I'm so, so, so sorry it took so long, but I've been busy with exams and studying for exams. (But there's really no excuse for this taking so long.) I'm so sorry...! But I hope you like the ending.

In Which the Dare is Accomplished

"Celaene, dear, you have nearly run out of time," Victoria sang as she swooped into the Great Hall the next morning for breakfast. "One more night to have Snape or Dumbledore finds out…"

Sinistra grunted and went back to her cereal. "Don't remind me."

"Perhaps tonight will be the night," said Victoria conversationally. "What with the party and all…"

"Party?" Celaene jumped and looked at her friend in mild panic. "What are you talking about?"

Vector raised her eyebrows. "The New Year's Eve party. Remember? It's December 31, remember, dear? Dancing, drinking, having fun before the students get back… And having fun includes having—"

"Victoria!"

"Sorry… Well, I have to go out and get new dress robes. You need some?"

"No, I'll just wear the black and purple."

"Again…?"

"I like them," Celaene insisted.

"I think Snape likes them too. Fortunately," said a new voice behind them. Minerva took her seat and reached for a plate of bagels.

"Shut up," Celaene mumbled, and walked quickly out of the hall, leaving her breakfast on the table. On the way out the door, she bumped into a tall, thin figure in black. "Sorry, Severus," she said in a rush, and ducked around him to run up to her tower, leaving Snape staring after her with a raised eyebrow.

Sinistra really didn't know what had just come over her. All she knew was that if she didn't get him soon with his consent, she'd be in prison for rape.

The day passed in a slow, dreary stream of books and lesson plans until seven thirty when Victoria Vector walked in and told Celaene that she had better get a move on or she'd have to go to the party naked. "Which I'm sure Snape would—"

Celaene cursed her friend out the door.

She grabbed her dress robes—black with vertical purple streaks from her waist to the floor—and threw them over her head, pausing only to drag a hairbrush through her straight, long black hair and pull on a pair of shoes. The heels were a mistake and she crashed down the stairs, so it was understandable that, by the time she made it down to the Great Hall for the New Year's Eve party, she was in a very bad mood.

Snape greeted her just beyond the doorway, nodding slightly to her as he picked up a glass of deep red wine. Sinistra walked up to him and, without saying a word, took the glass from him, and drank it all in one swallow before handing the empty goblet back to him. She grimaced. "What is this?"

"Wine and firewhiskey. Now, thank you for stealing my drink. I'll have to go find another one." He bowed ironically and swept away to the other side of the room. The music started a few minutes later, beginning with a slow waltz. Without thinking much about it, Celaene crossed the hall after Snape. "Want to dance?" she asked.

"You're drunk already?"

"I'm serious, Severus. Dance with me."

"Alright," he said, surprising her by putting down his glass and pulling her by her waist towards him and grabbing her right hand. He was very close to her… She could have looked up and kissed him. She could have put her head on his shoulder. She could have told him then but she didn't. Instead, she waited for the song to end. Then she walked away, through the door, and waited for him to follow. She knew he would. She could feel him behind her. She began to go up the marble staircase towards her tower, but he caught her hand and pulled her back and they switched roles. Severus walked confidently through the entrance hall towards the dungeons and she knew she'd follow him even if she didn't want to.

"Where are we going?"

"You aren't stupid, Sinistra, no matter how much it may seem like it."

"I hate you."

"No, you don't."

"No, I don't," she mumbled. "That's what I hate."

A moment later—minutes later—maybe just seconds, Sinistra couldn't tell—Snape was standing across from her, his bed between them. He had his back to her and he was taking his robes off. When he turned around, Celaene found that she couldn't move, couldn't even stop looking at him. He smirked.

"Celaene, no matter how lovely they look on you, those robes will have to come off. I trust you know how this works?"

"Of course," she snapped. "I'm not a child."

"Clearly," he murmured as she removed the black clothes and tossed them aside. "Come here, Celaene," he told her, only to find that she was already there and it was he who was losing himself.

Epilogue

"So, Celaene," said Minerva the next morning. "Do I have to tell Albus anything for you, or did you finally go through with the dare?"

"None of your business," she muttered sleepily.

"Is that a 'yes'?" asked Sprout.

"It's a 'none of your goddamned business', Pomona!" she snapped.

Victoria tried next. "You know you have to tell us everything, don't you?"

"I don't have to tell you a fucking thing."

"Where's Snape?" asked McGonagall.

"He's still in bed," said Celaene before she thought about what she was saying. "I think I really—" She shut up quickly but knew she'd given it away. "Oh, shit. No more questions or I'll curse you all."

Dumbledore drifted by a moment later, greeting his staff. "Ah, hello, Sinistra. I've been meaning to have a word with you about a certain incident in Hogsmeade with a vampire, but I keep forgetting."

Celaene's mouth dropped open and she whipped around to look at her friends. They all looked shocked. McGonagall recovered first: "You know about that?"

"Hmm? Oh, yes, Minerva," he said pleasantly. "Known for months…"

That evening, Celaene was curled up in an armchair by Severus's bed, watching him read his potions book when he closed it suddenly and asked, "I heard about Dumbledore finding out about Hogsmeade. So you did all that work for nothing, Sinistra. I'm sorry."

"Not for nothing," she said sleepily. "I won. I consider it a great personal triumph that I managed to seduce a man who was trying that hard to resist it."

Severus pulled out his wand. Celaene ducked, but Snape never missed. Ever.