When Hermione entered the library the following night, she was concerned to see Severus leaning against the mantlepiece around the fireplace. She walked right up to him, as close as she could and stared him right in the eyes.
“What do you want?” It was the same question as always, but there was something different in how he asked. He wasn’t looking for an answer, but rather asking for confirmation of the answer he already knew.
“That can’t b-”
“Severus. I want you!” Never once has Hermione spoken his name out loud, not to his face at least. “Merlin, don't you understand? I want all of you, but I know that is asking a lot. Too much even, so I would have been thankful for anything you chose to share with me. I knew I could not ask that of you two years ago, so I asked to be your apprentice, hoping it would satisfy my desire to be near you, but it only made that desire stronger. I needed to touch you, to please you. Living with you the last twenty one months has been the most incredible time of my life. Never have I ever been so deeply aroused, both intellectually and physically. However, it has also been so painfully onerous to look at you and know that you would never reciprocate any of what I am feeling, which somehow has only grown in magnitude. Sometimes- there were times when I thought I would catch a glimpse of emotion in those piercing eyes of yours, but at a second glance it would be gone and I knew that it was my own false hope leading me to see a spark of love or even lust. I so desperately yearned for either, but it was never really there, was it? I tried. I tried so hard to look pretty for you. I know I’m not beautiful, but I feel like you’re the type of man that doesn’t necessarily look for that first and maybe if I caught your attention elsewhere that my looks would be enough. That, maybe, if I could impress you enough, you would look at me differently. I tried so hard to be smart enough, but there was always something else that I didn’t know, and I tried so hard to be powerful enough, but there was always something I couldn’t do. You never looked. I always tried to keep myself together so as to not give you any reason to view me as a child still, I suppose that was the real reason I didn’t want you to know about the nightmares. I didn’t want you to think of me as a silly girl too afraid of silly memories, yet here I am crying in front of you again, all but proving I’m not worthy of you.” Hermione wiped away a few stray tears, then flattened the nonexistent wrinkles in her skirt trying to bide time to collect herself. “I would appreciate it if we could continue until the end of my term, however I know three months is a long time to deal with an awkward situation on a daily basis and I can understand your reluctance to continue, so I will leave tomorrow if you so wish.”
“No, Severus. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” The tears have stopped, and though she was still notably saddened by the turn of events, she appeared now more dismayed and resolute. “I can’t. I’m so tired, so bloody exhausted from trying to impress you, never wanting to disappoint you. Merlin, I haven’t slept in who knows how long! Between studying and worrying, and now not even being able to relieve any of the pent up stress from being around you because you won’t let me! The infuriatingly wonderful and inappropriately salacious stress which is even worse due to my brilliant idea of seducing you. Yet another item to add to your list of my ever growing failures.” To his surprise and utter confusion, Severus heard her laughing into her hands, but quickly realized it was more in defeat than humour. “Why must you-” He heard a heavy sigh, and their eyes reconnected once more. “You make it very difficult to love you.”
She was determined to leave this time. Nothing short of a love declaration would get her to stay, not when she made a complete fool of herself. She made it halfway to the door before she heard him call out her name, but she refused to give in. “Miss Granger!” Two more steps. “Her-Hermione.” It felt like the greatest shock of her life, hearing her name. She whipped around, but he wasn’t even looking at her. He was still looking at the floor where she stood, and appeared physically uncomfortable, but she said her peace and it was his turn. His turn to be uncomfortable. His turn to be embarrassed. His turn to step up and do something about it. “When have you ever known me to allow you the last word?” He looked at her, still with no discernible expression.
“Erhm, never?” Was she supposed to ignore the fact that he called her by her first name? She’s heard him say her name, but never like this. It was always all three of her names, Hermione Jean Granger, and it was always under professional circumstances, like when he swore her in under his tutelage. That, or when he was mocking her after a particularly embarrassing article in the Daily Prophet regarding her life. Never has he ever actually addressed her as Hermione, though she supposed this was the same effect she had on him moments earlier. That was her point, after all.
“Yes, so why” he began walking over to her, “would you think it wise to walk away before hearing a response to such an illuminating monologue?”
“I, eh, I suppose I didn’t want to hear your rejection.”
He took hold of her hip and pulled her into his body. “What rejection?” In one swift motion, he second hand held her by the back of her neck and his lips crashed against her own.