a tin he had brought back and taking a look at the contents; pulverized astragalus root. "I suggest you start if you intend to finish before midnight."

"I wasn't the one who ruined it."

"Miss... Granger." Forced patience sounded more like a warning bell when spoken by Severus Snape. He set down the tin, closing the lid with exaggerated care. "Is this your labyrinthine way of informing me you do not recall how to brew a blood replenishing potion?" He had done a slow half circle over to her other side, though he stood just out of her line of sight. The professor banished the useless remnants of the inert potion with a jab and then a sweep of his wand. "Perhaps a cleaned out cauldron will jog your infallible memory."

Hermione didn't respond to the taunt, and instead reached across the workbench for a large bottle of cinnamon sticks; her skin prickled, knowing he was standing right behind her, could easily reach under her skirt and—

She went to fetch two knives: one heavy for cleaving through some of the harder ingredients, the other small and thin for precise cuts. Professor Snape hadn't moved. She put down the knives next to the container of cinnamon and picked up the now-empty cauldron, bringing it to the basin at the end of the table. She sloshed some water around in it, dumped it out, and then filled the cauldron a quarter of the way, up to one of the four standard markers on the inside.

She set it back over the burner it had been on all evening, and extinguished the fire there.

"A waste of effort," Professor Snape commented, voice closer than expected to her ear.

"I could have said the same to you," Hermione shot back without having to think, splitting two sticks of cinnamon into quarters with the heavy knife. She dropped the cinnamon into the cauldron and Severus Snape chuckled.

The air stirred under her skirt and she felt skin, a fingertip, brush against her labia. She nearly let go of the knife.

"Miss Granger, you should be slicing the beetroot already," her professor pointed out; she was hyperaware of his finger hovering below them, just barely touching her pubic hair. Her heart resumed its pounding, and she felt herself grow wet at the mere circulation of air near her clit.

She had been displaying herself to him for days, but she hadn't truly expected—not truly—

Hermione made herself reach for a small burlap sack in which there were three even smaller beetroots. She picked up the more precise knife and began to peel away the thick earthy skin. Her fingers and palms turned a purplish red, some of the highly pigmented juice falling to the table, looking like pinpricks of blood. She set the root down and began to slice it, paper thin.

His finger delicately traced the slit of her entrance; she gritted her teeth, flinching at the unexpected contact and almost cutting her thumb.

"Uneven," Snape remarked, pushing a finger into her vagina and causing her to let out a small, ragged breath. "But then, I tend to find that as soon as students become adults, they believe they can take shortcuts." He crooked his finger, rubbing the inside of her walls. "I really did expect better of you, Miss Granger."

She felt as though her mouth was filled with cotton balls, dry and obstructed, unable to produce a sound. So she went back to slicing the beetroot. She could feel herself dripping.

He withdrew his finger and then inserted another, this one heavy with what must have been a ring. It stayed caught just outside her entrance, rubbing up against her labia, just shy of her clit. She made a noise, unintentionally, at the back of her throat. She wanted so badly to close her eyes, to abandon pretence—

Hermione needed just three more slices, that would about do it. Her hands were shaking, she could feel them, but not enough to be visibly obvious. Snape's ringed finger was joined by a second. She sliced, focusing on finishing the base, she had to.

Into the cauldron the beetroot went.

Out came his fingers.

"Tut, tut, Miss Granger." His lips were almost touching the shell of her ear. "Your impatience is showing."

Her mouth opened to take in a sudden breath when he pressed up against her, his erection digging into her back, a hand reaching around to cup one of her breasts through her loose sweater. He brushed her sensitive nipple gently through the wool. She had intended to bend over in front of him, give him an unintended view of her chest sans brassiere. She had spent a half hour before dinner that afternoon putting on all the sweaters she owned to see which one would work best.

Snape's lips touched her neck; she could feel the slight shift of air as he breathed her in.

"Did you... need something, sir?"

Straight out of a bad film, the words came, but her voice was all wrong for the part.

He chuckled anyway, breath stirring the fine hairs over her collarbone. "I believe that what I want is quite obvious." He pressed his lips to her skin this time, the weight a kiss instead of a coincidence. "I'm far more curious to hear what it is that you want."

"You must have a contraceptive potion lying around somewhere," Hermione replied with far more confidence than she felt.

"I know a much better incantation." His finger was stroking her labia again, slipping into and then back out of her vagina minutely, painting her with the evidence of her own arousal.

"Then use it." She leaned onto the worktable more, spreading her legs further apart.
She could hear the rustle of fabric behind her, feel his finger leave her body, the hard shape of his erection pushing against her back with each small wand movement he made. She recognized parts of the string of words he uttered—barrier, tearing, flow. Then his hand was on her again, rolling her clit under the pad of his middle finger, ring buried in her pubic hair.

"And just what should I do now, Miss Granger?"

In her imagined encounters, Hermione had never felt embarrassed or reluctant to voice her desires. Not so, now. There was such vulnerability in it.

"Perhaps we should both return to watching cauldrons boil," Snape suggested, an amused undercurrent clear in his voice.

"Take out your cock." The words ran straight down where Snape's fingers continued to stroke her.

"Anywhere in particular you'd like me to direct it?" He was enjoying himself entirely too much, his question a smug murmur near her neck.

"Merlin—" she ground out, frustration at a peak, "just fucking—"

She couldn't get any more words out against the unexpected bark of a laugh that came from Severus Snape. He quieted his mirth by pressing his lips against her neck again and then began unbuttoning his trousers one-handed. Her heart pounded. He trailed the head of his penis along the inside of her thigh, the heat of it a sudden shock.

Then she was bracing her forearms against the solid plank of the worktable, pushing back against him, her entire lower body thudding with arousal.

The tip of his penis teased her entrance.

Pushed partway in.

Withdrew.

She groaned a soft protest, and Snape leaned down to cover her body with his. He held this teasing rhythm long enough for Hermione to start moaning, low in the back of her throat, a plea to either continue or desist. She couldn't make up her mind which before he slid all the way in, rendering the decision irrelevant. The finger on her clit started stroking again, just as he began to thrust into her. Her vision swam, unfocused, a field of wood, glass, cast iron—she could hear Snape groaning, feel his cheek pressed into her hair, the side of her head. He grunted with effort and with obvious gratification, his breath beginning to come in slow bursts.

She could feel it, the pressure, like she was about to—

Hermione writhed against the table, crying out as her body spasmed around Snape's penis, his groans joining her with urgency as he began to thrust faster, about to come.

He gripped her hips suddenly, knocking her forward into the table with the force of his orgasm and then grinding into her body, with each subsequent, smaller wave of pleasure. He had pushed his face into her hair, breathing heavily, his nose brushing her ear as he wound down; Hermione could still feel him twitching inside of her. Snape kissed her neck again, seeming to like the spot just below her ear. She couldn't say she minded.

"Miss Granger." His voice was a low rumble against her skin. "Did this meet your expectation of just fucking?" He enunciated her earlier request with criminal earnestness. She pressed her lips together in an effort not to rise to the obvious bait. Let out a long breath through her nose.

"I'm quite certain we're past Miss Granger."

"Are we."

She could hear the unsettling grimace of a smile.

"I'm certainly not going to call you sir anymore," she informed him.

"I see."

She looked back at his face for the first time since he had gone to stand behind her, finding its relative openness strange, but also appealing.

He really did need to work on that smile of his.

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