Hermione's head snapped up, thick black fluid running from her nostrils and ears. She moved with an unnatural speed and straddled Severus, pinning him into the chair.

"You wish to see me dead, sorcerer?"

Severus shook his head. "I dearly wish to see you cured, Hermione, but I will eliminate you if necessary."

An evil laugh, bitter and brittle, gurgled up from her throat. "I am as you made me, Severus. It's only fitting that the creator destroys the creation."

"I take full responsibility for your reattachment having gone wrong. Perhaps if I had studied a bit more—"

Hermione shrieked with rage. "The seed was planted long before then, Severus Snape!" Black liquid flew from Hermione's lips and formed manacles, binding Severus to the chair. Hermione stood and moved back a step. Darkness was again leaking from her chest down to the underside of her left forearm.

An unholy zephyr played through Hermione's hair. She tilted her head and spoke, her voice deepened and doubled. "Would you like to see the moment you destroyed the one whom you lusted after in the hidden depths of your soul even as you imparted to her the subtle art of Potions?"

Severus inflated with disgust and righteous indignation. "I never lusted after a student!"

Hermione leaned over him, her arms on either side of his head, and whispered into his ear. "You lie." She licked his ear, and a drop of dark liquid found its way inside. She leaned back and smiled.

"Now, dearest Severus, you and I shall witness the moment you planted the seed of hate and cruelty inside this woman's lovely heart."

Darkness began closing around Severus's mind. Before it consumed him, he had the presence of mind to ask, "Hermione, who are you?"

Hermione smiled sadly, black tears running down her face. She softly stroked his hair as he fell into a dream. "I'm your wife."

Fourteen Years Ago

The Great Hall was abuzz with the sound of excited students. Dumbledore had summoned them all, saying that it was of utmost importance that everyone be ready; for what, he didn't say.

The voices were nearly thunderous when Dumbledore performed a Sonorus charm and cleared his throat. Silence fell as everyone covered their ears against the rough sound.

"There we are, very good. Now that I have your attention," he beamed, seemingly unaware of the pain his auditory burst caused, "I have an announcement. As you all know, the situation between the Light and the Dark is coming to a head."

He paused, but the room was silent. The Slytherins, whose numbers had been greatly thinned when Death Eaters pulled their children out of Hogwarts after Snape's cover was blown, fidgeted nervously.

"But," he began again, "not all hope is lost. Professor Snape?" All eyes turned to the entrance of the Great Hall.

Professor Snape strolled in, levitating a large drape-covered object behind him. He stopped at the front of the tables and glanced at the Headmaster. "You'd better know what you're doing, Albus," he growled.

The bearded man smiled. "I always know what I'm doing, Severus, except for when I don't."

The Potions Master rolled his eyes in disgust and took his seat.

Dumbledore took out his wand and pointed it at the covered object. He moved his hands in a complex pattern and intoned:

"Ego precor Pectus pectoris ut Pectus pectoris. Ostendo quisque suum perficio secui."

Blue light shot out of the Headmaster's wand, destroying the drape and infusing the object it covered with a ghostly sheen.

Murmurs of surprise and wonder erupted in the room. Dumbledore nodded and spoke again, his voice still amplified. "Yes, you are correct. This is the Mirror of Erised, but today it performs a different function." He looked about the room. "Can anyone tell me what that is?"

Snape swore under his breath when Hermione's hand shot up in the air.

Dumbledore shot a sideways glance at Snape and grinned. He turned around and held out his hand. "Yes, Miss Granger?"

Hermione stood up, trembling with excitement. "You have invoked the 'Heart to Heart' function of the mirror, Headmaster. The incantation translates as 'I invoke the Heart to Heart. Show each one their perfect part.'" Ron snorted, and she smacked him so hard on the head his face landed in his potatoes; Snape hid a nasty grin behind his napkin. "I read about it in 'Hogwarts: A History.'"

"Very good, Miss Granger, you may sit down."

Hermione took her seat. She was so excited at receiving public (public, dear Merlin, public!) praise from the Headmaster that she didn't notice the murmuring of other students who knew something of the ancient spell.

The Headmaster addressed the rest of the students. "Miss Granger is correct. The 'Heart to Heart' charm is a very old protective spell. It binds two hearts together for the reasons of protection. It instills a magic between two people so that both people must be killed at once in order to kill both of them. For example," he said as he strolled down between the student tables, "If one of you were bound to another by the 'Heart to Heart' charm, and you were killed, the other would always have the power to resurrect you."

Dumbledore looked around the room into eyes filled with amazement. "The charm only works once between you," he explained as he walked back to the front of the Great Hall, "and you can choose the level of bonding." He sat back down.

Professor Snape arose as the Headmaster sat. He walked down to the Mirror. "The three levels are 'Friend,' 'Family,' and 'Foundation.' You will each walk up to the Mirror and gaze within; the person you see is the person most in tune with your magical signature and thus the best partner."

A list appeared in midair in front of Snape. "When I call your name, you will come here, gaze into the mirror, and tell me who appears. That person will then come up here so the two of you may discuss a bonding level." He sneered. "You are all underage, so the 'Foundation' level will be unavailable to you since the Ministry regards a 'Foundation' bond as a legal marriage. Lower your hand, Miss Granger, I have no wish to hear what 'Hogwarts: A History' says about it."

Hermione lowered her hand and bit her lip; she was of age due to her use of the Time Turner. "Professor, please, it's important!"

"Enough!" Snape's eyes narrowed dangerously. Hermione bit her lip harder but remained quiet.

Shooting her a hateful smirk, the Potions Master returned to the floating list. "Everard, Edmund!"

A young Ravenclaw, no more than twelve, walked up to the Mirror. "Excuse me, Professor, but…"

Snape pulled up to his full height, outwardly sneering and inwardly grinning at how the child turned white with fear. "Yes, Mister Everard?" He raised an eyebrow.

The poor child began to shake. "…um, well, um…"

"Well spit it out!"

Everard squeaked and blurted out, "I don't come first alphabetically!"

Snape's mouth was a flat line. "Did I say the list was alphabetical?" he drawled, emphasizing each syllable.

The boy shook his head. "No sir," he whispered.

"Then shut up and look in the damn mirror!"

Everard jumped and nearly fell, but when his gaze fell to the Mirror he froze. His face was suffused with light, and the Mirror sparkled beautifully. All fear was forgotten as he looked upon his Heart.

"Whom do you see, Mr. Everard?"

"I see Elliott Spooner." A boy, a fellow Ravenclaw, got up from the table and joined Everard in looking at the Mirror.

Snape summoned a Self-Inking Quill and scribbled on the floating list. "Your level, if you please."

"We're family," the boys said dreamily. A band of light connected their chests, and the contents of their hearts were copied upon one another.

Snape scribbled on the floating list again and nodded. "Fine; both of you may go." He absently waved them away.

It went that way for student after student until finally Snape called out, "Miss Granger." Nervously, Hermione rose up from her seat and approached the Mirror.

She glanced at her Potions Professor. He was scribbling on his ever-growing list and not paying attention to her; perhaps she could quickly peek in the mirror without him seeing that all three options were open to her.

"Why the sudden shyness, Miss Granger? You're usually so eager to show off in my class." He turned and raised an eyebrow at her. "Performance anxiety, perhaps?" He smirked and leaned in. "Perhaps the 'Gryffindor Princess' is still merely a cub without any claws."

"Fine," she said, gritting her teeth as her anger overtook her fear. "Just remember that you asked for it, Professor."

"In…deed," Snape purred.

She gave him one last dirty look before stepping up to the mirror.

At first, nothing happened. Hermione was simply staring at herself. She was about to leave when the Mirror exploded in color. Every hue of the rainbow flashed and danced; sparks of light spilled out into the Great Hall, setting small fires where they landed. Teachers scattered to put out the flames.

Snape yelled out, "Whom do you see?"

Hermione was unable to answer; she was too absorbed by the Mirror. The colors which had been blasted forth earlier now coalesced into the glass, swirling into one another until they began to lose cohesion and blend into one color: a vibrant, swirling black. The picture cleared, and Hermione's jaw nearly hit the floor.

"Miss Granger," the Potions Professor shouted, "whom do you see?"

Hermione turned to him with dazed eyes. "I see only you."

Snape was stunned. "Miss Granger, that's impossible. You'd have to be—"

"An adult, Professor! That's what I was trying to tell you earlier!" She held her arms out helplessly. "You wouldn't listen to me!"

"Yes, the 'know-it-all' knows it all, it seems," he said spitefully. "So tell me, Miss Granger," he said while raising his quill, "to what level of hell am I to be sentenced?"

It never dawned on her to be suspicious. It never occurred to her to ask why he was being so accommodating. She never thought to wonder why he didn't fight it.

"Voldemort will be out for you. He will hunt you down and kill you as surely as I'm standing here. We can't have that; even though you've been discovered, you are still too valuable to the Cause." She smiled at him sadly. "Foundation it is, then."

A tendril of light shot out of the Mirror and enveloped both of them. Hermione's heart was copied onto his, and Snape was shocked beyond words to feel her love for him.

When his heart was copied over hers, something went wrong. A piece of Snape's heart wouldn't copy over.

Hermione cried out, clutching at her left breast. Pain radiated down her left arm and up into her jaw. She couldn't breathe, and it felt like a hippogriff was on her chest. She slumped to the floor, and just before she passed out, she groaned, so low that no one heard her. "Lily."

Severus awoke in the chair. He felt stiff, and his joints ached. He tried to move to relieve the tension, and he was pleased to note his chains were gone.

Hermione was asleep on the floor, curled around his feet. She stirred when he pulled her up onto his lap, and she rested her head against his chest.

She sniffled. "All I wanted was to love you, Severus, but you never let me. I had to use the Dementor spell to bring you back because I knew you hadn't given me all of your heart. A piece still belonged to Lily, and it always will." She began to sob. "I'm so sorry I'm not her, Severus. I'm so sorry I'm just me."

He caressed her curls. He had to do something, or she was going to break.

"Hermione, listen to my heart. Relax and feel its rhythm."

She stilled a moment. Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub went the beat. She could almost feel it through his chest.

"Yes, that's it. Feel how strongly it beats, how forcefully it pumps?"

She nodded against his him.

"It beats for you, Hermione, and you alone."

He picked her nude form up and carried her to their bed. He quickly stripped and stretched out beside her, careful to keep her close to his chest so she could feel his heart. He stroked down her back and up her side.

He rolled her until she was atop him. His long arms caressed her back and the swell of her bottom in long, easy strokes. "Feel my heart, Hermione. Listen to how it thumps. Notice how it speeds up when I touch the sides of your lovely breasts."

He sat up and put her on top of his outstretched legs. "Put your hand on my cock, Hermione. Feel my pulse at the base." She gulped. "Feel how thick and hard you make me."

He sat back and opened his arms. "I belong to no one else, dead or alive. I am yours, Hermione." His dark eyes were blazing. "Do with me what you will."

She hesitated.

"What do you want to do, Hermione? Take control, do to me what you wish." His eyes were practically on fire. "I promise I'll enjoy it."

Hermione hesitantly crawled forward. She straddled his hard length and then sank herself upon it.

Severus gave a guttural wheeze. "Fuuuuck…"

"I have AL-ways WAN-ted to DO this to YOU," she moaned, her syllables coming out loudly on her down-stroke. "EV-en in PO-tions CLASS I've WAN-ted YOU so MUCH."

He sat up and enveloped her in his arms, holding her tightly against his chest. "I'm here now, Hermione. I'm here with you. I'm here holding onto you for dear life. Rage against me with your body, purge yourself, give me all your pain." He bit her ear and whispered, "Fuck me with all you have, little girl."

Hermione cried out. She slammed her pelvis down onto his over and over, her honey seeping out bit by bit as she neared her peak. Just before she went over the edge, Severus whispered an incantation and completed the copying process of his heart onto hers.

The result was instantaneous. A concussion wave blasted through their room, and the black energy weeping from her body turned a brilliant white. Hermione screamed, and her core poured out molten light. Wave after wave of energy emanated from the young witch, and Severus held his beloved wife tightly as he spilled into her.

"I am your husband, Hermione. I will love you forever."

"Forever," she breathlessly agreed.

Forever, echoed the seed of light they had just planted.