Snips and Spirals Fanfic:

"The Cup, the Cane, the Spell, and the Duo"

Text by Lady Tesser


DISCLAIMER: 'Annabel Lee' is by Edgar Allan Poe. 'Wash Me' lyrics written by Derek Cole and performed by Fascination.


CHAPTER ONE: Splitsville

[Lord Potter struggled helplessly in the silken binds that tied him mercilessly to the large soft bed. Standing before him on the foot of the bed, wearing her trademark red patent leather bustier and thigh high boots, was Mistress Britomartis, the riding crop slapping loudly into the palm of her red leather glove. Her black sunglasses reflected his vulnerable image back to him; her incredibly long blonde hair tangled over her lush thighs and the boots.

[Mistress Lily, her pale body drenched in a golden scarf that made her hair even redder and a perfume that made her smell even more delicious, leaned over him. She inhaled, her breasts straining against the golden material, and then she whispered huskily, "If you do not confess, we will have to torture you, Lord Potter."

[He smirked up at her. "Mistress Lily, I cannot say which of you is prettier - you both have your fine points."

[Mistress Britomartis leaned down, her breasts falling forward in the cups of her bustier. "We'll make you decide. Lily - bring forth the ostrich feathers!"]

"Hey, Prongs!" Peter Pettigrew said as he plopped down next to James Potter in the Great Hall. "What'cha doin'?"

"NOTHING!" Potter gasped, shoving his quill and the five-foot long scroll in his book bag.

Sirius Black, with a slightly better idea of what his friend was up to (having snuck peeks at the scroll behind Potter's back), smirked. "Well, we don't want to interrupt your 'nothing' - but make sure to wash your hands afterwards."

Potter glared at Black. "Breathe a word," he growled in a low voice. "And I will kill you!"

Black's smirk grew, and he settled at the table. "Cool it, Prongs. I'm quite sure 'Mistress Lily' would be traumatized."

Potter blushed bright red and frowned. "Anyway, when can we practice for the Cup Match?"

"This afternoon. The entire Slytherin team has to do some potion work for Sartoris, so we finally snagged the pitch for our practice."

"Good. Let's go."


Britomartis Vox entered the Slytherin common room and walked into the middle of a domestic dispute.

Narcissa Black was throwing various items around the common room at Lucius Malfoy, who was hiding behind one of the large leather couches.

"IT'S OVER!" Narcissa shouted, throwing a bowl of apples in his direction. "FINSHED! I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU EVER AGAIN!"

"But - Cissa - !" Lucius called.

"FORGET IT, MALFOY!" Narcissa ripped a necklace off of her neck and threw it at him. "I'M BORED WITH YOU AND YOUR STUPID OBSESSIONS!"

Martis leaned against the entry stone wall. "I suppose you'll return his underwear, correct? Or do you want to keep the lacy ones?"

"SHUT UP, VOX!" Narcissa shrieked, stomping up to her dorm room.

Lucius stuck his head up from behind the couch, his blond hair in his face. "Is she gone?"

"The lioness has returned to her den to consume chocolate and make voodoo dolls of you," Martis answered as she sat on the couch he was hiding behind.

Lucius rounded the couch and gingerly sat next to her, trying to brush his hair back. "It's not as bad as all that. Oh, sure, she can get excitable, but it's all an act. She'll be out in a few minutes - "

" - with a gelding knife."

He smiled nervously, trying to save face. "I don't think so."

"I've seen it on Crete several times. Especially when the guy was being a puffskein's putz."

"IT WASN'T MY FAULT!" he insisted. "Am I to be blamed when some silly girl sends me a love note?!"

Britomartis bent down and picked up one of the pieces of detritus - a thick pile of letters bound with a silk ribbon, with a delicately written 'To My Darling Lucius' on the top letter. "A love note, no. This is ... what, a month's correspondence?"

"It's perfectly innocent."

She pulled the top letter open and read aloud, "'My Beloved Lucius - My skin still tingles from last night when you ran your fingers along my' - " She shook her head, going 'tch-tch-tch'. "Interesting definition of 'innocent' you got, Lucy. Ever thought of becoming a solicitor?"

He sighed. "You wouldn't understand."

"What's to understand?" she asked. "Your thought processes are taking place a couple of inches below your waistband."

He smirked. "Perhaps you do."

Martis rolled her eyes. "It's distressing when I become your confidante. All right, Lucy, should I try to convince her you're semi-worth going back to? Or just plead to the mercy-hoppi-hoppa bit on your behalf? The last thing anyone wants is you wandering around unsatisfied with all these First- Years and House-Elves around."

He pouted. "You wound me, Miss Vox."

"I don't have my axe out, so you aren't wounded yet. Be warned - you will be if you try that 'sympathy' bit on me."

"Never. I'm still a gentleman." (pause) "Will you please stop laughing?"

"Sorry! Got something in my throat!"

Lucius snorted. "You know, Britomartis, that's what both infuriates and fascinates me about you - you don't cave under my presence and you even attempt to stomp on it."

Martis smiled sweetly. "I don't attempt anything. I'm merely making sure that you know you have no chance in Avernus of getting close at all; I fear your 'shallowness cooties' could be infectious."

He rolled his eyes. "As the great Muggle laureate once said, 'Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind'."

"Shakespeare," Martis replied, getting up. "'A Midsummer Night's Dream'." She smirked. "And in your case - deaf and dumb in addition to blind."

Martis left the common room, going up the stairs to her dorm. Lucius leaned forward, picking up his cane and resting his fists on it as he thoughtfully stared after her retreating form.

A damned exasperating girl, but there was a fascination he had about her strong will and Earthy attitude. He understood little of how Snape could put up with her ... but perhaps there was also a type of fascination Severus felt for her as well.

He glanced down at the pile of notes he and Narcissa had been fighting about. Without second thought, he picked them up and deposited them in the fireplace, causing a flare of purple flames to flash before settling back down to burning the papers.

"On my own now," Lucius murmured.


The next morning, posted up on the Slytherin communications board was a notice to the Quidditch team to have team and player pictures taken that afternoon after classes.

"I bet," Martis muttered to her partner in crime, rapping her knuckles against the parchment. "Six guys and one girl and all in uniform. Who are these pictures for, anyway?"

"For the team members, of course," Lucius answered behind her.

Severus Snape turned to Lucius. "I also understand they're passed around for the other students as well."

"So I hear."

Sev smirked. "Spirals, did you know that Evan has Phaedra's player photograph from last year still near his bed?"

"Evan has a crush on Phaedra?" she asked. "I'll have to tell her. Artemisia will be disappointed, of course - I think she once described Evan as 'that drop-dead sexy Prefect with the obscene eyebrows'."

Lucius rolled his eyes. "Is it common in your culture to be so Earthy?"

"Quite," Martis answered, looking at the board. "We have bulls and snakes for our central animal foci - what do you think?"

Sev giggled. "Speaking of snakes, is Medusa waking up from the cold?"

"Still complains about the blizzards and glaciers. Hello - what's this?" She pointed at a hand-written parchment.

'To Lucius Malfoy, This is an official announcement that we are no longer Together. I resign all romantic liens against you, and demand you to do the same toward me. If I find you within my presence, I will be forced to - '

The rest comprised of personal details concerning Lucius' anatomy and what she was going to stick in where.

"You poor git," Sev commented sympathetically.

"Oh, shut up, Snape. I'm going to go lie down a while." Lucius left the common room.

Martis and Sev looked at each other. "Go on," Martis said. "Go rub his face in it."

"Why?" Sev asked.

"Because that's where your roommates are going."

Sev turned around and noticed Evan Ryper, Thomas St. Claire, and Demetrius Jones climbing up the stairs after Lucius. "I suppose we all must kick him while he's down. Don't mind going to breakfast without me?"

She waved. "Have fun, Snips. Write notes for me."

Sev left her and went up to his dorm room, finding Lucius lying on his bed with his arm over his eyes. Thomas and Evan were sitting on Sev's bed next to Lucius' while Demetrius sat on his own on the other side.

"She left me," Lucius moaned.

"You already said that, man," Demetrius commented.

"Come join the Broken Hearts Club, Snape," Evan said, waving him in. "I guess you heard by now that Narcissa Black dumped our poor Malfoy."

"Over those love letters," Thomas added, smirking. "She caught him."

"So you owe me, St. Claire," Evan said, holding his hand out. "Twelve galleons."

"I'll pay you from the Quidditch Cup winnings," Thomas whined. "Besides, I always thought he was finally going to catch her."

"Catch Narcissa?" Lucius cried, getting up. "Catch her at what?"

"Being the school bicycle, Malfoy," Demetrius explained. "We thought you would have figured it out by now."

"I never thought he would," Evan stated. "That's why I win the bets on that one."

"I thought it was obvious," Sev remarked.

"I had a go," Evan said nonchalantly. "End-of-Year Ball, year before last."

Thomas nodded. "Not long after I made Seeker. She said a man in uniform was a turn-on."

"I had a go, too," Demetrius piped up. "That thing she does with her tongue is - "

"ALL OF YOU SLEPT WITH HER???" Lucius yelped.

The three roommates nodded. "Almost every guy in Slytherin has, Malfoy," Evan informed him. "Except the First-Years - she waits until their Second Year."

"Although very little sleeping actually went on," Thomas added.

"Speak for yourself," Evan muttered. "It put me to sleep."

"ALL OF YOU??" Lucius exclaimed.

"Except me," Sev pointed out. "But she did proposition me on two occasions."

Lucius stared at Sev, and then broke into laughter. It was a high-pitched, pathetic laugh; suitable for a man who knew he was about to die by the paw of a small mouse.

"He's gone nutters," Thomas said quietly.

"Probably from all those diseases," Sev mumbled. He slapped Lucius across the face. "Shut up, Malfoy! So Narcissa Black dumped you, so what? You don't need a shallow, flaky, worthless carcass like that!"

"Yeah!" Demetrius added brightly. "You're enough of one on your own!"

"Exactly," Sev concluded. "You're better off without her."

Lucius rubbed his jaw where Sev had hit him. "By the Gods, Snape ... You may be right for once."

"Of course I'm right," Sev snarled. "I got my soul stomped on by one. Better off without the type."

Lucius fell back on the bed, staring at the canopy. "At least you had Britomartis to go back to," he said softly.

The rest of the guys looked up at Sev who was staring back at Lucius through narrow eyes. "Good women are like that," Sev finally remarked.

Evan and Thomas looked at each other with raised eyebrows, and then grinned as they looked back at Sev. 'New bet,' Evan mouthed.

'You're on,' Thomas mouthed back.


Team pictures were taken that afternoon, the Slytherin Quidditch team flying across the pitch in formation as well as doing candid shots and individual pictures of the players.

Martis knew most of the individual photographs were of her; especially after the student photographer asked her to take off the robe and fly around in her trousers, sweater, and armor. She thought the request silly, and told the photographer so with her Beater bat and his shoulders.

(Although when the photographer finally admitted to wanting to take some 'art pictures' of her, she turned to the rest of the team and said, 'Guys - this pervert wants to take pictures of my boobs.' The Slytherin team took offense and used more than Beater bats on him.)

Finally, the session over, Martis returned to her rooms and found a few peculiar things setting on her bed:

A bouquet of roses, all of them pink, mixed with baby's breath. A red box declaring the contents to be the finest chocolates of Honeydukes Sweetshop.

"Oh, Snips, you're so sweet," she murmured, sitting on the bed and opening the note card tucked into the bow of the chocolate box. Opening the card, she read something she did not expect:

'Thank you, Britomartis, for your sanity. - L.M.'

Martis dropped the card on her bed, and then looked up as Oriana Crescent and Peony Danderfluff entered the room. "Did you see who sent this??"

Oriana nodded, grinning. "Of course - I accepted it for you and put it there. 'Luscious' Malfoy handed them over and said 'Give these to Miss Vox, please'."

Peony smirked. "He drops Narcissa and zeroes in on you, Spirals. You should be so lucky."

"I should be so sick," Martis replied, making a face. "Lucy would NOT. I spread too many rumors about his obsession with the guys in the showers. He hates my guts, just as it should be."

Oriana picked up the roses and sniffed them. "Oh, go ahead and take it, girl! You can rub Narcissa's nose in it - she thinks he's going to come crawling back to her again. And it's always fun watching you and Narcissa at each other's throats."

"I thought you wanted to be a Black Handmaiden?"

"I do, but it's still fun watching you two catfight."

Peony reached for the box of chocolates but Martis slapped her hand away. "I refuse to believe Malfoy is going after me. He'd have to be out of his mind."

"Then explain this," Oriana asked, indicating the roses and chocolates.

"Considering the time I showed up during their fight, I probably saved his worthless life - he better be grateful." Martis opened the box and took a chocolate out. "He could have at least gotten me some coffee." She offered the box toward them. "Well, come on, dig in."


Dinner that evening was spent with Sev and Martis tossing around quotes and trying to identify the Muggle author. Several other students up and down the table joined in at one point or another, offering names or quotes of their own.

Martis stated, "'Love of beauty is Taste ... The creation of beauty is Art'."

Everyone became silent. Finally, Lucius said, "Ralph Waldo Emerson." He stared at her, then quoted, "'All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire'."

"Aristotle," Martis answered. "'Whatever it is, I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts'."

"Virgil," Lucius replied, smirking. "'It is with our passions, as it is with fire and water: they are good servants but bad masters'."

Martis raised an eyebrow, which appeared over the frame of her sunglasses. "Aesop." After a moment, she stated, "'We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don't care for'."

Lucius licked his lip. "Marie Ebner von Eschenbach." He smirked. "'There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness'."

Sev finally spoke up, "Nietzsche." He turned to Martis and asked, "When did he join in the game?"

Martis shrugged. "Ask him - maybe he feels the need for intellectual volley for once."

Lucius went into his own quote: "'When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven ... For such is the immensity of man that he is greater than heaven and earth'."

"Paracelsus," Martis said. "But the game was Muggle authors, not Wizard."

"And you left out the bulk of the quote," Sev added. "Which makes it sound a great deal less megalomania cal."

"I believe I captured the basic thrust," Lucius said, gazing directly at Martis. "I always believe in the basic thrust."

Sev's eyebrows almost rose off his forehead; his reading of innuendoes was getting to the point in which he wished he could not. He felt he should do something about it, but decided to allow Martis bagsies on embarrassing the Idiot.

The sunglasses hid Martis' surprise and anger rather well. She had three options. Number one - ignore the comment, which would make him try again. Number two - Make another comment concerning subtlety, which he would take as acceptance of his verbal love play. So she chose number three.

Picking up a spoonful of her rice pudding, she launched it across the table at him, making it land directly on his nose.

Lucius daintily wiped it with his napkin, then excused himself to finish cleaning up.

Sev and Martis turned to each other.

"What HELLS was that about?" Sev hissed.

"I don't know," Martis answered in a low voice. "But it gives me the creeps."

"Double or nothing!" Thomas St. Claire called down the table.

Evan Ryper - sitting near the duo - nodded. "Covered!"

Sev narrowed his eyes at them. "WHAT are you two doing?"

"Nothing, Snape, don't worry about it."

Sev impulsively snaked his arm around Martis' waist and pulled her close, growling at the room in general. She giggled.

"Snips, are you jealous?"

He released her. "No! What do you mean? Never mind!"


By the time it was lights out, all of Slytherin had heard about Lucius' 'gifts' to Martis as well as the quotation battle between them during dinner.

Narcissa Black, Fifth-Year, was not pleased.

"He didn't even BOTHER to crawl back!" she shrieked as she paced around her dorm room.

"Well," one of her roommates commented. "You did tell him to go do things to himself that healers won't even touch."

"Sort of a turn-off for most guys," another offered helpfully.

"Shut up!" Narcissa picked up the hem of her robe and began twisting it around in her hands. "Not only that, but he's chasing after Vox! She insults him as much as she insults me! What kind of masochist is he??"

The four Handmaidens glanced at each other in silent agreement that Mr. Malfoy was always a masochist, especially with their Empress.

Narcissa continued ranting. "This is intolerable! He is MY property to do with as I please! Most certainly not HERS! She has Snape, what does she want with Lucius??"

"Probably something prettier to look at."

"Oh, shut up! Snape's a little doormat - any girl could step on him if she wanted to."

"Teasey sure did. Got Spirals proper cross."

Narcissa stopped pacing, freezing to the spot she stood. She slowly turned around to her Handmaidens. "Yes ... YES! I'll show that Malfoy that I can forget him! And that Vox will be broken down without her Snape around! Ha! HAHAHA!"

"Oh, hells," one girl whispered. "She's going all Black Widow again."

"It's been a few weeks," another remarked. "She was overdue."

"Get me information on Severus Snape," Narcissa commanded. "Find out his tastes and likes, what he reads, everything."

They rolled their eyes. Yet another guy they had to dig up info on; at least this one promised to have a more entertaining background than most. Or at least something that read like a horror novel.


Lunch the next day saw the most peculiar seating the school had witnessed in ages. As the Great Hall filled, Martis and Sev settled down next to each other - followed by Lucius seating himself on Martis' other side and Narcissa claiming the place on the other side of Sev.

Sev muttered in Greek (which he had finally mastered recently), "[We're surrounded.]"

"[The Twin Blonde Bookends,]" Martis answered.

Sev giggled. "[Shall we incite a riot?]"

"[About due in for one, aren't we?]"

Martis and Sev turned to the split up couple on either side of them, grinned, and stated in unison, "Hello. How are you?"

Lucius and Narcissa glared at each other over the underclassmen's heads, then answered, "Fine."

"How's the single life, Lucy?" Martis asked conversationally as they began to have lunch.

"Dismal," he answered.

"Aw, poor baby."

Sev murmured, "Getting on well, Miss Black?"

"Better than ever, actually," she replied.

"How so?"

"Freed from his overbearing nature."

Martis dove in as Lucius' nostrils flared, "So, Lucy, on the prowl yet?"

"I prefer not to think of it as 'prowling'," Lucius stated, brushing back a strand of bright blond hair over his ear and offering a particularly nasty face toward Narcissa before offering a small smile to Martis. "More along the lines of tasting something better."

Narcissa's eyes shot daggers. Martis and Sev were enjoying themselves immensely as Lucius and Narcissa tried to be polite as they ignored each other's existence.

"What are your plans now, Miss Black?" Sev asked.

"Oh, you know me, Severus," she chuckled. "I'll find ways of entertaining myself, perhaps with the help of a cultured intellect."

"That would be a change," Sev muttered.

Martis tried not to giggle aloud. "And dear Lucy, what ever shall you do with your copious free time?"

"Pursue other interests of course, dear Britomartis," Lucius replied after he swallowed his food. He turned to gaze at her, licking his tongue across his lip.

[Down boy,] Martis thought. [Time to nip your rebound in the bud.] Nonchalantly, she wound up her leg and kicked him squarely in the shin under the table. From the corner of her mouth she whispered, "I told you not to get me involved."

Narcissa and Sev had no idea what exchange had occurred between them, as Narcissa had snatched the ball and had gotten Sev trapped in a conversation about their parents' ideas of Pureblood cleansing.

Lucius rolled his eyes and murmured, "You told me not to use the 'sympathy bit' on you. I'm not asking for sympathy anything."

"No, you merely get pity, and it's secondhand." Martis shoved a forkful of ham in her mouth, and then noticed Lucius watching the fork leave her mouth. [Oh, Great Mother, what a pervert.] She finished chewing her food and narrowed her eyes at him. "Lucius Malfoy, leave me alone."

He pulled back, his eyes widened. "Britomartis, are you casting me from your presence?"

"You're as obvious and as klutzy as an elephant ballerina - my roommates actually noticed, and they're as flaky and thick as your twin-girlfriend. I don't like you, I've never liked you, and there's nothing that will change that. Cut the crap before it goes any further."

"As you wish, Britomartis." He leaned down and rubbed his shin. "I must say, though, you have quite a kick on you."

She smirked. "Now, just imagine if it were more central and two feet higher." She frowned. "Really, Lucius, I don't like you and you don't like me, let's keep it that way."

"Placet, magistra."

Meanwhile, Sev was staring discreetly at the way Narcissa was eating, how the fork slid against her lips and out of her mouth. He was surprised to find this the first time he ever noticed how ... intriguing the process of eating was. The fact Narcissa's blue eyes caught his as he looked made him blush and turn away, making him only slightly stutter in his discussion.

"And what do you think of Pureblood breeding true?" she finally asked.

"Not as nice as everyone else in our circle does," Sev answered. "Because of my research into science and managing to get a hold of some Muggle papers on the subject of genetic study - "

"On what?" Narcissa inquired. "Genetic?"

"Genetics," Sev confirmed. "Martis got me a book on it. Anyway, I'm beginning to believe that the so-called aspects that make us different from Muggles are actually recessive traits - "

Narcissa nodded, not comprehending a single statement. Brilliant boy, but bloody insane, she concluded. If she understood one-sixth of what he was saying, he was implying that magic ability was a mutant trait of the human race as a whole, meaning that Wizard and Muggle were of the exact same stock.

Blasphemy, to say the least!

Lunch mercifully ended, the four students parting ways, each thinking their own thoughts.

[Subtlety makes her suspicious.]

[Hope he chokes on his hair.]

[I wonder if she understood me?]

[Like a shy little puppy; almost adorable that way.]


Narcissa had located Sev in the library that afternoon; discarding her robe and sweater in a chair with her book bag, she loosened her tie and undid a few buttons of her shirt, followed by pulling her hair up into a loose pile on top of her head.

Satisfied that she looked disheveled enough, she carefully padded down the aisle Sev was in.

He was seated on the floor, his legs crossed, a large book the size of a tombstone sitting in his lap as he read. Narcissa was surprised to see Sev's hair pulled back in a braid, a green hair-tie whose design she had never seen before tying the end off. In profile, he looked both pitiful and dignified, with that large hooked-nose and slightly frowned lips and low- laying brows over dark eyes.

"Severus?" she said quietly.

He looked up. "Miss Black. Am I in your way?"

"No. I just wanted you to explain the whole genetics thing you mentioned earlier during lunch." She sat down, her knees drawn slightly up before her.

Sev closed the book. "I'll have to think on that, as I am now thinking about my Muggle Studies literature assignment."

"Oh? What are you studying?"

"Muggle author called Edgar Allen Poe. Dark, brooding, depressing ... " He smiled grimly. "I can relate."

Narcissa cocked her head, her arms wrapped around her knees. "I'm not familiar with him. What did he write?"

"Everything - novels, short stories, plays, poetry. He was even a critic, poor bugger." He opened up the book again, flipped a few pages, then read aloud,

"It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me."

Narcissa was shocked. Severus Snape had a gorgeous voice as he read, as if his somber tones and soft pitch were perfectly suited to the underlying darkness of the work.

"I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee."

She felt tears sting her eyes. This was not some dry recitation ... the sadness and anger and broken hope layered and overlayered in his voice, forcing raw emotion to pull her hair and make her face it.

Gods, such beauty to be wrapped up in such an ugly, graceless boy.

"But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea."

He continued to stare at the page, licking his lip absently. Narcissa said nothing, allowing him to say something first, since in her state of awe at the moment she was incapable of making a single sound.

"He wrote that for his child-bride," Sev finally commented, turning the crinkling dry page. "He loved her so much that the rest of his life was spent writing verse of how her early death had destroyed his capacity to love."

The moment was heavy and stifling, as if Narcissa had been buried under several robes and coats, unable to move or respond. The intensity of his voice and manner had struck her down, slapping her face and forcing her to feel something deep within her being.

It was infuriating that her whole life had never allowed her the opportunity to feel anything touch ... what could only be called her Soul. And it had to be through Severus Snape!

Narcissa sniffed, focusing back on the task at hand.

Hard Bitch was back.

"Could you read another, Severus? You have a very nice voice for it."

He looked up at her, blushing. "I don't think so - "

"But you do." Narcissa carefully quivered her chin as she gazed up at him, her blue eyes visible beneath her long blonde lashes. "Please ... ?"

"All right. Perhaps 'Elizabeth'?"


Martis was going to KILL herself a blond pretty-boy this time!

After she got back in from Quidditch practice, she entered her dorm room to find another bouquet of roses on her bed (white this time) along with a package of coffee and a note reading 'Darling Britomartis, please go to the opera with me Friday night. I eagerly await your answer. - Lucius'

"I've got his answer right here," she muttered, slamming her Beater bat into her gloved hand and making the leather slap in response as she rushed down the stairs to the common room. She looked around, not finding him, then strode over to the boys' dorm staircase and yelled, "MALFOY! GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE! I NEED TO KICK IT!"

Students suppressed giggles; several left the common room, not wanting blood splashed on their robes.

Lucius descended the staircase, looking calm and cool in his under-uniform, his sweater and tie gone and a few buttons undone at the throat.

He checked Martis out - in her Quidditch uniform minus the robe; the armor really outlined her developing figure. Of course, she was only thirteen, still had a while to go. But a mature thirteen in all other matters.

"Yes, Britomartis?"

"ROSES AND COFFEE??" she roared, the bat swinging around in a dangerous manner. "What the Avernus do you think you're doing??"

"I was lead to believe you adored coffee," he answered.

"I do! But if it's accompanied by a bunch of roses and a request to go to an opera - I have to kick your ass!"

"Did I overstep my bounds?" Lucius asked politely. "I was not aware that you were taken."

"I'M NOT!" she snarled. "But I certainly don't want to be taken by you!"

"Pity," he commented softly, his long hair falling over his shoulder.

"My sister Adonia does that same 'hair-falling-casually-over-the-shoulder' bit to other girls," Martis commented nastily. "But it looks more macho on her."

He rolled his eyes. "The offer still stands. Will you go to the student opera with me?"

Martis poked the end of her bat into his chest, her sunglasses staring up into his eyes. "No - freaking - way." She pulled away and added a growl. "I swear to the Great Mother, Malfoy, I will kick your ass if you continue this. Stay - away - from me."

He pressed closer to her. "I can't now. It's a morbid fascination and it vexes me because I still can't stand you for the most part."

"Get over it," she snorted. "You've been warned." Martis turned and left, going back up to the girls' dorms.


'Snips - Meet me in the Conversation Room after dinner. This HAS to be talked about! - Spirals'

Sev deposited his robe in his dorm room and ran to the school building where the Conversation Room tower was located, taking the stairs two at a time.

When he entered, he found Martis sitting on the floor, a box of chocolates opened and wrappers crumpled on the floor. Her expression was between sickness and mild piss-off.

"Have a chocolate," she said curtly. "Care of Lucy."

"What happened?" Sev asked as he sat down.

"Lucy's been making noises at me," Martis snapped. "Chocolates, roses, coffee ... just this afternoon he asked me to go to the student opera with him!"

"Wait - he what?? When did this - ? Why?"

Martis looked at Sev, and then pulled her sunglasses off. "Severus - Lucius Malfoy is after me. Those innuendoes last night weren't jokes and I confronted him about it this afternoon. The boy is on the rebound and he's targeted me for it!"

Sev spent a long moment processing this. His only experience with so-called 'romantic' relationships was with Sonia Stellamaris...

He stood up, his wand slipping down his sleeve and into his hand. "I'm not going to let what happened to me happen to you."

"What?" Martis asked, getting up and following him out of the crawl-hole and to the spiral staircase.

"I won't allow it!"

Sev dashed down the stairs and across the walkway, into the dorm building and down more stairs, entered the Slytherin common room and up the stairs to the Slytherin boys' dorms, and burst into his dorm room where Lucius was drying his hair from a shower.

"WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS?!?!" Sev demanded.

"Which particular 'this'?" Lucius asked.

Sev's wand snapped out, touching Lucius' throat. In a low, deadly voice, he asked, "What are you intending with Martis??"

Lucius sneered slightly. "That is none of your concern - "

"LIKE HELL!" Sev growled. "She's my best friend and I demand to know!"

"You know, Snape, you can't keep her to yourself and not do anything about it. As I recall, she's very animate about not being anyone's property."

Sev felt his blood boil. "And as I said before, she's my best friend - and I'm looking out for her." He flicked the wand up under Lucius' chin. "What do you intend with Martis?"

"It would be no secret that I've coveted her attentions," Lucius admitted. "I'm surprised you're still innocent of such matters considering how ... affectionate she is."

"A bit of respect mixed in with trust," Sev answered, feeling his ears get hot. "And that's none of your business, anyway. I thought you despised her."

"I do, for the most part. But that's also what fascinates me about her - she doesn't react the way I'm used to girls reacting around me."

"You mean falling before you and kissing your boots?" Sev snorted. "Spirals has more dignity than that."

"Not only that but a will of iron!" Lucius smiled slightly, moving to the bureau and putting his bath supplies away. "All my life, I've become used to being obeyed and coddled and getting what I want - and then Britomartis Vox shows up her first day and calls me an uppity inbred snot."

"Always was a good judge of character."

Lucius ignored the backhanded insult. "Intriguing, to say the least. Subsequent encounters - ranging from name-calling to questioning my recreational habits - have left me wondering how anyone could get away with this sort of treatment of me. And why I allowed it."

"She's not scared of you or your family's influence," Sev answered simply. "The center of her universe does not have anything remotely resembling you." He smirked. "If anything, you're simply a speck of space dust somewhere in an unfashionable part of the universe."

Lucius turned to Sev. "If you truly do not wish for me to attempt to court Britomartis Vox, then all you have to do is declare yourself hers and have her agree to it."

Sev felt his face burn up in a blush. "Didn't she tell you to get lost?"

"I accepted it as a challenge." He shook his head. "What little you know about women, Severus! When they say 'no', they mean 'maybe'."

"And what makes her the same in that respect if she's different in all others??"

"That's the Way It Is."

Sev controlled every instinct in his being to not call upon the demons to tear Lucius limb from limb. Disgusted, Sev snatched his wand away and stomped out of the dorm room and went back down to the common room.

"What happened?" Martis demanded.

"He admitted it," Sev stated through clenched teeth. "He's after you. He won't take 'no' for an answer." He looked up at her, seeing her lips tremble and her skin flush white. Sev put his wand down and squeezed her hand, forcing her attention on his face. "Martis, you're going with ME to the opera tomorrow night. Do you understand? I won't let him hurt you."

She nodded, dumbstruck, then wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face in his hair, gently kissing the part of his jaw next to his ear. He held her tightly, squeezing her hard enough so that he assured himself he was not going to lose his best friend to Lucius Malfoy's better looks, higher wealth, and expert manipulations in areas Sev had only the foggiest ideas about.