The Affair of Severus Snape

Chapter Ten: Yule Ball and Winter Tidings

December 20, 1978

Severus straightened his robes one last time, brushed the non-existent dust off of them, and took one long deep breath as he surveyed his reflection in the mirror. The dark black dress robes that had been sitting in the bottom of his trunk since the last ball he had been to had been to short for him. It had taken some convincing and bribing of Beatrix to get her to modify them properly for him, but it had been well worth the two weeks of potions homework he had promised her. The robes fit far better now, and he was certain not to be a complete embarrassment.

Everyone else for his dorm had already left with their respective dates, and he was left to finish in peace. Rabastan had been putting on airs about being able to have his choice of date, while Severus was yet again dateless. The words, however, had not stung as bitterly as they had in past years. This year, Severus had someone, even if they were not quite sure what to call each other.

Girlfriend and boyfriend? Most certainly not. While they had continued to explore their mutual attraction to one another, they were not in a relationship that was exemplified by such signifiers.

Lovers? Not yet. While he probably would have crossed that line with her, she was clear that they should not approach that until after Severus was out of school. So not lovers.

Whatever it was that they were, Severus was happy. Happier than he could ever remember being here at Hogwarts. A small content smile spread over his lips as he thought of her. Georgia. He had decided after the second time that they had kissed that it was inappropriate of him to continue to refer to her by her last name, considering that they were involved in a blossoming relationship.

Making sure that his dress shoes were tied, and charmed against becoming loose (he wouldn't want to trip on a shoelace!) he made his way out of the dorms and up towards the great hall. His heart was humming in his chest as he approached and could hear the music wafting out of the hall. Many of the younger students were mingling outside of the door, blushing as their respective dates arrived and they entered the hall together.

Severus walked slowly through the entrance himself and was impressed with how well the staff had decorated for the party. The usual candles that floated above the tables had been replaced with grandiose chandeliers that twinkled in the flickering candle light. The ceiling had also been charmed to softly let down a snow that disappeared right before it dipped bellow the chandeliers. Bellow the enchanted ceiling, couples were happily dancing to the music that filled the hall. The happy chatting of the students that lined the sides of the hall, filled in the breaks in the music.

Without wasting a second thought, the first person that Severus's eyes sought out of the crowd was Georgia. It did not take him long to spot her. She was standing off to the side of room, a light crystal goblet in her hand and a smile on her face as she observed the students that were dancing in front of her. Severus couldn't help but smile a bit himself.

Determined, however, to show at least some patience, Severus steeled himself against making a direct beeline to her. Instead he used this chance to stand off to the side and observe how the other students had paired off. Beatrix was looking rather bored as Rabastan twirled her around the room, a slightly determined look on his face as he obviously tried to impress her. Regulus on the other hand was dancing with a rather beautiful younger student from the ravenclaw house. Severus had to admit that while Regulus did not flaunt it in the same manner as Black did, he was just as successful in his persist of girls.

Lily was obviously dancing with Potter. Much to Severus's own distaste she did seem to be enjoying herself quite a bit. While he could not fault Lily for wanting to be happy, he wished she would find someone else to be happy with. Shaking his head, his eyes made their way back over to where Georgia was standing just in time for her to see her accept the headmaster's hand and join him on the dance floor.

While when he had first walked in he had not gotten a good look at what she had been wearing, he was now close enough that he could fully appreciate her. What left him looking rather hungrily after her as she walked out towards the center of the dance floor was the back of her dress. The material of the dress scooped down the length of her entire back, and would have been exposed had it not also been covered with a soft draping of sheer material.

His eyes never leaving her as the headmaster ran her through a number of rather elaborate twirls around him. Severus watched as her hair, tumbling softly around her shoulders framed her happy face. So engrossed was he in watching Georgia that he barely even noticed as the song began to change and a familiar red-head appeared at his side.

"You are looking quite handsome tonight, Severus," Lily complimented as she approached him.

Severus startled out of his observation and looked back over at Lily. She was wearing a rather revealing emerald green dress, her hair twisted up on the top of her head.

"Thank you," her replied, his voice rising above the music before he quickly glanced around the room, quickly pinpointing that both Potter and Black were over gathering drinks.

"You don't have to worry about them anymore, you know. Remus set them right. I think they are growing up," she said, completely aware of who he was looking for.

"I think I will remain cautious," he replied before returning his gaze to her. "What do you want?"

"I was wondering if you would like to join me in a dance," she said as she motioned towards the dance floor, "As an apology for never getting a chance to dance with you before this, and for that embarrassing run in a few weeks ago."

At this Severus had to scoff a bit. He had, had no intention of dancing with Lily tonight, but ever ball previous to this he had always wanted to dance with her. So now, when he had no desire, she had to come over and flaunt herself in front of him. "And you are sure I will receive no ill affects from accepting your offer?" he asked as he tilted his head towards where Potter and Black stood.

"I will make sure to keep them away. Besides, this is our last ball here at Hogwarts, and you being my oldest friend deserve a dance," Lily persisted, before reaching out and grabbing his hand.

Left with few choices that would not offend Lily, Severus allowed himself to be pulled along towards the middle of the ball room. A moderately paced song began to be played, and with a with a bit of awkwardness Severus began to dance with Lily. She stayed close to him, as if intentionally trying to tease him, her eyes glittering with mirth and she spun around him, her hair whirling around her. Severus watched her, his face masked from emotion as he continued through the motions of dancing wither her.

It wasn't as he always expected it might be. When he was younger he imagined it would be a magical moment, filled with glittering fairies dancing overhead and flowers blooming in their wake. This had nothing magical about it. If anything he felt his movements forced with a lack of any emotional closeness to his dance partner. She had eluded him for far to long over the past two or three years for him to feel the closeness they had shared when they were younger.

The song came to an end and Lily looked at him, a breathless expression on her face. "Thank you, Severus. That was marvelous. Looks like all that practice did you good," she said cheerfully as she grinned up at him.

"Thank you," was all Severus said as he left a small kiss on the back of her hand. "Now, I am sure your boyfriend is looking for you everywhere, and I don't want to be in the vicinity, so if you will excuse me."

It was not until much later in the evening when Georgia had already shared a number of dances with various professors and students that Severus finally made his move. Slowly moving over towards where Georgia was chatting with a younger fourth-year girl, he tapped her lightly on the shoulder and held out his hand.

"Would you care to dance with me?" he asked, unable to keep the slight inclination of excitement out of his voice or the small upward twist of his lips.

He was enchanted as she watched her eyes sparkle, and the quick lick of her lips before she took his hand was enough to make him want to kiss her. "Of course, Mr. Snape." Her soft hand grasped his, and he slowly lead them out onto the dance floor. A slow meandering waltz was struck up and Severus, with more grace than he had shown Lily, began to lead his partner around the dance floor. They did not say anything as they danced, but Severus could tell by the light in his professor's eyes that she was enjoying herself.

He allowed himself a small victorious smirk as he held her in his arms. He wished he had the nerves to look up for McGonagall but he did not think he would have been able to hid his look of successful rebellion. He therefore allowed himself to continue to look down at the head of curls that was almost just bellow his chin. And while the dancing was not magic, it felt right. She seemed to him to fit perfectly within his arms, and the warmth he felt from her was more a feeling of home and contentment in comparison he had ever felt for Lily.

Despite his wishes however, the song finally did end, and Georgia pulled away from him. "That was lovely, Severus," she whispered just quietly enough for him to hear. "Would you like to get some refreshments?" she asked as she pointed towards the side of the room where bowls of punch had been set out.

Severus nodded his head in acquiescence and allowed her to lead the way off of the dance floor. With punch in hand they found a quieter corner of the great hall.

"Have you been enjoying your evening thus far? I saw that you danced with Ms. Evans." Her gaze seemed intense to Severus for such a question, but he brushed it aside.

Giving an indifferent shrug he took a quick sip of his juice. "The evening has been fine, I am lucky I have thus far avoided any conflict over that dance with Lily."

"Have they been giving you much trouble lately?" Georgia asked as she scanned the room for the boys in question.

"No, not at all, which is a pleasant reprieve from what normally happens through a school year.

"That is for the best then," she responded with a content sigh, the glass of punch remaining untouched in her hands.

Severus glanced over at her, his throat suddenly constricting as he prepared to ask a question that had been floating around in his mind recently. Glancing around quickly to make sure that no one was listening to them he quickly turned his back to the rest of the room and faced her. "Professor Hernshaw, I was wondering if you would like to get dinner or coffee at some point over break. Away from all this," he said softly with a wave of his hand. He could feel his cheeks heating now that he had said it, but he refused to look away.

Her eyes had widened in surprise and her mouth had gone slightly lack, before a large smile spilled onto her face and she nodded. "Of course, Mr. Snape. Shall I send you an owl when you arrive home in order to finalize all of the details?"

Severus nodded. "That would be perfect," he replied with a soft smile. He stepped back to her side to observe the dancers. "Are you going anywhere else outside of Hogwarts for the break?" he asked, giving her a sideways glance.

"No, I will be staying here, but will most certainly have time for quick excursions to the outside world," she said with a small laugh as she gulped down the very last of drink. "Well, Mr. Snape, I hope you some very happy holidays. I really must return to supervising the dance."

"Very well, Professor. Thank you for the dance," Severus replied, his eyes glittering with mischievously as he thought forward to their meeting outside of Hogwarts. It would be a completely different experience. They wouldn't have to try all of this dancing around each other in the public, and they would have the chance to speak freely in areas outside of her personal rooms. Severus could hardly wait.

With a bounce that was not usually in his step, Severus walk around the room a few more times, before the music finally began to die down and the students began to trickle out to bed. Yes, for the first time in what seemed like a very long time, Severus was truly looking forward to the holidays.

Severus did not get another chance to see his professor before leaving for break. Instead, he had carefully packed away a small sapphire necklace that he had charmed for his mother. He had carefully folded it within a small handkerchief, tucked deeply within his trunk.

Most of the other students chatted cheerfully with one another about the upcoming holidays. There was however, one group of students that Severus felt were particularly conspicuous. Rabastan, Beatrix and Regulus had thrown him some rather superior looks throughout breakfast, reminding Severus very much of young children who knew a secret but were unwilling to tell. Knowing them, however, Severus spent the rest of the train ride on high alert, looking out for anything that seemed out of place.

Severus remained anxious throughout the entire train ride. However, nothing happened until the very end when Beatrix came to his compartment and stood within the doorway. "Thank you for all of your help these past few months, Severus," she said, her head held in a haughty fashion as she looked down at where Severus was sitting. "I do hope that you enjoyed your time with that mudblood of yours."

Severus felt himself tense up. She was most certainly talking about Georgia. "What do you mean?" he asked, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible as he felt his throat tighten.

Beatrix gave a small coy laugh, "Never you mind that. Lucius was, however, quite pleased with the information you provided us. Here is your reward, use it wisely." She pulled a small purse from the folds of her robes and sat it on the seat next to Severus. "Have a good break, Snape." Severus opened his mouth again, but before he had the chance to respond she had left the compartment.

He stared after her for a moment before he reached over to the sack and loosened the drawstrings, pulled the brim open. Inside was a small stack of shadow nettles, a rare and expensive ingredient used in a number of banned potions. With a frown on his face, Severus closed the bag tucked it into his pocket. A smug Beatrix was never a good sign for anyone, and Severus's thoughts quickly returned to Georgia, and what the Slytherin house had planned to do.

Knowing there was nothing he could do immediately, his attention refocused to going home so that he could summon his mother's owl to send an urgent letter back to Hogwarts.

a.n.: It has been a while, but here we are again. The semester ended and I now have oodles of time back on my hands. Things should start to really speed up quite a bit now that the slytherin plan is in motion and we have made it to the winter break! Bad news for Severus & Georgia(hermione!) is on the horizon, but it really will all work out in the end, I promise!

Also, sort of a dullish chapter but I promise the next one will be much more exciting with a lot of plot advancement (at least that is the plan!)