Author's Notes: Written for Asking Me Where my Love Grows' First Kiss Challenge on the HPFC forum. (Oh yes. I'm writing those again.)


Rowena Ravenclaw was startled when she heard a hiss.

She looked up quickly from the book she had been reading, staring around her library for the source of the noise. Another hiss sounded, this time from quite near her feet, and she glanced down. A smile curved across her lips at the sight of the emerald green serpent that had managed to find his way into the library.

"You are showing off, Salazar," she said, closing her book and looking down quite sternly at the snake, the animagus form of her…

Her what?

Her friend?

No. Her… her associate. Her ally. Nothing more.

The serpent hissed again, his tongue flicking out, then raised his head and upper body. He was large enough that he managed to pull himself up onto the arm of its chair. One more hiss, a quiet, almost sensual sound, and he extended his head so that he was looking Rowena in the eye.

Rowena rested her hand lightly on the head of the serpent curling across the arm of her chair.

"We've spoken. We should not be together, even when you are like this. It is unseemly," she said, her voice soft and low as she ran her fingers over the snake's head.

He hissed quietly, slithering over her, across her lap, coiling himself up around her waist. Rowena's breath caught. She never would have allowed physical intimacy like this if Salazar was in his human form, but as long as he was a snake…

His scales caught at the deep blue silk of her dress, pulling at it slightly as Salazar's strong, powerful body pulled itself up Rowena's arm and draped itself around her neck.

She looked down as the cool, dry weight of the snake settled over her shoulders.

"Leave, Salazar," she told him, but she said it only for effect, not because she wanted him to leave. His proximity, even in the form of a snake rather than the man she knew, was enough to bring a slight flush of excitement to her body.

Salazar hissed appreciatively, shifting against her. Most likely making some comment about the heat of her flesh.

Rowena closed her eyes, fighting to keep her breathing steady as the heavy weight moved around her shoulders, pulling slightly at the skin.

When she opened her eyes again, she was eye-to-eye with the snake.

"Salazar," she whispered. "We should not…"

His forked tongue flickered out and brushed against her lips.

That was enough to render Rowena speechless until long after he had slithered away.