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FIC: The Perfect Mate (PG-13)

Title: The Perfect Mate
Type: Fic
Prompter: aleysiasnape
Creator: jaxomsride
Beta(s): reynardo
Rating: PG-13
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): mention of rape: non-con.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: 173. (Fic): Severus learns that his mate is none other than Hermione Granger. How will he handle the situation?
Summary: While helping Hermione deal with a problem Severus comes to terms with some startling information.



Chapter One

"I can't believe you talked me into this!" Severus muttered as he stood outside the entrance to the tent.

"It's all for a good cause." Lucius smiled as he took a step back. "Go on, Narcissa is waiting."

Severus turned to glare at him. As Deputy Headmaster he might have been forced to attend the annual Hogsmeade Fair in aid of the Orphans of the War, but he had sworn he would be damned if he took part in the ridiculous nonsense deemed essential, especially not this particular entertainment. As far as he was concerned prophecies and portents brought nothing but trouble. Several glasses of a particularly fine Ogden's and Lucius' silver tongue had persuaded him otherwise.

Grumbling to himself, Severus stepped into the dim interior. The pleasant haze engendered by the alcohol might have affected his judgement, but it did little to improve his temper. The small tent contained two straight backed wooden chairs and a small wooden table set between them. On the table was a crystal ball set in a black lacquer holder. Severus had not often frequented Trelawney's domain but he was fairly certain the holder with its decoration of golden oriental dragons did not come from the Divination room. One of the chairs was occupied by a heavily veiled figure in a flowing green and silver gown.

He flung himself into the empty chair and glowered at figure seated opposite him. Only the knowledge that the veil concealed the form of Narcissa Malfoy and not Sybil Trelawney kept him from storming out of the tent. The glowing crystal orb that was the tent's only illumination gave his features a decidedly saturnine countenance.

"Well, shall we get on with it?" he growled.

There was a muffled sound that sounded suspiciously like a hastily choked laugh.

"Cross my palm with silver if you wish to know your future."

"Is there an alternative?" Oh no, he would leave future predictions well alone, thank you very much.

"If you prefer, I could predict your perfect partner, your health, wealth or happiness."

Severus considered her thoughtfully for a moment. Narcissa knew him well enough to guess at the last three. If Narcissa wanted to pretend at being a seeress, why should he make it easy for her?

"Oh, I think I'll go for perfect partner." Severus smiled slightly as he placed five Sickles in her outstretched palm.

She placed the coins into a small pouch at her side and then cupped both hands around the base of the crystal ball.

For a while nothing at all happened. Severus was just beginning to grow bored when the orb began to swirl with a white mist. He watched with some little amusement as the faces of females he had just happened to encounter at the various functions the Malfoys had held swam in the hazy interior of the crystal ball. To his relief none of them stayed put. After an evening spent in any of their company he had been heartily relieved to return alone to Hogwarts. The mist continued to swirl and thicken without dimming any of the orb's radiance. Then a face began to form and solidify which was all too familiar.

"Bloody HELL!" Severus lurched to his feet as Miss Hermione Granger smiled up at him out of the glowing crystal ball. "Is this some sort of a joke?"

"N-no, Severus, I swear." Narcissa rose to her feet and the image disappeared and the orb returned to its usual radiance and clarity. "You got what you asked for. It wasn't at all what we had planned."

"Planned? Do you mean to tell me Lucius bloody lured me here so you two can hatch yet another of your schemes to match me with an eligible witch?"

"Well, yes, only it wasn't meant to be her! We had a totally different witch in mind. I can't explain how she got there. It was like the ball had a mind of its own"

Severus sank bonelessly into the chair he had so recently vacated. "Oh, fuck!"

Chapter Two

Severus slumped in an armchair in front of the fire in his study. He ignored the muffled sounds of protest from the painting he had turned to the wall before he opened the bottle. If he was going to get drunk, he wasn't going to have an audience. Apart from anything else they would undoubtedly go running to McGonagall before he managed blissful unconsciousness. He was in no mood for her concerned presence, or another lecture on the state of his liver. If he wanted to poison himself and succeed where Nagini had failed, then it was his choice.

He stared moodily into his seventh, or was it eighth glass? The fact that he was losing count was a sure indication that he was succeeding in his aim in getting well and truly rat-arsed. He scowled into his whisky. Damn the Malfoys and their meddling. He couldn't get the blasted witch out of his head!

Of course he just had to stumble out from the tent and almost cannon into the witch. The Fates must have been laughing right up their proverbial sleeves at that little touch. Especially when, instead of reacting with shock and horror, his libido seemed to have suddenly adopted a second adolescence. He'd blushed, for Merlin's sake! She must have thought the poison from Nagini's bite had addled what wits he had possessed! Instead of berating her for getting in his way, he'd actually mumbled some sort of an apology. Thankfully his good sense had moved him away before he made himself more of an idiot than he already had.

Miss Granger, his perfect mate! The thought hammered inside his head with every beat of his heart. An image of her in the form fitting jeans she preferred to wear in her off-duty hours floated in his head. Why she couldn't wear robes like every other Professor? Then he wouldn't be thinking about her slim legs or the way her bum wiggled as she walked. He groaned as he felt himself harden. No, that was not helping at all. Evidently he was still not drunk enough. He finished that glass and poured another.

A knock sounded at the door. Severus turned to glare at the painting behind him that had fallen silent. So, they'd ratted on him again. He briefly contemplated burning the picture again before remembering that the damn thing was charmed against everything short of Fiendfyre. Well he might be drunk, but he was not daft enough to contemplate using that in the close confines of his rooms.

The knock was repeated and a muffled voice came through the door. Severus frowned. That did not sounded like McGonagall. He hauled himself to his feet. To his irritation, the room didn't even sway as he crossed over to the door. Was the interfering Headmaster watering his bloody whisky? He rejected the idea almost at once. Professor McGonagall was a true Scot, she'd consider it sacrilege to water usquebaugh, even if it was just Ogden's.

He opened the door and stood dumbfounded. There on the threshold was Hermione Granger, almost as if she was conjured from his thoughts. Though he doubted his prurient brain would have clothed her in a thick blue fleecy dressing gown, a pair of pink flannelette pyjamas and matching slippers.

"May I come in, Professor?"

It took him two tries to get his mouth and brain to work in concert. "What the bloody hell are you doing here at this hour?"

A brief glimpse at the clock confirmed it was indeed getting so late it was almost early. Severus turned back to find she hadn't vanished into thin air. So, not a figment of his inebriated imagination. The sober part of his mind pointed out icily that figments don't usually knock.

"Er – I could come back in the morning. It's just, I think I have a problem."

Severus blinked. Miss Granger actually coming to him for help? Hell hadn't frozen over had it? He would have thought he was the last person she would go to for aid.

"Malfoy didn't put you up to this, did he?"

"N- no, I haven't seen Draco in months."

"I was thinking more of his father. No matter, by all means Miss Granger, please step inside."

"Thank you."

Severus suppressed the urge to take a deep breath as she stepped past him into the room. Damnation, he was not going to be sniffing after her like he was a dog and she a bitch in heat! What did it matter that she wore perfume? Most women of his acquaintance plastered some concoction or other on their skin. Concentrating on the varied and complex reasons why they did so at least distracted his brain from ogling her attractive behind as she moved into the room.

"Am I interrupting anything?" Miss Granger asked as she looked from him to the open bottle on the table.

"Just having a nightcap before bedtime." Severus hastily rooted around for a spare glass. "Won't you join me?"

"Er, no, thank you." Miss Granger shook her head.

Severus frowned and capped the bottle of firewhisky before putting it away in a small cabinet. "Then sit down and explain to me why you came to me for help rather than, say Minerva?"

Miss Granger hesitated and then chose the armchair that was furthest away from his remaining glass of whisky. "Because it involves one of your Slytherins and I thought it best to go to his Head of House rather than the Headmistress."

"Oh," Severus tried to ignore the disappointed pang her words engendered. He was not some adolescent waiting to be noticed by his goddess. He scowled at the whisky lying as innocent as a curled-up viper in his glass. He had drunk too much. Did he think of Miss Granger as a goddess? Really? He brought his scattered thoughts back under control as he sat down. "Which one and what have they done that you need my help?"

"It's Xander Ashebrooke, I think he has a crush on me."

Severus grabbed his glass and took a large gulp of firewhisky. He was beginning to regret putting the bottle away. He had a feeling he was going to need more fortification before the night was through. "Miss Granger you managed to successfully fend off the attentions of Ron Weasely for the best part of five years. Surely you can manage one concupiscent adolescent without asking for my aid?"

"Well I would normally agree with you, it's just..." Miss Ganger paused and looked everywhere but at him.

"If you are about to inform me that his advances are not unwelcome I assure you I do not wish to know. Though I would counsel you wait until the brat has graduated before beginning any sort of romantic entanglement with him."

Miss Granger turned bright red and glared at him her mouth opening and closing like a fulminating goldfish. "That wasn't... I didn't... It's not like that at all. I don't even like him!"

Severus refused to acknowledge the spark of joy he felt at that revelation. In spite of Malfoy's meddling he was not going to admit to any interest he might have in the witch glaring at him. Putting her in a temper, that must be why he was so delighted. He felt the same after twitting Minerva too.

"Perhaps you would care to enlighten me as to why you have sought my advice, Miss Granger. So far, I don't see a problem you couldn't handle yourself."

"When I woke up this morning, I found this in my hair." Miss Granger removed a twig with small rounded leaves on it from her pocket and passed it to him.

Severus examined the sprig: it was rosemary and broken rather than cut. The mystery was deepening. What had a piece of herbage to do with young Ashebrooke? "Miss Granger, I would not be surprised to find an entire forest in that mane of yours."

Severus regretted the words as soon as he uttered them as a brief flash of pain flitted across her face.

"For your information, Professor." Her emphasis on the word sounded like Minerva at her most acerbic. "I combed my hair the night before. There wasn't anything in there when I went to sleep."

"I take it you have no history of sleepwalking?"

"A little, when I was a lot younger. But when I did, I never remembered any sort of dream that went with it."

"I take it then you dreamt this time and young Mr Ashebrooke figured in it."

"You could say that." Miss Granger ducked her head as a bright red blush suffused her face.

Severus studied her. She was still blushing furiously and looking anywhere but at him.

"Well, Miss Granger, if you wish me to help I'm afraid you are going to have to tell me about the dream, in detail." Perhaps he wasn't as sober as he had thought. Why the hell would he wish to hear her erotic fantasy with a student?

"What!" She shot to her feet her face going from red to white and then back again so rapidly Severus was reminded of a barber's pole. "Why? What difference would it make? If you are just asking to satisfy your own lascivious curiosity... I'll... hex your bollocks off!"

Any inclination to rescind his request vanished the moment she made the threat. He settled back into his chair. He was going to enjoy making her squirm.

"Miss Granger, pray calm yourself. If you are not in the habit of somnambulism, then it is possible that you were the victim of a charm, hex or spell. However, to determine which one, I need as much detail as possible."

"Oh," She collapsed down into the chair she had recently vacated. "Well, if you must. It started by the lake."

"You don't recall how you got there?"

"No," she replied, frowning slightly. "I went to sleep and the next thing I knew, I was walking by the lake."

"What were you wearing?"

"Just my nightie. Look, Professor could you save your questions until afterwards. It's hard enough to do this without your interruptions."

"Very well, Miss Granger I will remain mute until you have finished. Now, pray continue."

As Severus listened to her narrative he was disconcerted to realise his cock was stiffening as her soft voice described her encounter with Ashebrooke. Damn it, he was getting a hard on, just because Miss Granger was talking dirty. This was not what he had planned at all. He had intended to embarrass her, not make a fool of himself. He crossed his legs before his interest became evident to the witch sitting opposite him.

As her tale progressed he found his concentration wandering from her words to the way her lips moved as she spoke. His own imagination began to supply him with images of just what else Miss Granger could do with her mouth.

Belatedly, he realised Miss Granger had stopped speaking and was looking at him expectantly. He dragged his mind back to reality and tried to marshal his thoughts into some sort of coherent order.

"Well, Professor, do you have any idea what spell was used?"

"There are a few possibilities that can have the effects you described. It is not an Imperius in so far as what you have described intimated you were a willing participant, besides that curse usually requires the victim to be conscious when cast."

"Thank you Professor, I had managed to work that out for myself. Instead of going through the ones it can't be, perhaps you could tell me which one it is?"

"Not just yet, Miss Granger."

She glared at him, fury kindling in her eyes. "Do you mean to tell me you had me say all that for nothing?"

"No, Miss Granger, it has allowed me to eliminate some, but not all of the possibilities. To be certain I will have to spend a night in your room."

"What!" She shot to her feet again.

Severus hid a smile. She was so easy to provoke and looked damned attractive when in a rage. He squashed that thought back down the moment it passed through his mind. He was not going to fall for Malfoy's clumsy attempt at matchmaking. In fact, if he discovered Lucius was behind all this he would ensure that the interfering wizard would be unable to claim his conjugal rights, until Narcissa begged him otherwise.

"Miss Granger, I will need to see the spell in action. In fact, that may be the best option. Unless you would like to confront Ashebrooke now on the strength of a dream and a twig?"

Severus watched as several conflicting thoughts flitted across her face. Really, Gryffindors were so easy to read. First came the natural inclination to rush headlong and confront Ashebrooke directly. Then the realisation that that would involve the use of Veritaserum on a pupil, as the student would undoubtedly deny any accusation levelled at him. That would, naturally, involve the Aurors and they too would insist on full disclosure to them before taking any action. So horror upon horror she would have to describe her encounter all over again to either a total stranger, or worse yet, Mr Weasley and Mr Potter.

She shook her head. "No, you're right. It's just as well I'm no longer sharing a dorm room."

"In a way it is a pity you are not. The wards set up around the dorm rooms are proof against any such ploys adolescent mind can conjure."

"But not around the Professors'?"

"No. Apart from anything else, Miss Granger, our sleeping accommodations are subject to change. The student dormitories remain fixed. Though once we have resolved the matter, Filius and I could ensure your slumber is undisturbed in future."

"Thank you, I would appreciate that. Umm, do you mean tonight?"

Severus glanced at the clock. "Assuming your swain has not simply nodded off while waiting for you, why not?"

Chapter Three

Severus shifted in the armchair, trying to make himself comfortable. Even with the extra cushions Miss Granger had provided, the small armchair in her room was simply not built to accommodate his lean frame. Last night's vigil had been a fruitless waste of effort. The only development had been a painful crick in his neck after he had nodded off just after dawn.

Apart from the glow of the fire, the room was mostly in darkness. Severus could just make out the form of Miss Granger on the bed. Her unruly hair fanned out on her pillow framed a face that looked far too young to belong to a Professor of Arithmancy. Severus frowned slightly as a wave of tenderness washed over him.

He tore his gaze from the bed and glared into the fire. He was not going to let the Fates win on this one. Miss Granger was not his perfect mate. For Merlin's sake she was half his age! He scowled, trying to ignore the unwelcome emotions that churned inside him when he looked at Miss Granger. Gradually, the hypnotic dance of the flames coupled with the soporific ticking of the clock by her bedside lulled his brain. Slowly, the lack of sleep last night told against him and his eyelids began to droop.

A soft, dry whispering sound jerked him awake, his heart hammering with fear. He stifled a cry of terror as his hand grabbed for the wand secreted in his pocket. Then his conscious mind caught up with his hind brain. He sagged with relief as he remembered that Nagini was long dead. It wasn't the sinister sound of a giant snake moving over a floor that he had heard. What then had made the noise?

He glanced around cautiously, his hand tightening around the haft of his wand. Soft silvery moonlight now banished the gloom. It lit up the sickly green cloud of vapour that oozed out of the stack of essays Miss Granger had marked that evening. The sound that had woken him was caused by the papers rustling against each other as the charm infused into the paper or ink drifted off the page.

Severus swore inwardly. For the brightest witch of her age, she could be just as much a dunderhead as the rest. When he had asked Miss Granger if Ashebrooke had given her anything, any small token, she had assured him that she hadn't received a thing. She had forgotten his bloody homework!

Severus raised his wand intending to dispel the cloud and then stopped. So far all the proof they had was Miss Granger's erotic fantasy and a twig. The eerily glowing fog that now silently flowed across the floor and onto her bed could have been sent by any one of the authors of the stack of essays. The only way to be sure was to catch the miscreant red handed. If he allowed Miss Granger to be bewitched again, Severus only had to follow her to discover the culprit.

Severus smiled like a cat contemplating a juicy mouse. Whoever the perpetrator was, they were going to discover just how a bad an idea it was to use a Professor of Hogwarts so abominably, especially when it was Miss Granger. Severus frowned. Why was he so bothered who the victim was? He shook off that uncomfortable thought with the pleasant contemplation of just what he was going to do to the perpetrator when he caught them.

Miss Granger rose from her bed and made her way out of the room. Pausing only long enough to don his cloak, Severus followed, moving as quietly as he could. He didn't know if it was possible to jolt her from her ensorcelled sleep, but didn't want to risk it, just in case. He was not going to spend another night in that damned armchair if he could help it.

Miss Granger drifted through the darkened halls like a ghost in her white nightgown. Severus trailed after, a silent shadow keeping close to the walls to avoid being seen. He was grateful that it was so far past curfew that even the usual lovebirds had sought the comfort of their separate beds. Much to his relief, the deserted corridors were empty even of the Castle ghosts, saving him from awkward explanations as to why he was pursuing Miss Granger while she was clad only in her nightgown.

Considering her last tryst occurred outside the castle, Severus was not surprised that she led him to the ground floor. However instead of the lawn, the small door she opened led directly onto the rose garden. Severus paused on the threshold and looked round cautiously. Whoever had bespelled Miss Granger was almost certainly waiting for her. However, apart from the white clothed form of Miss Granger, there was no one in sight.

With a flick of his wand, Severus cast a silent Disillusionment Charm on himself. Satisfied it had taken and that he was no longer visible, he set off down the path Miss Granger had taken. Severus took care to stay as much as he could in the shadows. He might be invisible to the eye, but his shadow was not.

The heavy scent of roses in the air coupled with the way the moonlight bathed the form of Miss Granger was almost romantic. Severus reminded himself that he was not there just to ogle Miss Granger. In fact he shouldn't be mooning over Miss Granger at all, even if she was his Perfect Mate. Not that she was, not at all.

The silent war between logic and emotion was stilled the moment the dark cloaked figure stepped out of the shadows. Miss Granger's soft moan as she was embraced by the stranger caused Severus to clench his wand until his knuckles turned white.

"I think this farce has gone far enough!" Severus declared, white hot fury shooting through him.

The hood whipped round to reveal the startled features of Xander Ashebrooke. Belatedly, Severus realised he hadn't dispelled the Disillusionment Charm. The student couldn't see him. Severus smirked nastily as he raised his wand. This was going to be so enjoyable.

All thoughts of giving the boy the fright of his life fled as Miss Granger slumped bonelessly to the ground with a soft cry. A murderous rage gripped him and he barely restrained the urge to slaughter the hapless youth in front of him.

"If Miss Granger is harmed, I will kill you." Severus cancelled the Disillusionment revealing his dark robed form like an avenging angel.

The student's face paled to a shade that almost matched Miss Granger's nightgown. "She's all right!" Xander's voice was a high pitched shriek. "I just released the spell. Please, I didn't mean any harm, I just wanted..."

"To take what was not yours."

Severus stalked forward, gripping his wand so hard his hand shook. His gaze fixed on the still form of Miss Granger as his anger transmuted to ice cold determination. He no longer wanted to hex Ashebrooke. He was going to kill the bastard.

"Sectrumsempraminimis" The first slash of his wand drew a red line down Ashebrooke's face. The boy screamed and clapped a hand to his wound. Blood welled up between his fingers within moments. Severus slashed his wand in the air again and repeated the incantation. The student clutched his side and another terrified, pain filled scream broke the night air.

Severus raised his wand again, intending to inflict another wound.

"No, Severus, don't! He's not worth going to Askaban for!"

Her voice cut through his rage as swiftly and as surely as his spell had sliced Ashebrooke's flesh. Severus froze. He'd heard his name on so many lips, but no one had caused such heart-stopping joy before.

With total unconcern for her own safety, Miss Granger flung herself between Ashebrooke and himself, armed with nothing but her soft voice and beseeching eyes. No, his inward voice corrected, if she was going to call him Severus then he could call her Hermione, especially if his mind was going to think how damn attractive she looked in the moonlight.

"I suppose you expect me to heal him too." Severus growled, glaring at her. He should have known better. Hermione could never resist supporting the bloody underdog.

"If you don't, he's going to bleed to death. It would be difficult explaining why you suddenly decided to murder one of your students."

"I suppose I could settle for expelling him."

"If you don't mind, I'd sooner no one else knew what he has done."

"Surely you don't propose to let him off scot free?"

"Of course not. I was thinking we could put our heads together and come up with a suitable punishment. Something that would put him off trying this again on any other woman."

"Very well, Hermione. Return to your room. I'll rejoin you there, once I have dealt with Ashebrooke."

She studied his face for a moment as if seeking well, Severus wasn't sure what. Whatever it was, she seemed to have found it. "All right. Now that I'm awake, I'm finding it distinctly chilly."

"Then take my cloak." Severus shrugged out of it and handed it to her. With a smile and a nod she was gone, her bare feet making almost no sound on the flagstone path.

Severus advanced on the student who had spent the entirety of their exchange sobbing and moaning as he clutched his wounds. He flinched as Severus raised his wand once more.

"Hold still if you want the wounds to heal straight. I don't regret informing you that they will leave terrible scars."

Chapter Four

When Severus opened the door, Hermione was sitting on her bed wrapped up in his cloak. She turned her head and smiled at him. He forced down a sudden desire to hurry over and kiss her. He was sure he'd never looked so alluring in the damn thing.

"How did it go?" she asked.

"I got him back to the dorm without waking his bedfellows. I don't know what story he is going to concoct to explain the rather obvious scar on his cheek. I have, however, promised to use it again to remove something rather dear to him if he so much as mentions your name or mine in connection with his injuries."

Good. Severus what are we going to do with him? I mean what he did with me was not violent. And yet it was still... well..."Her voice trailed off.

"Rape." Severus stated baldly and then winced inwardly as she flinched almost as if he had struck her.

"Yes, I suppose it was." Hermione raked her hand through her already dishevelled curls. "I think I would be more bothered by if it wasn't still so like a dream. I still can't really believe it actually happened."

Severus suppressed an urge to stroke back a stray lock of hair from her face. "With your skill with charms and mine with potions I can think of one or two things that would have very unpleasant side effects if he tried to force his attentions on anyone else.

"But that's just the point! I wasn't exactly forced. I mean I thought it was a dream, I didn't realise it wasn't real."

"Ashebrooke did. Alternatively we could simply place a chastity charm on him. I particularly like the one that causes extreme vomiting if they so much as contemplate sex."

"That is somewhat extreme, though I must admit I'm tempted. I suppose something like that would work. Of course we would remove it if he genuinely fell in love with someone."

"Only if she loves him back. After all, the crux of the matter was that he desired you, but you did not return his sentiment."

"Of course I didn't. After all he's not..." Hermione blushed furiously and turned her head away.

For a moment Severus entertained the glorious hope that she meant him. Cold reason pointed out he was twice her age and he'd spent her school years being unpleasant to her and her fellow Gryffindors. Cold ice settled in the centre of his chest, freezing all emotion. "Not?" He prompted, dreading the answer.

For a long moment that seemed to last an eternity there was no answer. Then turning back to Severus, she replied. "Not you."

Severus stared at her. It couldn't be true, could it? "Me?"

"Yes, you!" Hermione smiled at him.

"Oh" Severus said as the ice melted and his heart seemed to beat once more.

"Yes, well it's no doubt as much a shock to you as it was to me. I mean there were times when I swear I hated you. Yet, when Ron kissed me after the Battle all I could see was your face after Nagini bit you."

"That must have been disconcerting, my face on Weasley's body." Severus felt like hitting himself. Hermione was pouring out her feelings for him and that was all he could think to say! Maybe she was right and he really was in shock.

Hermione's shoulders started to shake and for an awful moment Severus feared she was about to burst into tears. The first giggle slipped past her lips. Hermione collapsed back on the bed still giggling maniacally. Severus studied her somewhat taken aback. The idea of his head on Weasley's shoulders was amusing, but he didn't think it was that funny. He stared down at her waiting for the bout of hysteria to subside. It didn't, in fact it seemed to get worse. Every time she looked up at him, it seemed to trigger a fresh bout of hilarity. Severus found her laughter infectious and in spite of himself, soon joined in.

After a while they, lay alongside each other as spent as two lovers after a heavy session of lovemaking. Somehow his arm had found its way around her shoulders holding her against him.

"Feeling better?" Severus asked cautiously, uncertain if the simple question would trigger off a another outburst.

"Much better." Hermione replied as she snuggled up against him.

"So I was the reason you kept turning Weasley down?"

"Yes."

"I commend you for your taste, but why didn't you say anything?"

"Ron already thought I was mental for refusing him. If I had told him I was madly in love with you, he would have had me in St. Mungos as fast as we could Apparate."

"And are you?" Severus curled a strand of her hair around his finger. It was smooth and silky to his touch.

"What?"

"Madly in love with me?" He continued to toy idly with the errant strand of her hair. He forced his body to relax, trying not to show just how important her answer was to him.

"Well less emphasis on the mad, but yes." She looked up at him with a smile that made his toes curl.

"So, Narcissa was right after all." Severus murmured, wondering if the lips turned up to him would taste as sweet as they looked.

"Narcissa?" Hermione lifted her head, frowning at him.

Belatedly Severus realised mentioning another woman was not the best idea. "She predicted that you were my Perfect Mate. She was right."

He bent his head to kiss her, but she pushed him away.

"Severus, I have a confession to make." Hermione announced, biting her lip.

His eyes tracked the motion of her tongue with a hunger that begun in the lower part of his groin. "What is it now? If you are going to say you aren't a virgin, I don't bloody care. It doesn't matter how often Weasley got his paws on you, you are mine now."

"No, not that." Hermione turned her head to one side, almost as if she couldn't meet his eyes. "I overheard the Malfoys planning to trick you with that fake clairvoyant act. I wasn't going to let them manoeuvre you into the arms of anyone else, so I substituted my face for their candidate, I'm not really your Perfect Mate."

Severus stared at her, as stunned as a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. So it had all been a trick! The Fates hadn't been playing with him. He was free to choose his own destiny. He no longer had to fight the attraction he felt for Hermione.

"On the contrary, I think you are perfect for me."

He tilted her chin back up to meet him as he kissed her soundly.
Tags: 2014 summer fanwork, fic
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