The Feast and a Rendezvous
When we stepped off the train, I breathed in the fresh, fragrant air of a mild summer night. Yes, as of late I knew how liberating it could feel to take a deep breath. Illuminated by torches and lanterns the platform of Hogsmeade was bustling like usual with small first years, who were running around like headless chickens. They were heading for Hagrid, who stuck out of the crowd like a beacon and showed them the way with his cry of “First years, to me!”
Taking this all in, I left the train lost in thought and followed the others to the waiting, black carriages that would take us to the castle. I halted, because this year the formerly seemingly horseless carriages were no longer horseless, but pulled by horselike creatures. Black, glossy skin stretched directly above their bones, whereby their whole skeleton was outlined. The stunning, leatherlike wings reminded me of bats. But the most fascinating for me was the bony head, it had resemblance to a lizardlike dragon’s head. The white eyes had no pupil and looked void and spooky. It knew exactly what creatures they were, had read all about them in the book “Magical, Dangerous Beasts”.
They were thestrals, only visible to those people who had seen death, and because of that these animals were thought to be dangerous and creepy. Their carnivorous diet didn’t help their reputation. But for me, they were simply fascinating and seemed pretty docile. I tried to hide my surprise over this unexpected discovery, while observing that Harry was less successful with the same endeavour. He stared at the thestrals as if they were ghosts. My pity for him was somewhat limited at the moment. If he only once in awhile looked into his school book he would have known he wasn’t hallucinating, but that those were just thestrals, no more and no less, definitely no figment of his imagination.
Now Luna assured him as well in her own dreamy way that he was not fantasising, that she was able to see them as well, but she looked so spaced out, Harry and Ron were exchanging pitiful looks and one could clearly determine that they were very doubtful about Luna’s claims.
I rolled my eyes. I couldn’t let on about my ability to see the animals for fear that the question would arise what had happened during the holidays as somebody had to die in front of your eyes before you would be able to notice the creatures. A vicious circle.
Eventually we all had taken a seat in the carriage and we were approaching Hogwarts, which was soaring high above us, its silhouette stood out against the starlit sky. It was a magnificent, ancient, imposing castle. The warm glow of myriads of torches and candles escaped invitingly through the paned windows and conveyed an unreal, romantic atmosphere.
When the carriage stopped with a stutter, we joined the ceaseless stream of students pushing into the Great Hall.
Time and again it was overwhelming to walk through the massive portal, to pass through the stone antechamber and finally to enter the Great Hall through the tall double wing door. The weather outside was mimicked by the enchanted ceiling, causing a very impressive, mystical atmosphere. I let myself be captivated by the comfortable feeling.
Determinedly we headed for the Gryffindor table. There I tried to choose a seat that had a good view of both the Slytherin table and the teacher’s table that throned elevated on a pedestal in front of us all. When finally all the Second to Seventh Years had taken their seats and the noise had more or less ceased, the double wing doors opened one more time and permitted McGonagall and the really tiny looking First Years to enter. Those walked nervously along the long aisle before facing the old, talking hat and being sorted with major fuss into one of the four Hogwarts houses. While the procedure dragged along I looked around curiously and noticed Malfoy holding court like a king at the Slytherin table. Once more our gazes crossed and I thought to see an amused expression alighting in his. I responded with a smile. It was too funny, I was holding a silent conversation with Draco in the Great Hall, who would have ever dared to think.
When my bout of observation got to the teacher’s table I was able to recognize Dolores Umbridge thanks to Rita’s exposé. She was clad in a horrible pink, conservative ensemble with a matching pink hat on the back of her head, resting on her short grey-brown locks. She looked like a small toad, a truly dislikable woman. She had a flabby face with slightly protruding, round, blue eyes and a broad, saggy mouth. Almost without any neck her toadlike head gave way to a peculiarly small, chubby body. This woman was short and fat. Her stubby fingers, which spouted much to many tacky rings, were drumming restlessly on the tabletop. Now however she disrupted professor Dumbledore and started her own speech!
That she presented us in a high, affected little girl’s voice. All of what she said so sugary sweet was everything but innocent or even nice. Wow, wasn’t it interesting, just what Rita had told me. Fudge and the ministry wanted to intervene at Hogwarts. This revelation passed by unnoticed by Harry and Ron, how typical, so that I had to give them a short summary and ended with a fervent appeal to be on their guard around her. Professor Snape seemed to be rather disgruntled after the speech as well, if the way the corners of his mouth were pulled down was any indication, but for a moment he stared into my eyes demandingly, reminding me of our appointment. I answered his silent inquiry with a shallow nod. After this tiring night and the endless train ride I hurt everywhere, but I couldn’t postpone my meeting with Snape!
It was a good thing that after the feast had ended the only task for the Prefects was to pass on the password to the First Years and every other Gryffindor and show them the way. In the common room, which was decorated dominatingly in the house colours red and gold, I managed to initiate a swift exchange with the Twins.
“I have the map! Harry doesn’t want it back until in a few days”, Fred whispered into my ear.
“I can always rely on you. Very good. Now I have to leave for an appointment”, I said in an equally low voice, which prompted a sceptical look from George.
“We are only back at Hogwarts for a few hours and you already have some hanky-panky ongoing?”, Fred teased me and grinned cheekily.
“Yes, I have! Could you look out for me, make sure that they don’t start a search?” I asked hesitantly.
“Alright. Be good.” They snickered like mad. That I couldn’t be up to anything good in their eyes, they seemed to take for granted. It looked like they were happy to be back at Hogwarts and to have escaped the tyranny of their mother.
I sneaked out of Gryffindor tower, travelling from the seventh floor down to the gloomy dungeons. It was nearly ten o’clock causing the castle to look eery to some with its grey, stony atmosphere. Not to me, though. I felt at ease while sneaking through the corridors all to myself. The only thing I didn’t appreciate was the sheer length of the way.
When I passed the entrance to the dungeons and descended deeper and deeper, the cold increased as it was always crisp down here, so I carried on quickly on my journey to the professor’s quarters, while remaining wary as I was on Slytherin territory and not everybody down here would be well-disposed towards me. Eventually I stood in front of a portrait that showed an ill-humoured knight. Somewhat fitting, I thought, while working up my courage, and then knocked harshly. I might have slept with him, but he didn’t know that.
The door opened inward and revealed the private office of the professor, which was furnished modestly, if not to say minimalistic. A desk at the back, a bookshelf that took up a whole wall, and a door that most likely led to his private lab. I didn’t see him, but he had to have expected me, otherwise the door wouldn’t have opened and hence I boldly stepped into the lion’s den. No, wrong, into the snake pit, I corrected myself. I approached the desk and examined the meticulous arrangement, before twisting around in shock when a part of the book shelf moved and revealed a door that hadn’t been visible before, through which the professor emerged, clad in black as usual.
“Miss Granger, will you come along?” he snarled and retreated into the darkness beyond. I beg your pardon? I would be permitted into Snape’s sanctuary, his private rooms? He wouldn’t have to ask twice, as I was curious how he lived. And thus I swiftly approached the opening. I was greeted by a cosy looking, spacious living room, which had a large fire place. Next to it I could see a cushy leather couch in green, what else, and two armchairs, and not a single bit of stone, as every single wall was filled with bookshelves from bottom to top. Wow, I could happily spend a lot of time here.
“Professor!” I greeted politely, while he sat down in one of the armchairs. He didn’t wear a cloak, which resulted in a downright casual attire for him, here in his home. Without a word he pointed me to the couch. I followed the prompt right away and sank down into it, as the long way had taken its toll on me and my injury and I was a bit out of breath, too. A glass of wine stood in front of him and he had his gaze fixed on me, assessing my appearance. Even if I couldn’t fully recall the incident in the Black library, I had the impression that it wasn’t concluded for him, but to avoid this conversation I was much too tired. The day had depleted my energy reserves and he might ask every question he wants to ask, I wouldn’t have to answer any of them and the shields that protected my mind were in place full force.
“Do you want a glass as well?” Snape’s brusque invitation startled me as I hadn’t anticipated the gesture.
“Yes, with pleasure!” I tried to downplay any surprise I might have showed, and to come off as cool, though being offered to drink something with my professor took me by surprise. I mean, I owed the man a lot, very much! Something as insignificant as my life.
He swung his wand in an elegant move and suddenly I had a glass in my hand, then he raised his, prompting me to follow his action. I raised my own to him carefully and drank. I have to say, the professor’s taste was good, it was a splendid wine, and thus I licked the last drop from my lips and was distinctly aware of his furtively watching eyes. His back was kept ramrod straight, only his dark eyes in his pale face were darting around constantly and were taking notice of my every movement.
“Do you have something left to tell me?” He cocked his head in a manner so characteristic of him and focussed precisely upon me. Hmm… considering that yesterday’s events in the library were kind of fuzzy in my mind, in stark contrast to the things that happened in the alley earlier and which stood unfortunately still very lively before my eyes, I only looked at him questioningly as I positively didn’t know for sure what he wanted me to tell. And so he groaned in a self suffering way.
“About the incidents you inflicted upon your aggressors?” he demanded, elaborating, but somewhat less patient.
“Ah, well, as I told you Derrick had gotten an Obliviate from me… yes, right…,” I said and took another greedy gulp from the wine for my throat had suddenly become very dry.
“That it had been an all encompassing, memory erasing Obliviate and he had been given false memories about a non-existent life, you forget to mention, Miss Granger!” he scoffed all the while glaring at me. But I didn’t let that faze me. Should I feel guilty because of that? Pha, a lot had to happen before that, the son of a bitch deserved what he got.
“What are you trying to imply, sir? Yes, if you want the account in detail, that is exactly what happened, and before you ask for the why, firstly I was, or better yet, I am pissed off and viewed it as the perfect punishment. A Death Eater thinking himself a Muggle, truly hilarious! And secondly it was a good exercise, and the exercise material was expendable, a rare occurrence…,” My voice was cold. Finally I drank another calming mouthful and afterwards watched the sparkling red of the wine in the glow of the open fire as I didn’t want to look at him.
“Chrmm, well, how unexpected. Then there is nothing for it but for me to congratulate you on your successful Obliviate!”, he said pointedly and looked at me impassively. It didn’t suit him at all, the way he sat rigidly in his own armchair. That he hosted me in his home still astonished me. I didn’t have the courage to ask, but I strongly assumed that I was the first student allowed to set a foot into this sanctuary, except for Malfoy Junior of course. Should I feel honored?
“Professor, that’s what I had been reduced to. I had to take away his memory of me. What do you think Fudge and the Ministry would have done with me in conjunction with a dead body? I wouldn’t have had time to say ‘Azkaban’ before they would have carted me off to the prison. Just… like Sirius!” I confessed the last part in a low whisper.
“You have a point, Miss Granger. I just express my astonishment, as there is no Fifth Year known to me that would be able to perform an Obliviate to its full extent.” he growled, displeased, and his tone was presently very sulky. Had that been a compliment? Oh, I would always be happy about such praise from this source. As it basically never occurred, I received it gladly. But to respond with thanks would be ill-advised regarding Snape - he would only be miffed, so I simply accepted it and threw him a glance, that was all.
“Since when are you able to create illegal port keys?” he demanded to know next. He continued his interrogation! This man was dreadfully pedantic, unbearably so - he had to know absolutely everything.
“Since the holidays. I thought, it doesn’t matter anymore, here’s a dead body, then the Obliviate, then I can give Fudge a little fright and try to offset his rose-coloured glasses and send them to him the direct way,” I explained, snickering nastily in the process, as I still perceived the idea as original. Snape also lifted his glass and raised it to me once again, nodding his head deliberately.
“Indeed, your assessment is correct. Only the fact that you are willing to go this far, escapes my comprehension. Why do you do all this, Miss Granger?” he watched me like a wild cat does its prey.
“Walking through an alley, like any normal person? Practicing spells and learning like I always do, or do you mean something else, sir?” I countered.
“I am not as dumb as the mutt. What truly drives you? And believe me, you don’t know what you are getting into, you are much too young for that. Quit while you still can! Believe me, that is no life, not for anybody! You don’t want that, you have family, friends, everything!” he tried urgently to make it plain to me and he surprised me. Was he concerned for me? He presented his arguments really convincingly, but I knew what I got into. This side did always have an allure for me and the last incidents had shown me that I was able to handle everything I would have to do. If you wanted to see it that way, yesterday had proven to me that I was prepared to do anything. And his other arguments I refuted in my mind as well. In less than a year, I would have no parents any longer, I would be an orphan. If he knew that I was initiating it by myself, he would - yes, what would he do? Get a heart attack right in front of me? And friends I had not many of, simply Harry and the Twins. But the Twins stood by me, and Harry - maybe one day, we would see, I was not sure.
“Don’t delude yourself, you don’t know everything, professor!” I hissed angrily. “And believe me, I don’t cherish an illusion. I truly am no child anymore!” Meanwhile I had straightened into a very rigid posture. “And I hate to justify myself!” However, I tried to regain my indifference, otherwise I would be an easy victim. If one wasn’t allowed to have something in Snape’s presence, it was emotions, emotions that spilled over. He had weathered my moderate emotional release silently, totally indifferent. He was truly brilliant in suppressing any and all emotions. If I were only able to get him to teach me… But I wouldn’t indulge in such naiveté, for he had just told me what he thought of my actions.
“All right. Calmed down?” he asked very tauntingly, while he examined me with the raised eyebrow.
“Will you undress now?” he demanded more than asked. With this abrupt change of topic he probably thought to catch me unprepared, but I had to disappoint him, after all I had come here because he had wanted to check my wound. Though I knew that his blunt demand was meant to humiliate me, which might have worked, if I had seen it as humiliating, which I didn’t, for the professor had gotten too close to me already! I stuck out my tongue at him mentally; he wouldn’t come to know that.
“As you wish, sir!” I replied sweetly. I stood up and started firstly to unwrap my scarf from my throat with deliberate slowness and lasciviousness. After I had discarded it on the couch, I turned my attention to my school cloak, which I let slip gradually from my shoulders, throwing it on the couch as well. Now I looked up with interest. The situation we were in was more than suggestive and that thought didn’t evade the professor, judging by the way his hands clung to the armrests of his chair hard enough that his fingers went slightly white. I, his student, performing a first class striptease for my potions professor. What everybody would be thinking, if they entered at this moment, was crystal clear.
I tried to make it extra alluring, wanting to rile him up for his behaviour earlier. So I let my dress slide off my shoulders gently, too, and it finally settled around my hips. Such was the way I stood in the dim light of the dungeon quarter. My half-clad body was illuminated flatteringly by the glow of the fire. The professor still sat very rigidly in his armchair, but maintained his usual indifferent mask. His self-control was something to be admired repeatedly. As he was not twitching a muscle, I slowly stepped up to him.
“Miss Granger, what do you intend to do here?” he hissed dangerously in his oily voice.
“Nothing, sir, I am only approaching you so that you can look at my injury up close,” I stated soberly and stopped now in front of his seat, bending forward, and could observe how his obsidian coloured eyes scanned every centimetre of my skin.
This look of his made one’s spine tingle. I couldn’t hide a languorous shiver under this intense gaze, however I had no intention to do that either. When I was low enough, I craned my neck towards him provocatively, in order that he could examine the bruising. His breath caressed my skin. The atmosphere was loaded with tension. Up until now, no further words had been spoken. He raised his hand alarmingly slow and when his finger tips gently touched my throat, a spark appeared to ignite. His inky black eyes lit up, a glow visible in their depth, and I had to suppress a purr.
He broke this nebulous state, straightening deliberately and calling a jar to his hands with a spell which he catched from the air, then rubbing the salve into the skin of my throat with gentle motions. While he did that, I closed my eyes appreciatively, because I enjoyed it immensely to be cared for this much. It gave me a nice feeling to not be alone, even if he didn’t approve of my deeds.
All at once I felt, to my sorrow, how the caress stopped. Nobody would believe me that Snape was able to be this gentle. Thus I woke up from my trance and opened my eyes abruptly to stare at him. I was rewarded with a derisive, scornful expression, but I could live with that. Just to irritate him, I answered with a seductive smile. Then I stood upright again and turned my back to him. Still not a single word had been uttered between us. Again he worked his way through meticulously and I endured everything, until he stuck a plaster on me. I was sure I wouldn’t forget the feeling of his hands on my skin anytime soon.
“Until tomorrow evening, everything should be healed, then you can take it off,” he stated quietly and I could hear how he reclined in his armchair. I straightened fully. That was good - how wonderful, the Muggle way I would have nursed this injury for weeks.
Close to him still, I turned back to face him, allowing him to have a good look at me, before pulling up my dress again and stepping back, reclaiming my seat and picking up my glass to take a gulp.
“Thank you, professor. Without your active help I wouldn’t have survived this relatively unscathed, as I have. Should you ever… mhmh… have a wish, don’t be afraid to tell me!” I offered righteously, flashing him a grateful smile. He raised his brow in his typical Snape way.
“Miss Granger, what do you want to offer?” The suggestion was clear in his voice and to my astonishment I felt an unexpected tingle between my thighs when I heard his deep baritone.
“Whatever you wish for, sir?” I purred sensually, fully aware of how suggestive that sounded.
“Where do you believe that you are? Don’t forget, you are back at Hogwarts, in my domain! And Black is not here to protect you from me!” he said, incensed over my provocative offer, growling deeply and yet at the same time remaining seated with crossed legs. Oh, how cute, did he think he could frighten me with that?
“Of course, sir, I would never dare to proposition you … in your … domain. And don’t fear, no matter where we are, I would never let Sirius protect me. I don’t need him,” I snapped at him, shooting down the very idea.
“Ah, our tough Miss Granger, isn’t it?” He regarded me with a cynical expression before smiling maliciously. That was when I stood up again and picked up my scarf, which I wrapped around my throat, and the cloak, which I put on. I turned towards the hidden door in the book shelf.
“I think I will leave now. I hope we can do this again, as I think we could help each other in many areas! And since curfew is already in action, I’ll hurry before you punish me for breaking it, sir!” I tempted him and earned a skeptically raised eyebrow.
“Do you want to be punished by me?” he seized my suggestion immediately and his eyes lit up with a vicious glow. I replied with a shrug of my shoulder. When I reached the door, I turned around and saw him still sitting, relaxed.
“Professor, one last question. What should one think of Draco Malfoy?” I couldn’t even blink as he shot towards me like a bat out of hell and crashed me into the books behind my back, efficiently wedging me between himself and the shelf. I gasped in surprise, grimacing when the pain from my injury flared up immediately.
His hands clutched my shoulders roughly and his face was threateningly near to my own. His eyes pierced mine ominously. I was insecure, because in this moment I felt something like fear, or concern.
Well... a bit.
“Keep your hands off of the boy! Don’t involve him in your games!” he hissed, almost snakelike, as he glared at me.
“Oh, fearing for your favourite student? Why do you think I would or could involve him in my games?” I replied cheekily, my expression totally unimpressed as well, which prompted him to grind his jaw at my insolence. For sure, I would never show him that his actions bothered me in any way.
“Alas, Miss Granger, why I would think that? Please, if you ask for him like that, you show your interest plainly!” he breathed, his tone cold.
“And that bothers you, professor?” I asked boldly, which may not have been wise in the precarious situation I was in at the moment. As if to validate my thoughts, he gave off a thunderous growl before grabbing my hair brutally, which tilted my head back, and crushing his mouth violently against mine.
I returned the kiss as well, consequently stoking the flames between us. I would never have guessed that Snape could kiss like this. He overshadowed Sirius easily as he kissed me with an all-consuming passion, not gently, oh no, but fervently. And once again I regretted that he had refrained from kissing Minna!
After a long time we disentangled, breathing heavily, and he stared at me with gleaming eyes.
“Go to bed, and don’t do anything foolish, Miss Granger. And don’t forget, I will keep an eye on you!” he reminded me, his voice hoarse and low. I would have liked to go further, however I knew it would do me no good to try. Either he initiated it, or not, and so I simply nodded. It was better this way, so I left. His inner battle was plainly obvious, how he fought with himself to not grab me and drag me to his bed, as he stepped back and released me, swallowing repeatedly. He opened the door with a wave of his hand and let me pass.
His morals had prevailed, for now.
After I had exited through the private office door, I first breathed in deeply multiple times. That the inquiry after Draco would make him explode like this, I hadn’t anticipated.
The dungeons of Hogwarts were truly a dark, damp and cold affair. The fact that it was Slytherin territory certainly didn’t help suppress the feeling of danger in the air.
I was still propped against the wooden door and gathering my bearings, wrestling with my arousal while caressing my kiss-bruised lips, when I was startled by the sound of someone clearing his throat.
“Why, Mudblood, I had started to believe you would stay the night,” Draco’s mocking voice reached me, who I could now spot in the dim light of the dungeon’s torches, leaning casually against the stone wall.
“And, shocked, Pureblood?” I had overcome my surprise quickly.
“You truly have the gift of the gab. But your lips seemed to have had a collision,” he smiled with a laugh. “Follow me!”
After making the demand, he pushed himself off the wall and waved his hand commandingly, motioning me to accompany him.
Which I promptly did. Being the obedient girl I was.