A/N: *Giggles happily*
*flings confetti and a chapter at you*
*scampers off with a giant latte in a pumpkin mug*
That Damn Purple Vial
Hermione cleared her throat and shook her head, trying to realign her vision as she raised her hand to knock. The office door was closed, as the classroom door had been, but she'd gotten no answer at the classroom door. She only hoped that she would get an answer this time. Rapping her knuckles against the wood, she waited for a long moment, her head spinning dizzily.
No one answered.
"Oh, no," Hermione sighed, leaning her head against the door and breathing heavily in and out, trying to control the quaking in her knees and the spinning in her head. Her heart was hammering out an uncomfortable beat and parts of her that had no business throbbing seemed to positively pulse as she waited.
Knocking again, more insistently this time, she waited and she hoped for an answer. He should be in. Technically, it was still inside his office hours in the event that students had questions about lessons, grades, or essays that they dared risk his wrath to ask.
Still, there was no answer and Hermione groaned, pushing away from the door only after trying the handle and finding it locked. She could invade. She probably should, given the state she was in, but she wasn't sure there was time.
A cure. She needed a cure. A bezoar cured most poisons, her brain supplied numbly, and Hermione pushed away from the door, stumbling down the stairs and over to the cabinets where Professor Snape kept the rare and expensive items used in potion making. They were - of course - locked, but she pulled her wand and began dissembling the enchantments quickly, muttering counter curses and charms to pry back the protective spells designed to keep nosy students like her from getting at his supplies. She knew the charms, of course. This wasn't the first time that Hermione Granger had raided the locked potions stores of Professor Severus Snape, after all.
She almost had it when the door to the office was yanked open and a fierce looking Severus Snape appeared. Hermione glanced over her shoulder briefly, another of those wretched throbs coursing through her, before turning back to her task as she managed to lift the final ward and began raiding through the drawers of the cabinet for a bezoar.
"Miss Granger, what do think you're doing?" Snape hissed dangerously, striding over to her and revealing a chastised and sick looking Draco Malfoy in his wake.
"Need a… bezoar…" Hermione mumbled, fumbling another of the drawers as a third pulse wracked her body and her knees gave out until she crumpled against the cabinet.
Snape's attitude changed in a heartbeat and Hermione whimpered when he closed the distance between the two of them, his hands landing on her shoulders. He turned her to face him quickly, his expression pinched with anger and maybe a little concern now.
A groan tore from Hermione and her body positively ached, her hands reaching for him automatically.
"What is the meaning of this?" Snape demanded. "What is wrong with you, Miss Granger?"
Hermione lifted her head to meet his piercing gaze, and she saw his eyes widen in surprise.
"Fuck," he swore quietly, surprising her. "Draco, fetch the… oh, nevermind. Return to your dormitory and stay there."
"What's wrong with her?" Malfoy asked, sounding moody, but curious. If Hermione had been in her right mind, she might've noted that there was no malicious glee in his voice at the sight of her apparent suffering.
"She's been drugged," Snape answered. "The Headmaster will need to be notified, but given the state of things, I don't expect he'll be too cooperative should I send you to fetch him."
Hermione wondered what that all meant, but she was too distracted to answer.
"Should I get the nurse?" Malfoy offered, and even that surprised Hermione since history dictated that Draco Malfoy should've only been volunteering to be the first to see her make a complete arse of herself.
"Just get out," Snape replied, never taking his eyes off Hermione's face – something she noted because her own eyes had dropped to feast on his lips, her blood practically singing with the sudden heady urge to kiss him like she'd only dreamed of kissing him.
"Yes, sir," Malfoy replied before sweeping quietly from the room and pulling the door closed in his wake.
Snape took one hand off Hermione's shoulder – ignoring her whimper of protest at the desertion – and snatched his wand from a pocket. Several spells, including a repelling charm, a silencing charm, and a locking spell fired in quick succession, magically barricading the door before he said another word.
"What happened?" he demanded of Hermione, whose hands had begun wandering his torso, her fingers toying with a good many of the buttons on his teaching robes.
"Not… sure," Hermione murmured, feeling like she was trying to swim through cold porridge just to think in whole sentences. "Was… reading."
"Someone drugged you?" Snape guessed. "Or did you do this to yourself?"
"Mmm… think there was… something in my cup of tea," Hermione murmured. "Merlin, I want to… to…"
She leaned forward suddenly, her lips colliding with his and Snape tensed in surprise, his lips pliant but unresponsive under hers for a few brief seconds before both of his hands returned to her shoulders, shoving her back from him until she hit the cabinet heavily.
"Miss Granger," he warned, his eyes flashing dangerously.
Hermione whimpered, her hands grasping for his chest once more, and upon finding her arms to be shorter than his, placing him outside her reach, she settled for smoothing her hands over his forearms and as far as she could reach.
"Where did you get the tea?" he demanded, holding her gaze steadily.
"Made it myself," Hermione answered. "Can I touch you? Please? I really want to touch you."
She throbbed and pulsed, positively aching with the need to get closer to him, to hold him, to kiss him like she'd already done on two previous occasions.
"No, you may not," Snape hissed, his eyes flashing again when she whimpered, the urge to cry at his rejection poignant.
"Please," she whispered, her hands wandering his forearms hungrily.
"I'm going to need to restrain you," he muttered, shaking his head. "And I need to see the memory of the tea."
"Why?" Hermione asked. "Am I in trouble? Oooh, are you going to spank me, sir?"
"Miss Granger," he growled, his eyes narrowed furiously.
"I'll be a good girl, I promise. I won't even cry," Hermione nattered on.
"The effects are worsening, I see," he noted. "How did you get all the way down here if you were given lust potion in your common room?"
"Lust potion?" Hermione gasped, her eyes widening in horror at the very idea.
Snape merely raised one solitary eyebrow and waited for an answer.
"I walked," she said. "I thought I'd been poisoned."
"By whom?" he asked. "You drank drugged tea?"
"Not on purpose," Hermione said. "Please, can I… just…" she bowed outward from the cabinet at the hips, since her shoulders were still pinned, and Snape hissed when she lifted a leg, managing to hook it around his thigh with her ankle, trying to drag him closer.
He had to release one shoulder to push her away, and she wiggled out from under his other hand where he pinned her while he was distracted. Snape grunted when Hermione collided with him, snaking her arms around his chest and pressing every inch of herself to him, hugging him tightly. She hummed contentedly, some of the ache in her very soul easing to touch him once more.
"Miss Granger," Snape sighed, though he sounded resigned rather than angry.
"I'm sorry, sir," she said. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I just…"
"It's the effects of the potion," he told her.
Hermione clung to him as he reached around her, beginning to gather ingredients from the stores behind her, but she didn't mind.
"You smell good," she told him, breathing in the scent that clung to his robes.
She didn't think it was cologne, more like soap, washing powder, and something herby like rosemary and mint.
"You really have been affected," he muttered. "Come on, this way, if you must cling to me."
Hermione let him walk her backward, away from the cabinet and over to his desk. She traced her hands over his back, turning her head into his neck, her lips finding the tender skin there and beginning to explore it lightly.
"Miss Granger," Snape warned, and Hermione responded by nipping him lightly, drawing a hiss from his lips, though from annoyance or surprise, she couldn't discern.
"I need to see the memory of you drinking the tea," he told her quietly, ignoring her ministrations even she as held him and kissed his neck while he set about brewing something.
"Okay," Hermione nodded, pulling back far enough from him to open her eyes wide, inviting him into her mind without reserve.
It was probably a side-effect of the potion. After all, there had been a good many fantasies, dreams, and silly imaginings she'd permitted herself of late that featured Severus Snape – things she was certain she'd die of mortification to have him know about under normal circumstances. It was an unfortunate effect of the potion, that right then, all she wanted was to let him see them, to make sure he knew how she felt about him and that this burning desire to ravish him wasn't out of the blue or unexpected.
"Legilimens," he muttered, invading her mind with ease.
The imaginings and daydreams were all right there in the forefront of her mind and Hermione sighed, sinking into them avidly. Snape rummaged through them quickly, pausing when the same house she'd been drawing for weeks with it's white picket fence and it's apple tree appeared over and over, while the two of them reclined on the porch drinking tea over books as a herd of children with black curly hair played in the yard. He moved on once the memory turned to the two of them kissing, peppering in the two kisses they'd already shared amid the myriad fantasies born of too many bodice-rippers.
When he happened, finally, upon the memory of her reading in the common room, Hermione relived the moment she'd gotten up to make a cup of tea in her favourite mug before returning to the armchair by the fire with her book. She sipped her tea routinely, but this time both she and Snape were on the lookout for someone tampering with the cup. It happened so fast, Hermione almost missed it. When Ron, Harry and Ginny gave a shout over their game of Exploding Snap and Hermione looked over, someone moved behind her chair, pouring the contents of a small purple vial into her tea cup.
After shaking her head at her friends; enthusiasm, the memory Hermione picked up the cup and gulped down a few mouthfuls before returning to her book.
"How long did the effects take to kick in… mmmpphff," Snape was cut off when he withdrew from her mind to speak with her and Hermione acted on impulse, kissing him hungrily.
Reaching her hands up and tangling them in his hair, Hermione kissed him soundly, moving her lips against his and sticking her tongue in his mouth when he opened it, not yet finished speaking with her before being assaulted.
His hands returned to her shoulders, pushing at them firmly, attempting to pry her off him, but after the first two strokes of her tongue, he returned the kiss. Hermione moaned into his mouth when his tongue moved against hers, sliding and stroking skilfully, making her toes curl. She shivered, whimpering and clinging to him tighter, the throbbing making her ache all over. Merlin's beard, she wanted to have her way with him.
He kissed her hard, with none of the careful hesitation he'd shown the last two times they'd traded kisses, and Hermione moaned, returning his fervour headily. She was working on the buttons at the neck of his robes before she realised they were moving, and Hermione cried out in surprise when he suddenly tore himself away, forcing her down into his teaching chair.
"Incarcerous," he growled, and Hermione cried out in protest when thick ropes shot from the end of his wand, binding her to the chair immoveably.
"Please, professor," Hermione begged. "Don't do this. I just… I want you so much. Please? I'll make it good for you, I swear."
"Silencio," he hissed and Hermione's continued protests and bargaining went unheard as she struggled against the ropes.
He moved away, and the pain of his leaving brought tears to her eyes, the hot liquid spilling down her cheeks though her sobs were silenced, too. Snape ignored her after that, fixing his buttons as he returned to his cauldron, brewing rapidly. He darted looks at her every now and then but didn't bother speaking to her. Hermione was beside herself, the effects of the spells rendering her pained and forlorn and so horny, it was like torture.
When he returned to her carrying a goblet almost half an hour later, Hermione begged him to touch her; to hold her; to make love to her right there on his desk. Anything to ease the ache between her legs. All of her pleas fell on deaf ears thanks to the spells and when he cupped her chin and tipped her head up, bringing the goblet to her lips and forcing her to drink, Hermione choked down the concoction through her tears.
It was fast acting, the cure coursing through her rapidly and relieving the effects of the lust potion she'd been given. Snape waited several minutes for it to take full effect, making sure she drank the entire goblet before, finally, he untied her and lifted the silencing charm.
Hermione cleared her throat without rising from his chair, wiping her eyes on the sleeve of her jumper and mopping at her wet face with as much dignity as she could muster.
"Drink this," Snape told her when she remained silent, trying to think of something to say.
Hermione opened puffy eyes to see him holding the same goblet, but this time there was a liquor decanter on the desk in front of her. Accepting the cup, she drank it slowly, the warmth of the whiskey suffusing her body, making her realise she'd begun to shiver.
"I am… so sorry, Professor," Hermione said formally.
Snape didn't acknowledge her apology before lifting a glass of his own to his lips and drinking liberally. He propped his hip against her desk, not looking at her.
"It was unclear from the memory who drugged the tea," he told her without acknowledging her apology, all business as though she hadn't snogged him silly. "They came from behind you. Did you notice anyone loitering about this evening?"
"No more than usual," Hermione shook her head.
"McLaggen?" he asked.
"I think I heard Ginny say Cormac missed Quidditch practice due to detention with Professor McGonagall this evening," Hermione shook her head. "I don't recall seeing him, and he usually makes a point of being loud and obnoxious to garner attention whenever he's around – especially if they've had quidditch practice."
"He wouldn't peacock for attention if he meant to drug you," Snape said quietly. "No one wants attention for that."
Hermione nodded slowly.
"You really think it was him?"
"The potion he gave you was purple, according to the memory," he nodded. "Same as that sticking potion from earlier in the year. Some brewers – when inventing their own potions in particular – tend to trend toward a specific colour for many of their creations, regardless of specific ingredients. Usually as a result of the inclusion on enchantment sung over the cauldron whilst brewing…"
"Is Lust potion not always purple?" Hermione asked, frowning up at him. "I've never brewed it…"
"Lust Potion, typically, is red. The colour of passion," Snape said. "And Lust Potion wouldn't have allowed you to walk so far as to get all the way down here. Like Love Potion, lust potion is designed to force the drinker to love or lust after the one administering the potion."
"And I didn't seek out Cormac," she nodded.
"Why did you come down here?" Snape asked, his eyes boring into hers.
"I thought it was poison," Hermione admitted. "I got dizzy and felt sick and I couldn't see straight. I thought it was a poison and that, as Potions Master, you'd have the best chance of identifying the poison and administering a cure. I even brought the teacup in case you needed to test the residue for the source of the poison."
She ferreted into the pocket of her robes, withdrawing the cup she'd drunk out of, still baring dregs from her tea.
Snape accepted the cup quickly, casting charms over it and muttering spells. Puffs of colour and spell light and smoke filled the dimly lit classroom, illuminating his sallow face in the unflattering glow, and Hermione noted suddenly how tired he looked. There were dark circles under his eyes, and he'd grown gaunter than she'd noticed of him in previous years. The war was taking it's toll, then.
"It's a variation of a love potion," Snape murmured, frowning. "Designed to make the drinker seek out whomsoever they are most drawn to and grow amorous with them."
"Cormac wouldn't have the forethought for that, would he?" Hermione frowned at her teacher, blushing to think what the implications of her being there and throwing herself at him meant. "What's the point of a potion making me seek out whomever I'm interested in, rather than just forcing me to seek him out?"
"He might," Snape shrugged. "You mentioned that he is labouring under the delusion that you have been playing hard to get?"
"Perhaps he's tired of the game and cared to see proof that you do, in fact, fancy him after all."
"I don't," Hermione said.
"Obviously," Snape muttered, looking away before he poured himself some more whiskey and pushed away from the desk.
"Thank you for… your quick action, sir," Hermione offered lamely in the silence that followed. "I do apologise for my behaviour."
"You need to be more careful, Miss Granger," Snape told her quietly from the back of the room where he'd paced, beyond the glow of the candles on his desk.
"I know," Hermione said. "I have been. I've been watching. Making sure not to be left alone with Cormac. Always heading to bed while there are still other people in the common room. I make sure to always walk with Harry or Neville or the others to ensure he can't corner me alone. I've even stopped going to the library by myself. I've been dragging Ginny, Luna, Neville or Harry with me whenever I need to go, and studying in bed, instead of in the alcoves because he can get to me in the library but can't get up the staircase to the girl's dormitories."
"You need to be even more careful than that, Miss Granger," Snape cautioned. "While I don't doubt this was McLaggen's work, he may not have been the one to administer it to you. The hand pouring that vial into the tea wasn't large enough to belong to that oaf."
"You think it was someone else?" she asked, shocked at the very idea.
"It may have been someone else all along," Snape said. "Or someone operating in cahoots with McLaggen. If I were you, I'd pay closer attention to which of the younger students tends to loiter about you on a regular basis."
"There's no one," Hermione said. "I'm a Prefect, so occasionally people come to me with concerns or complaints, but I'm the bossy Prefect who makes them follow the rules, so they don't often come to me unless it's important. They know better than to interrupt me when I'm reading, too."
"You will find that fear will only be effective for so long unless you routinely increase what it is that they have to fear from you, Granger," he said quietly, pacing the length of the classroom again. "After a while, if they've nothing new to fear, the masses grow bold and might even seek to see you suffer for inspiring fear in them to begin with."
"But I…" Hermione frowned, sipping her whiskey again and trying to think of anyone she'd particularly disagreed with in recent months or years. "Wait…"
Snape paused, turning toward her.
"Would you say the hand was female?" she frowned when he loomed out of the darkness on the other side of the desk, once more.
"Perhaps," he frowned at her. "Why?"
"Well, the entire reason I had for asking Cormac to Professor Slughorn's Christmas party was because I asked Ron and then he started dating Lavender," Hermione pointed out. "What if… what if Lavender has been working with Cormac to ensure I don't try to steal Ron back from her?"
"Would Weasley really be worth the effort?" Snape raised his eyebrows, looking disgusted by the very idea.
"Lavender would think so," Hermione sighed. "She might've also wanted to see if such a potion would have me trying to lure Ron away from her, too. She's been glaring at me for months like I might snap my fingers and steal him at any moment."
"She doesn't possess the potion making skill to invent a new potion like that, and even if she did, she would never keep it quiet."
"You think Cormac does?" Hermione asked.
"He does," Snape nodded.
"Maybe they're working together," she sighed. "Lavender to keep Ron, and Cormac to put another notch in his bedpost."
Snape looked like the very idea made him both angry and nauseous.
"You need to find out," he said, curling his lip at the very idea of such a bothersome teenage drama riddled mess when there were more pressing concerns to focus on, like overthrowing Voldemort and navigating a society at war. "These petty distractions are unacceptable when we've greater threats to focus on."
"I know," she said. "I'm sorry, sir."
"You've made it clear to McLaggen that you've no interest in him, haven't you?" he confirmed.
"Yes," she nodded. "Repeatedly."
"And still he persists," Snape curled his lip again. "Fucking teenagers."
"I don't think the problem is isolated only to teenagers, unfortunately, Professor. Most people don't take rejection well and will seek to lash out at the person rejecting them."
"If McLaggen persists, he might very well lash out in the form of forcing himself on you, Miss Granger," Snape warned her quietly.
"I think he has too much pride to lower himself to assault or rape just to get laid, sir," Hermione frowned.
"Rape, typically, has little to do with desire, Granger," he shook his head. "Most often it's about power – usually in response to seeing someone, wanting them, and being denied them. As you said, when there is something they cannot have, many people seek to hurt the very thing they've been denied. McLaggen might seem only to be swagger and bolster and ego, but what he has underneath that might very well be only a cruel nature, and wounded pride is a poisonous thing."
"What else can I do?" she asked. "I've already rejected him and have done everything I can to avoid him. What more can I actually do to deter him?"
"Curse him," Snape shrugged. "If he's going to persist against your wishes – as is suggested by these potions – you will eventually need to use magic to fight back. Start with this."
He handed over a green potion in a slim vial.
Hermione took it automatically, frowning at it.
"Is this what I think it is?" she asked.
Snape's lips twitched like he might smirk cruelly.
"Enema Elixir," he nodded smugly.
"You're encouraging me to poison another student?" she confirmed.
"Technically this is a medicinal potion, not a poison," he replied contrarily. "There's enough there to sort out Mr McLaggen and Miss Brown if you're so inclined."
"If I get caught, you're intervening," Hermione shook her head, tucking the potion into her pocket and trying not to laugh.
"If you get caught, you're on your own," he replied. "So don't get caught."
"Rude," Hermione huffed, but a small giggle escaped her when he eyeballed her dangerously, his expression more than conveying that she had better not get caught or he would be extremely disappointed.
He didn't say anything in reply, but his eyes traced over her face and as far down as her waist where she sat sprawled in his office chair. Hermione wondered if he would make mention of the fact that the drug she'd been given – if it really had been designed to make the drinker seek out whomever they were attracted to – had sent her scuttling to his dungeon. Hermione's cheeks bloomed pink again beneath his scrutiny before he looked away and took another long drink from the liquor decanter.
Hermione cleared her throat.
"I should return to my dormitory," she said quietly into the silence that followed.
Rising to her feet, Hermione bit her lip and adjusted herself, her head spinning a little from the liquor.
"I… um… thank you for your assistance, Professor," she said formally. "And, again, I'm terribly sorry that you keep ending up embroiled in this ridiculous drama. I will… do better to prevent such issues arising in future."
"See that you do," he sneered quietly, and his mercurial mood shifted again, almost leaving Hermione with whiplash.
Nodding, Hermione rounded his desk, using magic to tuck the chair in behind her. She was almost out the door, her hand on the doorknob, when his voice slithered across the stone floor in her wake.
"I recommend doing whatever is necessary to avoid attending Slughorn's Christmas party alone, Miss Granger," he said quietly. "A single female alone at an event like that will be a temptation too hard to risk, particularly if all this came about from your asking Mr McLaggen to accompany you."
Hermione looked over her shoulder, meeting his dark eyes and trying not to gulp at the intensity of the look he was giving her. Was he urging her to keep her safe from Cormac, or because he suspected she was more than a little smitten with him after their traded kisses? Was this his way of discouraging her feelings? Or was he really just looking out for her best interests?
Her cheek pink, Hermione nodded her head in acknowledgement of his words.
"Yes, sir," she said softly before slipping out the door.