All you recognise as Jo's is hers... all the rest you can blame on me! ;)

A huge "M" rating warning - please expect the full ramifications of such a rating.

Obvious warnings with this fic - Sexual situations, Sex with a student - though not under the age of consent (17 - 18 years old), graphic depiciton of sexual acts - NOT for under 16's (preferrably not for under 18's if I have any say in the matter.) The sexual situations with the student are CONSENSUAL - however, in future chapters there is a NON-CONSENSUAL event involving another character. Whilst not excessively graphic, it is detailed and might be disturbing to some. Also, there is an element of Violence that varies in intensity throughout the fic.

These warnings have recently changed as the plot line for this fic morphed and settled, indicating a darker and more serious direction. I apologise if you began reading under lighter pretences.

All topics have been taken seriously and is not smut for smut sake.

That done - please enjoy and of course, you all know how much I'm addicted to reviews... crucify me! :D

A Lapse in Judgement

Chapter 1Seduced

The girl had arrived at the door of his private quarters a little after curfew, so therefore Severus had answered the knock on the door expecting anybody but a student.

Dumbledore had essentially been the Potions Master's initial guess… but as the dark man had pulled open the oak door with the curious, and somewhat welcoming expression that he would never use for any of the little miscreants that wandered the halls of Hogwarts, he was almost aghast to discover the seventh year Slytherin girl gazing up at him. The pleasant upward curls at the corners of his mouth were instantly replaced with his customary sneer.

"Miss Cootes… what are doing out of the common room after curfew?" he demanded, glaring at the young woman. "The rules apply even to graduating students, as I'm sure you are well aware!"

"Sorry, Sir," the blonde girl immediately stated, although she did not sound exceptionally contrite, "I needed to see you about something… privately… you understand?"

Snape narrowed his eyes, "Privately?" he questioned a little suspiciously. "I assure you, Miss Cootes, my office is always considered private… and secure."

"Oh, well yes, Sir… I suppose I meant…" here she bit her lip in a seemingly nervous manner, "… secretly."

"I see," Snape responded, more than a little suspicious now… but his curiosity regarding the nature of the Slytherin student's conundrum was piqued. "Go on to my office then, I shall be there in a moment," he instructed, before snapping the door shut in the young woman's face.

It was highly inappropriate for the Head of Slytherin House to invite the girl into his private chambers, but unlike the warm sitting room of his personal rooms it was remarkably cool in the dungeon hallways. As the fire would not be lit in his office like it was in his small sitting room the temperature would be just as uninviting there, so the man retrieved his outer robes from the coat rack along his back wall and swung them gracefully around his shoulders before heading out the door to meet the seventh year girl at the more suitable venue.

As he approached the locked doorway of his office, he saw the girl leaning casually against the stone wall adjacent to the entrance. When she noticed his approach she immediately straightened herself; pushing off the wall.

Producing his wand he wordlessly invoked the lock to release, twisted the doorknob and pushed the door inwards; ushering the young lady into the room ahead of him. As she brushed by him gently, she faced him momentarily and caught his eye; a petite hand reaching out to softly caress his arm briefly on the way past.

"Thank you, Sir," she breathed quietly, with a nod and a small smile quirking her lips.

He should have thought it odd at the time… and perhaps he did, but he liked this girl; she was one of the few who did not qualify for the moniker of 'dunderhead' in his eyes, therefore gave it no real in depth consideration.

He followed her into the darkened room and, with a wave of the ebony wand in his grasp, the lamps suddenly flickered to life; casting dancing light across the room. He paused to close the door behind him and then made his way to the chair behind his desk; offering the chair on the adjacent side of the desk to the student with an outstretched hand, and sitting only when the girl had sunk into hers. He looked to her expectantly.

"Um, Sir, do you mind placing a few charms up so we can't be heard?" she asked uncertainly.

He considered her request for a moment before he obliged, re-locking the door and casting a silent Muffliato.

"Go on," he prompted, implying the room was now secure.

"Well, Sir… it's about my NEWT grades. I need to bump them up a bit… I want to become a healer, you see," the girl started apprehensively. "And I was wondering if you could offer any advice on how to go about that."

The dark man narrowed his eyes at the young woman once again, and after a pause where he swept his gaze over her; measuring her posture and demeanour, he took in a breath, "Miss Cootes, I fail to see why this conversation required the secrecy of after curfew and a number of security wards… I am more than happy to assist a student of my house to secure tutoring in other subjects if your grades are not up to scratch during regular teaching hours."

"Oh, yes of course, but it is in Potions that I need… help, Sir... I am achieving all the necessary results in my other classes."

"Really?" he questioned, though it came as no great surprise to him, Aries Cootes had always been a high achiever. "Still, this is a matter I would normally be happy to deal with during school hours…" he began.

Miss Cootes opened her mouth to contend her case, but Snape forestalled her.

"… however, seeing as you are already here..." he finished, conceding to the girl's request. Twisting in his chair a little he reached for a set of files situated on a bookcase behind him, brought it to the desk and flipped open the cover… it wasn't that late yet, after all.

"Accio Aries Cootes results!" he demanded with a flick of his wand, and a small folder slid sideways from the large binder into his waiting hand.

After quickly perusing the girl's latest test results and class work, Snape looked up, "Your results show that you are achieving well enough, Miss Cootes… if you continue on this vein you will not have a problem being accepted into your chosen field," he informed the young woman.

"Oh… well that's great. I thought for sure I would be flat out scraping an 'E', possibly even an 'A', and I really do need a minimum of an 'E' or higher, as you know, I'm sure..."

The girl was rambling now, and Snape suddenly became aware that perhaps Miss Cootes' grades were not what had brought her to him at this late hour of the evening. He watched her closely and discerned a slight flush blossom upon her cheek that definitely enhanced the girl's appearance.

She was a pretty girl; maturity improving her features with every year that passed, though the dolt male student population had yet to notice. She'd not been openly courted by any that Severus had observed from the high table so far. And he had made a habit of keeping himself abreast of the goings on in the love lives of his Slytherin students; he found it aided in heading off problems when the romances ended (most commonly badly) if he was aware of the undercurrent hormones pulling at the teenager's good sense, diligence and attention.

Though observing the girl now, perhaps there had been something he had missed…

He stood to return the file to the bookshelf at the back of the room after returning Miss Cootes' folder to the correct place within it, and when he turned back he found the girl had stood from her chair also and had moved to stand by his desk. He could see she was tracing a finger along the wood grain pattern delicately… almost seductively his brain registered in some deep, hidden corner.

"Was there anything else, Miss Cootes?" he asked, returning his gaze to her face.

"Actually… I was wondering if you might give me your opinion, Sir?"

"Opinion?" he questioned in vague amusement, his curiosity surging a little once more. He quirked a little grin at her, "My opinion, Miss Cootes, has largely been known to be of the acerbic variety… most do not seek it willingly," he joked with her.

She chuckled out a breathy laugh, "I've noticed, Sir," she responded, flashing him a full smile.

He sucked in a very covert breath: the smile had lit up her features enormously… she was absolutely stunning like that. In his distraction, Snape returned to sit in his chair… but the girl remained where she was, leaning her hip against the corner of his desk. As soon as he had seated himself he realised his mistake; and the too close proximity of the young woman radiating an imaginary, but nevertheless intense, heat toward him.

"Take a seat," he directed, but did not specifically gesture to any particular piece of furniture. In fact he self consciously kept his eyes averted from her completely.

But instead of resuming her place in the chair on the other side of the desk as Snape had intended, the brash girl took his directive to mean making herself comfortable on his desk! He felt his arm suddenly nudged over by a long, lean thigh as she settled her posterior upon the work surface.

Shocked beyond reaction for a moment, Snape could only stare at the limb leaning against him that had incurred the infraction.

"Miss Cootes!?" he questioned incredulously.

"Oh, sorry Sir, um, I wanted your opinion on whether a career in the Healing Field would actually suit me, I mean you know my personality quite well now… or perhaps do you think I should consider becoming a Potions Master… like you? I know you are the best there is… best at most things I've noticed!" As she asked her question she bent her head low in order to attempt to capture his gaze; that bright smile dimming only slightly in her hesitancy.

Still reeling from the impertinent girl depositing herself upon his desk and daring to lean against him; her dangling foot occasionally butting against his own thigh under the desk and failing to take the hint regarding her unseemly conduct – now he was stunned at her insinuation that he knows her more intimately than a mere teacher would, and the implication that she considered him in far more endearing terms than a mere student should. But the straw that broke the camel's back came when the dangling foot seemed to deliberately caress his tense thigh this time; stroking faintly with the toe of her dainty shoe.

The Professor shot from his seat with a shaky breath, backing just out of reach of the extremity causing the heat to rise in his body in the most inappropriate way. He kept his eyes trained downwards; not daring to meet the young woman's eyes whilst he was feeling like this.

"Ah… I - I believe either career path would suit, Miss Cootes… it… it's getting late, you should head back to the common room before you are discovered missing by a teacher," he stammered.

Miss Cootes grinned at him, drawing his eyes up without his permission, "But I'm with you, Sir… and you are a teacher," she said bemusedly.

"Yes," he answered, still flustered; his heart suddenly beating a hole in his chest, "and… and this conference is fast becoming a little… improper," he managed to force out, horribly discomfited.

Her face fell a little at his comment, but abruptly her focus shifted to just over his left shoulder.

"Oh, Sir… you have something on your robes," she said, reaching for the offending particle before he could react. She had disposed of the speck before he could turn his head in time to see it… and later he would wonder if it had even been there to begin with.

"Miss Cootes…" he began, but stopped when he felt her hand splay across his shoulder and collar; smoothing his clothing and a finger reached upwards to gently toy with the dangling strands of shoulder length dark hair. He immediately turned back to her face; witnessing a smile he could with confidence call a flirt.

He gasped out a breath not knowing how he should respond. On one hand he was infinitely flattered and enormously flustered at the uncommon interest she was showing in him. It was a bit difficult to comprehend, really, and in fact he was largely used to the 'ugly greasy bat' slur bandied about by a great majority of the students. But her enticing attention had him seriously considering what would happen if he were to succumb to her flirtations. Merlin knows he would have no trouble returning the interest if circumstances were different: he found her incredibly physically attractive despite her age and student status… her full pink lips, mere inches from him, begging for him to conquer them with heated passion…

But circumstances dictated he could not surrender to this. He was a great deal older than her, but more importantly he was her teacher and they were at school! He couldn't let this happen!

Snape began to pull away from her and had intentions of sending her immediately to the common room and out of his presence when he felt her surge toward him, gripping his robes in an eager fist that dragged him the rest of the way to crash her lips onto his own. In that moment he couldn't stop himself from tasting; savouring the illicit moment with a primitive moan; opening his mouth a little and sucking soft flesh inside where his tongue could rasp over its sweetness. She whimpered her approval which only served to increase his ardour.

His arms that had been floating stunned in vacant space suddenly closed around her; one dragging her body close to his, pressing his desire against the warm, soft cushion of her being as his fever clouded his judgement; giving in wholly to the forbidden temptation. The other hand: raking fingers through the delicious drop of blonde locks falling in soft curls down to the height of her breast. As his digits fell off the end of the flaxen strands, his hand drifted forward and cupped the closest pert mound. His fingers began kneading gently, taking advantage of the sudden windfall.

She gasped in appreciation and pressed her nipple harder into his palm; her long legs wrapping around his hip, drawing him closer to her heated core.

Abruptly his awareness of his daily burdens, of the worries of the war and the Dark Lord peeled away in a liberating reprieve leaving only an overwhelming craving for relief; encouraging him even further. The girl was whimpering her pleasure under his ministrations and he set to task to stroke his ego even further, slipping his hand under the hem of her blouse in the quest for additional soft, smooth, warm flesh to tantalise.

He again found the swell of her breast and stripped back the fabric keeping him from his prize; engulfing the mound and hard nub in the heat of his palm.

At her gasp of delight he dragged his lips and tongue away from her now swollen lips and along her jaw line; nibbling seductively at her earlobe before tracking down her throat.

Her hands that had been inertly resting upon his chest suddenly swung into action, reaching for his trouser fastenings beneath his robes. A jolt within his mind caused him to falter momentarily; vague reasons for why he should not allow this to happen pushing frantically to pierce his lust fogged mind, but as one of the girl's hands traced his hardened length through the dark material, all concerns were forcefully shunted from his mind with a heated groan.

His hand that had been pressed into the small of her back automatically took its turn; reaching down and pushing up the skirt that concealed the centre of the girl's being; stroking his hand the full length of the firm, yet deliciously soft thigh; turning his hand in towards her inner thigh and her heat when he reached the curve of her hip.

It was just the smallest of movements that had his fingers slipping beneath her underwear to tease the bud and slick entrance of her core.

By now her own nimble fingers had released his throbbing erection from its restraint, and Snape delighted in her warm hand stroking his length in a steady rhythm.

The girl shifted her position suddenly, giving the dark man greater access to the illicit reward hidden in her depths. Together they stripped her of the remaining barrier and Snape could hold back no longer.

If he had any presence of mind to consider it right now, he would have to admit he was completely lost to the moment and no sense could have filtered through the blissful fog clouding his mind to prevent what was about to occur.

He leaned in toward her and guided the head of his straining manhood into the slippery well; restraining himself admirably in trying to ease in his length at a comfortable pace for her: made all the more difficult by the girl's hands pulling him closer with a frantic urgency.

Somewhere barely coherent he noted there was no virginal barrier; the full length of him sliding into her depth easily. He groaned a giddy sense of relish at the shocks of pleasure that shuddered through him.

Pushing her back on the desk a little and cradling the girl in his arms he returned his attention to her delectable mouth as he established a gentle, yet intense, thrusting rhythm. It did not take him long to reach a feverish and urgent momentum: it had been a number of years since his last foray with a woman.

The wave of ecstasy built suddenly and powerfully; his hips bucking furiously, slamming himself into the warm, tight well. He buried his face in her neck amongst the pool of soft, sweet smelling hair as the surge of pure, agonizing rapture crashed over his entire body wrenching from him a rough and throaty grunt of gratification.

His elation sunk rapidly after the final spasm of thrill shot through him; and that was when he became staggeringly and horrifyingly aware of the girl - the student - beneath him breathing mewling breaths of delight along with his name and title!

"Oh, yes, oh god… Professor Snape!" her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

He started; quickly withdrawing himself from inside her with a shocked gasp at what he had allowed to happen; flicking the girl's skirt down over her exposed lower-section as he pulled back.

Highly shaken he abruptly replaced and fastened his trousers without cleansing himself.

"Miss Cootes… you… you should get up… get dressed!" he stammered, unable to discern what he should say or how he should act.

'Merlin… what have I done?' he thought, horrified and aghast turning away from the young woman reclined across his desk.

"You have to get out… Now!" he barked in his distress, feeling wholly like fisting his hands around clumps of his own hair and pulling fiercely. "Go back to your common room… Get OUT!" he roared, impatient to be rid of her presence so he could finally think about what had just happened and what he should do.

He heard the girl scramble off the desk and sit in his chair. He imagined she was replacing her underwear; and the notion made him feel slightly queasy.

She was still breathing heavily, but he could no longer tell if it were as a result of their recent tryst or if it was his prickly attitude that had upset her.

The girl's hurried footsteps ended near the door, but Snape did not hear the door open.

"Um, Sir… the door's locked," she said meekly, and he remembered she could not exit until he had disabled the wards. He turned to the doorway and retrieved his wand from the depths of his sleeve… but paused momentarily before he commanded the lock to release.

He could see her now, see the pained expression and fear on her features, and he realised that his reaction may have scared her and even hurt her.

"Wait," he said softly. She stared up at him expectantly and with a little frown creasing her forehead. "Are… are you… alright?" It just occurred to him that he may have gotten carried away more than he had thought, and the horrifying notion that he might have forced her in some small way tore at him. "I – I didn't hurt you, did I?" he had to ask.

She huffed out a small, laughing sigh, "Uh, no… I'm fine… I'm okay," she assured with a small quirk of her lips in a smile.

He nodded his understanding, feeling a small measure of relief flood through him.

"Miss Cootes… I… I'm sorry," he apologised, rolling his hand into a tight fist, "I should have put a stop to it immediately, I should never have let it go that far," he explained remorsefully.

Oddly, his apology and confession elicited more expressions of hurt than his spiteful yelling.

With a flick of his wand he disabled the wards, "Off to your common room… I'll talk more with you about this… later."

After a brief nod she complied with his directive; disappearing from sight around the open doorway.

Snape approached the door and pushed it closed gently, his agitation unusually obvious through his features and demeanor. His fingers were trembling slightly when he made the steps over to his fireplace and invoked the flames to come to life. But he did not wish the fire for warmth: he immediately reached for a hand full floo-powder from the vessel on the mantle and threw it into the flames. They roared higher and turned green instantly. Snape fell lightly to his knees and thrust his head into the blaze.

"Headmaster, I need to speak with you now."

Dumbledore was sitting at his desk just to the left of his fireplace and he stood and moved to the front of the floo at hearing Snape's voice make the request. "This late, Professor Snape?"

"Yes… yes right away," his shaky voice explained, "this cannot wait until morning."

The Headmaster could hear the distress in the young man's voice and reacted accordingly, "Of course, Severus… come on through," he invited, stepping back so the Potions Master would have plenty of room to step from the flames.