Calathea- by MisfiredSynapse.

Severus Snape/OFC. A little AU, but not too noticable.

Rated T for minor mentions of sex. And possibly some v e r y minor OOC-ness from Snape at the end- but it's V E R Y minor indeed.

Took me a few hours to write, it was inspired simply by the fact that the only form of closure/happiness Snape got was to die looking into Lily's eyes. Now, I thought that was a little unfair, so I've given him the chance to love and be loved. Darkish, slightly fluffy, angsty. Romance, definitely. Almost a happy ending- though I'm going to say now, even though it's a one-shot, their future is canon-compliant and we all know what the future holds for Severus.

"Calathea," he breathed, watching her glowing blonde head as she flittered among her students, occasionally stopping to correct a hold on a wand or to repeat the incantation, enticing the children to follow her lead and succeed. His heart involuntarily clenched when she stopped to touch the back of Potter's head fondly, her slender fingers spreading over the unruly mess of black hair. The boy turned his face upwards and smiled, clearly more than overjoyed to have her attention.

And who wouldn't be?

She was beautiful. Her hair shimmered with a thousand candles, curled at her shoulders the way it was, her eyes glowed with a fiery passion directed at whatever task her mind was focussed upon. Her skin was smooth and soft, her body supple while still being petite- her proportions were in perfect alignment and her natural fetching smile brought her to life- she was like a porcelain doll. A man would have to be blind, stupid and ignorant to not notice the splendour that was Calathea Dulcet.

Even the stoic and notoriously reticent Potions Master had noticed her beauty- which was simply the first thing that attracted his eyes to her. Her looks alone were not enough to win him over, and indeed he had professed to hate her from those first few impressions, where she smiled insipidly at the goings on and had nothing to say. He had written her off as another airhead blonde, someone who would hold no interest for him.

When he found out that her insipid smile was a cover for terrible shyness, the same way his snarly attitude was a cover for deep hurt, he was able to assume she had at least a semblance of humanity. When she had confronted him for his hostility after she'd caught him reducing Neville Longbottom to tears, he respected her fire- and her nerve, for slapping him directly across the face. When she approached him during that Hogsmeade weekend and coerced him into having a drink with her, he appreciated her knowledge in Defence- and in the Dark Arts. When he found her sobbing over a yearbook, he sympathised for her loss- she had three brothers, all of them gone in one fatal blow.

When he discovered that he'd been the death of them, he couldn't help but feel irrationally guilty. When she found out about the mark on his arm after a Potion mishap, he couldn't help but hate himself for pushing her away. When she began avoiding him, he respected her distance and made no move to fix things, though he found himself quite put-out when she could no longer stand the sight of him.

When she forgave him, he realised he'd missed her. When he found her out by the lake, reading into twilight, and actively sought to remain in her company, he realised he cared about her. When she went on a date with another man, his jealousy reigned supreme and he refused to see her- how dare she play games with him? How dare she allow him to fall in love with her and then not return the feelings! When he confronted her, and they fought, and he said some horrible, terrible things and she gave as good as she got, his heart steadily broke into pieces.

When she kissed him that very same night after he'd just called her something almost unforgivable, he realised he was hopelessly lost in her. When she allowed him to slam her against the wall and take her with thirteen years' worth of his pent-up lust and passion, he finally discovered what it felt like to be loved. When she cradled him as he cried after, for the bites and bruises and scratches that covered her skin, for the gentle caress of her hand on his chest, on his Mark- he knew he loved her.

But what kind of life could he give her? If she stayed with him, she'd be just as cursed as he was. He would have to do some terrible things, have to hurt people she held dear. He'd have to hurt her, if either of them were to survive. And if Voldemort found out that his loyalty was to her, and her alone, she'd be hunted down, tortured and killed. The things his so-called friends would do to her...

Just the thought of another man's hand upon her body in any capacity was enough to send him off into a dark, jealous rage. The thought of her harmed for any reason made him physically sick- the thought of her harmed because of him made his mind reel and his knees go weak. He could never live without her- never live with himself if she was hurt because of him. It's why he had to try to leave her, though it would probably kill him. It's why he could never allow himself the happiness of being with her, because to lose her would kill him. She had damned him by coming to Hogwarts; by falling in love with her, he had damned himself.

Severus Snape stepped out of the shadows, feeling curious eyes upon him as he approached the Defence teacher. He hated himself, loathed himself, and the snarl upon his face was enough to have most students recoiling in terror. Calathea met his eye as he stalked toward her and without a word to him, set the students to work alone as she retreated to her office. The moment the door clicked shut behind them, Severus' hands were on her hips, in her hair, trailing along her waist, up her shirt, tugging her skirts up so he could happily settle between her legs. His lips were hot and hard on hers, plundering her mouth with reckless, desperate abandon. She stumbled and sat upon the desk as the fierceness of his pounce pushed her back- she let out a satisfied groan as his fully clothed body pressed hotly against her core, secretly wishing there wasn't a classroom of adolescents in the next room.

Flicking back her hair, she gave him the most sultry, heartbreaking smile. "To what do I owe this... pleasure?" she asked, her eyes flicking down to where his member pressed against her lacy underwear. Her skirts were bunched around her hips, her ankles locked loosely behind his knees, one of her hands braced against the table as the other dipped two fingers below his belt and caressed the skin she found there.

Severus could barely meet her eye as he lowered his lips to hers very softly. The barest of touches, the most feather-light contact, and his entire body trembled to feel it. Her lips parted as she gasped softly but he didn't press forward as he might've under any other circumstances. "I love you," he whispered, his breath ghosting over her lips and her cheeks. He had never stated it so plainly before, never outright said it- she knew he cared for her, she knew he loved her in some deep recess of his heart, but he had never before just come out and said it.

The fact that he had, had her very, very worried. She pulled back entirely to be able to meet his eye, finding with a mounting concern that he couldn't hold her gaze. "Severus," she murmured gently, her ankles pushing his knees as her hands snaked around his neck, drawing his head down to her shoulder as she ran her fingers through his hair. Her desk chair appeared to catch him as he fell back heavily, and Calathea moved from the desk to his lap. She would never dare be this forward with him normally, but she could see in the way he clutched her to him, breathing her into his very soul, that he didn't mind.

"Say it," he whispered hoarsely, his voice muffled by her robes as he had buried his face in her sternum. Her arms were around his neck and she bent her head to kiss the crown of his, feeling her eyes start to burn with the weight of her worry. "Please, please just once- I need to hear you- say it, Thea, please Merlin, say it just once-" he begged, nearly incomprehensible as he repeated his plea over and over again.

Choked up and with the first tears beginning to fall, she pulled his face up to meet hers. Slowly and deliberately, so he could never mistake her words, she said; "I love you." His eyes fluttered closed as he breathed in sharply, his grip on her hips tightening to almost a painful level- she said nothing as she brushed her lips over his. "I love you," she whispered again. Severus trembled against her as he held her furiously, as if this were the last time he'd ever touch her. "What's gotten into you?" she breathed, stroking his head. Wordlessly, he held out his left arm and shook back the sleeve- his Mark, once faded and barely there, stood out darkly against his pale skin.

Calathea let out a strangled scream, her eyes closing with grief and denial. "He's getting stronger," Severus spoke to her breasts, but she knew he wasn't seeing her at all. "He's been calling. I haven't yet answered... I've been working for Dumbledore... he'll kill me if I go, and he'll kill me if I don't. There's a war coming, Calathea. There's a war on its' way- and I'll not survive it."

"You'd better," she hissed fiercely, his eyes jerking up to meet hers. She shuffled back so she was sitting on his knees and cupped his cheeks. "I hate to tell you this now, I was going to wait until tonight, but-" her hands slid down to grab one of his, and she placed it against her stomach. It took him a moment to notice what she was getting at- the very slight protrusion of her belly button, the dissention of her skin. He met her sky-blue gaze with a gaping mouth, and she nodded tearfully. "I can't do this alone."

Severus couldn't speak. They had been... intimate... only a handful of times. He'd made sure to be very, very careful for each of those encounters- except... "Christmas Eve," he whispered. Calathea shrugged.

"Must've been. Doctor reckons I'm three months along." Severus did the math in his head, and trembled to think of it. A September-born baby, he thought with a wry smile. Who would have guessed that Severus Snape would ever have children... "Sev," Calathea whispered, bringing his attention back to her. She smiled weakly and gave a tiny sigh of resignation- "What are we going to do?" she asked, touching his left sleeve to indicate what she was talking about.

He moved it out of her reach, that foul Mark would never be anywhere near his child or its' mother. He stood, gently allowing her to regain her feet, and he gave her a deadpan look. "Get married and move to France," he said seriously. "Voldemort won't touch France- he has no time for frogs." She threw him a filthy look and slapped his shoulder playfully.

"Be serious," she pleaded.

His expression softened and he threaded his hands in her hair. "I was," he said quietly. "Marry me."