Defamation of Character
Summary: Realizing that the characters of the romance novels his students read in his class are based on himself and other members of the Hogwarts' staff, Severus Snape sets out to find the author.
Hermione Granger is a freelance journalist and part-time romance novelist. Her romance series is a smashing success. As she pens the latest addition in the series, a dark, mysterious stranger lays claim to the vacation villa and her heart.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and her lawyers. I promise to put the characters back when I am done playing with them.
Rating: M for sexual content.
Author's Notes: The first five chapters of this story have been beta read by Kathy Rose and Larilee. I owe them so much.
Even though the heat of summer was outside his door, he stoked the fire and gulped his drink. There was so much to burn, so much satisfaction to be reaped from his annual ritual. Although he preferred the cool crisp bite of Autumn the most, Summer was a close second. After all, he was beginning to become bored with initiating first-years into the cruelty of his character. His strategy certainly did pay off. Most students dropped Potions as soon as they could.
With a delirious smirk, Severus Snape tore the pages from the romance book and chuckled as he threw them into the fire. His drunken stupor helped take the edge off his current activity, for he was not in the habit of burning books. But this was the exception to the rule. This contraband had been the bane of his existence for the last school year.
He had made it perfectly clear that any student caught with a copy of The Darkest Magic by Perdita Winters would receive a week's detention. Unfortunately, he couldn't expel them, much less flail them and make them read important works of literature or Potions journals.
Instead of studying or bettering themselves, the female students had been content to muddle their brains with putrid romance books and silly gossip magazines. The older students had, undoubtedly influenced by said romance books and raging hormones, made his professional life a living hell. This past school year had been a record. The Potions master of Hogwarts, the greasy git, the bat of the dungeons, had been propositioned by thirty-six students -- and not all of those propositions had been made by female students!
He didn't know which was worse -- the inappropriate propositions or the continued threats on his life.
Severus tore another swath of pages from the book, listening to the startled gasps of the characters on the pages as their fictional universe was decimated. It was a charmed book, one that read to you. He wadded the paper and tossed it into the fire, gaining a perverse sense of pleasure as he listened to the horrified screams.
Tossing what was left of the book onto the stack, he reached for his decanter and poured more firewhisky into his glass.
"…his silken rod deep into her slick channel," a soft voice narrated as the tattered book fell open. "He captured her lips, greedily drinking the husky cries of passion from them."
Looking around the room for the sultry voice, Severus stumbled toward the novel that was open. Bloody, fucking nuisance!
"Breaking the kiss, Cassandra panted helplessly. 'Please, Simon!' she pleaded as she thrust her hips in unison with his, welcoming his possession and needing fulfillment.
"'Cassandra,' growled Simon. His dark, lank hair caressed her cheek as he nuzzled her hair with his prominent nose. Her sheath was tight and blissful. He could barely move, the ecstasy of claiming this mortal weighing heavily upon his soul."
"What a load of rubbish!" Severus grumbled, dropping to his knees and sorting through the pile.
"The dark wizard was relentless as he thrust into her. Her analytical mind, the logic she had adhered to all her life, had been shattered. Science dictated that there was no such thing as magic, but she could no longer ignore her senses."
The feminine voice continued spewing the character's innermost thoughts. "Simon had shown her a world science could not explain. His black eyes opened and peered into hers. She could feel him, not only intimately imbedded within her body, but in her mind as well.
"Just as he had pierced the veil of her innocence, his thoughts pierced her soul. His desire became hers. The high arch of his brow furrowed in agony. 'Are you certain, Cassandra?' he asked, his husky inflection shaky with lust."
Severus tossed copies of the book over his shoulder and into the fire, trying to locate the offensive material. No wonder their hormones are raging! Dialogue during sex was ridiculous – intimate, but ridiculous! The talentless hack was a witch. Of that much he was certain, obviously a witch who had not bothered to research the art of Legilimency.
You don't give your thoughts away. Legilimency is not mind reading! There is no such thing as telepathy.
"'Yes,' whimpered Cassandra. 'Complete the ritual, Simon.'
"He only hoped his knowledge could bring her back from the brink of the darkness she would face at his hand. Her faith in his abilities was awe-inspiring. He only hoped it wasn't misplaced. This is the battle he had trained for. All of his knowledge of the Dark Arts would be tested and tried.
"As much as it pained him to pull away from her, Simon garnered his strength and shivered as he mourned the loss of her pulsing heat. He had to collect the blood of her innocence. Only that which she sacrificed willingly would release those bound in the web of damnation.
"The evil sorceress' desire for immortality held no boundaries and…"
Grasping the book, Severus slammed it shut and stopped the incessant drivel. For the sake of his sanity and libido, he tossed it into the fire. The voice of the narrator melted, her screams of indignation doing little to douse the problem he now faced.
His erection strained against the confines of his trousers. "Bloody hell!" The images had him rock hard. He couldn't remember the last woman he had bedded, probably a whore from Knockturn Alley. But just the idea of a warm, moist, willing woman underneath him made his Slytherin blood boil.
Frustrated and pissed, he grabbed one of the many copies of The Darkest Magic and skimmed the summary of the book.
Her world was logic and science. It was all she had ever known. Always a science prodigy, Cassandra had immersed herself in her research. When a dark stranger appeared before her and compelled her to take his hand, she did so willingly.
Simon Sanders' mission had been so simple – kill Cassandra to prevent her mother, the Sorceress, from enslaving all in the magical realm. Cassandra's innocence had touched his dark soul in a way no one else had. Always one with an agenda of his own, Simon decided to save the scientist.
In saving her, will he save himself? The magical world…"
Severus scoffed and tossed the book into the dwindling flames. "A 'hero' with an 'agenda,'" he commented snidely. "He should just bed her, then kill her. At least she would serve some purpose. A Muggle research scientist! Undoubtedly some drab-looking, yet smashingly erotic heroine."
Realizing that he was talking to himself, he toasted the fireplace and drained the amber liquor. He plopped down in his rickety chair and flipped one of the books, one that wasn't charmed, open to a random page and started to read.
Glaring into his dark, steely eyes, Cassandra struggled against her bindings. "And what do you do while you aren't abducting defenseless mortals?"
Simon smirked, his crooked teeth showing. "I teach."
Severus fell out of his chair, but kept reading.
She watched him stir something into his cauldron, hatred for him growing. His elegant hands added ingredients and she couldn't help but admire the ease with which he did so. "You're a teacher!" she exclaimed. "What do you teach? How to Be a Criminal 101?"
Sensing her unease, Simon placed the lid on the simmering cauldron and purposely delayed answering. She was afraid. She should be. "Not quite."
His knuckles turned white as he clutched the book tightly and kept reading.
Walking around the table, Simon knelt in front of his captive. "I teach my students how to defend themselves against Dark Magic."
Cassandra huffed in exasperation. "I don't believe in any of this. You need help. I have friends who can help you."
Even after everything she had seen him do, the woman did not believe in magic. He didn't know whether he should pity her or worry about her. Magic existed, whether she believed it or not. With a swift, menacing move, he untied her ankles and forced her knees apart. Pressing intimately against her, he rubbed his prominent nose against her cheek. He could feel the moist heat against his cock, even through the layer of their clothing. "Perhaps you're the one who could use the help," he teased.
Looking up, Severus peered into the fire. "Dark, lank hair. Dark, steely eyes. Prominent nose. Teaches." He flipped to the last few pages of the book, searching for some intangible clue as realization dawned upon him.
The old sorcerer limped down the grand corridor of the empty school, leaning heavily on his second-in-command. "She is enchanting, is she not?" he asked the woman next to him.
The woman snorted, half in disgust and half in approval, her Irish brogue thick with annoyance. "One of these days, your meddling will cause more harm than good, Albert."
"Yet you approve, Melinda," Albert chuckled.
Rolling her eyes, Melinda hid a smile behind a cough. "I hardly think staging the Second Coming was worth it!"
"Oh, that!" Albert did not even have the decency to look chagrined. "The end justified the means."
Severus slammed the book shut and dropped it as though it were a viper ready to strike. He climbed into the chair and glared at the pile of books, his drunken stupor loosing its oblivious edge. Melinda and Albert! Undoubtedly Minerva and Albus! The similarities were too great to ignore.
The constant interruptions of lovelorn sighs and silly giggles in his classes were not the signs of the apocalypse. Those books! They weren't just some absurd romantic dribble, written by some old-maid spinster.
This book was based on a former student's demented fantasies – fantasies that involved him! He could feel the lines in his face tighten as he frowned. "Perdita Winters," he murmured softly, tossing the name around in his head and unable to recall ever teaching a student by that name.
Some student had reaped the ultimate revenge. He was a laughingstock! Stumbling to stand, he knocked the stack over and cursed as two of the talking books fell open and the narrators' voices filled the room.
The flames in the fireplace burned brighter as he fed book after incessant book onto the fire.
"…her slight weight on top of him. He bit his lip and growled as his semi-erect cock nestled against her moist feminine core. All he had to do was shift a little to the right and he would have her, but the desire to taste her overruled his baser instinct. As Simon moved beneath her, Cassandra nuzzled her cheek against the hair on his chest…"
"I do not have a hairy chest!" Severus declared in triumph as he found the offending book and snapped it shut.
"…missed her, the ache in his gut was endless…"
"Perhaps he should eat a decent meal," huffed Severus as he slammed the book shut.
Pacing the length of the room, his rage simmered. He unsheathed his wand, and with a derisive flick of his wrist, Vanished the rest of the rubbish on his floor. If he had to, he would Vanish every copy of the tripe.
With a determined stride, Severus walked up to the first desk in a long line of cubicles and waited. Aurors milled around the room, conversing with one another and dodging paper airplanes as the correspondences flew about the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Clearing his throat pointedly and glaring at the nearest Auror, who ignored him, he tapped his foot in annoyance.
A blonde head popped over the cubicle wall in surprise. The expression on the Auror's face was one of annoyance. "Somebody will be with you in a moment," the man stated and turned his back to him. "Tonks! It's your turn!"
Severus closed his eyes as the cruel twist of fate presented itself. Fuck! Normally, he was more eloquent, but he was still slightly hung over from last night's bonfire. No matter how hard he tried, he simply could not brew Hang-over Potion while he was hung over. It was one of life's cruel ironies -- that and the fact that a fellow Order member would be taking his complaint.
Nymphadora Tonks leaned back in her chair and glanced down the aisle. Her dark brown eyes twinkled mischievously once she realized who it was. "Wotcher, Snape!"
Ignoring her attempt of a greeting, Severus walked past the front desk and down the aisle of Aurors. "I've come to file a complaint," he said, pushing his way into Tonk's cubicle and noticing the numerous pictures of Remus Lupin dotting the walls. He rolled his eyes. "Is there anyone else who is capable of taking my complaint?"
Unperturbed, Tonks shoved a bunch of paperwork around on her desk and smiled. "This is your lucky day, Snape. It's my day to take complaints."
Pursing his lips, Severus stared at her. At least it wasn't Potter's day to take complaints. Having managed to "save" one of the books, he set it on the table and pushed it across to her with a look of disdain that made him look as though he smelled something distasteful. "I wish to file a complaint against the author of this book. She is willfully endangering the magical community with her fiction, and is using Hogwarts' staff as the basis for the characters."
Grinning like a child at Christmastime, Tonks snatched the book up and flipped it over, reading the back. "Bees Knees, Severus! Where'd you get this? Flourish and Blotts has been sold out for weeks. Even Muggle stores are sold out. May I borrow your copy?"
The absurdity of her request floated between them for a slow-motion moment. Snatching the book away, he stood to leave. "I can see this is a complete waste of my time."
Tonks' eyes sent wide with confusion. "You don't have to be an arse about it," she murmured, then quirked her eyebrow. "Why do you want to file a complaint?"
Slamming the blasted book onto the table, Severus leaned forward. "Because I don't see what's so funny or fantastic about being made a laughingstock. I am in no way flattered that some former student has used me for her insipid fantasies."
The Auror's lack of an intelligent response was even more off-putting based on the fact that she wasn't even looking at him. Instead, she was reading the summary on the back of the book. "I've read bits and pieces of this tripe," he continued, hoping that his words would sink into the former Order member's thought processes. "Do you not find it disconcerting that Ms. Winters has jeopardized the entire Wizarding community for her personal gain?"
"This is great!" exclaimed Tonks. "I wondered when she would write Simon's story. I can hardly wait to read it. He sounds like a right bastard."
Severus slammed his fist on the table. "Are you even listening to me?"
Tonks looked up from the book and smiled. "Yes, and I don't see where you have a valid complaint. The International Statute of Secrecy has cleared Ms. Winters' books as works of fiction. All authors must submit their books to the committee if they are trying to get published for Muggles to read. As far as your charge regarding any similarities…" Tonks giggled. "I've read books one and two, and –"
"You mean to tell there are other books?" His jaw ached for he was clenching his jaw tightly.
"Oh yes!" She caressed the book lovingly. "This is the third book in the series. The first one, Eternal Magic, had Melinda and Albert in it. The second book had Richard and Nadora in it. That's my favorite one. Richard is a werewolf and Nadora is a bounty hunter who is after him. I was wondering when –"
Severus started banging on the bell on the desk in indignation. "Are you even listening to me?"
The bell had the desired effect and the normally affable witch frowned. "Yes," she mumbled.
"Are you planning on arresting the…the…author of this rubbish?"
"Uh, no," she replied. "But I will more than happy to take your complaint."
The nightmare unfolded before him, feeding his foul temper into a seething rage.
"Excuse me, Professor Snape," a confident voice greeted him and he turned around to see a sharply dressed Percy Weasley standing behind him. "I couldn't help but overhear your distress. Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yes," snapped Tonks. "You can get lost, sleazy git."
Ignoring the Auror's slight, Percy smiled. "As I was saying… I overheard parts of the conversations and, judging by what I heard, you are not satisfied with the result offered by Tonks."
"Why you little blighter! Just wait until I tell your father and mother that you're trolling for clients."
At first Severus was puzzled, but then he remembered hearing something about Percy Weasley leaving the Ministry and becoming a barrister. At least the Weasley spawn had stayed true to his ambitions. For that, he respected the thin, freckle-laden, redhead, even though he had been a pain in the arse during his tenure as Prefect and Head-Boy.
Percy offered his business card to him. "For your information, Tonks, I was visiting my father, not trolling for clients."
Taking the card from the barrister, Severus flipped it over in his hand. He was obviously not going to get any satisfaction with due process. Why shouldn't he seek legal representation? After all, one could always use a good lawyer on one's side. "I'll contact your office and arrange an appointment, Mr. Weasley."
"There's no need for such formalities, Professor Snape," Percy assured him, motioning him to move toward the lift. "I have two hours available and would be more than honored if you allowed me to assist you."
Sticking her finger down her throat in a juvenile manner, Tonks gagged at the display of grandiose flattery.
With a satisfied smirk, Severus ignored the Auror and followed Percy Weasley.
"My mother and wife read this rubbish," the redheaded wizard announced, tossing the book onto his grossly ornate desk, and then straightening the papers which had been disturbed.
At the mention of his family life, Severus quirked an eyebrow in silent question. Surely, the ambitious Percy Weasley was not living at home. The thought alone did little to inspire his confidence in the meeting.
"It's a very popular series," Percy stated as he leaned back in his chair. "I think thirty-three percent should be adequate."
Severus nodded for him to go on. "Seeing as you have already determined your fee, what is your plan?"
Percy pressed a button on his desk and spoke into a box on his desk. "Ginny, I need you."
Somehow he kept himself from rolling his eyes. It was almost as though the arrogant prat was playing the part of a lawyer. Severus had half a mind to tell Percy Weasley to sod off and get a respectable career. He watched as Weasley twirled his quill between his thumb and forefinger as though he was unsure what to write.
Heaving a sigh of exasperation, Percy placed his quill in the ink well and stood up. He pushed his spectacles up on his nose and walked to the office door. Opening it, he poked his head out and all Severus could hear was a murmured plea for his secretary/sister to join them.
As the two Weasley siblings entered the room, Severus groaned.
"…Not your servant, Percy," Ginny Weasley chastised. "Ring that bell one more time and I'll walk. Then you'll have to get a real secretary and – Oh! Hello, Professor Snape! What are you doing here?"
What had he been thinking? He needed a real lawyer, not someone playing at being one. "I was just leaving," he said, unraveling his tall, thin frame from the chair.
"P-Professor Snape," stammered Percy nervously and ignored the obvious hint that he had been dismissed. "Please have a seat so that we may discuss the lawsuit against the publishing company."
"What publishing company?" asked Ginny, clearly at a loss.
Reluctantly, he sat down on the edge of the seat. He had not considered Mr. Weasley's idea of suing the publishing company. The pompous prat's suggestion had merit. "Go on."
Taking his place behind his desk like an imperial regent, Percy cleared his throat. "Romance Rabble won't know what hit them. Ginny take notes…please."
"Romance Rabble?" Ginny asked, twisting a strand of hair around her finger nervously. "What in the name of Merlin are you talking about, Percy?"
As if he was trying to brew a complex potion, Percy looked up and stared at his former professor expectantly and blushed. "My apologies, Professor Snape. I only heard part of the conversation at the Ministry. Why were you filing a complaint?"
Severus glared at Percy. "Once again, Gryffindor brashness moves me."
"More importantly, why are you suing Romance Rabble?" asked Ginny, sitting on her brother's desk.
He could not ignore the edge of curiosity in her voice. She's a former student. The wheels in his mind started turning and his paranoia reared its ugly head. Was it possible that she had written the atrocity?
Watching her reaction carefully, Severus took the book and handed it to her. "One of my former students has taken it upon herself to make a mockery of my life by casting me as the lead in a romance novel. All year long, students have snickered behind my back."
"And for that you are suing Romance Rabble? And how do you know it's a former student?" she asked quickly.
Severus fingered his wand, tempted to use Legilimency on the youngest Weasley.
"Whether it was malicious intent or delusions of grandeur, this work of fiction is a poorly veiled attack on my character."
Percy watched the exchange with interest.
Picking the book up and giving it a cursory look, Ginny snorted. It was no genteel cough of laughter, but a guttural expulsion of amusement, one that showed her rambunctious upbringing and roots. "I've read this book and I do not see what you are talking about, Professor Snape. As for delusions of grandeur, perhaps it is you who suffers from the condition."
"Ginny!" It appeared as though Percy would die from embarrassment.
A cruel smirk curled a corner of his lips. "Either way, Miss Weasley, I intend to pursue this matter to the fullest extent of the law."