Disclaimer: JK Rowling, Warner Bros, Scholastic & Bloomsbury Books all own the Harry Potterverse. I make no money from this work of fiction.
Author's Note: This was written in response to the "So Many Buttons" challenge for the Potions Master's Muse group. The gist of the challenge was: to unbutton Snape (film!Snape).
It was just as if Elizabeth had stepped through a portal into her own past.
Hogwarts was exactly the same. The hard stones beneath her feet, figures in portraits gossiping on the wall, suits of armor cackling as she walked past them. Her companion shared none of her delight, having graduated from Durmstrang.
"Stop dawdling," he said to her, annoyed.
"I'm not dawdling," she snapped. "Where's the Headmaster, anyway? He's supposed to meet us here."
Minerva McGonagall suddenly emerged from the upper reaches of the staircase, scowling. "You must be the Aurors that the Ministry sent."
"Yes," said Ivan, unsmiling. "We are here"
"I know why you're here," shot back the Deputy Headmistress. "Albus isn't here to prevent thisthis outrageous injustice, however, so I am left with no option but to accede to your ridiculous request."
"Then we will proceed as planned," said Ivan. "Thank you for your assistance."
Minerva's scowl deepened, and she turned around, marching stiffly back up the staircase.
"Where is his office?" demanded Ivan.
"In the Dungeons," said Elizabeth reluctantly. "Down the left hand stairs...it's on the left hand side."
He strode off and she followed, wishing again that she hadn't drawn this assignment. The corridor to the Dungeons made her feel claustrophobic. The damp air crawled under her skin and settled in, and she shivered involuntarily.
Snape's office proved to be locked, and failed to open, even after numerous Unlocking Charms. Ivan was looking as if he was going to call for reinforcements.
"You know, it is the middle of the day," mused Elizabeth. "He could be teaching a class..."
Ivan's face lit up. "Where is the classroom?" he demanded.
"You can't mean to barge right in" she protested.
"Tell me where it is," he said impatiently.
Reluctantly she led him down the hall and pointed to the door. Ivan opened it and walked through confidently. She could just make out someone saying "Now bring me a bezoar."
Professor Snape was standing in the front of the classroom. She remembered the last time she had seen him, weakened by the Dementors at Azkaban, pale and wan. Now he stood, head arrogantly cocked, his black eyes cold and pitiless. "What is this intrusion?" he asked, and she felt a thrill chase across her. His voice had lost none of its luster.
"Professor Severus Snape, I am Auror Denisov and this is Auror Locke. We've come to ask you some questions."
Snape's eyes looked at his class, then snapped back to Ivan. "Perhaps you haven't noticed," he drawled, "but I am actually in the middle of a lesson."
"Dismiss them," said Ivan smoothly. "And the next, as well. This might take some time."
For a moment they simply stared at each other, black eyes battling with hazel. And then Snape turned to his class. "Dismissed. To the library. One roll of parchment on the use of jobberknoll feathers."
A girl with bushy brown hair looked upset. "But, Professor"
"Silence!" hissed Snape, his hands gripping his desk tightly. "Out, now."
"Detention, Granger," said Snape in a dangerously soft voice. It made the hairs on the back of Elizabeth's neck stand up.
The students gathered their belongings, and Elizabeth noticed one red-haired boy trying to hide a grin, and a blonde-haired boy who looked frightened. They all filed out without further ado, leaving Snape glaring at Ivan. "Was there no other way to arrange this?"
"We had to act on the information as soon as possible," said Ivan in his same smooth tone. "You must understand our need for quick action, given recent events."
Dark Marks over houses, three murders in broad daylightyes, there was a need for action, and the public was calling for justice. "You need a scapegoat," sneered Snape, his black eyes never leaving Ivan's.
"We need to investigate all leads," he replied coolly. "You've been implicated before, and today we received an anonymous report that rather boldly states your involvement it Pulaski's murder."
Elizabeth had been an Auror for too long not to be able to notice the sudden twinge of guilt in Snape's face. "I'm not certain that you fully understand my position," he said, but a note of fear had crept into his voice.
"Of course," said Ivan. "But that was a long time ago. I have looked into the situation, and, based on the information I've collected, I'm beginning to think that you might be playing both sides."
Snape suddenly became livid. "Both sides? Both?" he spat. "You have absolutely no idea what I've donewhat I've had to do"
"I know what you did last night," said Ivan. "Pulaski was almost unrecognizable."
Snape closed his eyes suddenly, and she could see the way his body had tensed, taut as a dragon's heartstring. "You'll have to speak to the Headmaster," he said through clenched teeth.
"We have the Ministry's request to speak to you now," said Ivan, holding up the piece of parchment bearing Fudge's signature. "It also authorizes us to search your effects. You'll take us to your private quarters now."
Snape reopened his eyes, staring at Ivan. "What? This is preposterous. I won't stand for it"
Ivan was now holding his wand out. "It is in your best interest to comply with us. Now."
Snape was completely still for another heartbeat, and finally turned and began to walk towards the door to his office. His back was straight, his bearing proud. Only his eyes revealed the anger and fear that had seized him. He opened the door jerkily.
"Slowly," ordered Ivan. "Enter the room and stand still. Then bring your wand out, tip in hand, and drop it to the floor."
Snape's lip curled, but he did as he was told. Ivan seized the wand and then began to rifle through the papers on the large desk, knocking aside a large stack of Potions Master Monthly magazines. One fluttered to the floor, revealing a rather attractive witch and the text "The Potions Master's Muse". Elizabeth grinned to herself, and walked around the periphery, looking at the potions ingredients that lined the walls, checking for any traps or suspicious items. "It's clear," said Elizabeth. Ivan nodded in agreement, looking back at Snape.
"How disappointing," said Snape smoothly. "Now, if that is all, I really must get back to teaching my classes"
Ivan shook his head. "Not yet." He gestured with his wand. "Your private chambers. Now."
Snape looked really discomfited now, and Elizabeth felt a pang of sympathy. He murmured something under his breath, and the door opened. Ivan and Elizabeth followed him through. He stopped in the middle of the room and stood absolutely still, his black eyes watching them. He was even more tense, and she noticed that he had situated himself so that he could see the fireplace. His eyes flicked back to it continually, as if he expected someone to leap through at any minute and stop the interrogation.
Elizabeth scanned the walls, which were covered with bookcases and jammed with books. Most seemed to be works on Potions. Ivan began to search an old wardrobe, pulling out neatly folded black pants and white shirts and tossing them crumpled on the floor.
Elizabeth looked back at Snape, noticing the fine cut of his frock coat. It was buttoned up to his neck, and only the faintest white rim of his shirt was apparent. Twin crescents of white peeked out at his wrists. So many buttons, so little time, she thought, amusing herself, because there truly were buttons everywhere. At his wrists, his ankles...and...other places. She nearly blushed thinking of it.
Ivan was now tearing through a stack of correspondence on the nightstand, ripping open sealed letters. Snape looked pained as the Auror tore pages and muttered "Aparecium!"
A book dropped from her grip and fell with a thud, dislodging a old piece of parchment that had apparently been sandwiched between the pages. As she bent down to pick it up she felt dark eyes upon her, and, looking up, she met his piercing gaze. He seemed to be looking at her for the first time since she had arrived. The handwriting was spidery and fairly sloppy, as if the writer had been panicked and in a hurry.
I don't have much time, they have a new target tonight, I don't know who it might be they might be targeting the Bones
It trailed off to nothing, and she remembered again Shacklebolt's words from years ago, that Snape was a hero in his own way. She seriously doubted that he was playing them false now, and she felt a pang of guilt at the mistrust implied by Fudge's callous decision to search his quarters.
Ivan, at this point, had used his wand to push the bed aside, and was rummaging through a trunk he had found underneath. Pulling out a cloak and mask, he threw it on the bed, his face transfixed in anger. Elizabeth shivered at the sight of the Death Eater paraphernalia. Too often she'd had to fight them or run away from them.
"Explain this," said Ivan harshly.
"You are a fool," snarled Snape. "Of course I have them. I'm still a spy."
Ivan got very close, but Snape didn't back away. The large Auror stared at him. "Pulaski was my friend. I know that you were there."
"When the Headmaster learns of this"
"There is no Headmaster here to save you," said Ivan in a very dangerous voice. "There's no one here to protect you or to save your precious skin." He smiled in a very nasty way. "In fact, speaking of skin..." He backed off, still holding his wand out, and gestured to Elizabeth. "Locke, strip him."
Snape paled further. "Are you mad?" he said in shock. "You have no right to"
"I have every right," said Ivan coldly. "Stand still. Any moveany soundand you'll wish that you were back in Azkaban."
Elizabeth approached, reluctant to obey. The black eyes focused on her. They were like tunnels, she thought, their depths pulling on her like black stars. She reached out to touch the first button.
There was a bright flash, and suddenly she was thrown back three feet. She heard someone shout "Stupefy!" and then there was the distinct sound of a body hitting the floor.
She opened her eyes, and Ivan helped her up off the ground. Snape lay on the floor awkwardly. "We need backup," said Ivan. "He attacked us!"
"It may have been a protective spell," she said, brushing dust off her robes. "He may have forgotten about it. Ennervate!" she said, pointing her wand at the Snape, strewn so gracelessly across the floor.
"Wait!" said Ivan too late. He looked angry.
Snape's eyes opened, and it seemed to take a moment for him to focus and remember where he was.
"What was that?" hissed Ivan.
"A protective spell," said Snape warily. "I will disengage it, if you'll allow me access to my wand..."
"Absolutely not. Tell me how to disengage it."
"A simple Terminating Charm should do," said Snape quietly.
"Finite Incantum," said Ivan. "Is there anything else that we should know about before Auror Locke continues her search?"
He shook his head, as if he could not trust himself to speak. She was feeling worse and worse with every passing moment. Hesitatingly she reached out for the topmost button. "An old Slytherin trick," she murmured, as her fingertips closed around the first cloth-covered button.
"But of course. I am a Slytherin. Was there any doubt?" he said, looking back at Ivan. "Gryffindors will never be able to trust me."
She'd actually been a Ravenclaw, but didn't bother to point it out. She began to undo the next button, and then the next. Drawing the cloth-covered buttons through their holes she became aware of the feel of the thick fabric beneath her fingertips, the odd scents that clung to him, the fact that he was half a head taller than her and she was becoming aware of his masculine presence. She could not help looking up into his face, noting that his lips were pressed tightly together, his sharp features radiating a distinct unhappiness. Her fingers started to work properly again, and she undid the rest of the buttons deftly. "Put your arms out to the sides," she instructed, and he did, while she clasped one of his wrists and undid those buttons with her other hand. The white shirt beneath was impeccably tailored and felt crisp and clean beneath her fingers. She moved to his other wrist and undid the buttons there. "You can relax your arms now," she said, and he let them fall to his sides. She walked behind him and grasped the collar of his frock coat with both hands, carefully wrestling it off his long frame. She threw the heavy piece of clothing on the bed.
Without robes or coat, he was not as physically dominating, but there was something in his stance that radiated calm power. His white shirt was neatly tucked into his black trousers. He was lean and lithe, long legs, long arms, and she could see the line of his black boots mid-calf on his trousers.
There was a sudden noise, and they all looked to the fireplace. Kingsley Shacklebolt's face appeared. She stood next to Ivan, wondering what was going on.
"Ivan Denisov," he said in an angry, clipped tone.
"Shacklebolt?" said Ivan in disbelief.
"Return to the Ministry at once," he demanded.
"I am in the middle of an interrogation!"
"Now!" said Shacklebolt, disappearing from view.
"Continue the search," ordered Ivan, handing her Snape's wand. "I'll return as soon as I'm able." He strode to the fireplace and threw in a handful of Floo powder, shouting "Ministry of Magic!"
Quite suddenly the entire mood of the room changed. Snape was staring at her, an odd, predatory look in his eyes. "Don't make me use a Petrifying Charm," she warned. Her fingers closed around the first mother-of-pearl button on his shirt. He looked down at her, watching as she slowly bared his pale chest, inch after inch. The last few buttons were hidden under the waistband of his trousers, and she had to pull out his shirt to get to them. Again she unbuttoned each sleeve and then drew the shirt off.
She was quite unprepared for her heated reaction to the sight of him standing only in trousers and boots. The trousers were tight enough that she could see a muscle flexing in his thigh. His back was lightly muscled, his shoulders rounded. The whipcord muscles in his arms made her swallow painfully. Obviously that was what developed after years of stirring cauldrons.
She forced herself to stop staring at his backside and walked back around. There was the slightest smirk on his face.
She bent down and undid the buttons at his ankles, one hand resting lightly on his polished boot. She stood up again.
Only four more buttons.
The Dark Mark leered at her, black and ugly, marring his arm. It was all the courage she needed. I have a job to do. The knowledge of who he was, the thought of what he had done, burned in her thoughts suddenly, and she had to admit she knew no one with more courage. If half of what they said about him was true, than he was more of a Gryffindor than Godric.
She reached out to take the first button of his trousers in hand, and he suddenly looked pale again. Why would he be frightened of this? she wondered. She pushed the button through its hole. He was suddenly tense. She could feel it radiating from him. Again she realized how alone she was at the moment. She had to defuse the situation somehow. "What is the matter?" she asked, breaking the silence.
He reacted instantly. "'What is the matter', you ask?" he hissed. "This situation is ludicrous. You areyou have" He struggled to bring himself under control again.
"You could use this to your advantage, you know," she said. "I am certain that you "...her gaze lingered to the mask and cloak on the bed..."will be sympathetic to your plight." Surprise flitted across his features, and she took the moment to release the second button. He shivered suddenly. She could see white underwear peeking through. She undid the third and fourth button.
"Lift your foot," she ordered. She pulled off one shiny black boot. "Now the other." She repeated her action, and then stood up again, grabbing the waistband of his trousers with both hands. For a split second he looked absolutely frightened, and she wondered why this was affecting him so. Had he never been naked in front of a woman before? Certainly he'd been undressed in preparation for Azkaban. She pulled down smoothly, and nearly gasped at the bruises on his leg.
He now stood nearly naked before her, tense and unyielding. She began to write, dutifully cataloging the bruises, the Dark Mark, the newly healed scratches on his arm. All the while he stood there, embarrassment and arrogance battling in his posture. She looked at every aspect of his body, carefully inspecting it for any new marks. She cast a Revealing Charm that revealed nothing, and she relaxed.
"Are you through?" he sneered.
She shook her head. "You are still wearing an article of clothing."
He turned red at that. She was astonished to see the flush creep quickly up his face, and even darken his chest. "I must protest," he said. "You've seen enough."
"I need to catalog everything," she said calmly.
"When the Headmaster hears of this..." he said weakly.
She slipped her fingers behind the waistband of his underwear and slowly pulled them down his legs. He made an inarticulate noise of protest, but then stilled. Standing up, she noticed that he would not meet her eyes. He was still blushing furiously.
He had nothing really to blush about, she thought to herself. He was rather nicely endowed. She took one last look about his body, searching for any sigil, and wrote the last note in her report after staring at his lovely backside for a moment or two. She had always found him attractive. She'd been there before when they'd brought him in for questioning years ago, and she remembered him from Hogwarts. Something about his eyes had burned right through to the core of her.
"Have you seen enough?" he demanded coldly.
She couldn't help herself. She reached out and lightly touched his shoulder blade, where a faint scar lingered. She heardand felthis sudden intake of breath, but he said nothing more. She began to trace the scar's pattern, ending at his shoulder. His skin was warm to the touch. Part of her mind was shouting at her, pointing out that she was acting like a raving lunatic. What Auror in their right mind touches a subject like that?
He turned to face her suddenly, and there was a light in his black eyes, an inexorable light that was dragging her to him. "Is this some new form of interrogation?" he asked harshly.
"N-no," she stammered, suddenly jumping back to reality with a start. "I'm finished. You can get dressed again, if you like."
"Won't your partner be disappointed that he missed the show?" he asked bitterly, making no move towards the discarded clothing.
"Erno," she said, feeling quite overwhelmed. Her fingertips burned with remembrance of his skin. She wanted to go on touching...stroking...
His eyes pierced her, and suddenly a feral smile appeared on his lips. "That's very interesting," he said softly.
His nakedness was overpowering, somehow. "What is?" she asked, dazed, suddenly wondering how his hair would feel in her hands, how it would feel to be beneath him on his velvet bed...
He did not answer, merely suddenly bending a little towards her and unexpectedly catching her lips with his own. His hands gripped her upper arms, pulling her against him. She could feel his heat through her robes, she could feel the beginnings of his arousal. The part of her mind that still possessed rational thought was screaming at her that Ivan could Floo back at any moment. She didn't care. His tongue was gently tracing her lips, sending shivers through her body. He drew her bottom lip into his mouth and delicately nipped at it.
Drawing back, he stared at her hungrily. "I did not expect to find such an appetite in the mind of an Auror," he said, smirking.
She regained a little of her composure, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "I...how did youyou're a Legilimens," she said, surprised. "That's not in your file."
"No...some things are better left unwritten."
She began to straighten the front of her robe. He reached out and caught one of her buttons in his hand. She watched, dazed, as he began to undo it, his long fingers slowly drawing it through the fabric. "Is this how you...is this how you seduced Narcissa?" she said quietly. He froze. "Because that's in the file."
He curled his lip. "I'd hardly say that I seduced Narcissa."
"Ah," she said, beginning to calm down. "She took advantage of you, then?"
He looked quite angry. "Whoever put that in my file" He stopped, and his eyes narrowed. "You're lying," he said softly.
She swallowed suddenly. "But I guessed correctly."
"Why would it matter to you?" he asked, and there was a dangerous tone to his voice.
She was caught in his gaze, and she knew he was sifting through her, finding her desire for him, and knowing how long the roots of that had lain dormant.
He smirked again. "I had no idea that I had such a longterm admirer."
"Let go of me," she said suddenly.
His hands tightened on her arms instead, and his eyes glittered. "I should think you'd be eager to make the most of your chance to humiliate me and prove that you can control your baser urges."
"I don't want to..." she began.
"You don't want to take advantage of me?" he continued. "Here I am, defenseless"his hands dug into her flesh"and at your mercy."
All of her secret longings were surging within her. Her own face was flushed with desire. "Let go of me," she whispered.
He paused for a moment, but then his hands fell away from her, only to entwine themselves in her hair and pull her towards him again. He kissed her defiantly, ravishing her mouth.
This can't be happening.
His hands slowly moved to her robes, languorously undoing another button. One hand reached it, skillfully maneuvering itself under her shirt to stroke the hot skin of her breast. She gasped as he caught her nipple between his fingers and pinched.
"You" she said raggedly, pushing away from him. He responded by taking handfuls of her robe and pulling it off her, brushing off her attempts to stop him. "I" He forced her backwards until her legs hit the bed, and then he pushed her down on it, one hand pulling the skirt up. He began to kiss her again, and his mouth was so hot and moist and his tongue so skillful that it began a fire within her. She could feel his fingers slipping past the waistband of her panties and she gasped when they touched her intimately. She closed her eyes as he kissed her even more forcefully, thrusting his tongue into her mouth as his fingers insistently continued to stroke her, until the fire was building and she could not help but arch her back and moan. She was overwhelmed by his fingers and his tongue until she could feel nothing but stars exploding behind her eyes and she cried out into his mouth and fell back down against the velvet blankets, panting. She felt him move away from her and heard the sound of trousers and boots being donned, and felt sad at the thought of each button slowly removing his body from her sight.
A frenzied knocking suddenly brought them back to reality, and she barely had time to pull her skirt down as Draco Malfoy suddenly burst in. Snape "I've owled my fatherhe'll put a stop to this!" He stopped and stared at them in shock.
"Thank you, Draco," said Snape, casually buttoning the last button on his sleeve. "Auror Locke was just leaving." He turned to look at her, and she could not help but shiver at the gleam of triumph in his eyes.