A little different. This was written before Hermione’s Blog was begun and is not intended to reflect on her or her interests in any way.
Hermione smiled and sighed to herself, holding her cup in both hands. The wizarding world was wonderful, but there were muggle comforts she could not bring herself to leave, and sitting at this particular cafe was one of them. The coffee here was second to none, and the rich, dark, almost oily smell of it permeated everything on this corner, despite the breeze that teased gently at her hair. She shifted in her chair, and turned the page of her book.
Flipping the page, she looked up as a figure moved fluidly through the crowded tables. There was something distinctly familiar about the lanky gentleman, in his black jeans and black shirt. Almost poetic, almost a beatnik look.. almost. His back was to her as he ordered his coffee, and she looked with admiration on the lean body, the pitch black hair pulled neatly into a low ponytail.
Hermione lost track of her book. She wondered idly what kind of coffee he was getting. Would he go for a dark French roast, or something with a milder flavor? Did he take it black to savor the natural bitterness, or with cream and sugar to sweeten the experience? He pulled a neatly folded bill from his pocket, paid the bored-looking cafe girl, and studied the change more than he should have, she thought.
She had yet to see his face. He was just turning, and Hermione let her face turn pointedly toward her book, though her eyes remained on the tall, slender gentleman. She recognized that she really was staring, and when she saw the other patron coming, out of the corner of her eye, she kept her mouth closed with some difficulty, to keep from giving herself away.
The stranger stepped back a pace, his arms raised smoothly away as the grungy college student rounded him, almost spilling his own cup. “Watch it, old man!” he muttered, and turned to face the tall stranger he’d almost bowled over. The grubby teenager in his pitiful excuse for a wardrobe hardly held a candle to the man, and Hermione would have stood up herself to defend, had the man not spoken at that second.
His free hand tangled tightly in the teenager’s greasy hair, tugging his head back sharply, never losing his feather light grip on the steaming cup of coffee. His voice cut through the air, though he barely spoke aloud at all, almost hissing into the boy’s ear. “You would do well to slow down, young man. Other people are not so… kind… as i.” Hermione fought hard to stop herself from gaping as she watched the man release the teen’s head with a snap and move like water around him as the startled boy slunk away, looking very much at that moment like a whipped dog. The voice that came from the stranger’s throat was deep, even, smooth, and carried an edge like a blade… a deadly one. She ripped her eyes away from the scene to look back to her book, but the words were a blur. She trembled, in spite of herself, and shifted uncomfortably in the wrought iron seat. He was here.
Severus turned to face the cluster of small tables, settling for one near the side of the cafe wall, and sat with his back to it, surveying everything, especially the girl in the second table over, with her hair parted in the middle and done up in two tight stiff braids, the ends curling gently from their elasticized enclosure. She looked like she was studying the slim volume held in front of her, but he recognized the way she held those shoulders. If he could have seen her face, he would bet galleons against bubblegum that her eyes were blank, and she was no more studying than roller-skating.
He’d seen her turn when he scared some manners into yet another disrespectful Gen X-er, had seen that braid flip stubbornly over her shoulder. The idiot college boy had been directly in his line of sight however, and when he glanced back up, she’d turned to her original position again.
Looking at his coffee, he stirred in two spoonfuls of raw sugar with more care than most. He’d almost heard her gasp when he spoke. Had he frightened her? Good. One less teenage know-it-all to bother him. He dragged the edge of the spoon silently across the rim of the cup, then put the spoon aside and picked up the warm cup. Then he looked up with a bit of surprise, rare as it was for him. The girl was heading his way. And he knew that particular stride like the back of his hand.
Oh god, oh god, I don’t believe I’m doing this. Hermione’s mind voice squalled in her ear, Stop, you stupid girl. This isn’t some stupid boy in the Gryffindor common room. This is Snape. What’s he got to say to you? Why are you going? Don’t go, sit here and be still and oh, Hell, never mind, we’re here now. Now what? Hermione stopped in front of him, and settled her mouth into some semblance of a smile, though her heart pounded heavily in her chest and she fought hard to keep still.
Snape quirked an eyebrow, and it wasn’t until that second that she realized she’d spoken those words aloud. “Now what, indeed, Miss Granger.” He leaned forward a bit now, moving in a manner less snakelike than catlike, and looked up at her. The almost wicked smile toying about his thin lips was… amused. Granger, the ineffable know-it-all, the one with an answer for everything, was now standing before him utterly speechless, and she’d come to him of her own accord. This was going to be interesting.
“What are you doing here at my table this despicably bright day, Miss Granger? I see you have a book. Why isn’t your prying nose poked into it?”
She would have been offended, but the usual acid tone was not here. This time, it was replaced by a liquid smoothness, like melted butter. Not a taunt. He was teasing. He was… playing with her! She felt a spark travel through her, ending in a pit that was altogether inappropriate.
“Well, Professor,” she began boldly, “I saw you, and in your.. um current wardrobe, I thought I might come complement you on your choice of fashion.” She smiled brightly, and almost braved a wink, but faltered. Coward, her inner Gryffindor sneered. She winced inwardly, and pressed on.
“Perhaps you should dress like this in your classes? I rather think you’d have a much better response from your students… ” She paused, then pushed reason aside, giving over completely to her damned Gryffindor impulses. “Especially your female students…”
Snape didn’t blink, didn’t move, his mouth turned gently up at the corners in the vaguest hint of a devious grin. “Well, I think first order of business should be for you to procure a seat, Miss Granger. You are beginning to draw attention. I doubt I need to draw any MORE attention.” He gestured towards the chair beside him with long slender finger, and almost numbly, she sat. “Very good, Miss Granger. You follow instructions like you’ve been trained.” He lifted his cup to his lips, looking into its depths and away from her as he did so. Let her make sense of THAT!
Hermione stifled the gasp as she flushed deeply. What had he meant, trained? His tone was still smooth and rich, lacking the bitter quality she had been so used to. She shook her head a bit, clearing the fog. “Um. I .. it’s um.. ” Stupid girl, her inner voice said. You know exactly what he means. And you like it. She stopped before making any more of a fool of herself, and placed her book on the table, burying her face in her coffee cup to buy her a moment to settle her tightening stomach and regain control of her baser impulses which were now threatening to dampen her jeans in a manner that made her blush to even think of it.
Snape let his hand move across the table to turn the book face up. “Ah.. Advanced Potions Working. Interesting.” He flipped through until he found her place, and studied the page with a practiced eye. “This is extremely difficult subject matter, Miss Granger. Have you been attempting this level of work alone?”
“I.. um. No?” she offered lamely, shifting in the chair.
“Ah, good.” Hermione blinked, still staring at her cup. Was that concern in his voice? He continued. “Even as intelligent as you are, Miss Granger, this level of study should always be supervised by someone experienced with it. It is extremely dangerous if even the slightest mistake occurs. You do not want to do this type of work alone.” She put her cup down, letting her hands fall to hold tightly to the edge of the chair. She breathed slowly, shallowly, and felt as if she might faint, and then, she made a fatal mistake. She looked at him.
The Potions Master’s black eyes caught hers, and she could not could not could NOT look away from the inky depths of them. She gasped when he moved again, his hand leaving the book to trace a line of fire up the outside of her thigh. “One should always have an experienced person around when doing dangerous things…”
It seemed to her he was looking into her soul. He leaned closer to her, almost touching her cheek with his lips as he spoke in a low, deep, rumbling whisper. “You, Miss Granger, are doing VERY dangerous things at present…”
She trembled, in spite of herself, and lowered her head, eyes falling to her lap as she blushed hot. Looking down as she was, she watched in wonder and almost fear as his hand moved slowly, languidly across the top of her jean-clad thigh to trace smooth circles on the inside of that thigh. Her breath caught hard in her throat when he closed his fingers in a deep soft pinch, and he smiled. She wondered idly how he managed to be so utterly silent in his movements when he leaned back a few inches, moving his hand slowly up her body, tracing the zipper of her pullover, finally tipping her chin up to look again at him.
“Miss Granger, I had a choice, and now you have one… So…” He let his finger leave her chin as he quickly moved closer, lips brushing her ear. “If you wish to continue in this vein… ” Here he paused, letting his now frustratingly gentle touch trace up her hand, into the edge of her sleeve, pressing firmly at the pulse on her wrist. “Then follow me.” With that, he stood, and moved away, threading through the maze of tables to disappear down the narrow alleyway beside the cafe.