Cake and Chaos
Severus Snape was not in the mood. He wasn't exactly certain what the mood was, per se; but he was absolutely certain he wasn't in it. And that's when the knock sounded at his chamber door. His head rolled against the back of his worn leather chair. Please be a raven...
But he had a terrible, awful idea who it was. So awful, his hand attempted to refuse his brain's command to turn the handle. "Minerva." Gods, help me. "How delightful to see you."
The headmistress chuckled. "Hardly, I'm certain." She was holding an ornate oblong box. Her lips were pursed so tightly an oxygen molecule couldn't find passage.
"What brings you here?" He gestured her inside.
"Don't be a daft arse," she trilled. Her tartan robes swished when she turned dramatically before his fireplace and presented the box. "Happy birthday, Severus."
"Is it something plaid?"
He winced, and slowly accepted the box. "If this is to be my coffin, Minerva, you may remove the shrinking charms now."
Another chuckle. She was fighting against a smile. The old biddy just loved bloody birthdays. "You know what it is. I always get you the same thing."
"Sit," he said, untying the gilt ribbons on the gift. "I always appreciate the same thing, Minerva." He set the revealed bottle on the table before his settee. "And this year is to be no exception. A very fine vintage, Headmistress."
"Just like my deputy," she larked.
"Hah." He sat in the wingback facing her, flicked his wand toward his mantel. Two brandy snifters settled on the coffee table and Minerva poured them each a finger of the dark red-gold firewhiskey. "Thank you." He took the glass and barely inhaled the fragrance. Very impressive. "Cheers."
Their glasses met softly. "To this birthday and many more, Severus - despite your grumblings." They sipped.
The brew was mellow, well aged. There was barely any burn until it hit the stomach. "Impeccable, Minerva." He nodded to her. "This one could be tricky."
"I agree." Minerva looked at the libation accusingly. "I'll have to remember to take this one slowly. And in miniscule amounts." She watched her colleague settle into his chair, relaxed for a change. There was a very small smile on his face. He was content, but pensive. "It's Friday, Severus. Why don't you go out? I imagine Rosmerta would be happy to see you. And I know several of the staff intend to -"
"I'm quite happy here, Minerva." He said.
She nodded. The fire flickering in his grate played on his face, brought the rich brown out of his eyes. His hair brushed past his shoulders now, curled as if to say 'touch me.' She knew he kept it long primarily to help hide the scar devouring most of his neck and a portion of his left jaw. It wasn't pretty, but all in all, it wasn't bloody awful considering.
Minerva shook her head. Sipped her drink. He wanted to be alone. So be it. "Well, if you change your mind Sybil and Filius have rounds tonight. Just tell them if you leave."
She rose, leaving her glass on the table. "And do finish that. I'm afraid it's bested me."
He smiled a bit wider, seeing her to the door. "Very well. Minerva?"
She looked at him. His features softened. "Thank you."
Unable to resist, she patted his cheek affectionately. "You're most welcome, Severus." And she swished down the hall.
He closed the door, smile fading to acceptance. It was good of her to remember, but he could hardly be arsed just the same. He wandered to his window overlooking the new quidditch pitch. The stars were very bright and the night very clear. It was also bitterly cold, and a light snow flurry was dancing a maelstrom before his eyes.
Another year older. Another year...alive. His forehead creased. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I wasn't supposed to survive. He felt so out of place sometimes.
Another knock at his door jarred his morose musings. "Who the devil..." He sported a full scowl when he opened the door.
"Good to see you, too." The witch breezed past him, emanating cool moisture. She offered a box, as well - this one more squared and secured with baker's twine. "Take this. I'm wet head to foot and positively must have a drying charm."
He took the box, scowl becoming an expression of accustomed patience. He caught a whiff of cold. Had she apparated in this mess?
She saved him the trouble of asking, her usual brisk information stream issuing from a pair of prettily bowed lips. "I flooed into the Three Broomsticks. Ghastly mess, that was. They never clean the grating. Took me five minutes to scourgify this skirt, and it's brand new! And then Rosmerta had to hug me and you know how that went: breasts everywhere. The woman needs a proper brassiere. Do you think it would be in poor taste to send her one anonymously?"
"Oh, yes! Sorry." She plucked the box from his hands. "Sit! Resume your ennui and pretend I'm not even here for a moment."
Not possible. And that better not be a cake. He sat, listened to her prattle on in the kitchenette.
"Are you going to cut your hair? The ends need a trim. I can take care of it if you like, like last time. And speaking of time, you should see the new clock I got for the drawing room. Gorgeous, really. Oh! I heard from Draco - finally. He and Astoria are in London now. I think the honeymoon officially ends this week as he has to be back at the Ministry on Wednesday." Cabinetry opened and closed. He heard the clinking of china and silverware. "If you're not terribly sotted, can I offer you tea or a coffee? I'm going to have a coffee, I believe. Take the chill out of my bones. I'll just make you one, as well."
He sighed. Rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Happy birthday, Severus."
"Hm?" He looked up. "Oh!"
There she stood, full smile lighting her features and a plate of cake extended to him. She'd shed her thick coat, and he took her in for the first time. The frock was form fitting and dark - black or navy blue. It extended past her knees with a jaunty flare, and buttoned all the way up to a deep v-neck. He swallowed and accepted the plate. "Thank you."
Then she was gone again, clicking into the kitchen where she sent their coffees drifting to the table along with her own cake slice. She was rarely still when she visited, and her energy was often exhausting. But he was used to it. For three years now they'd had these visits, since Lucius' suicide and Severus' recovery from Nagini's attack. He supposed they found some solace in each other, though for the life of him he couldn't pinpoint the solace in her.
She was even now talking about something or other, alternating between bites of admittedly delicious rum cake, sips of creamy coffee and exclamations about people he cared not a whit for. But she was beautiful, and he looked upon few beautiful things these days, so he forgave her.
He glanced around his chambers. No doubt she's here. Her heels lay overturned on the floor beneath the coffee table. Her hat perched precariously on the settee's arm. Her coat draped over the back of his own chair. She seemed to bring with her a sort of chaos...and she took it with her whenever she left.
And he missed it.
"Don't you think so?"
"What?" He froze, a bite of rum cake held in his cheek.
"Are you even listening to me?"
"Yes." He nodded, chewing, staring at his plate. Then, "No." He looked back up at her. "I'm sorry. I was -"
"Distracted, as usual." She smiled. "I know you don't care for your birthday. I just hadn't seen you since Yule, and you hadn't answered my owl, so..." She shrugged.
"I'm sorry. Really. I got very busy once the students and staff were back."
"I know." Her big expressive eyes weren't at all outfitted for hiding emotions or reactions. "I'm not angry. I know you're busy." She set her now empty plate on his table. "That was lovely."
"It was." He set his plate beside hers. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." She leaned forward, elbows on her knees, bouncing her feet a bit. He ignored the curve and shadow of her cleavage. "I've come to enjoy this little birthday tradition of ours." Her fingers worked nervously.
"As have I."
She took a deep breath. "I've really come to enjoy...all of our little traditions, I suppose." Her eyes fell to her lap.
Severus squinted at her. Something unspoken hovered in the room. He couldn't tolerate unspoken things. "Narcissa -"
They spoke at once and she laughed an anxious, breathy laugh. "Go ahead," Severus said, smiling.
"Severus." She squared her jaw. "I've started to experience...rather complicated feelings...in regards to your...friendship."
She rose, paced. He watched her stockinged feet sink into his thick rug. Her hands worked as she spoke. "And by complicated feelings, I mean... Well, I mean I perhaps fancy you a bit. Embarrassingly. To a degree more suitable for a frippet half my age or a crushing school girl. And I know the kind of man you are. I know that you are a private and reserved person who prefers his solitude and I respect that. I work very hard to avoid thinking of you and thereby making a nuisance of myself, but we are adults and friends and I like to think we've a mutual understanding between us that will allow for an exchange such as this one. So I'm simply saying what I have to say. Severus." She came to stand before him. He stared up at her stupefied. The expression on her face was chaos, as well; fear, bravery, folly, recklessness, earnestness and an inkling of desire pinkening her cheeks. "I brought you another gift tonight. Besides the cake, that is."
It took a second for his voice to surface. "What..."
She bit at her bottom lip. "Me."
He felt his eyes blinking as if beyond his control. A most embarrassing sound emerged from his throat, and the combination of his body's disbelieving reactions seemed to be having no small negative effect on the witch standing proud before him.
Her formerly confident shoulders started to curl inward just a bit. Her desire pinkened cheeks began to pinken more with humiliation. She hadn't the voice for speaking, so she whispered. "Or...I could just...leave you in peace."
She turned and the presentation of her lovely backside caused a domino effect of realizations to cascade through his obviously peace-dulled brain. With reflexes he hadn't exercised since his spy days, he launched from his seat and grabbed her shoulders.
"Ah!" She cried out at the unexpected maneuver and he whirled her to face him.
"You're offering yourself as a birthday gift?"
His intense and purposeful eyes must have frightened her. "I - yes! I'm tired of being lonely, Severus, and I hoped that you would be, too. I hoped that we had come to know one another -"
" - and...what?" It was her turn to blink. She was terribly beautiful in the dim and flickering firelight; as fragile as fairy floss and as nervous as a newborn unicorn.
"How long does the gift last?" He needed to know, was a man of definitions - of terms, conditions and absolutes. In this instance at least, her chaos would never do.
"Oh!" Her hands came up to rest on his arms, gently encouraging him to release his grip. "As long as you like, I suppose. A few hours. A night? It's...it's your gift, Severus."
"I thought the cake was my gift," he said lowly. "And it's nearly gone, now. Why would I want another fleeting thing?" He stroked her face as realization dawned there. "What if I wanted...a more permanent gift?"
She licked her lips. "I'm certain arrangements could be made."
"Mm-hm." It was practically a whimper.
He was going to kiss her. Wordlessly, she was begging to be kissed good and proper. Her body strained to resist pressing against his. Her hands flinched and flickered on his arms. Her now wet lips parted just enough for a kiss.
The preparations were clearly in place. So neatly, slowly and studiously, Severus lowered his mouth to hers. The first touch of their lips was...wonder.
And then her chaos overruled his reason.
Her fingers fired into his hair. Her tongue tasted like rum and coffee - a trap - a lure for his own tongue. They kissed like teenagers and suddenly were falling onto his settee sideways. He felt cool air on his back and realized the witch was undressing him. "Narcimmmham." Her mouth silenced his.
So he let his own hands wander free; over the soft roundness of her breasts, valley of her belly, the full flux of her hips. Her thighs were muscular and tensed when he groped them. The velvet covering her legs was lush and lovely, but he wanted it up - out of the way.
He grumbled frustratedly into their kiss when he couldn't dislodge the attire and she pulled away, let him devour her neck. "Severus?" A breath, a gasp.
She moaned. Apparently her neck was a sensitive organ. "Would you like to -"
"Yes!" Enough nonsense. He scrambled to his feet, pausing only a second to take in the flushed and disheveled creature pushing off the beige brocade. He helped her to her feet, noting his shirt was half removed.
Chaos on the way to his bedroom. She unbuttoned her frock with the arm he wasn't tugging and he shed his shirt. He tripped out of his trousers and hopped about, flinging socks while she snapped open garters. He intended to help her disrobe, but was thoroughly distracted once her breasts were bared.
When their backs hit his bedding, a pair of lacy knickers dangled from her ankle and one stocking was rolled to just above one knee. The bedroom was chilly with no fire in the grating, but their bodies were producing ample warmth.
Chaos settled them beneath skewed blankets, pillows cast about at odd angles. It guided them loosely through a slow frenzy of exploratory touches. Severus had a scientist's ears and eyes, so every physical and audible reaction out of the witch was cataloged and filed for possible further analysis later.
His more immediate concern was a need he hadn't felt in years setting his groin on fire. Witch fingers stroked the tumescence and he nearly wept, clutching her to him desperately. "Severus, we've waited long enough," she murmured against the shell of his ear. He nodded, kissed her as he adjusted within her thighs, whispered her name as he pushed inside her and...
Oh, angels and demons alike. She feels - "Incredible," he gasped.
Her face cinched in combination of pain and bliss. "Quite," she managed. She undulated and he began to move. They took their time, letting bodies and brains adjust to forgotten sensations.
His eyes had adjusted fully to the darkness and he watched her silvery features shape decadently. Her mewls and moans were threatening to do him in. He picked up the pace and she cupped his face in her hands, brushing his scar boldly. "Happy birthday, Severus."
"Thank you, Narcissa."
And if she'd been trying to control her release - to time it to his own - she failed. Her chaos wouldn't allow it. It ripped through her as was its way, beckoning to him to follow. And as his order had taken a sudden hiatus, he tripped along gamely after her chaos and landed sweaty, dazed and impossibly pleased in her embrace.
They breathed and rested and dried together. "Alright?" Severus asked. He pushed up to see her face.
"I'm fine." A beatific smile broke. "Lovely, really. You?"
"Best birthday I've ever had."
She chuckled. "There are still a few hours of birthday left."
"I thought you said something permanent could be arranged."
"It can." She nudged him off of her and bent over the edge of the bed, shuffling through discarded attire for her wand. "But the original gifting only comes once a year, so you should enjoy it fully." She fired an incendio into his fireplace.
She was stunning in the extra light, unashamed in her nakedness and propped on one elbow, looking at him. "You're absolutely right," he agreed. Sometimes, her chaos gave way to a surprising pragmatism. He tugged her back into the obliterated pillows. "Tell me what you want, Narcissa," he said seriously. He needed plans. Dates. A schedule. Arithmancy charts. Steadfast, reliable things that would help him keep her in his bed - in his life.
She sat up again, gathering a soft throw around herself. "The loo," she answered. "And then more cake, I think."
He chewed at his lip as she crossed the threshold. Not the answer he'd had in mind. Perhaps I was an awful lover. It was rather quick... His order returned from hiatus as suddenly as it had gone. It grumbled as it picked up the knocked over furniture in its office and flicked a pair of lacy knickers off its desk.
Then Narcissa was at the foot of the bed again. She was holding a plate with a rather large chunk of cake. "I thought we could share." She was crawling onto the bed. He saw a tiny corner of cake crumble onto the duvet. His order gasped in horror and scrambled beneath its desk to wait out this storm.
She fed him cake. They ate cake together. In his bed. He watched her chaos happily settle in with each crumb she dropped. When the cake was gone, chaos tossed the plate over the edge of the bed and pounced upon him. They kissed and rolled in the crumbs.
Chaos perched on the edge of order's desk. Order peered up at it. Chaos winked and order blushed.
"I know I'm a mess," Narcissa murmured. "But will you have me?"
"Every messy inch," he answered. She sighed as he kissed his way down her body. He forgot for the moment to catologue and analyse, caught up as he was in the pleasure of her presence and the love she offered so freely.
Because not every question needs an equation. And sometimes, order just needs a little chaos.
AN: Happy birthday to my friend and fellow writer and adopted daughter zeshadesofjustice. I hope you enjoyed it as much as your package!