[identity profile] sshg-smutmod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sshg_smut
Title: For Safekeeping (3/4)
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 III

Going back to Hogwarts hadn't been an easy decision or a natural one. Hermione had made several lists, had held several debates with herself (complete with silent gestures and expressions that Harry and Ron had taken in stride, bless them), and had finally made her decision by flipping a coin and then in a fit of pique choosing the opposite of what the coin had told her she should do. She still had something of a bone to pick with Fate.

The choice may have been easier if Harry and Ron had elected to join her, but they hadn't. They'd had a good laugh about that, actually. And a few arguments. We're finally free, Ron had protested, just shy of incredulous, I'm not ready to go back to rules and homework. Hermione had no problem with either of those things—in fact, she rather enjoyed them. It was just, their months on the run together had given her some perspective. School was important, school was enjoyable, but it was not life. Life was Harry and Ron, she rather thought. It was pushing forward, no matter if the deck seemed stacked against her, it was patience, and not having all the answers. She was not especially good at two of those things, mind...

Talking with Harry had just confused her further.

Hogwarts really is my home, Harry had begun, in one of his pensive moods, but I just really need to separate myself from it, you know? I feel like if I go back right now I'll never leave. If she'd wheedled enough, he would have joined her, she knew. Harry would have left Ron to his sort-of-early emancipation and probably always regretted it. Her talks with Harry had formed the largest of the counterweights to the possibility of going back to Hogwarts. He wasn't persuasive—he didn't seem to have much interest in trying to convince her one way or the other. Hermione just enjoyed sitting and chatting with him. That was the extent of it.

Ron was like her brother—she absolutely loved the twit, and would do anything for him, but he drove her up the blasted wall just as often as he could made her laugh. Harry on the other hand, was her best friend. She felt like she could talk to him about anything, and usually did. He wasn't a kindred spirit by any stretch of the imagination—neither of them were—but he did always try to meet her halfway.

The thought of going back to Hogwarts and not being able to stay up late in the common room to talk to Harry was a bit hollow. Ron wouldn't be there either, to shake her loose from her scrolls; to make her laugh and then stomp off in annoyance. Some of her worst days, her loneliest days, had been spent doing schoolwork and not having to fend off the boys' notorious rule-breaking or whatever they felt would be in her "best interest". She was not certain Hogwarts would actually still feel like home without them there.

She had been right.

But it wasn't entirely awful—they had insisted she take the Marauder's Map with her (live a little, Hermione!) and she had been pleased to find out that she and her peers would not be subject to the same curfews as the younger students. Harry and Ron had complained that that took all the fun out of sneaking around. Tossers. Loveable tossers. They both had been rather good about sending and replying to letters, even if they were brief. She went to stay with them at Grimmauld Place most weekends, and they came to meet her in Hogsmeade for dinner and drinks during the week sometimes, when she was able. Hogwarts, for her, was a shadow of its former self in the absence of most of her peers, and it was always difficult to make her way back after a weekend with Harry and Ron, but with every class she took she became more certain that she would have regretted not officially completing her studies. Of course that didn't change the fact that the majority of her classes were boring.

Boring!

She found herself becoming restless in the middle of lessons sometimes, unable to focus on taking notes. She didn't put nearly as much effort into her homework, her assignments, as she once had, finding her thoughts wandering and then her feet following, if she had been sitting and writing for too long. She had begun to think that it was because she was no longer under the heels of a constant threat.

Before, everything had felt dire—danger had been a daily reality. Harry, even her and Ron, were constantly brushing up against death, running headlong into situations that any sane witch or wizard would have steered clear of out of terror. Hermione had grown up on a steady diet of adrenaline, fear, and courage. Well, sometimes it was more stubbornness than courage. Now it was all gone. All the pressure she had felt to keep her grades up, to prove herself, had muted to almost nothing. There was too much time in a single day. It didn't feel like an accomplishment to get all her homework, her studying done early. It simply made the day seem to drag on, after it was finished. The castle felt even larger than when she was younger, far emptier than it ever had been. It weighed on her, made her feel lethargic, uninterested in her notes, her assignments, her reviewing.

She felt like sand slowly spilling from a canvas bag.

So she had started spending her nights wandering, the Marauder's Map her constant companion. She stopped to read whatever book she was carrying out of curiosity or pleasure; to look out the window and let her thoughts turn inward; to nap or sleep in a place where she felt at least somewhat exposed, because it felt normal. Clearly, she was experiencing a crisis of some sort—they all were. Her, Harry, Ron. All in very different ways, of course. They did talk about it. Just—perhaps not as much as they should have.

There were some things that Hermione was certain even Harry would not be able to understand, after all. She wanted to run. No... that wasn't quite it. She wanted to be pursued. Or caught. Something. The world around her felt staged. She was safe, her professors kept reminding her, all wearing smiles mired in varying stages of sadness; wasn't she lucky? How great a gift they all had, to be able to move forward with their lives. How they had sacrificed to get to this shining future.

Not him.

He was a relic, Professor Snape.

Attending his potions' classes was stepping back in time, his unpleasantness and black humour pickled just in case the shining future had ever come to pass. Professor Snape did not seem to give a fig that the war had ended, no sir. Being exonerated of his crimes had not made him kinder, or more grateful. The end of the war had not softened him or relieved him of a great burden—not that Hermione had noticed, anyway. He was the same horrible, unfair man he had always been.

She began to look forward to his classes, and then follow his walks on the Marauder's Map, holed up in whatever corner of the castle she had picked for the evening. The fascination turned into a bit of an obsession, she eventually had to admit to herself. It was like old times. He still wouldn't give her the time of day, let alone his approval, and like a moth she kept burning herself upon his cold gaze. Hoping each time that she would feel some small warmth reflected there.

Weeks passed. She got worse.

No longer content to just watch him on the Map, no longer able to raise her hand and wait for a miracle, she began to coordinate her nightly wandering with his. She would plant herself along his path somewhere, to sit and read, just to be in his periphery. Sometimes he made a snide remark, sometimes he strode past in silence—other times he would change direction at the last minute, and she would return to her dormitory feeling annoyed. There came a point during these encounters (or lack thereof), where she reasoned out a vital piece of information: she was attracted to him. It made perfect sense—and Hermione had always had a fondness for perfectly sensible conclusions. The anticipation, the desire to be in his presence, the constant thoughts about him... this realization allowed her to begin viewing Professor Snape in a wholly different manner.

She began to fantasize about him catching her, scolding her, and then falling prey to his own desires. Hopelessly romantic, but it incited a lot of masturbation before she fell asleep each night, imagining him watching her. Then it was no longer enough. Her fantasies spilled into the classroom, and she would watch him lecturing, but imagine him fucking her instead. It was becoming a problem (she kept running out of clean underwear).

So she decided to stop fantasizing, practical young woman that she was, and start doing something about her frustration. She'd make him notice. First her knickers, then a lack thereof. The worst case scenario was that he would insult her (nothing out of the ordinary); she could handle that. She truly couldn't imagine him complaining about it to Headmistress McGonagall and anyway—she was pretty certain McGonagall would take such an accusation with a heavy dose of scepticism. Unfair, perhaps, but Hermione, her head clouded with unresolved lust, was not about to take up arms against that particular injustice.

She began by subtly exposing her knickers to him one evening, her indignation at his veiled threat only half feigned. Impropriety? She'd give him impropriety. Hermione hadn't planned on attending his class the next day without anything on under her skirt, she had thought to move much more slowly; but she had lost her patience. She wanted more—she wanted to shock him. She wanted to make the Potions Master's brain glitch, just for a split second, at a lack of parameters with which to form a logical conclusion about her actions.

But it was better than she had imagined. She had seen the moment he had made the realization, his fingers putting just a bit more pressure on his desk; felt the pause with her whole body where he had forgotten to answer her question. After the class she had escaped to the nearest loo to lock herself in a stall, rubbing her clit until she came, lips pressed together as she rocked and shuddered over the toilet. It still hadn't been enough.

The whole afternoon, she had fought with herself: what if he had no interest in her? What if her behaviour was off-putting? What if someone else saw her? What if Headmistress McGonagall found out and did not take kindly to such an exchange between professor and student?

But then:

What if he had liked what little he had seen so far? What if he felt the same pull that she did? What if he followed her and watched? What if he began to view her as an adult rather than a student?

The positives and negatives should have cancelled each other out, but that day Hermione had been operating under an unfamiliar set of universal laws. Ones in which desire had a much stronger gravity than potential consequences.

She had left her room that evening with a crude counterfeit of the Marauder's Map, and the full intention of making Professor Snape catch her in the act.




The Potions Master was making his rounds of the desks, raising his eyebrow or sneering into cauldrons that held contents he found lacking in some way. Which was to say, all of them. They were attempting a challenging nerve regrowth potion as an introduction to two brewing sequences that were often used when unstable ingredients had to be combined. Most of Hermione's peers had already proceeded with condensing ginger root vapour into a separate cauldron where they would let it simmer; in the meantime they would need to carefully burn the wooden nails of a bowtruckle to a fine ash. Hens' teeth, which dried out almost immediately (rendering their magical properties inert), would need to be covered in the powdery ash as soon as they were removed from their charmed bottle. If done correctly, and in time, the ash would lock in their moisture and they could be added to the ginger root base, the combination of which had significant regenerative properties.

The potion wasn't so much difficult as it was methodical; badly brewed, it simply wouldn't do anything—or else give the drinker a mild stomach ache. They weren't to progress to truly volatile or dangerous brews until just before the end of the fall term.

"Miss Granger, ahead of her peers as usual," Professor Snape remarked in a low drawl, just beside her. He made it sound like a defect.

Hermione didn't respond, stirring the half-infused base with a forced concentration; the professor's cloak was touching her exposed ankle. Surely not deliberate, but it made her want to jump out of her skin all the same. She imagined Harry and Ron's reactions: Are you mad? What the bloody hell is wrong with you? And then failed to imagine what she could possibly reply back. Was she out of her mind? She'd skipped her knickers again this afternoon, had felt the damp chill of the dungeon classroom creep past her uncovered knees and up to the junction of her thighs. And for what? The attention of a man that had been unfair, unpleasant, and even cruel to her for as long as she'd known him? Yes. She wanted to raze him to the ground, feel power over him, and feel overpowered by him. She wanted to carve out a piece of his vitriol and let it lull her to sleep.

The truth was, Hermione Granger wanted to jump out of her skin all the time, not just when Professor Snape's cloak had touched her ankle. The world was too calm, too subdued, when she still just wanted to scream, and run, and fight. She hadn't finished with that part of herself. She hadn't liked it. But nothing had felt real after the last of the fleeing Death Eaters had been brought into custody. The end had been too abrupt. There there, you're safe now, it's over, you're free. She still felt so much anger, so much grief, with nothing to channel it all into. She had been tortured, people close to her had died, she had sacrificed—it all just sort of sat inside her, a constant film and radio play on loop. At least when she had been throwing herself into danger her life had felt valuable. Completing her NEWTs was the right choice and what would be expected of her, but they felt worthless. Was this what they had fought for? The right for things to go back to how they had been before? So that it could all happen all over again?

Everyone was sleepwalking.

Peace. Victory. Hope.

Propaganda—that was all it was. The war would happen over and over again, would start right under the noses of those explaining that they had all stopped a great evil. And everyone would be shocked and terrified, the public forums echoing with, how could this happen? How could it not, when they carried on pretending it wasn't inevitable, when they stopped their fighting before it was actually over. The war hadn't ended. It hadn't ended.

Professor Snape swept away from her desk without another word.

The war now was ideological. Society had to change fast enough, completely enough, that the same issue could not be fought over again. But after Voldemort had died, so many had assumed that his ideology had died with him, that suddenly Wizarding Britain was a haven for Muggleborns, that blood purity was no longer important and that what remained of their society was accepting and open. It wasn't. No one cared to look in the direction of their treatment of other sentient magic-users. That was much too difficult. They'd already begun to change a little of their collective prejudice towards one group—wasn't that enough? Didn't they deserve their gold stars for that?

Even Harry and Ron seemed to have relaxed a little, though they were not at all interested in joining the rest of society in resuming daily life. They had refused to pursue higher education or to get jobs for the moment, choosing instead to travel, to laugh, to drink away the horrors they had been through. She couldn't bring herself to blame them. She also couldn't identify with their overwhelming need for avoidance when all she wanted to do was confront.

"Would anyone be willing to escort Mr. Macmillan to the hospital wing?" Came Professor Snape's dry appeal. Even Hermione looked up, only to see a confused expression on her classmate's face. "There appears to be something wrong with his eyesight. The instructions clearly state that the potion should be a deep orange at this stage. Mr. Macmillan's is blue."

Ernie Macmillian visibly winced and then closed his apparently-unwell eyes for a moment, reopening them to look back up at the Potions Master's unimpressed face.

"Dismal." Professor Snape turned away.

If there was anyone else Hermione could be certain felt the same frustration she did, it was Professor Snape.

No, never mind, not the same frustration. He'd watched the first war lay low and turn into the second, he'd grown up in the aftermath of Grindlewald's failed coup. His frustration must have long since turned to bitterness. He had no reservations about making clear his disdain for society or the individuals that made it up. He routinely committed acts of self-sabotage—at least socially—and yet also seemed to possess a staggering will for self-preservation. Otherwise, how had he survived so long, being a spy? Hermione still hadn't managed to decide whose side he had truly been on. He was horribly intelligent, if the scribblings of his teenaged self in an old potions' textbook had been any indication—who knew how much more he had secretly learned and created since then? Hermione had always respected him—grudgingly, as the years wore on. She disliked him a great deal.

But returning to Hogwarts after the war, after all she had experienced, she felt like she was beginning to understand him. More unnerving, she felt like he could perhaps understand her, given the chance.

Hermione continued to follow the steps of the potion to the letter, adjusting her flame several times to keep the potion's surface from bubbling; the temperature had to be kept at a low and steady temperature in order to prevent it from thickening. It had since turned the pale orange it was supposed to after adding the shredded lion's mane stems. At last she turned off the burner completely and moved the cauldron into an ice bath to rapidly chill. Hermione held her hand just inside the lip of the cauldron, decanting the solution when she could no longer detect warmth rising from it. She attached a neat label to each of her samples and brought them to the front of the class to present to Professor Snape—the first to do so, but then, that wasn't unusual.

"Miss Granger."

Hermione looked at the Potions Master across his desk where he sat severely in his hard-back chair.

"Yes, sir?"

"You are to be at the entrance of the supplementary potions lab at no later than eight o'clock this evening," he told her in a low voice, sounding displeased.

"Sir?" She asked, her heart pounding even while she felt only confusion.

"Several potions for the hospital wing require supervision this evening," he explained, after the corner of his mouth twitched in what appeared to be annoyance. "I have more important projects to attend to."

"Oh." Her heart still pounded. "Of course."

He waved her off with impatience.

Date: 2016-09-02 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mywitch.livejournal.com
**SCREAMS!**
more more more!

Date: 2016-09-09 02:29 am (UTC)
borealgrove: (Out of Bounds)
From: [personal profile] borealgrove
When I read this comment the first time, I literally burst out laughing jsyk

Date: 2016-09-09 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mywitch.livejournal.com
Haha - I meant every shriek!

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