Title: Unapologetically Untitled (I really did try to think of one but I'm stumped)
Disclaimer: Once again, I do not own the rights to Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No infringement is intended and no profit is being made.
Rating: I've been advised this deserves an R rating so you've been warned.
Spoilers: Up to Chosen for Buffy, and this is gleefully AU for HP but there is a tiny spoiler for HBP. Blink and you might miss it.
Summary: Buffy must reconsider her feelings for Severus when Dumbledore attempts some matchmaking.
AN: This was originally intended to be a response to prompt no. 5 (a new law) for tth5000 before the community closed based slightly on the marriage law challenge. At first I was going to make the law one that states a magical being like werewolves, slayers etc. has to be married to a wizard or witch, basically someone who'll vouch for them and allow them rights in wizarding society but I had a hard time picturing Buffy submitting to that. Every time I tried to outline it Buffy ended up breaking into the Ministry and giving a smackdown to the Minister until he agreed to get rid of the law.
So that sent me back to the original Marriage Law challenge idea, where halfbloods and muggleborns need to marry purebloods. But then that left me with how that concerned Buffy who's definitely not a witch, so I decided to do something similar to one challenge variation I've seen where it's the Purebloods who need to find someone to marry. Immediately, my mind came up with the scene of Dumbledore asking Buffy to consider marriage to Snape and I ran with it from there. Fair warning, this is gleefully AU with only bits and pieces borrowed from HP canon.
Much thanks to dharkcharlotte for the beta and the encouragement along the way.
"What?" Buffy blinked stupidly. Her mouth was hanging open in shock, but she couldn't seem to make herself close it. All she could do was sit frozen in her chair and stare in disbelief at Dumbledore.
When the powerful old wizard had asked her to meet him today to discuss a request of his, she had pictured something more along the lines of training his students to fight or having her and her Slayers help to protect Hogwarts. She had never in her wildest dreams pictured him asking her to marry his Potions Professor.
The habitual twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes increased at the sight of her dazed reaction. It was not often he was able to catch the oldest living Slayer off guard and he enjoyed the sight immensely.
"I said would you consider marrying Severus, my dear?" Dumbledore wisely kept his amusement at her flummoxed reaction off his face when he repeated the question.
"Um-I-well-I-uh…" Buffy stuttered. She winced at her words and made an effort to gather her wits. "Why me?" She finally asked, instead of what she was really thinking, What is he thinking? He really is a batty old wizard.
Dumbledore's lips twitched as if he was trying to hide a smile and she stared at him warily. Was he reading her mind?
Dumbledore's eyes suspiciously increased their twinkling but the twitch disappeared and a more serious demeanor took its place. "Why not?" He answered her question with one of his own.
"Because I don't- I mean he wouldn't- well, it's Severus!" Buffy said as if that summed up everything right there.
"So it is," Dumbledore agreed with a slight chuckle.
His amusement was really starting to get on her nerves. She had half a mind to get out of her chair, go over there and beat him over the head with the tin of lemon drops he always offered her every time they met in his office.
If he was reading her mind, he didn't let on that he knew she wished to perform violence on his person. "Do you not enjoy each other's company? Don't you take pleasure in matching your wits against his?"
"Well yeah, but-" Buffy started to answer.
Dumbledore cut off the rest of her response with his next question. "And don't you often choose to spend more time with him than with anyone else?"
"Maybe," Buffy frowned, uncomfortable at the realization that he was right.
"And do you remember the Halloween ball, when neither you nor Severus would let the other dance with anyone else for long during the first few dances? I believe you spent the remainder of the night dancing solely with each other."
"Yeah, we did, but it's not what you're thinking. We're not like that," Buffy protested, uncomfortable with the direction she suspected he was taking with his questions. She ignored the voice in her head that pointed out how close they danced, much closer than people who were just friends would. And people who were just friends didn't tingle when their bodies touched nor ache down low when they caught their friend's scent.
"Hmm." Dumbledore paused in thought. A false look of confusion appeared on his face. "So you weren't, how do the kids say it now? Oh yes, you weren't checking out Severus's posterior when he showed up for Hogsmeade chaperone duties in those close fitting pants and sweater?"
"Professor!" Buffy cried out in shock. He saw her do that?
"Still believe there's nothing between you two?" Dumbledore asked with a teasing grin.
Buffy shifted uncomfortably in her chair. She sighed in defeat. "Okay, you're right I do feel something for him but it's not the same thing for him. Does he even know you're trying to marry him off to me?"
"No, I haven't discussed this with him yet. But Buffy, I do believe you're mistaken in your assessment of his feelings. I've known him for many years and I can tell when his heart is invested with another. And with the complications this new law brings, well I don't want to see the two of you miss your chance. I care greatly for Severus and for you as well. It would give me great pleasure to know the two of you were happy together."
"I know he's got to marry someone because of this ridiculous law," Buffy paused and rolled her eyes in scorn, her thoughts on the Ministry's new law perfectly clear, "but what makes you think Severus feels that way about me, much less would want to marry me?"
"What makes you think he doesn't?" Albus answered with a question of his own, something he knew aggravated her. Now that he had brought it up she had to know. Relationships and Buffy were two things that didn't tend to go well together. She wanted to be sure before she put her heart on the line again"Albus?" She prodded him when he didn't answer.
The maddening old man merely raised a brow, "Hmm?"
Damn it, he knew what she wanted to hear. She had a pleasant vision of choking him to death with that long beard of his. "Albus?" She said threateningly with clenched teeth.
The headmaster chuckled inside, pleased with himself. She had taken the bait. Now it was time to reel her in. "Haven't you noticed the way he watches you all the time? He always attends your training sessions with your new Slayers."
"A lot of people drop in to watch those," Buffy argued. "He's not the only one. I allow it to teach the girls to concentrate despite distractions and to always be aware of their surroundings."
"Yes, that is true, that your sessions are a big draw for the curious among us, but Severus never watches the students, Buffy. He watches you."
Buffy drew up in surprise. How had she never noticed that?
"After you were beaten so severely by the giants in the forest during Voldemort's attack early in the year, Severus makes it a point to always accompany you on your patrol of the Forbidden Forest so that you'll have back up if needed. When he carried you unconscious and bleeding into the school he wouldn't let anyone else touch you, though he had trouble walking with his own injuries to the hospital wing. Pomfrey had to stun him before she could begin to treat you. He never left your side until you awoke."
Buffy was stunned. She had never known. Why had Severus kept this from her? She thought she had detected his scent when she awoke in the hospital wing, but when he was nowhere to be found she had put it down to her wishing he was there.
"He glares at anyone who tries to flirt with you. Haven't you ever wondered why he shows such a dislike for Kingsley, Bill, or Remus?"
"I thought that was just another one of those Gryffindor/Slytherin things I don't get," Buffy answered, caught off guard. Was Dumbledore right? Could Severus be in love with her?
"He is not as uninterested as you think, my dear." Dumbledore said with eyes twinkling. "Just think about it. Now I believe it is yours and Severus' turn to patrol the halls tonight? It seems Filius is feeling a bit under the weather this evening."
Buffy stared in disbelief at Professor Dumbledore. Filius was supposed to do the patrol with her that night. Under the weather, her ass. He had practically been bouncing in his seat at the staff meeting while they discussed preparations for the Christmas festivities and the decoration of the castle. If Flitwick was ill, she was a dancing elephant in a pink tutu. "You-you matchmaker!" She accused in horror. How was she supposed to act normal around Severus now that he had planted all these thoughts in her brain?
"Come now, Buffy, surely you don't think Filius would lie? I like to think I have a little more flair than to use such an obvious ploy as that. Filius just isn't up to snuff tonight, but I'm sure he'll be feeling himself again in no time."
Oh she'd just bet he would. As Buffy left Dumbledore's office, her mind and emotions in a whirl, her feet headed unerringly toward Professsor Flitwick's quarters. She didn't believe for a minute that Filius was really sick. There was no way she was ready to face Severus tonight without making a fool of herself after Albus had altered her world view so dramatically. Filius was just going to have to abandon Dumbledore's obvious matchmaking schemes and accompany her on the rounds of the school tonight like he was supposed to.
Buffy left Filius's quarters in dismay. The heavy portrait swung shut behind her with a thud of finality. She didn't know how the two had done it, though she suspected something from Fred and George's new line of skiving snackboxes. She couldn't prove it, but Professor Flitwick seemed genuinely ill just like Albus had said he was.
This was a disaster.
She had been looking at him all night. It was making him uncomfortable, primarily because every glance was filled with some new unspoken knowledge in her eyes. What were usually enjoyable patrols around the school filled with intelligent conversation or comfortable silences were now an awkward affair where she acted nervous around him and he tried to figure out why.
Not usually a patient or personable man by any means, the darting glances and the jumpiness whenever their arms would brush against each other, was deteriorating his mood. He had looked forward to spending this unexpected time together. He hadn't actually thought Flitwick was sick, but he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
His students would laugh at the thought that someone like him treasured the time he spent with Buffy and the unqualified acceptance she gave him, but he did. She didn't treat him as if his time as a Death Eater was a taint that couldn't be ignored.
Forced to be a spy for so long, Severus had learned to keep the lies and the truths in his life rigidly separated. He wasn't a person who could let himself be fooled. It was too dangerous, so Severus didn't kid himself that he wasn't in love with the Slayer. Since the day she had arrived to train the newly called Slayers at Hogwarts he had been constantly aware of her. He hadn't thought much of her at first with her irreverent attitude and an inability to take him as seriously as he thought she should. But annoyance had turned to grudging respect to admiration to finally a love so deep he thought his heart had stopped when she had fallen in the battle with Voldemort's giants in mid October.
The battle had been dying out around him and Buffy had fought like a tornado of death, taking out all but two of the giants by herself while her Slayer students were finishing off the remainder. Severus had been completely unaware of them, focused only on the fact that she was lying broken and bleeding in his arms as he raced for the infirmary. That battle had merely been a test of Hogwarts' defenses, a chance to do as much damage as possible and to take out the newly called Slayers before they could be trained into being a danger to the Dark Lord. It had partially worked. While Buffy and the professors had managed to keep the damage as minimal as possible, students had been pulled out of Hogwarts by frightened parents and Dumbledore had nearly been forced out of his position as headmaster.
Now here it was early December and Severus couldn't imagine a life without her.
He was getting increasingly threatening and insistent letters from the Ministry that he would have to declare an engagement soon. The stupid marriage law was just another attempt by the Ministry to avoid taking care of the real problem, Voldemort. It was the most asinine law their Ministry had ever passed. Rather than fostering goodwill, family bonds, and an acceptance of muggleborns and halfbloods by the purebloods, the Ministry was instead heaping more fuel on the fire. Since the law's inception Voldemort's followers had grown. A good deal of the previously neutral or undecided purebloods had joined Voldemort in outrage at the Ministry's attempts to take away their choices in marriage.
The whole thing was proving to be a great source of stress as well in that he couldn't avoid doing so as a Potions professor for Hogwarts, a position the Dark Lord wanted him to keep, yet Voldemort refused to let his death eaters submit themselves to the law. The fact that Voldemort wanted his loyal spy, or so he thought of Severus, to maintain his position at Hogwarts earned him no leniency against the Dark Lord's anger at the Ministry. Voldemort had punished him greatly when he first heard about the law and at every meeting since when the Dark Lord speculated on who it would most benefit his plans for Severus to marry. Severus was tempted to just let the Ministry choose someone for him rather than anyone Voldemort would be pleased with.
Severus had never thought of marriage for himself until Scrimgeour's display of idiocy. He had never been popular amongst the witches so he hadn't even seen it as a possibility. Until this law. Since then the thought was never far from his mind, especially when he was around Buffy. He could easily see himself happily married to her, but he couldn't imagine someone like her ever marrying someone like him. The realization always darkened his mood when he thought of it. A mood that wasn't helped by her strange behavior tonight. When Buffy jumped for what seemed the thousandth time that night and darted her gaze away from him uncomfortably as their hands met when they both reached for the door to the library, Severus decided he had had enough.
"What on earth is wrong with you?" Severus snapped at Buffy.
"Huh? Nothing's wrong with me!" Buffy denied, gaze landing anywhere but on him.
His irritation soared. "That! That is what I'm talking about! You won't look me in the eye!" She had seemed fine at the staff meeting. It wasn't until she had showed up in the Great Hall that she acted strangely around him.
He remembered seeing Bill come out of Dumbledore's office shortly on his way to the Great Hall to begin their patrol and his eyes narrowed in anger as he leaped to a conclusion. "What's the matter? My face not pretty enough for you, like that prat Weasley's?"
"What?" Buffy yelled. "What are you going on about?"
"Don't deny it!" Severus spat out. "I saw him here earlier. Albus just keeps finding ways to bring you two together. Should I clear my calendar for the wedding?" He snarled.
Buffy was taken aback. She'd never seen Severus look so angry before. She searched his eyes wondering what had brought this lunacy on. Once he saw what she was doing his face cleared, like a mask covering over his emotions, but not before she had seen something surprising. There was hurt in his eyes. Could what Professor Dumbledore said be true? Did Severus have feelings for her?
This might be the perfect time to find out. She wasn't completely sure how she felt about Severus, but she knew that she felt sick every time she imagined him marrying someone else. She might not be in love yet but it certainly looked like she was heading there. Her stomach flipped with nerves at what she was about to do but she took a deep breath and looked him straight in the eye as she said, "That depends. Is December 24th good for you? I've always wanted to get married on Christmas Eve but if you'd prefer we married on a different date, you'd better tell me now."
Severus' jaw dropped in shock. Surely she hadn't just said what he though she said. "Wha-what-what did you say?" He winced in disgust as he heard himself sputtering like a brainless Gryffindor but he couldn't help himself. He felt like she had given him a good wallop upside the head with her slayer strength and taken away his senses. He knew he must look a fool and that was the last thing he wanted if she had actually said what he hoped she said.
Complete and utter shock and distaste at her suggestion was so not what Buffy had been hoping for. He looked like he'd rather bathe in acid than marry her. Albus was wrong. Severus didn't have feelings for her. Why had she listened to him? Why had she gotten her hopes up? Perhaps it time she accepted the inevitable fact that Slayers were meant to be alone. "I-Nothing. It was nothing. It's late and I'm exhausted," Buffy said, backing away. She kept her eyes trained on the floor, not wanting to see the disgust, or worse, the pity on his face at her unreturned feelings for him. "I'm just going to head on up to bed," she said turning away to head down the hall. She needed to get away from him. Now.
Severus stared in disbelief at her retreating back. That's it? She was just going to ignore what she said and hope he'd forget it? Like hell he would. He was damn well going to hold her to it. She was going to find herself married to him before she could come to her senses and realize she wanted more than a snarky, antisocial, former death eater. His eyes narrowed in determination and he stalked after her with a stride and demeanor that would have sent fear even into his Slytherins.
Lost in her thoughts, Buffy didn't hear him. Too busy beating herself up over what had just happened she was completely unaware of his approach. So she was completely surprised by what happened next.
"Oh no you don't," Severus snarled as he grabbed Buffy by the wrist and swung her around.
She found herself pinned to the wall with her hands captured and held in Severus's own above her head. The lean body with its quiet strength that she had admired on many occasions when his robes had billowed just right giving her a tantalizing glimpse of what lay beneath, pressed her into the tapestry that cushioned her head from the stone wall and held her there. Before she could recover from her shock, Severus parted her legs with one of his. With calculated intent, he pressed his hips into the space he'd just made for them and gloried in the involuntary moan the Slayer had just given at his actions. She wasn't as unaffected by him as she would have him believe. Severus leaned close and put his mouth beside the Slayer's ear. Because it looked so tempting he swiped the lobe with his tongue before pulling it into his mouth for a gentle nibble.
Buffy's stomach flipped and her nipples tightened at his actions. She tilted her head to the side in an unconscious invitation for more and was ignored.
Severus let go of the flesh he had captured. "Now, I believe we were discussing something," Severus purred in her ear.
Buffy shivered at his silken tones. With her Slayer strength she could easily break free of his hold, but she had to admit she was enjoying herself a little too much to bother. He felt so good pressed against her with their bodies meeting in all the right places. She waited breathlessly to see what he would do next.
"You just proposed to me, in a manner of speaking, and fled before I could give you my answer. And I very much want to answer your question," Severus breathed into Buffy's ear before lowering his head to nuzzle her throat. He didn't know what had made her see him as a possibility for marriage when she had kept him in friend mode for so long, but he wasn't about to let her take it back.
He trailed a line of kisses down her neck before stopping at the point where her neck met her shoulder. There he licked and nibbled while Buffy trembled. He raised his head a minute later to admire the mark he left. His eyes ran over her familiar features wanting to memorize this moment. She was gorgeous.
He shifted both of Buffy's hands to his right and ran his left hand up and down her side while he breathed in her scent. On every upsweep his thumb paused slightly on the sides of her breast but never lingered, never moved inward. Every shiver, every catch of her breath was like manna to a starving man. The evidence that she could actually be attracted to him, the man everyone termed a greasy git at best, made his head whirl. He wanted to draw it out, miss no opportunity to know what pleased her and savor every bit of evidence that said she was affected by him.
It was maddening. Heat was sweeping over Buffy and she could barely think straight. He was torturing her. She needed a moment to breathe. "Well?" she reminded him, when it looked as if he wasn't going to say anything more.
"Well what?" He smirked knowingly.
"Dammit Severus," Buffy swore at him in exasperation. "You know what!" She arched her breast trying to get his touch where she needed it most, but the damned bastard just moved his hand away until she settled back against the wall.
"No, I don't think I know. You'll have to tell me," He ordered. He began to trace circles around her nipples admiring the way they jutted against the fabric of her shirt.
"Your answer," Buffy reminded him. "What the heck is your answer?" she demanded, frustration almost making her growl the words.
"Ah Buffy, you'd make the deepest romantic swoon with your words." He chuckled low in his throat at the glare she leveled at him in response.
"So help me, Severus if you don't quit playing with me and answer the question I'll show you why vampires flee at the sight of me."
"You're sure it's not your sparkling personality?" He couldn't resist teasing her. The thrill of knowing she cared about his answer, that she was pursuing him was a heady feeling he wasn't quite ready to let go of.
But Buffy had had enough. She tore her hands from his hold and reversed their positions. Now he was the one pressed against the tapestry. Her hands pressed his to the wall in a grip he knew he'd never be able to break like she had so easily broken his.
She flexed the muscles in her hands threateningly and he decided to put her out of her misery. "The 24th is fine, Buffy."
"Fine?" Buffy questioned in disbelief. He had actually said yes?
"Yes." Severus thrust his hips meaningfully against hers. "Now let me go, Buffy and we'll celebrate."
"Celebrate?" She squeaked and blushed.
"Mmm, celebrate," Severus affirmed with his voice in silky tones that Buffy was beginning to think was made for sex, rolling his hips against hers in a manner that threatened to make her knees give out. She flushed hot all over. He was the one in her power, but it still felt like the other way around. She freed his hands and moaned when he immediately brought them up to cup her face as he gave her a kiss that curled her toes.
When they finally parted for air, Buffy was surprised to find that he had unbuttoned her shirt without her realizing it and his hands were taking advantage of her bra being pushed aside. Sneaky Slytherin. Her own hands were inside his robes caressing the butt Dumbledore had called her on ogling earlier. They definitely could not stay here in the hall. She glanced around warily and began buttoning up her shirt, her trembling fingers making the task difficult until Severus reluctantly helped. The last thing she wanted was to be caught by someone, especially Filch. She shuddered inside at that unsettling thought. She brought up the layout of the castle in her mind and realized his rooms were closer than hers at the moment.
Once her shirt was buttoned she danced out of his reach and gave him a playful grin. "Race you to the dungeons?" was all the warning she gave him before she took off down the hall.
Snape laughed as he gave chase.
In a nearby alcove where they had been crammed inside to avoid discovery by the fleeing adults, Ron turned to Harry with a dazed expression. "Please tell me that didn't happen and I'm hallucinating from the lack of sleep?"
Harry swallowed uneasily. "I'd really like to, Ron but I don't think I can."
The red haired Gryffindor moaned in despair. "I'm traumatized. I'll be scarred for life. My eyes, my eyes, why did you betray me?"
"Oh hush you two." Hermione rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Honestly! I think it's romantic."
"Romantic?" Ron and Harry echoed, horror written on their faces at the thought of that word being associated in any manner with the Potions professor.
"Yes, romantic," Hermione confirmed determinedly. "They're obviously in love with each other."
Harry held up his hands in protest. "Please Hermione, stop, I beg you."
Ron held his hands over his ears and whimpered.
Hermione let out a sound of disgust. "Not even you two can be that thick. You had to have noticed the way they've been dancing around each other?"
They both shook their heads in mute denial.
"Oh for Pete's sake," she muttered as she swept out of the alcove, adjusting the invisibility cloak and continuing on their original mission, a trip to the restricted section of the library. "I definitely need more female friends. These two wouldn't know romance if it sauntered up and bit them on the ass."
"Hermione!" Two voices echoed in shock at her language behind her before stumbling out of the alcove in her wake. After all, she had the invisibility cloak.
Well that's it, unless I get any more ideas on where to take it from here. Please let me know what you think.