DISCLAIMER: I'm not getting paid for any of this, so my work is truly a labor of love. And the joy of mindless escapism.

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Snips and Spirals Fanfic:

"Desperate Measures"

Text by Lady Tesser

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PART ONE

The emotional events of the last week manifested themselves into Severus Snape's dreams during his first night of exile from Slytherin. Particularly enticing dreams featuring a certain blonde Cretan girl in a sheer nightgown and laying across an altar stone, writhing and gasping under his -

Sev awoke in the silver dawn of Saturday morning, angry with himself as he huddled under the blankets and quilts he had snuck out of his dormroom.

He was no better than those perverts. She could not help the way her body grew or the way her scent changed or any of the thousand-and-one things that made him secretly wonder if she would want greasy, ugly, disgusting him to start anything with wonderful, beautiful, pure, innocent her. Friends were one thing, but anything beyond that ... !

"Disgusting, nasty git," he muttered to himself.

----------

Britomartis Vox awoke, finding herself crying against her pillow. Her dreams were filled with darkness ... of Sev stalking through Hogwarts wearing a black cloak and a white mask and his arm tattooed with something hideous and his whole being rotted with magical decay. Students and teachers died in his wake as he approached her and fell to his knees before her, demanding, 'Kill me, kill me - end this hell.'

Pulling the Instant Message Notebook, quill, and inkpot out, she scribbled, 'SNIPS!'

After a few more minutes, she wrote, 'Snips, please, answer me!' ... 'Severus - please!' ... 'Answer me, please.' ...

After another moment, his handwriting appeared, 'Martis? What is it?'

'Are you all right? I had an awful dream about you - it was horrible!'

'I'm all right. What is it? You're crying, aren't you? Damn - I want to hold you.'

'I have a terrible, awful feeling, Severus.'

'What was the dream?'

'You were in black and wore a white mask. And everyone was dying around you. And you asked me to kill you to end the hell.'

'I'm going to see you right now.'

'NO! You can't!'

'Why not? You need to be comforted.'

'But we have our plan! We're going to catch these bastards!'

'You're right. But you need me.'

'We need to be safe first. My dream might have something to do with the forces who are doing this to us.'

'Might be. You know I would never ... '

'I know, my love.'

'Term of endearment, sorry if I offended.'

'No. I ... like it. But remember, we're still supposed to be on bad terms.'

'Yes. You tried to molest me.'

'And you had lead me on.'

'How are we going to "make-up" after this?'

'We'll worry about that later.'

'Take your notebook with you, Snips. If anything happens, we'll check to see how the other's doing every few minutes.'

'And if X, the redhead, or the House-Elf show up, contact the other.'

'Right. Miss you.'

'Miss you. (hugs)'

'(hugs tightly and kisses his cheek) Don't let anyone bad mouth you but me.'

'I won't.'

'Good-bye.'

'Bye.'

Martis shut the notebook and stared up at the canopy ceiling. Time to act forlorn and depressed and scared ... when all she really wanted to do was cuddle Sev and forget the world existed.

----------

Slytherin table - for the first time in three school years - did not have Snape and Vox sitting near each other. In fact, Snape never showed up for most of breakfast and Vox hung her head and barely ate anything.

"Can't be like this, Spirals," Captain Fearghus Flynn commented. "We need you for the rematch today. I mean, you must have been the only person who did NOT know the greasy freak carried a torch for you."

Martis did not move her head. Half of the guys on the Quidditch team were Sev's roommates (the captain included) and all of them were quite tactlessly honest when they talked about other girls, or their roommates' personal habits. Fearghus' remark made her want to grin, but she managed to keep it under control.

"I didn't," she finally whispered.

"Well, I wish he'd apologize and get it over with - having you sulking like this is bad for team morale."

"Sorry," she muttered. "But I don't want to talk to him."

"Fine, be that way. But you better kick Gryffie ass hard out there on the pitch."

"I will."

Fearghus moved to another part of the table and Fallon O'Shanahan scooted closer. "Want my underage opinion on the matter or should I just shut up?"

Martis did not answer. People had the most interesting things to say when they thought something bad happened.

"All right. Here it goes - find Snips and make up. Sure, his technique was brusque and rough, but his heart's in the right place. We all really do know that he's as social as a rabid wolf with dysentery. It was his backward way of showing that he wanted you."

Martis finally looked up. "I don't know why I'm still surprised, but I am; are you sure you're only eleven?"

"I'm turning twelve next March if that helps." A braid slipped over a round shoulder. "And like you should talk - you're only fourteen."

"I am considered an adult citizen in my culture!"

"Yeah, so why are you freaking out when Snape expresses an adult concept like that?"

"Teenage concept. Bloody moron couldn't say it - he just grabs my breasts like a stupid teenage BOY." Martis snorted, slamming her fists on the table. "He's no better than those perverts at the beginning of the year!"

Fallon was silent, then finally said, "Then I'll make the ultimate sacrifice and throw my underage body in the way of his perverted lusts - "

"NO!" Martis closed her eyes then counted to ten. "Besides, Lolita, didn't you have a crush on Evan?"

"Still do, but Snips is closer to my age."

"Uh, no, Fallon. Just - no. Thanks, anyway."

Martis looked around and noted almost everyone had left the Great Hall; she got up and made her way out to the antechamber where Sev was just coming in.

People around.

Martis shoved her sunglasses up on her face and pressed her lips together in a thin neutral line, moving away to the other wall and not appearing to look at Sev. Her sunglasses allowed her to peek out the corner of her eye to see him glowering at her, just as they had arranged.

It hurt, like a kick to the gut. But they had to do it.

----------

Sev quickly swallowed some breakfast, ignoring the glares from his Housemates. Although Fallon plopping down next to him made his teeth grind ever so slightly. Fallon was the LAST person he wanted to be lectured at by.

"Snape, you're a complete git," she stated without preamble.

"Shut up, O'Shanahan," he snarled.

"No. I want you to apologize to Spirals and work her over until you're both feeling better."

Sev smirked coldly. "That's what got me into trouble in the first place."

"Oh, pooka-dung - the only thing wrong in your tactics was lousy execution."

"Lolita, go bother Ryper."

"No, I'm bothering you at the moment."

Sev tipped his wand up under her round chin. "Leave - me - alone."

Fallon rolled her eyes and moved away.

Finishing the last bite of toast, Sev hurriedly left the Great Hall and dashed to the Library, disappointed to find it closed for Saturday because Madame Pince had been attacked by the monster owl.

Hm. He had to find someplace else obvious for X to see him without Martis. But where ... ?

The potions lab.

Well, he had some tutoring to do with Sartoris anyway (so as long as the Evil Task Master had gotten some more cocaine and was consequently more pleasant to be around), so that would be a good place for him to be.

Within a few minutes, Sev entered the potions lab and knocked on the office door. "Professor Sartoris? It's Snape."

The door swung open, revealing a strange older man with long black hair streaked with white and wearing a black robe. The man's eyes were deep, pitch black like the eyes of serpents and ever-so-gently curved up at the corners. His white eyebrows were long and thin, and his nose seemed to blend into the expanse of his pale cheeks.

But it was his aura that floored Sev - an aura that was hiding things; hiding ugly perverse things that seemed to ripple beneath the carefully-crafted outer-aura that any Wizard or Witch could see.

"Uh ... " Sev began.

"I am afraid Professor Sartoris is indisposed right now, Mr. Snape," the man stated in a carefully-accented voice which seemed to slightly echo.

"Wh-w-who are ... ?"

"A friend of the Professor's, child. He's quite sick and cannot see anyone."

Sev nodded nervously. "Quite obvious he was sick yesterday. Hope he gets better, Mister ... ?"

"Good day, Mr. Snape." And the door was slammed in Sev's face.

Sev wrinkled his nose. Whoever this person was, he reeked of magical decay of the worst order.

Which meant he was probably one of Sartoris' and Elder Snape's Dark Wizard cronies.

Sev still had a nagging feeling he had met this particular wizard before.

----------

Martis was the only one in her dormroom as she got ready for the Quidditch game. She kept the notebook open and had written 'Nothing yet on this end.', and checked it every few minutes to see if he had written back.

Just as she finished with her armor, Sev's handwriting appeared, 'Hey, I'm in the Great Hall. Library is closed and Sartoris is sick, so I can't be in my usual places. I'm sorry I won't be at the game.'

Martis quickly wrote, 'The game won't be that long. The special authorization only means that a representative from the Department of Magical Games and Sports has to be present. And the team is in a Mood, so this should be quick and ugly.'

'We probably helped it along, then.'

'I just thought of something.'

'Yes?'

'When we win the game, you and I should be in the common room during the party, but sitting on opposite sides of the room.'

'Good idea. X would probably get it into their heads to try something during the chaos of the party.'

Martis inhaled deeply, finishing the last strap of her fingerless gloves. 'Right. Well, I'm done getting ready. Wish me luck.'

'(kisses her forehead) Good luck, Spirals.'

'(throws arms around him and kisses his face) I wish this were real.'

'If it were any more real, Miss Vox, our cover would be down the toilet. (smirk) As is, you're causing interesting images to flitter through my mind and they are quite distracting to say the least.'

'Ha-ha. Keep talking like that, and I'll take you seriously and try to tackle you during the party. Bye.'

'Good luck, bye.'

----------

Sev lay his potions textbook open and surrounded it with his previously-checked out library books. Quill in hand, parchment before him, he tried to concentrate on his weekend assignments.

But his mind was on other matters. It had been a full day, and there had been no sign of X, the redhead, or the House-Elf.

Sev nearly jumped out of his skin when an older man's voice stated, "Studying during your House game, Severus?"

He turned to see the Headmaster standing in the aisle between Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables, his old face quite unemotional.

"I'm not on speaking terms with that teasing tart on the Quidditch team, so I am studying." Sev lowered his head, his long hair curtaining his face for the first time in months. His hair had usually been pulled back in a braid, allowing everyone to see his face ...

Dumbledore sat down next to him. "It pains me to have you both reduced to this."

The words spilled out freely, making Sev wonder where they came from: "What am I supposed to do? She was there, she smelled good, she felt soft. It was ... impulsive, I had no idea what I was doing, and it scares me!"

"Such emotions scare everyone at times," Dumbledore said. "You're not the first and certainly not the last."

"And now I lost her because of them."

"No, merely how you expressed them. I'm quite sure if they were presented differently, the outcome would be quite different."

"Well, I was never taught the right way. The only examples I see are the other guys around here."

"Poor examples, son. Not the worst, mind you, but bad enough. I say give each other a few days to calm down and think about it; I would hardly think the duo of Snips and Spirals could ever be parted by teenage mistakes."

Sev carefully raised his head, making sure his hair was still over his face. "Do you promise?"

"Cross my heart, Severus. Sure you want to stay here during the game?"

"Yes. I have work to do."

Dumbledore nodded and got up, leaving him alone.

Sev brushed his hair out of his face, sighing, and began his homework. (Perhaps I should go into acting ... fooling Dumbledore was easier than I thought. Must be a gift.)

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PART TWO

Martis marched across the field toward the Quidditch pitch where the rest of her team was waiting in the prep-rooms. She glanced up at the cloudy sky, her sunglasses cutting down the light-glare from the white clouds, and attempted to focus on the game.

"Hey, Vox."

Martis did not bother to turn, knowing Sirius Black was behind her.

"I'm talking to you, Vox," Black persisted.

"What?" she asked, continuing on her way to the Slytherin prep-room.

He grabbed her arm and spun her around just in front of the entryway, making her high ponitail whip around and wrap around them. "What do you want?" she asked.

Black was also in uniform, his scarlet and gold robe contrasting against her green and silver robe as he leaned close. "Just a little bit of your time, sweetheart. I understand you finally told Snivellus to take a hike."

"Yeah," she snipped. "He was being a greasy freak."

"Really not worthy of the likes of you," Black remarked, running his hand up to her shoulder and over her robe hood. His fingerless-gloved hand gently rested on her neck. "I'll let bygones be bygones, Martis. You're the most beautiful girl in the school and I've always wanted to be closer to you than rivals or ... just ... merely friends."

Martis was surprised how smooth he was in pressing his chest against hers and his hands cupping her cheeks to lift her face up to his. Nearly the same technique she used when she got rid of Potter last year.

Damn, but he was attractive when he was in his Seducer Mode - his gray eyes and perfect lips and smooth skin and obvious need to shave and that eyebrow that raised in an obscene manner and long beautiful black hair ...

"Sirius Black, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Being the noble knight that you richly deserve." A fingertip stroked her bottom lip. "You do know, Martis, that we would fully welcome you into our group; you have the right ... 'je ne sais quois' for our preferred activities. Quite an asset, too. I know Moony and Prongs wouldn't mind having you."

Martis wanted to break into laughter at his attempt to hide his double-entendres. After attempting to murder her and promising to try it again, he now thought he had a chance of having sex with her because she had overdeveloped secondary sexual characteristics?! Did people really think IQ points are sacrificed to grow these things??

She was still supposed to be having a fight with Sev, and was still supposed to be emotionally vulnerable. And it gave her a great opportunity to yank Black's chain.

Martis pulled her sunglasses off and looked up at him, pouring every feeling she had for Sev outward. "Sirius ... I don't know what to say." She slit her eyes. "Are you saying that you ... want me?"

"In a single word - yes." His eyes betrayed his coolness by widening and becoming intense in their focus on her mouth. "But no matter what the outcome of the game, I'd like to meet with you in the Rose Gardens and demonstrate ... my worship much more privately."

"All right," she breathed, slipping her sunglasses back on. "I've never been able to say this, but I'm free to now - I always thought you were gorgeous." She applied a carefully-controlled deep breath that made her chest strain against the Quidditch armor and sweater. In a husky, furtive whisper, she added, "And I've always wanted to test ride you as well."

Black's smirk turned up another notch along with his eyebrow raising. "Didn't realize you were so hot." He kissed her mouth. "A promise of more to come, sweetie."

He spun around and headed for his team's prep-room. Martis entered her prep-room and made sure no one saw her gag as she violently wiped her mouth of Sirius Black germs.

Yuck. He even kisses like a dog!

----------

Black entered the Gryffindor prep-room and announced, "We'll win today's match for sure!"

His teammates rolled their eyes and a few muttered, "Of course we will."

James Potter sidled up to him as Black leaned his broom on a wall. "What makes you so sure, Padfoot?"

"Because I just ... " He bopped the bottom and top of his fists together. "Slipped Vox into my genie bottle."

Potter whooped. "No you did not!"

"Yes I did!" Black smirked, buffing his nails on his uniform. "I got that busty snake wrapped around my finger. She couldn't resist the Black family charms once she was away from that oily git."

Potter shook his head. "If only it would work on Lovely Lily."

"Forget Evans, Prongs. Vox has a better rack and would know what to do with what she's got. If the way she moved in the calendar is any indication - and that wasn't intentionally being sexy - we're going to get quite a workout."

"Man, this is insane."

"Don't question gifts from the Gods, Prongs." Black darted his tongue out and licked his lip. "Quite a nice girl ... tastes like cinnamon and honey."

Potter rolled his eyes and moved away. "We had buns for breakfast, I wonder why." After a moment it occurred to him what his best friend implied. (Padfoot KISSED Backbeat Spirals???)

Potter grinned. "You dog," he whispered.

"Let's go," Black said, grabbing what he thought was his broom ... and not noticing how slightly 'off' it was compared to his Nimbus 1001.

----------

Madame Kristianna Jackinson - head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports - presided over the tie-breaking game of Hogwarts School rematch of Slytherin and Gryffindor. She considered it ironic in her twenty-year tenure as head of the department that the only tie-break she ever presided over had to be at one of the Wizarding schools.

Still she was a former Gryffindor, and was quite excited to see what kids were now representing her old House. As tie-breaking referee, she was pleased to be on the other end of the Quidditch game as opposed to being in the middle of it as a Chaser against Slytherin.

Madame Jackinson did not get to start the game like she wanted.

As the Gryffindors left their prep-room, a scream of air blasted from inside and one of the Gryffindor Chasers - barely hanging onto his broom - flew haphazardly all over the pitch at incalculable speeds.

His scream followed in his wake as everyone stared in awe.

The Slytherins and half of the Gryffindors in the air dove for cover on the pitch, trying to avoid being either run over or impaled on the boy's broom.

"STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!" the Fifth-Year yelled as he passed over the rest of his teammates.

The Slytherin team sat on the pitch, pointed, and laughed their heads off.

The Chaser's broom performed a few barrel rolls, then a couple of loop-de-loops, followed by a straight up shot in the air and disappearing into the clouds.

Madame Jackinson was counting seconds, then muttered, "Three-hundred fifty miles an hour?! That can't be right!"

"Is somebody going to do something?" the only girl on Slytherin's team finally asked.

"Why?" the rest of her team retorted.

McGonagall called down to the pitch, "Can you start the game without Mr. Black, please? It appears he won't be joining us any time soon."

Madame Jackinson glared at the Slytherins who were getting back on their brooms and ascending back up into the air. She was quite certain the Slytherins were up to this.

The Department Head waited for the rest of the players to get into position above her, then she stared up at them. "This is the tie-breaking game between Gryffindor and Slytherin - fouls will not be tolerated, first to catch the Snitch is the winner, doesn't matter how many points are scored by the Chasers. Bludgers and Quaffle will be used. Ready?"

She released the Bludgers and Snitch, tossed the Quaffle in the air, and blew her whistle.

As the players dove into Quaffle retrieving melee, the crowd noticed a strange whistling sound, like an object falling faster than gravity allowed, and a figure on a broom broke the clouds and dive-bombed right at the pitch -

Just as Gryffindor's Seeker Jennifer Maxwell flew right into him.

The game did not stop, save for Thomas St. Claire shouting a victory cry as he chased the Snitch on his own, and Maxwell and Black's bodies crashed to the pitch below in a mangled heap of scarlet robes, black hair, boots, armor, and brooms.

Jackinson had to keep her eye on the game while the school nurse and the Gryffindor House Mistress ran out to the pitch.

Victory was quick to Slytherin as Thomas caught the Snitch at six minutes into the game.

One of the Gryffindor boys near Madame Jackinson remarked to himself, "Well, looks like Padfoot won't be in any shape to claim any booty."

The guest referee rubbed her temples. She had no idea what was going on, but she was certain the Slytherins were up to it. Again.

----------

Sev finished his school work and was completely bored as he sketched in the Instant Message Book. He hardly noticed his sketches included the Marauders dying in horrible ways (James Potter getting blasted by an Unforgivable was the only one he absently noticed), until the doors opened and he quickly closed the notebook and got back to his textbooks.

A figure sat on the bench and said, "What'cha doing here all alone, Sevvie-kins?"

Sev looked up and saw the redheaded girl who called herself Ginny Weasley. He froze, wishing to the Gods Below that Martis was able to get to her notebook. "Go away, creepy little girl."

"Aw, that's no way to talk to me, especially after I proclaimed you mine."

Sev remembered what he was doing. "Well ... I suppose I am all yours now."

The girl blinked. "What do you mean??"

"That top-heavy tart finally dumped me. Stupid bitch should know that a guy can only take so much teasing before he cracks." He leered. "I'm sure you would know, Ginny."

She suddenly got up and said, "We'll talk more later." Then bolted out of the Great Hall as fast as she could move.

Sev debated whether to follow her or not, then decided not to. Evidently, X was not aware what had happened between himself and Martis. Now this disguised House-Elf was going to report back to its master and X would think up another scheme to entrap him and Martis ... but this time Sev was going to be ready and on the lookout.

He gathered up his books and notebooks and made his way back to Slytherin House. Hopefully, the chaos of after-game celebrations will distract anyone from wanting to beat him unconscious.

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PART THREE

Martis was more relieved than anything as Slytherin made its way back to the common room. She was dreading having to meet with Sirius Black in the Rose Gardens and continuing to pretend to be turned on by his sloppy advances. Wickedly, she relished the idea of Sev - in his intense moods and plotting states - being more of a turn-on than Black ever dreamed of being.

Officially, Black had lost control of his broom. Unofficially, he was being a jackass. Madame Hooch had inspected his broom quite thoroughly, and she found nothing wrong with it - not even refribbed. Nimbus 1001's were the fastest brooms on the market, but their top speed was only fifty-miles-per-hour, not three-hundred-fifty.

Of course, Slytherin was unofficially blamed for the broom acting up. Madame Jackinson was, as a consequence, bothering Slytherin for the identities of the culprits, wanting to discover how a broom achieved such speeds.

Martis steeled herself as she entered the Common Room. Her first impulse was to find Sev and pull him into a hug, bouncing around in victory and delighting in his face turning red.

She spotted him sitting on the steps to the boys' dormitories, quill in hand and the notebook open. He did not look up as everyone came in and settled in for a party, nor his House brothers climbing up the stairs past him to get their instruments.

Martis turned and stepped into the stairway to the girls' dorms, racing up the stairs to her room. Dashing in, she locked the door and threw her robe off, then located her notebook and opened it up to his writing: 'Of course, most girls in uniform are quite attractive, especially when they're sweaty.'

Martis giggled, writing her reply: 'I'll remember that.'

'How did the game go?'

'Sirius Prat's broom went nutter on him - it helped us win the game.'

'Must have been early, you're all back too soon.'

'Quite early.' She debated, then wrote, 'Oh, yes, the Maraudiots believe we're broken up, too. Sneerius actually propositioned me.'

'He what?'

'Before the game, he told me to meet him in the Rose Gardens for some worship-time.'

'Oh, now I have to hex him quite badly. Nobody propositions the squealing, dirty-minded, big-bosomed tart of Slytherin.'

Martis giggled, hugging the notebook to her chest before writing: 'I warn you, you keep talking like that and I'm going to drag you into the rose bushes myself.'

'Too many thorns. Any sign of the House-Elf?'

'No.'

'I got a visit from the redheaded-version.'

'Really?? Did she proposition you?'

'No, but she seemed surprised that we had broken up. Their intelligence network appears to be less efficient than we thought.'

'But their response is usually swift.'

'Yes, it should respond soon.'

'Well, I have to shower and get dressed, so I'll see you in a half hour ... and not able to cuddle you! Waahh!'

'Don't do this, it's difficult enough.'

'Then scrub my back.'

'(smirk) Now who's teasing whom? If you recall, I'm driven to lust by your bare skin.'

'When was this?'

'Our cover story.'

'Right. See you in a half hour.'

Martis shut the notebook and went to take her shower.

----------

Less than a half-hour later, Sev saw Martis descend the staircase from the girls' dorm and quickly turned away from his direction as she settled in the opposite corner near the lake window. He quickly scribbled in the notebook: 'Well, it looks obvious we're not on speaking terms.'

He glanced around the room, noting Martis had arranged herself in a way in which her notebook was not visible but she was talking with people as she wrote. Someone handed her a cup of something and she drank.

Finally, her writing a little messy, she replied, 'Good thing women have multi-focal abilities. This is difficult.'

'Stop complaining. Anyway, nobody looks suspicious or out of place.'

A shower of water fell from the ceiling. Martis wrote, 'That was Fearghus and Greta.'

'I assumed so - that's Bulstrode cussing, no doubt about it.' Sev looked over to see what was tugging his arm and he saw Lambchop the Inflatable Sheep with his sleeve in her mouth. "Stop that, I'm writing." Back to the notebook, he wrote, 'Lambchop just visited me. She wants my attention.'

'Do you think they would use the inflatable sheep in their schemes?'

'They would be sicker than we thought.'

'A fertility potion is pretty sick.'

'Agreed.' He gazed back at Lambchop and said aloud, "All right, what do you want?"

The plastic sheep wagged her tail, then trotted toward the table holding the punch bowl. Sev followed, not sure what to make of the whole thing. Lambchop nudged one of the cups on the table and pushed it toward him. Shrugging, Sev filled the cup with the punch and sat back down.

'All right. All I got was a cup of punch.'

'That was it??'

'Whatever.' Sev lifted the cup and got a noseful of chemicals he had not smelled in ages. He sniffed it, checking to make sure he smelled what he smelled, then put the cup down and wrote, 'Somebody spiked the punch.'

'And this is different how?'

'Granted. The party is getting louder, though.'

After a moment, she wrote, 'Yuck!'

'What?'

'Somebody spiked my pumpkin juice!'

'It wasn't that much of a victory, was it?'

'No. After what happened at last year's Cup Party, you'd think they'd learn to keep this stuff out.'

Sev narrowed his eyes. 'You had your cup in your hand the whole time since you got it, right?'

'Yes.'

'Did you drink from it?'

'Yes. Somebody must have spiked it when - hold on. Oh boy.'

'What?'

'It's not pumpkin juice at all. The scent's too strong to be anything but alcohol.'

'Hmm. If Daizer were here, we could check his grape juice.'

'He's not. Let me check Fallon's juice - she's the last person to drink alcohol.'

It wasn't necessary to check it, though - Fallon spewing the drink out and screaming "Cushla Macree!" was indication enough.

'All right, that's an affirmative.' Sev wrote.

'Snips, they're turning all the liquids in Slytherin into alcohol!'

'I know. This is beyond even a Seventh-Year's ability. A glass or bottle, yes - not a whole party!'

'But why?'

'Perhaps they know what happened last winter holiday when I got drunk? I was told I tried to rip your clothes off.'

'You did - with your teeth.'

'My apologies, I wasn't myself.'

'I know. So they think by getting us drunk, it'll get us back together??'

Sev did not know how to answer. ' ... '

'THAT'S THE STUPIDIST THING I EVER HEARD! Alcohol causes impotence!'

'Then why was I last holiday ... ?'

'You would have found that if you did attempt anything, the equipment wouldn't have worked.'

Sev blushed, grateful for his hair covering his face. 'All right, we need to locate X and find out where they're directing this from. Should you look or I?'

'They're not showing themselves, and finding anybody we don't know in this place is near to impossible.'

'Damn.'

'We should wait until they actually show themselves, either by the House-Elf or whatever other incarnation they chose that seems odd.'

'Could they have disguised themselves as Sirius Prat when you said he propositioned you, just like that House-Elf did as that Armand figure?'

'No. Sillyass smelled the same, it was definitely him. Besides, no one else would wear that 'Eau de Skunk' aftershave like he does.'

Sev smiled grimly to himself. 'Good. Then I can blast him with a clean conscience. Now, back to the matter - so we wait until they're desperate enough to show themselves, then?'

'Seems the best course of action at the moment. We'll tackle them and force a confession.'

'Then we'll hex them.'

'Snips?'

'Hm?'

'What if they have a legitimate reason for doing this?'

'I can't think of a legitimate reason if they're including kidnapping, dragons, House-Elves, scary redheaded girls, fertility potions, and blank-verse poetry.'

'Mm. Right, especially that last one. Must be evil.'

----------

The afternoon progressed into a drunken debauchery. Sev and Martis had enough of the pasted platoon of Housemates and went their separate ways - Martis to her dorm room and Sev to the Conversation Room.

Sev burrowed under the blankets of his pallet with the notebook, quill, inkpot, and wand, and wrote: 'You know, after we finally punish those creeps, I'm going to enjoy sleeping in my own bed again.'

Martis responded, 'Suck it up, Snips. I think it'll be solved by the end of the weekend, then you'll be forgiven and accepted back into Slytherin House.'

'Per your approval.'

'Always. Wait, something's going on. Hold on.'

Sev waited about two minutes, then her handwriting appeared again, 'Snips, we have a problem.'

'What?'

'Not only was all digestible liquid in Slytherin turned to alcohol, so was all the water in the plumbing.'

'What the (CENSORED)???'

'Fallon just went to take a shower and she got blasted with whisky. So, she's quite ill and traumatized, and Pomfrey had her Flooed to the hospital wing. Penderdandis is screaming loud enough to be heard in the dorms and messages are being sent to the Headmaster.'

'So, zapping our drinks and us not drinking resulted in them zapping the whole plumbing system?'

'Well, I drink tap water more often than not. And I'm sure you get up to get a drink of water in the middle of the night.'

Sev snorted as he wrote: 'And what - them hoping we'll get tanked on midnight water runs and try to find each other in the common room or the halls or whatever?'

'You're right, sounds stupid. They must have some other nefarious reason for doing this. As is, the bathrooms and showers smell like distilleries.'

'I suppose Slytherin as a whole will be blamed.'

'Oh, of course. And we'll lose points as well. We'll probably be the first House to ever be in "Point Debt".'

'I'm sure we weren't the first - the school has been around for over a thousand years.'

'Yes, but Penderdandis has told us often enough that we find new and unique ways of breaking rules that should have existed.'

'And that is only over the things he catches us at. Pity we didn't do this one.'

'I'm glad we didn't do this one - if we had done it, though, the plumbing would either be full of coffee or cocoa.'

Sev laughed. 'And then the House-Elves would all be drunk if it were coffee!'

'Exactly. Wait a minute.'

Sev waited, absently doodling a Hang-Man gallows and making four dashed lines followed by eight dashed lines below the gallows.

'All right. Lockdown tonight, nobody is allowed to leave Slytherin until all the plumbing gets flushed. The rest of the school is forbidden to drink from the taps or take showers, and they're having Hagrid bring in water from Hogsmeade. I understand McGonagall is nearly purple with rage.'

'Everyone's going to be in a foul mood tomorrow.'

'Yeah. So, what's with the Hang-Man Game set up?'

'Got bored. Want to play?'

'Sure. E'

Sev filled in the second dash of the first set and sixth dash of the second set.

'A'

'Not close.' He drew the hangman's rope.

After about five minutes (Sev drawing out intricate details on the hanged man, like giving it longish hair, a tail, and dog ears), Martis finally filled in the rest of the phrase to spell out 'Sexy Knickers'.

'Why, Mr. Snape, how ungentlemanly of you!'

'Unlike other perverts, I have seen your knickers.'

'They're different this year.'

Sev felt his ears get hot, although his curiosity was about to kill him. 'In what way?'

'Well, I developed hips, and they don't make the type I like for that figure change.'

'Should I really be reading this?'

'You asked.'

'Yes, I did. Sorry.'

'Anyway, I changed over to lace.'

Sev bit his lip. He was now sure he should not be reading this at all. 'How are you able to write all that?'

'I don't know; I think the notebook thing here makes it easier to say such stuff. We would normally not be having this conversation, you know.'

'I know. We never talked about your knickers. Which is really weird.'

'Not talking about it?'

'No, just the whole thing is weird, period.'

'Come on. Write something you would never say to me in person.' She drew a smiley face with a smirk and pair of devil's horns on its head.

Sev's eyebrows raised almost off his face. 'I beg your pardon?'

'You want me to start? All right.'

'Will you stop that??'

'Why?'

'It's not necessary.'

'Sorry. Still not that comfortable, I suppose.'

Sev raised an eyebrow. 'What's that supposed to mean?'

'Me being female is all. Remaining mysterious.'

Sev rolled his eyes. 'I think it may be the only way the males of the species can live with the females - us being kept in the dark about what you are all doing.'

'Ha-ha. That's probably it. Want lessons in how women think?'

'I'll take lessons in how normal people think.'

'Overrated and rather boring, actually.'

'How would you know? Have you been seeing normal people behind my back?'

'No, but I've read books.'

'Must have been in the Restricted Section, then.'

'I wanna cuddle you!'

Sev was taken aback by the sudden subject change. After a moment of finally switching mental gears, he wrote: 'We've been over this several times - stop whining about it.'

'I'm not whining, I'm frustrated.'

'It's necessary!'

'Afraid that you'll do something we'll both regret?'

Sev snorted at her blatant naivete. 'No, I'm afraid that some Dark Wizard bastard will try to use you for some disgusting perversion that will leave you dead and disfigured while some horror is unleashed.'

There was a long moment of silence - blankness - from her side, then finally she wrote in small letters: 'I'm sorry.'

'Don't be - this has been hard on me, too. I feel like the world is dissolving around me, trying to drown me in misery.'

'When we fix these bastards, we'll escape to the Conversation Room for the evening and I'll hold you. I don't like it when you get into a despairing mood. I want to do more than just hold you, though, but I don't know what to do.'

'Holding is enough. All will be right once we don't have to pretend anymore. But still.'

'What?'

'I'm still afraid that X may be more powerful than what we can deal with. I told you my family is Dark, and I've been in the presence of many Dark Wizards because of my father. I know I have no chance of standing up against any of those if it's one of them.'

'What makes you think it may be one of your father's colleagues?'

'My own paranoia. I simply would not put it past them to use my friendship with you to make more Dark Children. I do not want you exposed to that sort of thing simply because you're friends with stupid, tainted me!'

'Severus, I will slit my throat and my womb before ANYBODY uses me for such practices.'

'Would you?'

'You doubt the control I have over my own life?'

'I don't understand is all.'

'We grew up in totally different worlds, Snips. My culture and my siblings had made it clear to me that I have final control over my body and my life. I choose who puts Life in me, I choose if I wish to keep that Life, and I choose to keep or end my own life.'

'It's not that simple.'

'It is. It's like learning when you have control - the most obvious thing in the world, but its too close to wrap your head around it.'

Sev thought about it. It really could not be that simple.

They continued writing the rest of the night.

----------

PART FOUR

Martis awoke the next morning, wandered into the bathroom, and checked the sink.

Regular water. All the alcohol had finally been flushed out overnight.

After washing her face, Martis went back to her room and dressed in non-uniform clothes (this being a Sunday) which included a long black skirt with gold spirals and a bulky maroon sweater and a pair of black boots. Brushing her knee-length hair, she braided it and tied the end off with a black hair-tie with a spiral bead attached to it.

She checked the Instant Message Notebook, finding Sev's handwriting appearing as she opened it: 'Day Three begins.'

She quickly wrote: 'I'll spend the day in the Great Hall, how about you?'

'I'll be in the Library, provided Madame Pince is well enough after the owl attack.'

'All right. Don't forget to check the notebook every few moments.'

'Check. Bye.'

Martis closed the notebook and slipped it into her skirt pocket. She hoped this mystery would be solved soon - they were running out of pages in the notebook, and she doubt she would be able to get another 75 discount on another set of notebooks from Taliesin Blotts ... after all, he was in school, not his father's shop and drooling over her cleavage and ringing up the lowest discount ever.

Picking up her arithmancy textbook, another notebook, inkpot, and quill, she left the girls' dorms and headed out to the Great Hall for breakfast and subsequent homework time.

----------

Sev was pleased the plumbing was normal again and took an abbreviated bath in one of the school building's boys' bathrooms. Annoying, but it was necessary. He quickly dried and dressed in his too-short trousers and thin tunic, lacing up his old school issue shoes over his last pair of clean socks. Combing his hair, he debated if he should braid it back or not, then decided to let it hang; he was still supposed to be fighting with Martis, and she was the only reason he wore his hair braided at all.

He went back up to the Conversation Room and folded the blankets neatly, the slipped the notebook into his trouser pocket.

Time to set up the second half of the bait after a bite of breakfast.

----------

The morning went by quietly. Martis took a moment to visit the hospital wing where Fallon was recovering from over-exposure to alcohol.

"I don't know what happened," Fallon said, indicating the red splotches all over her skin. "I never reacted this way at home, and you know that place was full of it."

"Were you ever dunked in it, though?"

"No. I made up being allergic to fermented vegetable matter for an excuse not to drink."

"Maybe you convinced yourself you were allergic?" Martis suggested.

"That might be it." She smirked. "Now I have a real excuse. Yay!" She became serious again. "Have you and Snape made up yet?"

"No, and don't start on that. Incidentally, we lost four hundred points because everyone blames Slytherin for the castle plumbing being full of alcohol."

"Of course - blame us just because we had the victory party. At least the place will be sterile."

"Right. Anyway, we're at minus three-twenty, so we have a lot to make up."

"Wonderful. Maybe the next party will be quiet for a change."

"I wouldn't bet on it." Martis smiled and patted her hand. "We'll see you in a day or two. Rest up."

"Thanks. And I better hear about you and Snips back together."

Martis ignored her and walked back to the doors, glancing over at one of the beds and recognizing the remains of Sirius Black held up in magic-traction. Oh, TOOOOO tempting!

She carefully approached the bed and leaned close to his face, softly breathing on his cheek. "Sirius?" she whispered gently. "My poor darling ... "

His gray eyes fluttered open, looking back up at her with a glazed expression. He finally focused on her face. And became quite aware that her chest was pressed against his side. "Come to gloat over my broken bones?"

Martis inhaled sharply, causing her breasts to press harder against him. "No! I had come to see you, my darling Sirius! I worried over you - you've been in my thoughts constantly." Closing her eyes, she kissed his face, imagining he was Sev. "I wanted to meet you in the Rose Gardens yesterday but you ... "

"I promise, I'll recovery quickly! Argh!" His attempt at trying to embrace her was cut short by pain shooting up his arms from Pomfrey's tractions.

Martis pulled her sunglasses down, gazing at him coyly over the frames. "Don't strain yourself now, lover. I promise - with the things I know from my culture - you won't be able to move for a day or two."

"Recovery will be REAL quick then," Black gasped. He raised his head and pressed his mouth to hers.

Martis suppressed the urge to swat his tractions; his kiss was so wet and sloppy. Even Lucius Malfoy kissed better than this ... and Dion was much better by leagues. She was grateful that his hands were in no condition to grope her. Revenge for this was going to be so sweet.

She did half-hope this might have been one of X's minions, but her battles with Sirius Black made her recognize his scent and aura. This was definitely Sirius Black - albeit, Sirius Black in the throes of teenage boy hormones who thought he had a chance of Getting Some with his mortal enemy because she was a busty blonde who 'seemed' to fall for his looks and charm.

Boys became incredibly stupid when sex gets involved.

She pulled away. "I'll see you later, lover."

"Eagerly awaiting the time, sexy hips."

Martis left the infirmary, shutting the door behind her. The next minute, she was in the girls' bathroom and washing her face. "Ugh. He STILL kisses like a dog!"

----------

Sev was focused enough on the potion book he was reading in the Library to not notice who was around him.

"Snips," Martis said.

Sev looked up, seeing Martis in her under-uniform slide into the seat next to him. "Martis, what are you doing here?"

"I forgive you for being a thick-headed boy."

Sev's alarms rang. It was a Sunday, what was she doing in uniform? Why was she grinning like that? When did she ever call him a 'boy' while they were on good terms? And why does she smell like chewing gum?

Carefully pulling the notebook out of his pocket, he lowered his head and allowed his hair to curtain his face as he wrote in the notebook: 'Spirals? Where are you?' To the Martis next to him, he said, "Who was being thick, Miss Vox?"

"You were, Mr. Snape."

In the notebook he read: 'Walking toward the Great Hall.'

'Well, you're here, too.'

----------

Martis turned around on the staircase and headed up to the Library as soon as Sev had informed her that she was with him there.

"Spirals!" Sev's voice called behind her.

Martis turned around on the stairs and stared at Sev in his under-uniform. Another double-whammy. "What do YOU want, you prude?"

He looked slightly taken aback. "I wanted to ... apologize."

"Fine, fine." She scratched into the still open notebook: 'U R here 2. Meet Quad.' As she said aloud, "A girl throws herself at you, and you just freeze up - "

"Now, I thought you didn't want to go in that direction!" 'Sev' argued.

"Well, we're actually in agreement then, right?" She approached him, lowering her sunglasses and smirking at him. "We just had a misunderstanding then, lover. Why didn't you tell me you didn't care for it rough?" She threw her arms around him - his sudden pull away from her made her pause. Nope, not Sev ... the real Sev would not pull away and he did not smell like olive oil and aftershave; and he would playfully chide her for teasing him like this, not act nervous and aloof. "Sorry, I suppose we need to discuss this first?"

"Yes, it would be better," he agreed.

She rubbed against him, which made the imposter squirm uncomfortably. "Next time I warn you before I use a hot fireplace poker, hm?"

"Huh?"

"It's just that the whips had gotten so ... tame."

"MA! I mean, ... ur ... yeah ... eep ... "

Ignoring the hemming and hawing, she lead the way. "Let's take a walk in the Quad."

----------

Sev had no problem guiding the fake Martis down to the Quad as she clung to his arm and cuddled against him. There was no way, in any shape or form, for him to accept that this was his Martis. Martis' cuddling was not so clingy, and when they were around the school she held his hand, not draping herself all over him. He had to get the impostors out in the open and ...

And he realized he and Martis had no real plan.

Both groups entered the Quad at the same time, the real Martis and Sev paying attention to the other.

As one, both turned to their fake companions and yelled, "AHA!"

The fake Sev and Martis looked around, saw the real ones with the other, and said, "Oh, smeg."

"Who are you??" Martis demanded.

"What are you up to??" Sev added.

"RUN!" the fake Martis yelled.

"THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" the fake Sev called after the fake Martis as they ran across the Quad.

"WHY'S IT MY FAULT??" she asked as the real Martis and Sev chased them.

"BECAUSE YOU CAME UP WITH THIS STUPID IDEA!"

"WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP ME??"

"Prepare to die!" the real Martis cried.

"Prepare for torture!" the real Sev added.

Evan Ryper, Michel de Nostradom, and Igor Karkaroff - discussing the wand weighing scheduled for the next day - watched as Sev and Martis ran by them.

"What are Mr. Snape and Panni Vox doing?" Igor asked

Another Sev and Martis ran by, their wands drawn, and yelling at the first pair.

"Chasing themselves," Evan answered. "They do crap like that. Ignore it."

"Hmm," Michel commented, holding his fingers to his forehead. "Which breengz up zum eentereesting philosophical complications - "

The remaining Marauders - hanging out in the Quad and sharing Chocolate Frogs - watched as Snape and Vox ran by ... followed by a cussing Snape and Vox running after them.

"What are those snakes up to?" Potter said aloud.

"Dunno," Pettigrew answered. "Wanna go find out?"

"Let's!" Potter chuckled as he and Pettigrew took off after the doubled-Slytherins.

Lupin jumped up after his best friends. "Guys! Dopplegangers are dangerous!"

As the boys approached the school building where the two Snapes and two Voxes (Voxi??) ran into, the giant black owl descended before them and blocked their entrance. A House-Elf in a Slytherin robe, a Chudley Cannons cape, and a mask hopped off the owl, which was three times his height, and proclaimed, "None shall pass!"

"Get out of the way, big nose!" Pettigrew exclaimed.

"Move it, House-Elf!" Potter added.

The huge owl raised its wings, making the Marauders stop by sheer reflex. The House-Elf pulled out a wand that was easily two feet long and pointed it menacingly. "What part of 'None Shall Pass' got hung up in your tiny little brains, inbreds?"

Pettigrew blurted, "Hey! Why's yours so much bigger than mine?!"

"Bet you say that to all the Slytherins, Blondie."

Despite themselves, Potter and Lupin snickered into their hands.

"Go get him, Prongs!" Pettigrew snapped.

Potter moved forward. The House-Elf proclaimed, "None shall defeat the Masked Elf and retain his dignity! This is a trained attack owl!" He gestured dramatically. "Black Beauty - CRAP ON THEIR HEADS!!"

The owl raised into the air and the Marauders automatically covered their heads and screamed, running off and forgetting about chasing the doubled Snips and Spirals.

The House-Elf swung his wand in the air and cried, "Victory is mine!"

A temporal vortex opened above him, disgorging three stern adults on brooms: one with a scar on his forehead, one with red hair and stubble, and one in leather boots and a miniskirt.

"BWAAAAK!" the House-Elf squawked. "I swear, I had nothing to do with it! They forced me! I was an innocent bystander! I was led astray by dark companions!"

"Save it for the Courts," the woman remarked.

Cleopatra the Security Witch watched as the trio grabbed the House-Elf and owl and dragged them up through the air and vanished. Flipping her scarf over her shoulder, she breathed, "Lock and load time!"

Meanwhile, the fake Sev and Martis ran up the stairs of the classroom building just as the real ones entered the building behind them. "Can't we just talk this over?" the fake Martis asked.

"You had your chance!" the real Sev snarled, climbing after them with the real Martis hot on his heels. "Instead, you kidnapped Martis, doused her with fertility potion, put a dragon over her, sent a House-Elf to do your dirty work, wrote blank-verse poetry, brainwashed her sisters, put static spells on us, turned the whole school's water supply into alcohol - !"

All four dashed up the spiral stairs to the Conversation Room.

"Well!" the fake Martis snapped. "If you weren't so thick - !"

The flash of light temporarily blinded the real Sev and Martis and both instinctively covered their eyes and pulled back.

"What happened?" Martis demanded, pulling her sunglasses off and pressing her hand to her eyes.

Sev's eyes refocused and he gasped.

A few steps above them stood the man Sev had seen in Sartoris' office the day before. "You??"

"And what of it, Mr. Snape?" the man retorted. He glanced down at Martis who was still blinking. "Yes, this one will do."

Sev recovered quickly. "You were behind all of it, weren't you? Why?"

"For what else, you stupid boy? The potential between you two is quite great and I can't ignore it." The skull-head of his cane reached out and picked Martis' face up by the chin. "Acolytes are born, not made."

Martis pulled her face away. "Damned if you'll have any child from my womb."

"But I will. You have no choice."

"I SAID - !" Her hands raised, the golden energy around them filling the stairwell with bright elderitch light. "YOU WON'T HAVE MY CHILDREN!!!"

Sev's wand raised, and he incanted the Unforgivable for the first time: "AVADA KEDAVRA!"

The Unforgivable and the spirit blast met the man's body at once.

Or rather, they passed through him, scarring the walls of the corridor.

"I do not have to be here now, children," the man said. "But I shall be later. As you've proven to me, you're not quite ready. Yet." He waved to them, the cold smirk making them shudder. "Good-bye, little ones. For now."

The man vanished, leaving behind nothing of his presence.

Sev and Martis looked at each other, then grabbed the other and held tightly.

"Oh, Gods," Sev gasped.

"Great Mother," Martis whispered. "He's - he's - "

"Coming back for us later on." Sev pulled away and held her face. "We can't let him."

"No, we can't. We can't. No." Tears streamed down her dark cheeks and she clutched him, sobbing into his shirt.

Sev pulled Martis up with him into the Conversation Room and held her until she cried herself to sleep.

Nobody had ever told him casting Unforgivables was exhausting, and he fell asleep next to her under the stained-glass ceiling.

----------

PART FIVE

Judging by the light, Martis estimated she had slept for several hours.

As she focused more on her surroundings, she felt Sev's arms around her and her body tucked against his.

There was no question of what happened - after that Dark Wizard had left, she had broken down into a crying fit and Sev took her up here to calm her down.

All she wanted was now tainted with Darkness. A shared life with her best friend, a life away from their families, a family of their own ... Tainted, because some creepy, slimy, disgusting Dark Wizard wanted to breed Dark Wizard children from them. And he was damned sure he was going to get those children out of her.

No way. Dark Wizards were not going to touch any child of hers, whether they were Sev's or anyone else's.

She looked up into Sev's face, his brow furrowed in dreams. Her heart broke in response. He was Cursed and he knew it; before he was even born, he was Cursed with Darkness. He probably always knew that if he ever produced offspring, his children would be dragged into the Darkness as well. No wonder he kept denying and preventing anything that could lead ...

(Leave him. His Darkness will tear your soul apart.)

She pushed the panic down, searching for the Goddess Voice within, the one that could see Truth in the blackest pitch.

She could almost see a face ... like her own, but older, wiser, filled with tears and joy. It seemed to be talking to her ...

(There is hope. There will be lonely times. But you will be together again, and your dreams will come true. It will happen. Never lose faith.)

Not now.

She can deal with 'not now'. Being without the other half of her soul for the rest of her life would be unbearable, but at least she could be with him now as friends. Later on, when they did manage to outwit and escape this Darkness over him, they could make their family and live happily. Whomever this Dark Wizard was would not break them nor take their futures away.

She became aware Sev was gazing back at her, his liquid black eyes obviously thinking.

"We ... " she began.

"I'll leave you alone," he said softly. "It'll be safer for you."

"No." She cupped his face in her hands. "It's still us against the world. We're not going to let any dark figures orchestrate our lives. I refuse to give in to what one lunatic decides to be Fate."

"Martis, you blasted him with your magic and I casted the worst Unforgivable on him - and he survived!"

"It passed through him - he was a projection of some sort. He wasn't even here. The magic I used was meant to meet physical bodies."

"And if he's going to ... take our children ... "

She swallowed. "So we don't have any. For now."

His eyes widened. "I said 'our' children, didn't I?"

"Oh, Severus, it's only a possibility!" She released his face. "If things carried on like they have ... I don't know!"

He lowered his eyes. "We won't. There won't be a chance for you to be mixed up with anything that happens because of my family, because we're not going to - "

Martis burst into tears. "You're not leaving me, Severus Snape!"

He squeezed her. "Of course not. What I was saying was that there will be no reason for any child of yours to be taken by Dark Wizards because your children won't be mine!" He lifted her face up with his fingers. "Stop that crying. We agree that we won't allow our hormones to dictate our actions." He swallowed. "Yes, if things carried on as they did ... maybe ... although why you would want to deal with me in THAT way, I don't understand at all - "

"Because you're my best friend, you thick lump!" Martis cried. "I'd rather attain Functioning Womanhood with your help rather than anyone else's!" Her eyes widened and she blushed. "I can't believe I said that."

Sev also blushed. "You're exhausted and disoriented from what happened."

"Yes," she agreed, surrendering and laying her head against his chest. "Still friends?"

"You insisted. Do remember, I tried to save you from my Darkness."

"It's better to face the Darkness together than separate."

They lay quietly together, thinking their own thoughts, enjoying being held by the other for the first time in days.

----------

"Where in the world were you two?" Akiko Mori asked as Sev and Martis entered the Slytherin common room as the evening began.

"Figuring out what was going on," Martis answered. "Why?"

"The giant black owl is now gone from the Owlery, there was that huge storm that spawned at least three tornadoes, and there was something about you two chasing yourselves through the Quad!"

"Oh, we can explain that last part," Martis said. "We almost caught ourselves, but we gave ourselves the slip. If I ever catch me, I'm going to make myself regret it!"

"Snape, translate that!" Akiko snapped.

"Watch your tone, Mori," Sev said coldly. "That was a concise and accurate account."

"What?"

Martis shook her head. "Some magic weirdness made two more ... usses!"

"Shouldn't that be 'two more we's', Spirals?"

"That's a wee matter, Snips."

"Ouch."

Akiko rolled her eyes. "So, I take it you two made up, right?"

"Actually," Martis answered. "The duplicates were the ones who were causing all the trouble the past few days. The one that looked like Snips was the one that assaulted me here - "

Akiko nodded in understanding. "And the one that looked like you was the one that was kissing Sirius Black in the infirmary," she finished. She sighed with relief. "Thank the Gods! When O'Shanahan told us that, we thought you had gone mad from your fight with Snape!"

"EW!" Martis squealed. "I wouldn't want to kiss Sneerius Prat! He tried to kill me!"

"Good," Sev commented. "There's hope for you yet."

"What do you mean by that?" Martis asked as he guided her to the couch to sit down.

He leaned close, his nose touching hers. "Spirals, what happened in the infirmary?"

Martis was silent, then explained.

Sev stared at her blankly. "Why would you do a thing like that?"

"For the brilliantly humiliating prank I have in mind for him."

"And this prank is?"

She told him. He pulled back, staring at her, then broke into a smirk. "My dear Miss Vox, that is rude, crude, socially unacceptable, and quite degrading. You must complete it, for the Good of all Humanity."

"I will. Next Friday. Fortunately, he'll be in the hospital wing for a few days and he won't be hounding me in the halls."

"So to speak." Sev exhaled. "You're a braver soul than I."

"Nah, just have the right equipment." She giggled then asked with alarm, "What storm that spawned three tornadoes??"

----------

Evidence of that violent storm was still strewn all over the grounds of Hogwarts. The Durmstrang ship, the Beauxbatons carriage, the Whomping Willow, and the greenhouses were all battered by hail and wind-driven debris. The moors surrounding the castle were carved up in spiral patterns from where tornadoes had touched down that afternoon.

The torrential downpour that had accompanied the strange weather had flooded the lake and spilled over to the roadway around it. As a consequence, it had also flooded part of the dungeons in a few inches of water, which was not good in the freezing potions lab. Sartoris - once he began feeling better (and he was now) - would have to teach potions in another classroom for the next week until the waters subsided and the House-Elves could patch up the holes.

At least the alcohol that had been flushed out of the school and into the lake was more dissipated, although sightings of the giant squid stumbling out of the lake on its tentacles and attaching itself to the still-recovering Whomping Willow were reported. The Merpeople were none-too-pleased themselves after they recovered from the hangovers.

Hagrid did not mind dealing with all this. But one thing did affect him deeply.

The departure of Cleopatra the Security Witch.

----------

She had left her office quite suddenly sometime during the killer storm, leaving behind a parchment addressed to the Hogwarts staff. In short, she explained that she was an Auror working undercover to locate a Dark Wizard that had hidden himself somewhere around Hogwarts. When the storm broke out, she was able to locate him and had taken off in pursuit of him to bring him to justice.

The sightings of tap-dancing centaurs, renegade House-Elves, Marauders in trashcans, giant owls, weird redheaded girls, Snape's Good Twin, dragons, and men of mystery named Armand ceased and desisted the day after Cleopatra left.

Was she connected?

Maybe you would like to express that theory to Hagrid?

Didn't think so.

-End-

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Author's Note: Thank you all for putting up with this perverse notion of mine. I'm afraid my writing wasn't up to par, as I had suffered some serious blows both mentally and financially the past month I've been writing this story arc. The next story will be back to what is considered normal for the Snips and Spirals universe as I wind down their school years together.

For an idea of what was REALLY going on during these last four stories, my husband Prince-Consort Tesser has the background posted up on his profile. According to a reader, look up "Prince-Consort Tesser" on Google and it'll be one of the first few items to appear.

Thank-you.