AN: Thank you so much for all your enthusiastic support! I really appreciate it!
Two hundred fifty milliliters.
Hermione held up the fuchsia bottle until the meniscus was at eye level. There was two hundred fifty milliliters, just as there should be.
She took a deep breath before gulping down the contents of the bottle. Upon finishing the concoction, she gagged. After taking a few deep breaths she set the bottle onto the bedside table.
The room spun around. Magic coursed through her veins, electrocuting every cell it touched. Purple dots formed before his eyes.
Then a minute passed.
The room stilled. Her body went numb. There were no more spots.
Hermione groaned and turned her head to the bottle. There was a little over one ounce left. She tilted up the bottle until the remaining liquid touched her tongue. A jolt of magic shot up her body, but there was no other sensation.
Hermione glanced over at the bedside table. She grabbed the book on top of it and set down her bottle. Then she fluffed the pillows underneath her and leaned back. Once she positioned her wand in order to gain the optimal amount of light, she opened the book to where her bookmark was placed, and began to read.
Thirty pages into her book, the fireplace erupted behind her.
Severus walked over to the master closet. "I apologize for staying away longer than I intended. Rose was delayed by a dunderhead."
Hermione poked her head up from the book. "Let me guess, one of the Weasleys."
Severus unbuttoned his shirt. "Molly Weasley II to be precise."
Hermione sighed. "Merlin, you'd think one Molly Weasley would be enough for the world."
"Apparently we needed two," Severus answered before kicking off his pants.
"I hope Molly didn't give her too much trouble."
"Rose held her own just fine."
Hermione slid the book beside the empty vial. "Good."
Severus pulled out one of his nightshirts. "I take it your evening has been pleasant enough."
"It's been fairly relaxing," Hermione answered.
"I am glad to hear it," Severus answered before putting on the nightshirt.
"I've been rereading Sense and Sensibility," Hermione continued.
"Merlin witch, I swear you've read that five times since the day we were wed," Severus replied as he buttoned up his nightshirt.
"I've read it six times since we've been married," Hermione answered.
Severus turned to her. "Is there a particular reason you enjoy reading it?"
There was a gleam in her eyes. "I'm not sure you will be pleased with my explanation."
Severus crawled into bed beside her "I'm willing to hear you out."
Hermione smirked. "I am in love with Colonel Brandon."
Severus frowned, though his eyes still glistened. "Are you really?"
"Yes," she whispered. "I am truly, madly, and deeply in love with him."
"I am terribly sorry if I've upset you," Hermione purred.
"You have wounded me deeper than I could ever have imagined."
"I do apologize, but I thought I should be honest with you."
"No, I appreciate your honesty. If only the husband weren't the last to know things such as this."
"Indeed," Hermione replied. "It must be quite hurtful to learn that your wife has been carrying on with a literary figure."
Severus twirled a tendril of her hair around his finger. "I suppose at this juncture my only two options are to leave or to fight for my marriage."
"Whichever shall you choose?"
"Well, I do have a few ideas concerning how best to recapture your love."
"How exactly do you plan to woo me?"
"I'll have to prove myself more worthy of your affections than him."
"How exactly do you plan to do that?" Hermione asked.
Severus captured her lips.
She hummed as they broke away from each other. "That is one method of persuasion."
"I hear it's quite effective in cases such as this."
"I will give you credit, you are a far better kisser than Colonel Brandon could ever hope to be. Still, he is quite heroic when he's riding around on his white horse."
"Are you saying I am not heroic?"
"I'm saying you do not have a white horse."
"I can buy ten white horses tomorrow if you so wish. As for riding on one," he grinned. "Wouldn't you believe that saving the world a thousand times over is sexy enough?"
"I suppose you do have that sexy, spy thing going for you," Hermione replied.
"I do," Severus whispered before brushing his lips against hers.
"And I suppose you are far handsomer than Colonel Brandon."
"I wouldn't go that far. Even I can admit my shortcomings, my appearance being one of them."
"Oh Severus," Hermione whispered. "How many times must I tell you that you are the sexiest man I have ever had the fortune of laying eyes upon?"
"As many times as I've told you to get your eyes checked," he replied.
"Severus," she laughed.
"Yes?" he drawled before kissing her on the lips once more.
"Perhaps," Hermione replied. "Perhaps you are more alluring than Colonel Brandon."
"Oh I am infinitely more alluring than him."
"Indeed you are."
Hermione grinned. "Mr. Darcy on the other hand, well, I have a difficult time choosing between the two of you."
"Merlin witch," Severus groaned. "You live to torment me."
"I don't mean to torment you," Hermione replied. "I simply enjoy watching you squirm every now and then."
"I am glad I keep you amused."
"Oh you do so much more than amuse me."
Severus grinned. "Do I now?"
She pressed her body against him and kissed his neck. "Yes."
With that, Severus put his hands under the hem of her silk nightgown. In one motion he managed to remove it from her person. He took a moment to pause and gaze at his wife.
She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes upon.