At breakfast the next morning one of the school owls brought her a palm-sized bottle of cream. Almost against her will, she smiled at the gift. The attached note read, "Since you enjoy milking so much..." Cream for the cat. The bastard thought he was funny. Minerva pulled the cork from the bottle and took a small sip. Her lips twisted into a grimace. Lowering the bottle, she steeled herself, straightened her face and glanced down the table. Severus appeared to be engrossed in a conversation with Poppy. He looked up briefly. A smirk touched his lips before he went back to listening to the other woman.

Bastard, she thought. The white substance in the bottle wasn't cream, though she had spent a considerable amount of time attempting to milk it out the night before. She supposed the little prank was payback for the way she'd left him. Unfortunate that he didn't know, two could play these games.


The door to Minerva's office exploded in a shower of wood. The student sitting in her desk chair screamed and whipped around, clutching her books to her chest. Severus stood in the doorway. His face was contorted in fury and he was breathing so hard, Minerva thought steam might start coming out of her his ears. She tried not to, but somethjing about the seething man in front of her made her giggle.

"You hateful bi—"

A quickly sent Silencing Charm kept his words from reaching her. Minerva motioned to the student. "I think we can discuss those extra credit assignments at another time." After waiting for the frightened girl to leave, she waved a hand absently at her door, repairing it. She looked up at Severus. He was still cursing her, presumably. His face was red and he appeared to be straining to scream, in spite of the spell. Hm. It appeared he didn't appreciate having every potion in his classroom transfigured into a thick, rich cream. Minerva smiled. At least it would spare him having to complain about the students getting the assignment wrong again.

"You really ought to calm down," she began, "I'd hate to think of you giving yourself a heart attack." With a wave, she released him from the Silencing Charm.

"I could kill you," he said in a low voice. "Do you know how you made me look today?"

Minerva looked him up and down slowly. "You don't appear harmed. Let me guess what happened. One of your students, in a fit of surprised excitement, made his cauldron explode. Your robes were absolutely covered in thick, hot cream," she said slowly. She licked her lips. "You were so surprised by his exploding all over you that had your own sort of explosion. Was that the way of it?"

"You made me look as if I don't have control over my own classroom," Severus said, continuing as if she hadn't spoken. "I do not tolerate games of this nature."

"Oh, sack up Sevvie," Minerva responded. "It was just a prank. Besides, you started it." She stuck out her tongue at him; her laugh rang out high in her office when the gesture appeared to anger him more.

He began walking towards the desk, his hands clenched into fists at his side. "I ought to spank you for behaving this way."

Minerva abruptly stopped laughing. "Why yes, you should," she whispered. In a flash, she had jumped around her desk and was bent over the front of it, wiggling her bottom within reach of his fist. "I have to warn you, if you're as much of a bitch with me this way as you are in an argument, I'm going to have to show you how it's done. No half-measures," she said, glancing at him over her shoulder.

He'd thought she was going batty the night before when she'd teased and then rejected him. Now Severus didn't know what to think. Well, he had some idea. He had to admit, the possibilities held some appeal.


Twenty minutes later, Minerva was in her cat form, stretched out on her desk, purring so loudly Severus thought she sounded like a Muggle car in need of servicing. He supposed he should be proud that he'd evoked such a reaction from her. Prouder still that he had the love marks—or so she'd called the three inch claw marks on his neck and face—that showed her appreciation.

He walked out of her office in a considerably better mood than how he'd entered it. There is something to be said for sparring with a worthy adversary, he thought. I can't wait to find out what's next.