See disclaimers on chapter 9.
A/N: Again, this entire chapter is one of Snape's flashbacks. Any italics used denote Snape's thoughts. Also, more underage sexual activity so if that bothers you, you know what to do.
He nudged her nipple with the point of his tongue, gently squeezing the soft breast below it so it strained upwards to meet his grasping lips. "That's the way," she cooed. Her abdominal muscles twitched as he traced a circle on her belly with his other hand. "Now, take it between your teeth…"
"Oh, Sev-er-us? Where are you?" This time, the voice called to him in singsong.
"A little more to the left. Ahh, yes, you've got it now. Oh! Not so hard." He eased back slightly, and she shivered. "Mmmm, that's better…"
A sharp blow to his ankle snapped his mind back to the present, and he looked up into the smiling green eyes of Lily Evans. Blast. He'd been daydreaming again. In Potions class, of all places.
"Welcome back," she teased. "Sorry to kick you, but it's almost time to add the porcupine quills."
"Why didn't you just do it yourself?" he grumbled, scraping his knife along the cutting stone to form the quills he had been chopping into a neat pile.
"Can't," she replied cheerfully. "I need both hands to keep stirring this." The hair removal potion simmering in their cauldron was growing thicker by the minute, and Severus could see it was becoming a struggle for her to keep the stirring rod moving through it. It was a good thing she'd gotten his attention back to the task at hand – the quills had to be added at precisely the right moment or the potion would be ruined.
He scooped the pile of quills up onto his knife blade – they were too sharp to handle with his bare hands – and sprinkled them evenly across the surface of the potion. As Lily stirred them into the glutinous black morass, it gradually became less viscous and began to change color. When it emitted a thin trickle of sweet-smelling, purplish smoke, he extinguished the flame beneath the cauldron. The potion had to cool for 15 minutes before they could add the final ingredients and bottle it.
Lily peered into the cauldron. "That's got it," she declared, removing the stirring rod and tapping it lightly on the lip of the cauldron to dislodge the thick drops clinging to its tip.
Severus grunted in reply. It was becoming more and more difficult even to feign interest in the things that had once been so important to him. He positively ached for Marinall.
Lily eyed him curiously, her brows drawing inward to a deep furrow at the distant expression on his face. "Are you all right, Severus?" she asked quietly, setting the stirrer on the table in front of her. "You've been acting strangely for weeks now."
So. She'd noticed. No one else had. Not a surprise, really, since she was the only one who paid him any heed. Lucius may have finished Hogwarts at the end of last term and mercifully moved on into the world, but his shadow still loomed large in Slytherin House and Severus continued to spend the majority of his time in solitude. Even Potter and Black had left him alone after the incident with the streeler venom, thanks no doubt to Lily's intervention on his behalf. Severus often wondered what she had said to them that day – whatever it was, they had obviously taken her words to heart for he'd suffered no further pranks at their hands since then.
When he did not reply, she laid her fingers gently on the sleeve of his robe. "Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.
Oh, now *there's* a fine idea,he thought bitterly. I can just see your face when I tell you what's on my mind. How could he possibly explain what was troubling him? Well you see, Lily, I spent the better part of the summer fucking my stepsister, and now she's all I can think about…
She would probably be appalled.
But he swallowed the scoff that threatened to tumble past his lips when she gently squeezed his arm. Severus studied her for a moment, surprised to see genuine concern for him reflected in her emerald eyes, and his heart skipped a beat. Maybe it wasn't such an insane idea at that. After all, she was the only real friend he had, and he desperately wanted to talk to someone about his relationship with Marinall, someone from whom there was no danger of the news getting back to Benjamin. And she obviously wanted to help. He was not one to give his trust easily, but she had already shown she was worthy of it.
"Actually, I would like to talk…" he began, haltingly.
But just then Professor Eldridge stepped up behind them. "Mr. Snape, do you have a question?" the instructor asked. His tone made it clear that he knew Severus and Lily were not discussing the day's assignment.
"No, sir," Severus mumbled as Lily snatched her hand away.
"Then I would suggest you pay attention to what you're doing," the professor intoned, sweeping by them to check on the progress of the team at the next workstation.
"After class, OK?" Lily whispered after Eldridge had passed them by. "I'll wait for you in the corridor."
He nodded, thinking that it was actually a relief that Eldridge had interrupted them. Now he had time to get his thoughts organized before they spoke. There was so much to be said…
That first night with Marinall was by far the most bloody amazing experience of his life.
Sweating and trembling with excitement – or was it fear? – as she closed and warded her bedroom door, his mind went blank for a moment and he was never sure which of them made the first move. But suddenly they were on her bed and she was shrugging her way out of her dressing gown, and then his hands and legs were snaking over her like tendrils of Devil's Snare as he tried to touch every part of her body at once. His fumbling caresses were clumsy and probably brought her more pain than pleasure, but he didn't care. How could he, with her warm, willing flesh pressed up so close against his own?
He dropped his head to claim her mouth, but just as their lips were about to meet she turned her face away. "No," she whispered. "Don't kiss me. That makes it too real." Too immersed in his own need, he didn't stop to ponder the incongruity of her rejecting such simple intimacy at the same moment that she offered up the rest of her body to him; instead, denied her mouth, his feverish lips sought her neck, her chest, her breasts while she arched and wriggled below him.
Her small hands tugged open the front of his trousers, releasing his erection, and within moments he had plunged inside her. The sensation was indescribable. Heat. Moisture. Tightness. He could feel it throughout his entire body, acutely aware of every patch of his own skin, the straining of each individual muscle. Every inch of him pulsed and sang, a discordant symphony that sweetened into the richest of harmonies as he pulled back.
The second thrust – unbelievably – felt even better. A fireball leapt to life at the base of his abdomen, flaring up from smoldering embers into the threat of an explosion within the blink of an eye.
Slow down! the voice in his head screamed. Savor it! It might be the only chance you get! But even as the detached part of his brain conceded that this was probably a pretty good idea, it became a moot point. With the third stroke, it was all over. His heart pounded and the blood roared in his ears as he rode the fiery spasms, hips still twitching spasmodically against the silky prison of her inner thighs. His climax seemed to last a very long time, much longer than the ones he brought about himself. When the last frisson of pleasure had been wrung from him, he collapsed atop her, gulping down great swallows of oxygen as though he hadn't breathed for hours.
The entire experience was over within a few minutes, but to Severus, its impact was profound. He had finally – finally – gotten the chance to do some of the things he had been fantasizing about for so long, and it was made that much more delicious by the fact that it was so forbidden, so risky. He was weak with gratification, yet he felt strong and adult and so very, very pleased with himself.
He felt like a man.
She squirmed impatiently beneath him, and in the aftermath of his release he realized he had nearly forgotten she was even there. "Get off me, Severus," she commanded, pushing on his shoulders. He rolled away and dropped onto his back beside her, a large, foolish smile plastered on his face.
"You needn't look so pleased with yourself," she informed him coldly, propping herself up on one elbow to look down at him. "That was a disappointment, that was."
And that was that. He could not have come crashing back down to earth more quickly if she had upended a pail of cold water over his head.
"Yeah, well, first time and all," he mumbled in reply. To his horror, he could feel himself beginning to blush, a deep red glow that crawled from the base of his neck all the way up to his hairline. He suddenly felt like a boy again, and an inept one, at that. First time be damned, it rankled that she had found him less than satisfactory. He was used to being the best at everything to which he turned his hand.
"Well, you've had your fun," she sneered. "Now you can go."
Her contemptuous tone was all too familiar, and it enraged him. How many times had Benjamin spoken to him in exactly that same manner? Or Black? Or Potter? Or Malfoy? He was sick and bloody tired of hearing it. He was a Snape, and a Slytherin, and he deserved respect, by the gods. And if he couldn't earn it, he was going to demand it. He would be recognized for the powerful wizard he was and the powerful man he was becoming, and it was going to start now.
"I'm not going anywhere," he hissed, pinning her to the bed beneath him once again. His body was taut with his anger, quivering like a bowstring about to snap, and she gasped in surprise and alarm. "I refuse to be a disappointment. Show me what to do."
And she did.
She taught him well. He went to her nearly every night for the rest of the summer, and one by one she revealed the secrets to making her writhe and moan, guiding his education with a roll of her hips and a flick of her tongue, grading his efforts with the pitch and intensity of her soft, throaty exclamations. Precisely how she had come to be so experienced Severus did not know and did not care to contemplate, but he doubted that Professors McGonagall and Eldridge had ever employed methods even half as successful, despite their many years of combined experience as instructors.
And he learned. Oh, it wasn't exactly the type of material one might find on the approved syllabus for any of the required classes at Hogwarts, and he doubted very much whether his professors would be impressed with the gleeful effort he put into his studies; nevertheless, he soaked up the knowledge Marinall had to give with the same zeal he usually reserved for far more mundane academic pursuits. She had opened his eyes to an infinitely more exciting kind of magic, and he was determined to become as skillful with his newly acquired power as he was with both wand and cauldron.
She was a study in contrasts. Severus quickly discovered that she liked hearing him say her name at the moment of his climax, that she quivered when he nipped lightly at the sensitive spot on the base of her throat, and that she would turn her head away every time he tried to kiss her, but aside from these few constants, she was different every time. One night she might want him to go slowly, taking vast amounts of time to let the tension build so gradually that he wanted to scream with the anticipation of thrusting inside her. The next night she would demand that he fuck her harder, faster, throwing them both over the top as quickly as he could. She was always seeking out new sensations, trying new things and different positions, and he spent the daylight hours thinking of imaginative ways to drive her to new heights. He never knew from night to night whether he would be in her bedroom for 15 minutes or four hours, and it was exciting and mind-blowing and so, so dangerous.
They were both keenly aware of the terrible chances they were taking. By unspoken agreement they never discussed it, but their defensive actions said more on the subject than mere words ever could. They never failed to ward the door and cast silencing spells before they began, and he watched carefully as she dosed herself with the necessary contraceptive potions every night. She continued to be aloof and indifferent towards him whenever her father was present, but it no longer annoyed him – to the contrary, he took a perverse pleasure in it, knowing how she would cry out behind closed doors later and savoring the memory of the role Benjamin had played in bringing them together in the first place. For his part, he barely spoke at all when the family was together. In fact, he did not even allow himself to look at her on these occasions for fear that his lust would be broadcast in his eyes.
Through their combined efforts, they somehow managed to keep Benjamin blissfully ignorant of their late night activities – a miracle indeed, given the fact that the man was always looking at Severus for something to be critical about. Severus knew that he would have heard from his stepfather had he any inkling that something might be going on between the two of them, but Benjamin never even hinted that this was the case.
And so Severus's lessons continued. He was silently thankful that he had completed all of his holiday assignments early, as he barely cracked a book for the rest of the summer. Who could focus on Potions or History of Magic when such intense sensation awaited him just a few doors away?
As the days slipped by, Severus noticed his feelings for Marinall were beginning to change. When the affair started, it was all about satisfying his curiosity and exacting his vengeance on his stepfather, and when it was continued it became an issue of commanding the respect he considered his due. But as the summer drew to a close, his emotions seemed to mellow into something entirely different. It was a strange, heady feeling, this quickening of his pulse, the moistening of his palms, the sheer want he felt whenever she was nearby. It was completely unfamiliar to him, and with no other frame of reference to go by he chose to label it "love." He said nothing to her about it, knowing without a doubt that that the feeling was unrequited… still, he couldn't stop himself from hoping that he meant something to her, something more than simply being a means of obtaining sexual gratification.
That fantasy saw the cold light of day the night before he was due to return to Hogwarts. He had gone to her room, as usual, to make love to her one last time. It was still as thrilling as it had been the first time, perhaps even more so now that he was able to make it last and bring both of them to completion. When they were through, he settled back on the bed beside her to catch his breath, as he always did, and it was bittersweet to realize that these were the last few minutes he would have to spend with her for a long time.
"I'll write to you when I get back to school," he said quietly.
"Don't," she replied sternly. "I won't write back. This was a lark, Severus, nothing more. Don't go making it into something it isn't."
He closed his eyes briefly, letting the impact of her words wash over him. Then he got up and stepped into his clothes, leaving the room without looking back.
The bell rang.
Shit. He still didn't know what he was going to say to Lily.
They gathered up their things and left the classroom together. That was a first. She usually walked with Potter and his little band of miscreant followers, but today she didn't even glance in their direction.
When they had walked about halfway to the steps leading up to the ground floor, Lily stopped and turned toward him. "Now, Severus, what's going on?" That gentle, compassionate look was back on her face again, and suddenly the words came tumbling from his lips.
"Lily," he said earnestly, "I think I'm in love." She gasped, hand flying to cover her mouth, and he couldn't help but smile. Apparently, whatever she had been expecting him to say, that definitely wasn't it. "Yes, you heard right, in love. With –"
But he never got the chance to finish his sentence. "Oh, Severus!" she exclaimed. "I'm flattered, honestly I am, but you know I'm with James…" She gestured down the hallway to where Potter, Black and Pettigrew were quickly approaching. Their faces were set in hard lines, and Severus felt his stomach lurch.
"No, no, you don't understand," he said, flustered by her egregious misinterpretation of his news. "I didn't mean –"
"Oh, but I do understand," she insisted as her face flushed beet red. "I just can't…."
"Problem here, Lils?" Potter said loudly, as he and Black stepped up beside her. Severus didn't like the look in his eyes.
"No, Jims," she replied quickly. "No problem."
But Potter was glaring at Severus. "Did I just hear you telling my girlfriend you're in love with her, Snape?" he demanded. Shoulder to shoulder, the duo took a step forward, crowding Severus and forcing him to take a step backwards.
Before he could say anything in his own defense, both Potter and Black had dropped their books onto the flagstones and rushed at him, each one grabbing a fistful of his robes and pinning his shoulders against the wall.
"Did I?!" Potter barked, his face so close to Severus's that spittle hit his cheeks when Potter spoke. Black was uncharacteristically silent, but his teeth were bared like some malevolent dog's and the hostility radiated off him in waves.
"Let go of me, you idiots," Severus snarled. Lily tugged urgently at the sleeve of Potter's robe, repeating Severus's entreaty, but Potter shrugged her off.
"I ought to pound you into a bloody pulp," he hissed.
"Go on, then," Severus snapped, dark eyes flashing. "Kick my bloody arse. It will be worth it to see the two of you expelled from Hogwarts for good and all."
For a long moment, the three boys stood glowering at one another. Severus braced himself for the blows he was sure to come. It was a sickeningly familiar scene to him.
But a moment later, Potter's grip on his robes eased up a bit. "You're not worth it," he spat, giving Severus one final shove so that his shoulder glanced hurtfully off a stone jutting unevenly out of the wall. "Now you listen to me, Snape," he said, jabbing the point of his index finger into Severus's chest. "You leave Lily alone. Don't look at her, don't speak to her, and don't you ever touch her. You understand that?"
Without waiting for a reply, he and Black stepped back, their eyes still glowing dangerously. They gathered up their books and Potter put one proprietary arm around Lily's waist as they marched off down the hallway. Pettigrew scurried along behind them; true to form, he had watched the entire confrontation with wide, frightened eyes, too cowardly to get involved himself.
After dinner that evening, Severus stalked through the library on the way to his customary study table, still fuming about the afternoon's events. He couldn't really blame Lily for jumping to such a conclusion, he'd decided – after all, she had to know he was a virtual pariah and she was the only girl who ever really spoke to him. But Potter and Black… no, there was no excusing what they had done, the bloody bastards. He loathed them. And he was angry with himself, as well, for allowing the two of them to take him by surprise like that. He hadn't even had time to draw his wand before they had him up against the wall.
He slumped down in his chair and opened up his Charms textbook, glaring down at it so intensely it was a wonder it didn't catch fire. The words blurred together in an incomprehensible jumble as he relived the moment in his mind again and again, thinking of the things he should have said, creating a grimly satisfying variety of alternate endings that usually had Potter and Black flat on their arses on the floor.
By the time he looked up again, the sun was setting and the sky outside the window he sat beside was streaked with red clouds. He sighed and sat back in his chair, clenching and unclenching his teeth in an effort to relieve some of the tension in his jaw. Then something outside caught his attention and he sat forward again quickly, leaning toward the window and peering out intently. Two figures were moving across the grounds in the direction of the Forbidden Forest. One was clad in a long white dress with a white hat perched on its head – Madame Pomfrey, Severus realized. The other was obviously a student; the person was a good deal shorter than the medi-witch, slight of build with a mane of shoulder-length light brown hair… was it Lupin? Severus leaned forward a bit more and squinted. Yes, it was definitely Lupin. He could tell by the way the boy walked.
How odd.Why was Madame Pomfrey leading Lupin across the grounds? The only thing out in that direction was the Whomping Willow, and no one ever dared to approach it. Not unless they had a death wish. The tree had caused several severe injuries during his first year – the year it had been planted – and now the entire student body knew well enough to give it a wide berth.
The hairs on the back of Severus's neck began to prickle. Something strange was going on, he was sure of it. And if Lupin was involved, surely Potter and Black had to be right in the middle of it, as well. He filed the information away, determined to investigate it further when the opportunity presented itself. Perhaps this would provide the ammunition he needed to get the Feckless Four thrown out of Hogwarts at last.
He craned his neck to keep watching them as far as he could, but soon enough Lupin and Madame Pomfrey disappeared from view. He sat motionless for a moment, churning through the possible ramifications of this new discovery in his mind, then sighed once again and turned his attention back to his book.
"Did you miss me, Severus?" Marinall asked playfully, her voice dipping into the intimacy range.
It was Boxing Day, and Marinall had just arrived that afternoon for her Christmas visit – two days late, as it turned out. Her absence from the household for the Christmas festivities had a greater impact than she realized, as both Benjamin and Severus had their own reasons for being eager to see her.
After the confrontation with Potter and Black, Hogwarts became an even lonelier place, if such a thing were possible. Severus and Lily remained Potions partners, but the lighthearted exchange of insults that passed for their conversations was gone. She spoke to him as little as possible, only about their assignments and with a strained tone to her voice that set his teeth on edge. And of course, Potter kept an eagle eye on them during every class. Severus didn't realize how much he had enjoyed their easy bantering until it was gone. He had to content himself with his books and his thoughts of Marinall, counting the days until he could go home for Christmas and see her again. There's a switch, he thought ironically. Counting the days until I can go home!
And then Marinall didn't arrive when she was expected, and he thought he would lose his mind. What if she didn't show up at all? He didn't know how he would stand it if he couldn't see her again until next summer.
When she finally appeared, Benjamin fawned over her with his customary displays of paternal affection, showering her with Christmas gifts and not leaving her side for the whole of the afternoon. He wanted to spend the evening with his daughter, as well, but he and Avis were expected at the Malfoys for dinner and they both knew they could not disappoint Diablo.
They would be gone for hours.
Severus remained closeted in his room until he heard Avis calling up the steps that they were leaving. He positively itched with the anticipation of being with Marinall again, but he had wisely decided it would be best not to go anywhere near her until Benjamin was safely out of the house. He peered out the window just in time to see his mother and stepfather Apparate away.
It was time.
One glance through the open door of her bedroom revealed she was not there. So he prowled around the house looking for her, muscles twitching nervously with expectation. Finally he found her curled up in front of the fire in the sitting room, thumbing through one of Avis's back copies of Witch's Weekly.
Unexpectedly, the sight of her made him hesitate. He had so longed to see her again, to be with her again, but as he gazed at her from the doorway he found himself feeling rather unsure of himself. What if she didn't want him? She'd made it quite clear at the end of the summer that their relationship meant nothing to her. Suppose she turned him away?
She looked up then and saw him there, and a slow smile curled her lips as she set the magazine aside. "I thought they'd never leave, how about you?"
His self-confidence came flooding back, and he crossed the room to where she sat in a three hurried strides. He didn't speak other than to groan an answer to her question about missing her, choosing to use his mouth for more satisfying pursuits, instead. There. Kissing the sweet spot at the base of her throat still made her shiver, still earned him the feel of her fingers carding through his long, black hair. A flick of a few buttons and his lips were circling a rapidly stiffening nipple.
"Let's go up to my bed," she gasped, clearly as aroused as he. The musky scent of her was already sharp in the air.
But his blissfully painful erection protested loudly at the idea of walking all that way, up all those stairs. "No. Here," he whispered against her breast. "I can't wait."
They didn't even bother to undress. Severus pulled the blouse from her shoulders so it hung slackly around her elbows, nuzzling her breasts urgently as he hiked the skirt up around her hips. Then her knickers were gone and he was pinching the wet, sensitive spot at the juncture of her thighs in precisely the manner she liked best. Just like riding a broomstick, he thought irreverently as she squealed her delight. Once you learn how, you never forget.
Her climax was high and sharp, and her internal muscles were still contracting when he jabbed his way inside her. Dear gods, it was everything he remembered, and more. He kept still for a few moments, savoring it, trying to calm himself enough to be able to enjoy it fully. When he began to move, the sensation was so intense he had to close his eyes and just live it. Nothing else mattered but this joining of the flesh, this heart-stopping, mind-wrenching affirmation of life.
Each thrust forced another guttural groan from each of them. It was so good… too good… he couldn't hold back much longer…
Suddenly, she began struggling frantically beneath him, clawing at his chest and trying desperately to push him away. "No!" she wailed and then began to sob. "Daddy! Help me!"
Suddenly, Severus became aware of the fact that they were no longer alone in the room. He stopped grinding his hips against her long enough to crane his head around and look over his shoulder. Avis stood in the doorway, her mouth hanging open and her features twisted into an expression of shock and fear.
And there, standing beside her, his face purpling with rage, was Benjamin.
More A/N: This cliffhanger is dedicated to Dorie, to whom I have been promising it for quite a while now. I hope it was worth the wait!
And… I hate to do this to you all, but it looks like it's going to be a while before I will be able update again. I have drawn a challenge in the Dawn to Dusk Snape/Harry slash festival, and that story is due by the end of November. I hope to get back to this piece in short order, but the story I have outlined for DtD is rather involved and as you can probably tell from the length of time it takes to update The Graduate, I need a while to get things written to my satisfaction.
I *promise* I will be getting back to this piece no later than the end of November. I am *not* abandoning it. In the meantime, feel free to leave reviews or email me (my email address is in my author profile), because the feedback will go a long way toward keeping me motivated. Thanks SO much to all of you who have followed along this far.
And finally, if you have not done so already, please go back and read the new author's notes at the bottom of chapter 3. I've had a few emails and reviews expressing the completely legitimate concern that butter is not to be used on burns, and the new author's note addresses the reason why I included that scenario in this story. Thanks!