Disclaimer: J.K. owns all affiliated Harry Potter characters.

A/N: There's some swearing in it, but not throughout. And just one scene of sexual themes, which really is just at the beginning. Lots of Snape/Sinistra bickering, though, following. Enjoy.

Seventy-Two Hours

Stalking through the darkened corridors with his black robes billowing menacingly behind him, a tall, dark-haired wizard continued patrolling to ensure that there were no brats out of bed. Oh, but did he ever wish that there were students strutting about the castle arrogantly. He was just itching to take points tonight from the little horrors, seeing as how he had been in a foul mood practically all day.

After checking the library and finding everything was as it should be, empty in other words, he headed toward the Astronomy tower. He quickly ascended up the narrow spiral staircase, his footsteps light and airy—silent—as usual on the black metal from years of practice. However, he paused instantly on the fifth to last step from the top when he heard heavy breathing coming from inside the tower. Thrusting his pale hand into his robe pocket, he snatched his ebony wand, ready to intimidate and scare the hell out of the likely unsuspecting couple.

Emerging a moment later on top of the observatory with his wand drawn, he stopped in mid-step at the sight before him. The sneer that had been on his face previously quickly morphed into a look of sheer surprise, which was rare to see on his face. His black eyes widened, falling onto the shuddering shadow that was making the noises. His nostrils flared slightly, forcing him to swallow uncomfortably a moment later when he smelled the heavy scent of arousal. He rapidly shook off his surprise and turned to leave, feeling uncharacteristically awkward after having found his colleague, if one could call her that now, pleasure herself.

"Severus!" The cry tore from the curly-haired witch and echoed around the silent observatory as a loud moan followed after.

The man stiffened instantly at hearing his name. He slowly turned back. He knew she couldn't see him. For one, he was blending very well into the shadows. And for two, he could see in the moonlight that her eyes were closed as she leaned back against the battlements while she slowly came down from her obvious climax.

Drawing in a deliberate breath, he made up his mind and strode across the tower toward her.

"Sinistra," he said in a low voice when he was almost in front of her. He smirked gleefully when she jumped and cried out in pain as her fingers jerked upward between her legs.

"Wha—what?" The woman's brown eyes widened when he finally stepped into the light with pure amusement on his face. "How did you get up here?" she snapped.

He shrugged. "It wasn't hard. I climbed up the stairs."

"Impossible. I warded the tower from students and staff."

"Clearly you didn't, considering that I'm here, Sinistra. Perhaps you had your mind on . . . other things." His smirk deepened as he stared at her, watching her ashen face pale even more.

"If you're trying to make me uncomfortable or embarrassed because of . . . of that, Snape, I'm not. It's perfectly—well, perfectly natural to do . . . you know." She waved her hand. "That. Perfectly natural." Her cheeks colored slightly under his gaze.

He chuckled quietly, crossing his arms as he leaned back on his heels.

"Stop staring at me like that, you bastard. You probably wank off every damn day since no witch would be sane to touch you." She squeaked when his hand suddenly latched onto her wrist and thrust her hand upward before he lowered his mouth to her fingers, sucking on the glistening digits that were covered in her juices. "Wh—sto—you—oh—SEVERUS SNAPE!" Her brown eyes widened in horror. "Give me back my hand, you sick son of a bitch!" She then screamed when both of his hands grabbed a hold of her wrists and yanked her toward him before his mouth slammed against hers. She tried to turn her head to the side to get away from his lips, but he was stronger so he thrust his tongue into her mouth, forcing her to taste herself on him.

He pulled back a moment later, his eyes glittering in the moonlight as he took several steps back from her. He didn't react when she slapped him hard against the face not two seconds later.

"You goddamn bastard!" She clenched her jaw, glaring at him. "I'm telling Albus."

"Tell him what exactly? That you failed to ward your tower because you were too aroused and needed to pleasure yourself in clear view of the staircase?" he drawled, staring evenly at her. "Please. By all means, do tell him that, Sinistra. I'm in need of a laugh."

"Oh, go fuck yourself, Snape."

"You wish, Sinistra."

"Kali!" the witch in her mid-thirties yelled, glaring at him. When the small house elf appeared a moment later, she turned toward it. "Take Severus and myself to the Headmaster's office please, Kali." She grabbed the house elf's tiny hand, motioning toward him to do the same. When he finally grabbed the elf's hand, the three vanished and appeared a moment later in the office.

Snape withdrew his hand at once, backing away from her to put as much distance between her as he could for professionalism's sake. His face remained neutral but his body was clearly tense under the gaze of his mentor and boss who sat at the large desk across from them.

"Professors Snape, Sinistra," warmly said an elderly man with a long white beard and twinkling blue eyes, "to what do I owe the pleasure of your presences tonight?"

Leaning back against the wall, Snape's eyes watched the witch. He kept the chuckle in his throat when her shoulders slumped. He knew she wouldn't be able to—

"Professor Snape walked in on a very intimate thing, and instead of just leaving as any respectable person would, he assaulted me instead."

"I did not!" he snarled, stepping toward her.

"You did, too!" she yelled back, turning around to glare daggers at him.

"Oh really? I wasn't aware that a kiss now constituted assault, Sinistra, whereas you fantasizing about me and screaming my name where students may hear wasn't at all . . . a manner of assault."

"You're a bastard."

"And yet you still come to me. Literally," he retorted coolly with a smirk. His hand flew up, grabbing a hold of her hand as she went to smack him once more. "Now, now, Sinistra, I don't get off on pain and humiliation like you do." He chuckled inwardly when her eyes flashed dangerously.

"Fuck off, Severus!'

"You first, Sinistra. Oh wait! You already did. In the tower."

Neither she nor Severus noticed the house elf and elderly man leave the office. They didn't even notice the wards go up either, locking them in. They just continued their argument, glaring at each other.

"I hate you, Snape!"

"Clearly you don't, considering your . . . performance earlier." He lifted a leg and connected it with hers when she tried to knee him in the groin. "Tut, tut, we don't want to hurt that which you yearn for, do we, Sinistra?"

"Do you hear the way he's speaking to me, Headmaster?" She paused for a moment, narrowing her eyes when there was no reply. "Headmaster?" She turned her head around, yanking her arms from him. "Let me go, dammit." She growled, shaking her head angrily and glancing toward the desk to address the man sitting behind it. However, the chair behind the desk was empty. "He's gone."

"No, you don't say. What other seemingly obvious things would you like to state? Perhaps that the sky is blue? That you're a complete idiot?"

"Shut it, Severus." She frowned, her eyes darting around to see if she could see the Headmaster lurking about watching them. She saw nothing, though. With a loud sigh, she turned back to Snape, noticing him heading for the door to leave. She quickly headed for the fireplace, ready to disappear in the Floo to return to her tower.

Throwing a bit of the green powder into the flames and freezing them, she took a step inside and called out her destination. Nothing happened, though. She tried again, only to step out and glance toward the door where she saw Snape drawing his wand and flicking it toward the door. She watched him for several moments, sighing when his spells didn't budge the door.

"He couldn't . . . wouldn't . . . Please tell me he wouldn't, Snape."

Growling, he sneered at her, "This is your fault, Sinistra."

"Mine? You were the bastard who—"

"Perhaps if you had properly warded your tower—"

"It was warded, you arse! You probably removed them just to humiliate me."

"Oh, yes, because I don't have anything better to do with my time than to humiliate a junior professor. Brilliant logic there, Sinistra. Clearly."

"Oh go jump off the North tower, you git."

"Maybe someday I will, and in clear view of your tower so you can watch me too." His eyes held hers, his face perfectly neutral.

"What? You can't. Severus, I was just—" She stopped when he started chuckling loudly. "Why are you laughing? That's not funny, Severus. You'd die if you jumped off it."

"What little faith you have in me, Sinistra."

"You'd die, Severus. You may be brilliant, but you're not omnipotent."

"You think I'm brilliant?" The corner of his lip twitched slightly. "Oh, Sinistra. Perhaps I've been a bit harsh with you. Maybe you and I should . . ." he inflected softly, leaning toward her with his lips near hers as his intense eyes held hers, "work together to get out of here. Hmm?" He raised an eyebrow before pulling back and raising his wand at the door.

"I hate you."

"No you don't. Now, wand out. I'd rather not have to spend the night fending myself off from a sex-crazed professor. I have better things to do."

"What's that? Wank off in the shower and cry yourself to sleep?" she bitingly retorted.

He glanced at her with a hard look before answering. "No. I have to finish the Wolfsbane so that the pet werewolf doesn't kill everyone during our next meeting, Sinistra. Or would you rather I not finish it and allow that to happen?"

"If the Headmaster knows that, then why would he lock us in here? He wouldn't want Remus to hurt any of us, nor would he wish Remus to feel that pain of knowing it." She glared at Snape when he snorted. "He wouldn't. Just because you're an arse doesn't mean the whole rest of the world is."

"And yet you still ache for me. What does that say about you? Hmm?"

"Shut it, Severus." She drew her long silver wand, frowning as she glared at the door. She waited until he bowed his head before they together sent their blasting curses at the door. However, the door remained standing, closed to them. "You've got to be kidding me." She clenched her teeth before waving her wand at the door. "Alohomora." And still the door remained shut.

"Oh, yes, now why didn't I think of that?" Snape growled, glaring at her.

"Probably because your head is so up your arse—"

"What's with the fascination with my arse, Sinistra? Do you fancy it?"

"No. I'm merely trying to figure out where your arse starts and begins, considering you're a giant one." Her eyes flashed as she glared at him.

"Touché, Professor. That's probably the wittiest thing you've ever said. Perhaps we should celebrate it with . . . lemon drops."

"You're not funny."

"No, that's you, my dear Professor Sinistra."

"I hope you choke to death."

"If I do start to choke, please don't do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on me. I'd rather not have to undergo another of your pathetic attempts of kissing and feeling me up."

"Feeling you up? What are you? A girl?"

"Oh, I assure you that I'm all man."

"I doubt that. Probably used up all your length on your nose."

"Perhaps one day you'll see it," he pauses, smirking, "likely when you're dead."

She growled, her head snapping toward Dumbledore's desk when they heard a pop as a paper suddenly appeared on top of it. She headed with him to it, him reaching it first and picking it up. Craning her neck, she tried to read it, only to glare at him when he crumpled it up and threw it away angrily. Leave it to him to throw it before she finished.

After she snatched it from the floor, she headed far away from him and sat down with her back against the wall near the Pensieve. She watched his eyes follow hers before he too moved away to the opposite wall. She opened the crumpled message and read the simple line.

You have seventy-two hours. Make the most of them.

No wonder he crumpled it up. She frowned, ripping the message and tossing the pieces aside. How dare Dumbledore treat them like prisoners. Just what was he trying to accomplish here anyway, which one of them would be left alive at the end? Meddling bastard.

~STH~

At the sound of her stomach growling, she winced, rubbing her abdomen. She felt Severus's eyes on her as he sneered. She sighed, but didn't say anything. They had to have been there for twelve hours now by her estimate. She glanced toward him, noticing his glare hadn't lessened any with time. House elves were out of the question, however. They had both tried to call for one, receiving no answer. It seemed as if Dumbledore removed that option of escape from them as well.

"At least he's allowing us to use his loo," she finally said two minutes later. "It could have been worse. Don't you think?"

"Kindly keep your asinine comments to yourself, Sinistra."

"So you're just going to sit there and sulk then, Severus?"

"I'm not sulking."

"Oh, no, you're perfectly cheery. My apologies." She heard him scoff as he sat there with his back against the wall and arms crossed. At the sound of a loud pop near Dumbledore's desk, her head whipped around. She quickly pushed herself up to her feet, ignoring Severus who continued to sulk in his corner. At the sight of finger sandwiches and two glasses of water, she grinned. "Thank you, Circe. Food finally." She grabbed a sandwich for herself and a glass, eating and drinking happily. However, she paused on her second one when she noticed Severus hadn't moved from his spot at all. "Aren't you going to eat? They're pretty good."

He gave her a withering look, but said nothing.

"Fine. Starve to death. See if I care." She ate another sandwich, frowning. "Bastard." He always could piss her off like none other. She grabbed one more sandwich before walking back to her wall and sitting down again.

An hour later, she glanced toward him, growling when he was still sitting all calm against the wall. He continued his glare at her with his arms still crossed, looking an awful lot like a sulky teenager. She scoffed, shaking her head and turning to the side with her robes drawn up around her. If he was going to sit there like a giant baby, then she'd let him.

~STH~

When she awoke several hours later, she found a pair of heavy robes draped across her body. She frowned, turning and glancing toward Severus. He was still sitting there, but was rubbing his forearm with a look of pain. She turned away, sighing.

"Your Mark's hurting again, isn't it?" She glanced toward him before looking at his left forearm.

"I haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about, Sinistra." His hand quickly pulled back from his arm and fell to his side.

"Of course you don't," she muttered under her breath. She then raised her voice to address him. "You can take your robes back, Severus. I don't need them." She threw them across the room to him, watching his black eyes follow it through the air before they fell onto the floor near him. She watched him snatch his robes and noticed his lips moving, but couldn't hear the words. Though, she had no doubt that he was cursing her to hell and back. It was just his way. The hermit.

Leaning back, she closed her eyes to go back to sleep, since her companion wasn't much company anyway. She was almost asleep when she heard the audible gasp, her eyes flying open and head wrenching to look at him. His pain was quite evident this time, and there was no way he could deny it. She saw it written all over his face, which was paling even more than usual at an alarming rate.

Quickly pushing herself up, she rushed toward him as his body slumped to the side, his eyes now closed. She gently picked his head up, pressing her forefingers against his neck to feel for his pulse while ignoring her own fear-driven heartbeats. She released a sigh of relief when she felt the rapid thumping under her fingers. So he was just unconscious then.

Quietly, she pulled him more toward her, placing his head in her lap to hold him as her fingers started to run lightly through his long raven hair. He was cool to the touch, but she assumed he always was. She held him in silence, waiting for him to wake up before finally closing her eyes and steeling herself. If it was his Mark, she'd know immediately upon looking at it. She reopened her eyes and slowly rolled up his white undershirt's left sleeve, wincing when she saw the angry red patch around his Mark. It looked as if someone was burning the pattern into him again. Oh, Severus.

~STH~

Sometime during the following day, he awoke to fingers running through his hair. He opened his eyes, glancing up groggily and groaning when he found that he was in the witch's arms. He should have known that she'd have her hands all over him while he was unconscious. He glanced at his arms, finding the sleeves pushed up.

"Unhand me, you ridiculous woman." The anger unfortunately wasn't reaching his voice.

"You're welcome, Severus."

"For what reason would I thank you, Sinistra? For not undressing me and having your way with me?" He glared up at the ceiling. He hated being in her arms, seemingly looking all weak and vulnerable, forced to take her . . . ministrations.

"Yes, well, unlike how you imagine the world to be, I'm not one to force myself on others. Good things happen to those who wait and all that nonsense."

His face lost some of its hardness at her words. However, inside he was still raging over the indignity of it all, waking up in her arms of all people. He closed his eyes when his stomach growled. Waiting, he lay there for her to say something, but she didn't thankfully.

"How long?"

"We've been stuck here almost two days now." At his questioning look, she explained further. "You slept most of today. Understandable considering how much in pain you were earlier."

He thought about arguing, not liking in his opinion her unspoken insinuation that he was weak, but chose not to since it'd not do any good anyway. He frowned. Since when did he choose not argue with Sinistra?

"Is it still hurting?" She motioned toward his left forearm. "Your Mark?"

"No." He glanced away with a sour look. He'd normally embrace the silence, welcome it even, but it was unsettling for some reason now. "It'd seem he's decided my punishment is over for now."

"Why's he punishing you?" She then decided against knowing when he didn't answer right away. "Never mind. You don't have to tell me. I was just curious."

"He summoned me while we're stuck in here."

"I don't suppose he'd take the excuse—"

"Excuses tend to get you killed where the Dark Lord is concerned, Sinistra. Unless you'd rather I was dead—"

"I don't." Not even a second of hesitation was in her voice. "I never want that."

He sighed. "I know you don't, Aurora." He felt himself relaxing, recalling when Lily did the same for him when they were children. It was easy for him to slip into the sense of calm and peace with the feelings of love she was invoking in him. He wouldn't state that he loved her. Not in the slightest. But he was starting to appreciate Sinistra a bit more. It was rare that he was shown this kindness with nothing asked in return.

"I think that's the first time you've called me by my first name," she said with an obvious smile in her voice. Her fingers smoothed the lines on his face tenderly. "Are you getting soft on me, Severus? I'm not certain I know how to react to a soft version of you." Her voice conveyed her playful tone beautifully as she laughed.

"You could have left me on the floor," he quietly stated. "You didn't need to pull me into your lap and do . . . this for me."

"I know, but I wanted to, Severus."

"If it's pity—"

"It's not," she interrupted, her voice firm. "You know how I feel about you. And I apologize that it unsettles you, but we can't help whom we love, Severus. I know that your heart belongs to another. I understand that. And I'm sorry for saying this but I don't know when I'll get another chance to nor do I know when I'll have the courage to say it, but I love you, Severus. I don't pity you for an instant. What I feel for you is love, nothing else. I wish you were mine, but I understand that you'll never be. And I respect that. But what happened on the tower—Severus, I'm sorry that it unsettled you—but I honestly didn't . . . I didn't know that I'd say your name . . . during it."

He grunted to show he heard her, but said nothing. She loved him? Truly? How could she—or anyone for that matter—love him? He was unlovable. No, no, she felt pity for him. She didn't love him. No one loved him. Lily . . . He swallowed at his lost love's name. Lily couldn't even love him, and she was the one who knew him the best. In the end, he lost her to that prat Potter first and then finally to the Dark Lord by death, a death he caused.

"I'm sorry, Severus. I didn't mean to make you angry again."

"I'm not angry with you," he grumbled, crossing his arms. "You're being perfectly lovely."

"Perfectly lovely? Thank you, Severus." Her fingers ran through his hair once more.

"I cannot return your feelings, Sinistra."

"I know, Severus, and like I said, I understand."

"No you don't," he mumbled.

"You love another woman, Severus. So I do understand."

Perhaps it was the fact that they had been locked up in the room for two days with only one another as company or it was the fact that he was still recovering from the Dark Lord's painful punishment, but he slowly opened up. "Do I love her, Sinistra? Or am I holding onto a memory of a dead woman because I feel guilt about her death and stating that it's love that I feel for her?"

"I can't answer that, Severus."

He scoffed. "Some witch you are, Sinistra."

"Hey, I never said I was an expert in these things." She poked him gently in the chest. "I don't know if you love Evans or not, because, well, I've only imagined what you look like when you're in love, and I'm likely wrong." She smiled when he snorted. "At least I'm being honest."

"I appreciate it nonetheless."

"Good. Think he'll let us out now? Or should a kiss do it?"

"For being a Slytherin, you're rather bad at manipulating others, Aurora."

"Why thank you, Severus. I do try to be the worst Slytherin." She laughed when he snorted again. She then sighed at the sound of a familiar pop. "What do you think it is this time?"

"Hopefully, it's a bottle of Firewhiskey."

"Men and their alcohol." She sighed, pulling her hand back from his head. She smiled as he slowly stood up, holding his right hand out to her to help her up to her feet. Slowly, they made their way to where they had heard the sound. "No Firewhiskey, it'd seem."

"Just another absurd note," he stated, picking up the parchment before shaking his head at the handwritten line.

Rely on each other.

"Well, that's rather . . . interesting." She glanced at him. "How do we rely on each other when we're stuck in here, Severus?"

"He's informing us that if we did something together—not that! Merlin, woman." He shook his head. "As if our employer would want us to do . . . that . . . in his office. Merlin, witch, think, will you? It's why you have a brain, after all."

"Really? That's why I have a brain? And here I thought it was to control all of my organs so my heart beats and my lungs expand and all that."

"Oh, shut it, Sinistra."

She laughed, leaning against Dumbledore's desk before sighing and thinking for a moment. "Severus?"

"What, Sinistra?" His tone conveyed boredom again.

"Do you think he's warded the windows by chance?"

"Warded them against what?" His interest was definitely piqued now.

"Oh, I don't know . . . say against . . . a desk?"

His head snapped toward her. A desk? His eyes darted toward the window before turning back to her and smirking.

"My dear Professor Sinistra, are you suggesting that we vandalize the Headmaster's office by throwing his desk out the window in hopes of escaping?"

"Of course not, Severus." She turned to him, her eyes catching his. "I'm stating it."

"Perhaps you're a Slytherin after all, Professor. Shall we?" He drew his wand, standing back and pointing it toward the large piece of ornamental furniture. He smirked when she raised her wand with him. Together, they nonverbally levitated the desk off the ground before sending it flying through the large stained glass window. Quickly, they rushed over to the broken panes, feeling the cool breeze against their faces.

"Well, I'd call that a success. Now, we just need to figure—" She went silent when he wrapped his arms around her. "Severus," she breathed, her heart beating a mile a minute, "what are you doing?"

"Whatever you do, do not scream, Sinistra."

She opened her mouth to ask why, but was cut off when he yanked her hard with him toward the window. Her head instantly buried into his shoulder when she realized his intentions. Her breath caught in the back of her throat at the sudden drop feeling that came from falling, only to feel them stabilize a moment later. She trembled against him, her arms wrapped tightly against his neck.

"Please don't let us die. Please don't let us die," she whispered repeatedly.

"How little you think of me, Aurora," was his only reply before she felt something solid under her feet. "You may kindly extricate yourself from me. We're on the ground."

She slowly pulled her head back, sighing in relief to see that he was in fact telling the truth. Her head once again rested against his shoulder, allowing her to listen to his heartbeat for a moment.

"I hate flying," she said in a tiny voice, her stomach still doing back flips.

"You could have informed me of that before we left, Sinistra," he said dryly. "Are you well, though?" Even he could hear the hint of concern in his voice, which struck as odd.

"Yeah, yeah, fine. Sorry." She slowly pulled back, closing her eyes as she finally released him. "Thank you, Severus." She smiled when he only jerked his head, taking another step back from her.

"Ah, there you are, Professors," loudly announced Headmaster Dumbledore as he walked up the path cheerfully, his blue eyes slowly glancing up toward his broken out window. "I trust the matter has been resolved then? All is well?" His smile deepened when they both nodded. "Excellent. I do hope you'll both rely on one another more in the future. I fear we'll need your, shall we say, interesting solutions in the end." He walked past them, still smiling with eyes twinkling. "Ingenious, I must say."

"I'm sorry. What is, Headmaster?" She could have kicked herself when she heard her question. She felt Snape stiffen near her instantly when Dumbledore turned back toward them.

"Why break the window and fly down, of course, my dear. I thought for certain that you'd use Fawkes to get out. Good night, Professors." He gave them a curt smile before heading into the castle.

"The ruddy bird," Aurora groaned. "Why didn't we think of it?"

Snape shrugged, looking considerably younger in the moonlight. "Likely because we were rather bent on returning the favor he paid us." He then inclined his head toward her, entering the castle as well but stopping and holding it open for her as she joined him.

"It was rather fun, wasn't it?"

"Fun is not the word I'd use, Sinistra." He followed her for a moment before stopping at the entrance to the dungeons. "Good night, Professor."

"Good night, Severus." She smiled before turning to head up the staircase to return to her tower.

"Sinistra?" he called out softly when she had taken her third step. She turned back, staring at him with a look of confusion. "Perhaps sometime we could," his eyes darted around the area as if to see if anyone was watching them before he continued, "have a bottle of wine together." At the sight of her widening smile, he stood a bit taller. "I need an answer, woman. Silence will not suffice."

"I'd love that, Severus."

He nodded stiffly. "Good. Well, then. I'm in need—" he paused, staring at her for a moment before likely thinking better of it. "Good night, Professor." He whirled around, quickly heading into the shadows and likely descended down the steps into the dungeons.

Aurora smiled, however, her brown eyes sparkling in the candlelight. She'd wear him down yet. The old hermit. She turned, ascending up the steps with a considerable spring in her step. All in all, the past few days stuck with Severus weren't that bad. Maybe Dumbledore should lock them—

"Do not finish that ridiculous thought of yours, Sinistra," said a low and very familiar growl behind her. "Insufferable witches," he grumbled as he walked up the steps to join her.

"Hello, Severus," she replied, grinning.

A/N: Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed.