Malice in his voice

This can be read as a stand-alone fic, but if you read the prequel "Why Snape never eats here" and the sequels "Threesome at Spinner's End", "Dumbledore was pretty firm with him", "I taught him! I thought I knew him!", "Well done, Draco, well done" and "Power the Dark Lord knows not" you will get a better feel for the particular version of the Potterverse in which this story is set.

Chapter 1: Tonks

She looks across at Sirius, who is slumped forward on the table, his head pillowed on his crossed arms. Dead drunk! He'd been drinking before the meeting started, and then the meeting had been delayed, and delayed again, and he'd kept drinking. Remus had tried to get the bottle of firewhisky away from him, and been snarled at for his pains, thank god Dumbledore had finally sent word he couldn't attend and they should hold the meeting without him, and so he hadn't seen Sirius in this state.

Meeting had been dead boring anyway, Snape was even more surly than usual when he found out that Dumbledore wasn't coming, and his report had been terse and perfunctory. Strange, though, he had lingered when the meeting finished, he usually left immediately. He was still there, lounging in a chair across the table from Sirius, with his boots up on another chair, Molly Weasley would have kittens if she was still looking after the house but of course the Weasleys had decamped back to the Burrow as soon as school started, and now Sirius was the only permanent resident of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, though Remus stayed as often as he could.

Snape's eyes are lingering on Sirius, he's smirking unpleasantly, pouring himself another generous measure of firewhisky and doesn't look in any hurry to leave. What an evil bastard he is, but, mmm, he looks good in those Muggle clothes. Odd, really, he must be a pureblood, after all he is a Slytherin and a Death Eater, but hardly any pureblood wizards have any idea how to dress in Muggle clothes, some of the outfits she'd seen at the Quidditch World Cup had been amazing – amazingly awful, that is. He seems very comfortable in his black jeans, black shirt and black leather jacket, and with his hair tied back Muggle-fashion in a pony tail, he doesn't look like snarky Professor Snape, he looks like a cool guy, a successful guy in advertising or the music industry. OK, a bit older than the guys she usually fancies, but definitely the type she looked out for in Muggle nightclubs.

Not that she was ever going to get seriously involved with a Muggle, a man would have to really be able to look after himself to hold her interest, another Auror maybe, or one of the Gringott's curse breakers. Pity there didn't seem to be a lot of unattached, good-looking Aurors or curse breakers around …. Most of the blokes she admired at the office were older and married, and the younger ones either already had girlfriends or … it was pretty clear they weren't interested in getting involved with someone who could be challenging.

Surreptiously she sneaks another look at Snape. By Merlin, but Muggle clothes are a lot more revealing than wizard's robes, he's got gorgeous long legs, narrow hips, slim waist, rather a nice chest, his shoulders are broader than she would have thought, and his arms are well muscled, stirring all those cauldrons must be keeping him fit. He looks so different without all that greasy black hair hanging over his face, not handsome exactly, not with that nose … but cartloads of personality – and is that an earring? Professor Snape wears an earring? She's glad she's wearing Muggle clothes, too, a brief singlet top that shows her midriff and a short skirt – her Dad really didn't like her wearing clothes like that, he was Muggle-born but for some reason he preferred her to wear robes. Mum was so much more pragmatic – just told her to always have her wand on hand, and where in Diagon Alley to buy Contraceptive Potion. Well, Sirius had told her a bit about what her Mum got up to before she was married, all the Blacks are a bit wild, it was a family tradition.

She remembers the night Sirius got Snape to show them the Dark Mark, the Mark is a bit creepy, but he'd been acting like he was interested, very interested, but since then he'd ignored her. Well, he hadn't actually ignored her, he'd made sure he arrived just in time for the start of a meeting, and left as soon as it was over. Probably didn't want to be at Headquarters any longer than he had to while the kids were here – the Head of Slytherin would want to spend the bare minimum of time in a house infested with a pack of cheeky Gryffindor brats who didn't do a very good job of hiding their lack of respect.

Is he still interested? Oh yes, he has his eyes on her, and his usual sneer is missing, there's a hungry, wolfish look on his face. She doesn't look away, doesn't try to avoid his gaze. She thinks, Sirius would be pissed off if I started going out with Snape, well, I don't need his big brother act, I'm a qualified Auror for god's sake. If I want to ride this pony, it's my business, not his. He's in no position to lecture me about risk-taking behaviour – accompanying Harry to King's Cross when Dumbledore told him to keep his head down, chugging firewhisky as if was butterbeer, wrestling Remus in the garden at full moon, probably some other stuff I don't even know about ...

Remus walks through the kitchen door, he's been playing the part of host, since Sirius has been out like a light for the past two hours. He comes up to her, puts an arm around her shoulders affectionately, and glances at Snape. "Time you were heading off, Tonks?" he asks.

Snape's expression doesn't change but Tonks can read the look in his eyes. Oh, he doesn't like that at all, he doesn't like Remus touching me, come on, Remus is a darling but he's not my type. He's too sweet for me, even if he is a werewolf. And he's so scruffy … I like guys with style.

She looks directly, boldly, into Snape's black eyes. Gosh, he's got eyes like a Hippogriff. "Fancy coming down to the Leaky Cauldron for a drink?" she asks.

He leans forward, speaks in his softest and most dangerous voice. "Just a drink, Miss Tonks?"

She thinks … maybe not just a drink … and, on impulse, she reaches out and puts her hand on his chest, palm down, just over the heart. She feels the heat of his body, and his heart starting to beat faster. It's exciting, the way he's reacted to her touch. And he smells … good … not of soap or aftershave, just something warm and masculine.

Stuck at Hogwarts most of the time, how many women does he get to meet? And it's not as if any of the female staff are possibilities, McGonagall's ancient, Sprout's shapeless, Hooch has a girlfriend, Pomfrey's married, and Trelawney is simply out of the question. And she'd never heard of him looking at a student – like he'd dare, Dumbledore would go spare – or any gossip about him picking up women in The Three Broomsticks. The Dark Mark might be a bit of a problem, too, any witch in Europe would know what it meant. A Muggle would think it was just a tattoo, but he wouldn't be interested in Muggles, no way.

She runs her hand across his shoulder and down his arm, takes his hand and pulls him onto his feet. "Maybe not just a drink – how do you feel about DANCING?" she asks.

But his eyes are looking right into hers, he's a Legilimens, right, so he should be getting the message that he could just get lucky tonight, loud and clear, and we are not talking about dancing, right? And she's still holding him by the hand.

Lupin is looking a bit anxious, ye gods he isn't going to invite himself along is he, and ruin what is shaping up to be a way more interesting evening than most Order meetings?

She gestures towards Sirius with her free hand, "Remus, can you get Sirius into bed? Your turn, mate, I picked up the pieces last time he got totally blotto."

Snape grins evilly. "Dear me, Black's inability to do anything useful for the Order seems to be getting to him … Lupin, next time I drop off your Wolfsbane potion shall I bring some hangover remedies?"

Remus mutters something inaudible.

She replies brightly, "Wotcher, Remus, see ya later," and pulls Snape out of the kitchen. He makes no attempt to remove his hand from hers until they near the front door, when he deftly slips his arm around her waist and guides her away from that dratted troll's leg umbrella stand. "We don't want to wake Mrs Black, do we?" he whispers in her ear.

His arm around her is nice, firm and reassuring. She leans her head against his shoulder, tonight is working out just fine. She wonders if he's a good kisser, and then a horrible thought strikes her – he must be, uh, pushing 40, she's never heard of him being with a woman before, what if he's still a virgin, that's a scary thought, don't think I could handle that. So she puts her hands up behind his head and pulls his face down to hers and kisses him. Definitely not a virgin. Nope. Just a guy who hasn't got laid in a long, long time. She thinks, maybe we should go straight to my flat and skip the Leaky Cauldron? Her flatmate is away for a few days with her boyfriend, they'll have the place to themselves.

They reach the Apparition point, just inside a dingy alley a few houses away from Number 12, but she leads him a bit further into the alley. Time for some serious snogging, she thinks, and then I'll decide whether it's a drink at the Leaky Cauldron or "dancing" at my place. She holds her face up to be kissed and runs her hands up under his shirt, round his back, feeling the muscles and some puzzling ridges on his skin, he flinches a little when she touches them, oh right they must be curse scars, like the ones she's seen on Mad-Eye Moody's arms. She nuzzles his neck and lets her hands drift lower, to the zipper on his jeans. What was that old Muggle joke – is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

A thump and a crash remind her of where she is – a dark, dirty little alley in a rough part of Muggle London, and for a moment she's scared, and then she murmurs, "An Auror and a Death Eater, it's the Muggles who want to watch out".

He steps back from her and spits, "What did you say?"

"An Auror and a Death Eater, I mean, what have we got to worry about?"

She can't see his face, it's too dark in the alley, but those words have changed everything. He grabs her shoulders and pushes her roughly up against the alley wall, one hand is across her throat and the other is reaching up under her skirt and pulling her knickers down, and now she's really scared, she can't reach her wand and he's much bigger and stronger than she is. It isn't exciting any more, it's terrifying, she's an Auror, she's supposed to be able to look after herself, but she's crying with fear now, please, please don't.

He's hissing in her ear now, hissing venomously, "So you wanted to hump a Dark wizard, Miss Tonks, something to giggle about with the rest of the Auror Corps? No, I don't think so."

Snape is backing away from her, his wand in his hand, a few sparks spitting from its tip, and in the light from the streetlamp at the entrance to the alley he looks quite deranged, he's snarling with rage. She waits until she's quite sure he's gone, and then she sprints back to Number 12 and bangs on the door. It seems like an age before Remus opens the door, and she brushes straight past him and runs down the hallway. Mrs Black is howling away with her usual insults but Remus says something to her and she shuts up.

She starts crying when she gets to the kitchen, Remus wraps his travelling cloak around her, tactfully ignoring her torn singlet, makes tea and says reassuring things. She doesn't really pay attention to what he's saying, just listens to his soothing voice and mumbles answers to his questions. Eventually she stops crying, and asks whether she can stay the night. She doesn't want to be alone in her flat tonight. Sure, he says, plenty of beds, and he takes her upstairs and gets her settled down in the room that Ginny and Hermione used to sleep in.

She hears the door close, and Remus going downstairs, and she lies there for a while, feeling ashamed, thinking I'm an Auror, I'm not a helpless Muggle girl, what the hell happened there, I should have hexed the bastard into a thousand greasy pieces, but he was really scary, he just went crazy.