Author's Note: This story is dedicated to MollyCoddles, who lured me over to the colourful(underscore between)bat LJ community, and didn't make fun of me when I said I could only write Snape/Tonks as long as it was pre-Remus. :D. This fic, inspired by the prompts 'wrath' and 'red: passion, energy, determination' takes place in a different dimension of the Potterverse than my R/T stories. In the other dimension, Tonks and Snape never had a romance. Here, they will!
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
Her boyfriend was late, and Tonks was growing angrier by the minute. Frustrated with his assurances that they would not hide their relationship forever, and infuriated by the thought the girl who was probably clinging to his sleeve at this very moment, she clenched her teeth. Priscilla Parkinson needed a hex.
She paced back and forth in front of the window seat in the far corner of the library's Restricted Section, telling herself she should leave. Maybe if the high-and-mighty Evan Rosier the Second had to wait in vain for once, he would be more punctual.
Tonks shook her head. No, he wouldn't. His father may have been a Death Eater, but her boyfriend was still the Wizarding equivalent of aristocracy. He never waited for anyone.
An arrogant pure-blood, Evan had more self-assurance in the pinkie he claimed not to crook while drinking tea than she had in her entire body. That poise, along with his sly humour and his admiration for her abilities as a Metamorphmagus were what attracted her and kept her waiting for the time to be 'right' for him to openly claim a half-blood as his girlfriend.
Tonks exhaled sharply and marched over to the nearest stack, looking for a distraction. She learned through doing more than from texts, but enjoyed books. Celtic Lore and Spells caught her eye. She pulled the musty tome from the shelf and took it over to the window seat.
The table of contents divided the book into seasons. She leafed through the pages. It was summer's end, the time of year when night became longer than day, and the Holly King, the Celtic representation of death and darkness, ruled the land taken from the Oak King at Summer Solstice.
It was interesting to see that depictions of the Holly King varied between drawings of a giant of a man wearing holly leaves and wielding a holly bush as a club to a figure reminiscent of Hades. Since his consort was the Spring Maiden, a Persephone-type goddess whose hand was 'won' in combat twice a year, Tonks preferred the lean, shadowy portrait.
She said, "Ouch!" when the book snapped shut, catching her fingertips.
Her eyes flew up to meet the gaze of a handsome, blue-eyed boy. Evan smirked, waving his wand to re-shelve the book. "Serves you right for ogling another bloke." He strolled over to sit beside her.
She half-heartedly tried to pull away when he lifted her hand to kiss her fingertips. "I wasn't ogling anything.I was reading about Celtic mythology."
"I thought it must be Braille the way you were rubbing your fingers over that chap's picture."
Tonks ran the backs of her fingers down his cheek. "Surely you don't think I could prefer anyone's looks to yours?"
Evan's smile was a blend of charm and cunning. "I'd be reassured if you rubbed me more."
She slid her fingers into golden strands. "Like this?"
Her heart pounded when he began to unbutton her uniform shirt. "Like this," he murmured, fingers circling over her collarbone before moving lower.
Tonks drew in a breath to protest and found it stolen by Evan's kiss. He knew how to caress her mouth and body in ways that made it difficult to remember she was not ready to be seduced into intimacy. His lips hardened over hers, distracting her from the roaming of his hands until they released the front clasp of her bra.
"Stop," she said.
"You don't mean that." Evan kissed her passionately.
"Stop," a voice commanded.
The voice belonged to Professor Snape. Tonks sat frozen, staring at Evan's doom laden expression until the teacher said sharply, "Straighten your clothing."
Evan pulled his tie into place while she refastened her blouse with hands that shook so badly, it seemed to take forever to shove each button through its hole.
"Sir," Evan said. "We...we were—"
"I saw what you were doing," Snape cut in.
Tonks could not meet the man's eyes. If his expression was as cold as his tone, she might do something embarrassing, like bursting into tears.
On her first day of school, she had watched a girl cry when called a dunderhead and vowed Snape would never intimidate her like that. Slender and austere, the professor reminded Tonks of a fencing master. He used his sarcasm and biting wit like a sword, cutting students down to size.
"My aplogies, sir. It won't happen again."
Evan sounded sincere, but she could feel his foot press against hers, revealing that he was only saying what his Head of House wanted to hear. They had been secretly going together since the end of sixth year, and had no plans to stop seeing each other.
"We shall see, Mr. Rosier. Return to Slytherin House."
When Evan rose to his feet, Tonks stood too.
"I have not given you permission to leave, Miss Tonks," said Snape, when she moved to follow her boyfriend out of the Restricted Section.
"Sorry, sir, it won't happen again," she said, thinking he wanted her assurance as well as Evan's. She tensed when her downcast eyes beheld teaching robes sweeping toward her.
"Look at me and say that."
She shook her head. "I'd rather not, sir."
"Why is that?" he said, in voice so soft, she had to strain to hear it. Her stomach dropped. When Snape whispered in class, someone was usually in deep trouble.
Tonks bit her lip. "I'm embarrassed." It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the whole truth. Evan had bragged that the Head of Slytherin House was a better Legilimens than Dumbledore, so she knew better than to give Snape access to her mind.
"Really?" he said. "I see no blush of shame on your cheeks."
Anger overrode caution. She raised her chin. "I don't have anything to be ashamed of."
His eyes fixed on hers, black and piercing. Images came to mind of her and Evan snogging in linen cupboards, unused classrooms, and a tiny, walled garden at the back of the castle.
Snape abruptly turned away. "The book on the grass in the memory," he said quietly. "Was it yours or Rosiers?"
Her face was burning. It took a moment to comprehend what he was asking. Evan had requested that she 'pop round the library and pick up a book on counter hexes' before she met him in the garden last week. "Erm...mine."
"Library books are not to be taken outside the school." His expression was implacable. "Your Hogsmeade privileges are revoked."
She lunged and grabbed his sleeve when he began to walk away. "No! You can't do that! Take points if you have to, but let me go to Hogsmeade tomorrow." She and Evan were meeting at the Shrieking Shack for a picnic.
He stared down at her hand as if it were a flesh-eating slug. Tight-lipped, he said, "Five points from Hufflepuff for impertinence. Hogsmeade privileges stand revoked."
Tonks drew back as if the fine black cloth had burnt her fingers. "You're not my Head of House! Only Professor Sprout can do that."
Snape arched a brow. His tone was sardonic when he said, "By all means, lead the way to Sprout's office—if you wish to risk losing your privileges for the entire year."
Her face crumpled. "Are Evan's privileges revoked too?"
"That isn't fair!"
A sneer curled his mouth. "Life isn't fair, and since the woman must bear the consequences of passion," he said darkly, "You'll bear them now."
How dare he stand there looking down his long nose at her! Her face twisted with fury. "You're antiquated and sexist and—"
"One more word and I will march you to Sprout's office."
Her nails dug into her palms. Her mother always said the Blacks had dangerous tempers, but this was the first time Tonks felt it flare violently. She closed her eyes shut so tightly, she literally saw red.
"Compose yourself," she heard Snape say, "And learn a lesson."
She laughed bitterly when he left. The pompous, arrogant arse still thought girls responsible for 'drawing the line' in a relationship and boys couldn't be blamed for taking whatever they could get. Not only was the double standard infuriating, the malevolent bat thought she should learn a lesson from it!
Maybe I should teach him a lesson.
The more Tonks considered the idea, the more seductive it became. Professor Snarky thought women should draw the line, did he? How would he like a woman to raise his cadaverous temperature to hot and bothered and then say, "Sorry, I can't?"
She flopped onto the window seat and tapped her fingers against her lips. The 'who,' and 'what' of payback were easy to grasp, but the 'where', 'when', and 'how' needed help.
Inspiration sparked. She jumped to her feet and took the Celtic mythology book off the shelf. Earlier, she had practised Bibliomancy in Divination. She personally believed it was a crock, but right then, she was willing to hope it would reveal something useful.
First, she balanced the book on its spine and then allowed the pages to fall open. After closing her eyes, Tonks reached down with a finger and then read aloud, "The Green Lady is the daughter of flora and light, known for healing and breathing life into seeds and growing plants. In Gaul, forest sprites, called 'green ladies,' tease travellers and lead men astray with passionate lovemaking."
She began to grin as a wickedly good plan came to mind. A couple of weeks ago, Evan said Priscilla overheard Trelawney inviting Snape up for a drink after one of her rare visits to eat in the Great Hall. It was not the first time she had asked, either. Everyone in Slytherin considered the teacher even dottier for fancying Snape.
Tonks looked at an illustration of a woman in a flowing gown. What if Snape got a fake note from Trelawney, asking him to meet her beneath a willow near the lake? Wouldn't he leave his dungeon, if only out of curiosity?
If he found a mysterious beauty calling herself the Green Lady, he would naturally think his colleague had outdone herself to capture his interest. He would be intrigued, teased into making a move, and then be told, 'No. I'm sorry.' She would swan back to her House, enjoying the cold sweetness of revenge.
Her laughter must have carried further than she thought, because Charlie Weasley strolled back to say, "Uh, Tonks? Your evil cackles scared a firstie into running out of the library."
"How did you know it was my cackling?" She rolled her eyes. "On second thought, don't answer that." Hopping off the window seat, she slipped the book into place on the shelf and hooked her arm through his. "Mate, I need a favour," she said. "Use your prefect powers to get me up to the attics, please."
Charlie wasn't much taller than she was. Brown eyes stared into hers dubiously. "Why?"
She widened her gaze. "I need to borrow a dress from one of the trunks."
"Julia wants to do a drawing." As she had with Snape, Tonks told the truth—her best mate Julia Clearwater had mentioned wanting to draw some of the period clothing the attic must hold—but left out the real reason: she wanted to wear it.
Up in the attics, Charlie watched her head directly to an area in the middle of the ordered jumble of boxes, trunks, and furniture. "Have you been up here before?" he asked, while she opened a brassbound trunk and lifted out a gauzy, classically styled gown.
She sniggered. "What makes you say that?"
"A wild guess." He shook his head. "Students aren't allowed up here."
"Really?" Tonks ducked behind a tapestry screen to try the dress on.
"What are you doing?" Charlie asked, although it had to be plain when her clothes were all hanging over the edge of the screen.
"I need a male opinion," she said, stepping out to give a wobbly curtsey. "I'm going for sexy forest sprite."
"The green dress and girdle fit the image, but—"
"Long black hair makes you think one of the furies, ready to hunt a man down and make his life a living hell?" She piled her hair on her head, enjoying the mental image of Snape begging for mercy.
"No, you're too...pretty."
Tonks made a face. "My heart-shaped face won't do. It's not elegant enough. What do you think about a Veela face with silvery-green hair?" She closed her eyes and thought of a famous French model, concentrating to morph her features.
"Wow. Bill would ask you to marry him. You're his dream girl, except for the hair." His smile was mischievous. "My brother prefers blondes."
She rummaged around the trunk and lifted out a hand mirror. The reflected image was exactly what she wanted. "Thanks for the help. Want me to morph my hair and take a picture later? I could sign the back 'to Charlie, love Monique' or something if you'd like."
Charlie began to chuckle. "Have Bill jealous of me for a change? I'd like that a lot."
Tonks sank to the floor in another curtsey.
On Saturday evening, students packed the Hufflepuff common room, listening to music and chatting about their day in the village.
Beneath a willow by the lake, the Green Lady stood waiting. Anticipation made her heart pound every time the wind rustled a frond. To set the scene, tiny illumination orbs hung suspended, casting diffused light, while a Charm warmed the chill October air. Tonks felt like a spider waiting to devour a greasy git of a fly—until her 'prey' thrust willow fronds aside to join her beneath the green canopy.
Black robes rippling in the slight breeze, shadows wreathing the lean planes of his face, Snape reminded her of someone. Before she could remember whom, he said, "I almost sent a note advising you to seek Albus' counsel, not mine." His eyes flickered over her. "What are you playing at, Sybill?"
"I'm not Sybill," she said in a low, husky voice. "I'm the Green Lady."
His lips thinned. "What did you use? An Appearance Charm? A potion?"
Instead of answering, she lifted a hand to stroke a willow frond. "Connecting with a tree in harmony with water soothes both those who are over-stimulated by their feelings and those cut off from them."
Snape's mouth curled derisively at her prevarication. "Something for both of us, is that it?"
Tonks laughed a little. He had no idea. "Yes."
Even in the muted light, she could see his eyes narrow. She hoped her laugh wasn't so distinctive that he would recognise her. Shifting her gaze to ensure he was unable to use Legilimency, she ran her fingers over the bark on the tree trunk. "If you touch the tree, physical contact will balance your body's energy and give you inspirational thoughts."
He spoke from directly behind her. "Is that why you constructed this tableau? To inspire me?"
Snape made her feel like she was in class trying to remember the instructions for a forgetfulness potion while he breathed down her neck, criticising everything from her chopping to her stirring. The only thing that was different was her response to him. In Potions, her reactions veered between anger and nervousness.
Her emotions at this moment were too disturbing to contemplate. She didn't want to know why her fingers trembled and her breathing hitched at the sound of his voice. She had wanted him to make a move so she could reject him and return to her House triumphant, but now the thought of him trying to kiss her made her stomach clench.
Snape's voice blended with the night, dark and silken. "What did you hope to inspire?"
It was not clumsy butterflies lurching about in her middle—that was certain! Her fantasy of being a fury wreaking havoc on a despicable mortal crumbled. He wasn't despicable, and she wasn't the embodiment of wrath. She was a silly schoolgirl. "I'm not sure anymore."
He made a non-committal sound. "What does the crown of ivy represent?"
Tonks shrugged. "It symbolises the feminine of nature while holly—" A sudden realisation made her gasp.
"What is it?"
She turned, making sure she didn't look him in the eye. "I realised who you remind me of. It's the Celtic Holly King, when he's drawn as Hades to the Spring Maiden's Persephone."
He smiled so briefly, she almost missed it. "How flattering."
Tonks smiled wryly. He might not think so, but ironically it was.
Snape reached out and lifted a lock of her hair. "Is Green Lady another term for Spring Maiden?" He rubbed the strands between his fingers.
"Green Woman is," she said. "I think I've jumbled my mythology the way I've muddled everything else tonight."
"Isn't this exactly what you wanted?"
Her eyes focused on his mouth. Thin lips curved slightly. The butterflies in her stomach were fluttering their wings madly. "Yes. No." She laughed shortly. "Told you I was mixed-up."
"Perhaps this will make certain matters clear." He bent his head and brushed his lips across hers.
Unlike her boyfriend, this man didn't seize a kiss, he tacitly requested one. Tension gripped her. Vengeance was hers if she pulled away, but a stronger need kept her feet rooted in place.
Snape rubbed his lips against hers, coaxing them open. Tonks sank into the kiss, tossing her plan to the wind. She leaned against him, longing to feel the touch of his hands and the caress of his tongue. When he deepened the embrace, teasing her lips before surging inside her mouth, the sensual pleasure made her breath catch.
She pressed closer, revelling in the contrast between her softness and his firm lips and body. Tonks quieted pangs of guilt by rationalising that she wasn't a student snogging a teacher, she was the Spring Maiden swept into the arms of the Holly King. She could not resist him. It was her fate.
His lips shifted to her throat. Tonks shivered as he placed his lips to the base where her pulse throbbed. Desire burned. She took his face in her hands to bring clever lips back to hers.
After another searing kiss, Snape grasped her arms and set her away from him. "You taste of Stringmints and chocolate, not sherry. If you're Sybill Trelawney, then I'm Gilderoy Lockhart. Who are you? Hooch? Sinistra? Tell me."
Tonks barely managed not to stare at him in shock. "I only claimed to be the Green Lady."
A hand fisted in her hair, tilting her head up. "Meet my eyes."
He let go of her hair and wrapped his long fingers around her wrist. "Then you shall visit my office and take Veritaserum."
Oh Merlin, she had to get away! Tonks silently cast a Body-Bind curse. Once the Petrificus Totalus took effect, she freed her wrist. "I can't tell you who I am." Her mind latched gratefully onto myth. "It's too close to Winter Solstice. We would only be separated when you return to the Underworld."
She took off her crown and laid the wreath of ivy at his feet. "If you wish to truly know me, I will return here at the Summer Solstice, when the Holly King regains his throne and the hand of the Spring Maiden, if he desires." On tiptoe, she pressed a kiss to his lips before picking up her skirts and pushing her way through cascading fronds to escape.
Before she returned to the castle, she stopped by Hagrid's hut and knocked on the back entrance. "Don't open the door!" she cried, hearing the turn of the handle. "Professor Snape needs assistance. He's beneath the willow by the lake." Tonks ran back down the steps and used a Disillusionment Charm to try to conceal herself before Hagrid could step outside and see her. She wasn't fast enough.
"It's the Green Woman!" she heard him exclaim.
Back in the attics, she stripped off the dress and placed it back into the trunk, torn between laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably. What had she done?
What haven't you done? Impersonated a goddess, snogged a teacher, and promised to return to him of all the daft things!
Tonks gave a watery laugh. Maybe she was mad to kiss a man and feel such heartfelt certainty that she was meant to stay in his arms. Now she would have to avoid eye contact with Snape for the rest of the year while at the same time praying he had felt the connection and wanted to be with her.
Not to mention dealing with the Oak King who'll be in a nark to lose the Spring Maiden.
Stars and stones, her life was about to get angst-filled. She closed the trunk and sat laughing, even while tears rolled down her face.
In June, when the village of Hogsmeade was preparing for a Midsummer's Festival, seventh year students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sat their NEWTS and left school.
Tonks boarded the Express with her classmates, only to return by Floo on the day of the Summer Solstice. The barman at the Hog's Head tavern scowled when she waved without buying a drink. She blew him a kiss in return, earning herself an even more disgusted look.
She walked through the village and took the path to Hogwarts, feeling a thrill of excitement mixed with apprehension. How would Snape react when he found out the Green Lady was his former student—the one who lacked the ability to behave herself? She didn't expect him to sweep her into his arms and make love to her beneath the willow, but what if he wanted nothing to do with her?
When she parted leafy fronds, Tonks drew up short to see a bottle and two glasses resting on a small table flanked by two chairs. The sound of a throat clearing made her eyes fly to the man standing beside the tree in casual robes. "You're early," she said.
The corner of Snape's mouth jumped up. "It is one of my pleasures to take others by surprise."
She laughed nervously, gesturing to her red-embroidered peasant top and denims. "I had planned to change."
"You mean morph."
Tonks hunched a shoulder. "Yeah, that too."
"Did you think I had not deduced your identity?"
She blinked. "What are you saying? You knew all along—how?"
He waved her to a seat and poured a glass of champagne. "A preponderance of circumstantial evidence."
She took the glass he offered with a smile of thanks before she asked, "Explain the preponderance part. I thought I kept my feelings well hidden."
"Too well," Snape said. "You never met my eyes once after that night." His brow winged upward. "That in itself was suspicious."
"What else?" she asked, taking a sip.
"You asked Hagrid to assist me. A colleague would have run to Dumbledore."
"So you suspected a student. I couldn't be the only girl who found you attractive."
"You were the only one who began watching me after that night."
Tonks was glad she had not been taking a drink when he said that. Champagne would have been dripping from her nose. "I never did it openly. Nobody else noticed."
"Then no one else was watching to catch you doing it."
It took a second for the meaning of that to sink in. "Are you telling me you were watching me? I never saw that."
He smirked. "I am an expert at covert surveillance. You are not."
"Obviously. What other evidence did you have?"
"Your blushes during Potions, the spiteful remarks made by Rosier indicating he was no longer your boyfriend, and baffled comments during staff meetings about an otherwise top student's new habit of daydreaming."
Tempted to drink straight from the bottle, she said airily, "Is that all?"
"You also used your position as library aide to monitor my reading material."
The glass dropped from her fingers to the table. She thought faintly that it was a good thing it was empty. "How...?"
A gleam lit dark eyes. "I often re-read books, but I never officially check them out more than once. Imagine my surprise to see 'Nymphadora Tonks' boldly printed beneath my own signature."
"I have a big, loopy signature in cursive, so I print to be tidy."
"That was your idea of tidy?"
His lips twitched. "That explains the state of the student cupboard." He held up the champagne bottle with an enquiring look. After she said 'no, thank you,' he asked dryly, "What did you think of the text on fungus in the original Latin?"
"The pictures grew on me."
Snape leaned forward. "Tell me why you checked out those books."
Tonks said, "I wanted to know you. What you're like, what makes you laugh. The books people read say a lot about them."
"What did you learn about me?"
"That you love potions, but not the kind you teach, which have to bore you, since they're so simple compared the ones you brew on your own time." She took a breath. "You want to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, so you study the curriculum and look for texts to augment it."
Tonks smiled. "You like satires where the supposed hero is a blundering fool, and the clever wizard saves the day."
Snape said tonelessly, "If he's so clever, why does the wizard never get the girl?"
Tonks took a chance and stood, bracing her hand on the table as she leaned over to kiss him softly. "It wasn't a romance," she said.
He curled his lip, but the glint in his eyes was amused. "I don't read romance."
"Are you willing to have one—a romantic relationship, I mean?" She straightened as he rose to his feet.
Snape gestured to the table. "Obviously."
She took a step and found he had met her halfway.
His fingers touched her cheek and then her hair. "You changed your hairstyle."
Tonks grinned as he played with the short, spiky strands. "I'm starting Auror Training in a few months. I thought this looked more businesslike."
A fleeting smile crossed his face. "You look like a forest sprite."
She morphed her hair green.
Her hair turned pink.
His expression softened. "It matches your blushes."
Tonks moved closer. "I'm not blushing, Severus."
"You will, Nymphadora," he said, before his lips touched hers, and she melted into his arms.
I hope R/T readers weren't too disturbed :D, and that those who read look forward to the follow-up story in Snape's pov. It's called Too Much is Never Enough and should be ready to post soon!
Edited to change Ravenclaw to Hufflepuff when I found out Jo had officially announced Tonks' House.