Disclaimer: Don't own anything from Harry Potter, and am certainly not making money off this story. Don't sue!

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And I would be the one to hold you down
Kiss you so hard I'll take your breath away,
And after I'd wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear…'

            -Sarah McLachlan, Possession

CHAPTER 8: HANDS WASHED CLEAN

Rosaline froze as Snape pressed his lips against hers, caught utterly off guard. Slowly coming to terms with reality, she tightened her arms around his neck, pulling him down further, deepening the kiss. Snape growled softly into mouth and wrapped his arms around her, his long fingers splayed across her back possessively.

As quickly as it had begun, it was over – Snape pulled away. Rosaline opened her eyes, questions dancing in their depths. The older man looked down at her, traces of amusement and lust playing across his features. He sighed and Rosaline was shocked to see a spark melancholy flash across his eyes.

He gently disentangled himself from her arms and took a step back, feeling distance was necessary. Rosaline watched him, frustration and confusion visible in her face.

"Miss Staunton," he said softly, without the usual malice, "it is time for you to go to bed."

The girl looked at him, dumbstruck. How could he do this to her? How dare he taunt her like that? Her expression darkened with anger and pain.

"Why are you like this?" she exclaimed. "Why are you playing these games with me? Does it amuse you to know you can do this to me? Do you make a habit of tormenting girls like this?"

"No, Miss Staunton, I do not derive amusement from this complicated mess of a situation. I apologize for my behaviour, it has been utterly inappropriate, and I can assure you, nothing like this has occurred before." Snape's face was an impenetrable mask, but his voice betrayed bitterness, hints of spite creeping into his tone. "I am not quite that depraved."

Rosaline shook her head and stumbled away from him. She turned and began to run, eager to be anywhere other than here, as long as it was far from Snape. She had fought valiantly to hold back the sobs which threatened to rise from her throat while standing before him, but now that she was escaping her composure cracked, and a moaning cry crept from her throat. One small, still-rational corner of her brain wondered why she was so upset, but it was drowned out.

She did not make it more than 10 feet when Snape over-took her, his long arms wrapping around her waist and effectively preventing her escape. Rosaline screamed with rage and flailed, striking out at the tall man blindly, her eyes too full of hot angry tears to allow sight.

Snape stood, immobile, holding the frantic girl until her fury burnt out and she leaned weakly against him, barely moving. He hesitantly raised a hand to her head, and stroked the soft curls soothingly. He could feel her pulse pounding against his chest where she pressed against him, her heart beating like a frantic bird within the cage of her ribs.

They stood this way, silently, for immeasurable minutes. Snape spoke first.

"I suppose it would be too much to ask that you understand why I cannot do this."

Rosaline neither answered nor moved. Snape would not have been sure of her consciousness, were it not for the rapid cadence of her heart against his chest.

"I am going to release you in a moment, and then I am going to go into the school and never speak of this to anyone. I would caution you to do the same – for your own safety as much as mine."

Rosaline stilled her urge to flinch, but Snape felt it nevertheless.

"Though you are no longer technically a child, you are still innocent and naïve. You have much to learn of the world, Miss Staunton. Perhaps once you have existed in it as an adult, you will understand the consequences of this interlude, and understand," he murmured this last sentence with melancholy, the rumour of a sigh hidden in his silken voice. "And now, Rosaline, I bid you goodnight, and farewell."

He was gone. Rosaline kept her eyes closed, unwilling to tempt fate into allowing her one last, and inevitably fatal, glance at the man. Minutes passed, stretching out painfully, and still she kept herself blind, barely daring to breath, listening hard for any sort of noise to give him away.

There was total silence.

Finally Rosaline opened her eyes. She was quite alone in the dark – the moon had long since set. With careful, measured steps, Rosaline walked back towards the main entrance of Hogwarts.

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Rosaline sat on the nearly empty bus, dressed in muggle clothes, and stared out the window. She was back in Ireland, travelling from Dublin, where the portkey for her and a handful of other students had arrived. Knowing her parents would be unable to pick her up in advance, Rosaline had been sure to procure some muggle money so as to buy a bus ticket to Kells – a town larger than Clonmellon, and therefore deserving of a bus station. From there, it would be a short jaunt on her broom.

Anne had been worried at Rosaline's appearance in the morning when they had all been preparing to leave. Rosaline had forced a smile and lied to her, unwilling to impose her misery on her friend. She still doubted Anne had believed her though – the blonde knew her too well. Escape from too many uncomfortable questions had been attained with departure. Rosaline had promised to owl Anne, hugged her tightly, and run off to catch her portkey before the other girl could open her mouth.

Rosaline had not had a chance to be truly alone since she had returned to her dorm the previous night. Now, sitting on this bus, she tentatively began to untangle her emotions concerning the events of the year in regards to the Potions professor.

She sat, barely moving, until the bus reached its destination. She lugged her belongings off the bus and out of the station, turning into the first alleyway she could find, where she promptly charmed her trunk to shrink to the size of an over-large matchbook and slid it into a pocket. Holding her broom casually, hoping to not run into too many muggles, Rosaline headed off towards the outskirts of the town, feeling the need for a good long walk.

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The cool evening wind pushed Rosaline's hair out behind her in streaming ribbons. She had cast a cloaking charm on herself and her broom after she had walked beyond the last row of houses and taken to the air. Following the winding stretch of road far below her, Rosaline turned towards home.

She had been trying, with little success, to dissect the complicated feelings and thoughts which filled her head. Rosaline was young, and had had little experience with these sorts of sentiments – it galled her that Snape had been right in that estimation. She knew that she felt some strange longing for his body, his mind. The dull ache of rejection did not worry her – she understood it was normal, and inevitable. It was the sharp, pressing pain that stabbed when she remembered the softness of his voice in those last few moments the previous night. It confused and scared her. Her only recourse was to bury the memories and feelings, and concentrate on the life ahead of her.

'I'll apply to the Ministry,' she told herself, 'and I'll forget all about that bastard'

As simple as it sounded, Rosaline couldn't help but wonder if it would be that easy. She clenched her jaw, and fixed her sights on the future.

She even managed to convince herself that the tears which leaked from her eyes were from the wind, and nothing more.

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Snape sat in his chambers, in front of the dancing flames within the hearth. His face was the usual expressionless mask, but his eyes glittered strangely. To the casual observer, they would have appeared deeply disconcerting, if not frightening, solely because of the intensity of emotion within those two black pits.

On the small table beside his chair sat a silver hairpin. The small, leaf-shaped emerald on its end glittered in the firelight.

Slowly, Snape extended his hand over top of the table and covered the trinket from view, his fingers curling around it possessively.

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A/N: Well kids, that's it…for now. I've had a great (and hectic) time writing this, and it's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm going to start on the second part of Rosaline & Snape's story relatively soon, I'm not sure when though. It probably won't come together as quickly as this one did though – I need time to work out the storyline before I begin writing.

*After thinking about the Snape's nature and persona, it just didn't jell that he would willingly sleep with an 18 year old girl, who was his student mere days before. On top of that, Rosaline is still too young, too naïve. Though she does see the darkness in him, she doesn't quite know what to make of it just yet – all she knows is that it attracts her. She needs to do some growing up before she can truly understand what it means to want Severus Snape – which is exactly what he told her. Thank you to everyone who gave me their feedback on how the story should proceed – it was a great help =)

*Thank you again to everyone who bothered to read this silly little fic, and an extra-special thanks to those of you who took the time to review and tell me what you thought. It was really encouraging. ^_^