She Never Learns

By Somigliana

Disclaimer: Severus and Septima belong to JK Rowling, of course.

If the dancing, laughing, celebrating witches and wizards had looked closely enough, they might have seen an incongruous speck of a shimmer hovering in the air, subtly refracting the light of thousands of floating candles.

But the war was finally over, and the stale mantra of Constant Vigilance had been abandoned at the double-doors of Hogwarts' Great Hall.

Nobody heard the light whirr of wings above the music that throbbed against the walls, and spilt out into the gardens, drifting on the wind towards Hogsmeade.

The press had been denied entry to the end of war celebration, but once again, Rita-bug-Skeeter had triumphed: Disillusioned and in Animagus form, she flittered about, seeking her scoop.

Flying a wide berth around that frizzy-haired hussy, Hermione Granger, and then dodging Nymphadora Lupin and her brood of rainbow-haired, snotty-nosed were-pups, she moved out into the gardens, seeking those with more clandestine celebrations in mind.

She found her story, not in a shadowed corner of the grounds, nor under a rosebush, but high up on the North Tower. She dipped in the air slightly, surprise catching even her most seasoned reporting mind off guard, then settled on a rampart, watching with morbid fascination …

To the light strains of music that had filtered up them, Severus Snape was dancing with Septima Vector, cheek-to-cheek.

Merlin, what a story! The acquitted, former villain of Hogwarts and the brilliant Arithmancer—her war scenario calculations had won much ground against the Death Eaters—were … having it on. No, that wouldn't do for the story. She'd have to embellish on that. Definitely.

They parted and Snape cupped the rather plain looking (Rita thought nastily) witch's cheek, and smiled. Circe, that's rather scary, she thought. Although, his teeth were surprisingly clean tonight. Sparkling, in fact.

"It is finally over, Septima," he said softly, his thumb grazing her jaw.

Rita squirmed a little. Snape had always had the most compelling voice, rich and dark, like bitter chocolate.

Her hand reached up to cover his, her fingers curling familiarly around his wrist. Rita realised then that this was no spur of the moment snog. How long has this been going on?

"Yes," the witch said, smiling in return—a loving smile that spoke of deep affection, perhaps even adoration. "And now we can live again."

Snape closed his eyes for a moment and Rita scuttled closer, enthralled by the open emotion on the dour man's face, the edge of vulnerability that she'd never imagined he had. "Thank you … for your support … through everything." His words held a hidden implication that Rita could not unravel. But she held her buggy breath, anticipating declarations of love … perhaps even a marriage proposal. Now that … that would be headline news indeed.

"Always, husband."

Shocked by this revelation, Rita Skeeter lost control over her Animagus form and landed, sprawled on the cold stone of the tower's roof.

The last thing she saw was twin streaks of red, flaring through the air towards her.

Author's Notes: Written for Livejournal community, romancingwizard, for the An Evening With Severus Snape, 500 word challenge. The prompt was: His teeth were surprisingly clean tonight. Sparkling, in fact.