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Chapter Three-

Genera smacked her lips, tasting a strange dusty cotton flavor in her mouth. She
stretched, feeling deliciously languid. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept so well. The sheets felt crisp and light against her skin. She could feel the pillow under her head, and turned her face into the fabric, rolling onto her belly. There was a scent caught up in the pillow case, something nice, masculine and herby.

As she pulled her leg up toward her middle, the sensation of clean bed clothes against her skin a trembling pleasure, Genera sighed. If she were honest with her self (and she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to be that awake yet) she knew she wasn’t in her own bed. These weren’t her sheets, this scent wasn’t one she knew well at all. But she liked it. Like the space she sprawled out in, like the firm mattress against her belly.

Genera did feel good, like she’d just had a really good drunk or great sex.

Steve never smells this nice. His bed’s never this comfortable either and I never woke up feeling so damn good after a night with him.

It’d been so long since she’d just slept, deep and dreamlessly, so long since she’d let her body rest and relax. She didn’t want to open her eyes, didn’t want to sit up and face the world. There were things she had to do, though at the moment they seemed far off and kind of unimportant.

Genera snuggled deeper into the soft pillow, breathing in as deep as she could the scent that belonged to who’s ever bed it was that she was in. The scent had both strength and fragility, something cool and tempered.

Genera heard a loud sniff, and cracked one eye open. Then she screamed.

The thing screamed back.

“Dizzy!”

Genera sat up, the sheet and light coverlet falling down to her waist. She looked first at the professor standing at the end of the bed, wand at ready, then at her self. She was wearing some one’s long sleeved, wide necked night shirt.

“Master, Dizzy didn’t mean nothing,” said the thing and Genera squeak, scrambling to the opposite side of the bed. “She were sleeping so, I didn’t thinks I’d wake her, never seen a muggle-one you know.”

“Yes, Dizzy, thank you,” said Snape, waving his wand dismissively. Genera clutched the unbuttoned edges of her night shirt about her throat, glancing from the teacher to the gray unholy looking horror that had woken her up.

“What is it?” she asked, her body pulling back.

“My house-elf,” said Professor Snape.

“I’s every bit o’sorry Miss, I am,” said the thing, bobbing around on spindly little legs. It wouldn’t have been bigger than an over fed cat, Genera saw, with gray wrinkled skin and a head like a bobble-toy. It had wide almost black eyes and a very crooked nose and seemed to be wearing what appeared to be a large tea-pot cozy. “Dizzy meant nothing, not nothing at all.”

“Dizzy, to breakfast,” the professor said shortly. Genera watched him roll his thin wand around in his hand.

What was he going to do, poke it to death?

“I’m in your bed,” she said after a moment, “aren’t I?”

“You are.”

Genera swallowed. It was his scent then. She brushed a hand with a dropping sleeve against her itching nose. She could smell him on her skin. Her throat felt very tight all of the sudden.

“Your night gown?” she asked, holding her arm out from which dripped the too-long sleeve.

“Indeed.”

“What happened?”

“You fell asleep,” the professor replied, glancing around as the little (what did he call it? house elf?) scuttled past him out of the room. “After you had your tea,” Professor Snape added, gingerly lowering him self down onto the edge of the bed. The motion seemed unnatural for him though, because he stood up immediately.

“Right,” Genera drew out, swallowing the lump in her throat, “you gave me that stuff, that syrup stuff.”

“It was a calming draught,” the man replied, tucking his wand back into a fold of his cloak. Genera blinked, noticing that like before, he was dressed in all black. He wore close fitting trousers and a fitted shirt that buttoned up the front to the neck. Over all that he wore the omni-present cloak of billowing black. His hair seemed brushed now though and it fell just to the shoulders in uncomplicated waves.

He’s not entirely bad looking.

Oh god, you don’t know what your say –

But he’s actually attractive.

I’m tired, I need to go home. Normality.


“Of course,” the professor was saying on, “it wasn’t meant to be taken tumbler fulls at a time like some kind of drunkard on a bender.”

Genera shivered and gathered the blankets up around her again. “The last time I got drunk, for your information,” she said with a painful sigh, “was when my parent’s died, a year ago. I hadn’t had a drink since then until... Oh no, what day is it?”

“Tuesday.”

“I’ve been out that long?” Genera threw the blankets aside and shakily got out of the bed. Her hair was down, tangled about her face and this she pushed out of the way distractedly. “I missed my trained! My ticket, the plane.”

“You were solidly out,” the teacher said evenly. He stood a little back from the bed, watching with mild interest as Genera caste around for her missing clothes.

“Where’s my socks?” she asked, plucking her pants from the back of a chair. “These have been steamed.”

“Indeed.”

Another thought occurred to Genera as she located her blouse. “Did you...?”

“Only your shirt and pants,” Professor Snape replied, pulling back. He face was guarded now, hard. “Madam Pomfry left for her holiday two day’s ago, there was no one else.”

“I can’t believe I missed my fight,” Genera said, setting her clothes on the bed and collapsing next to them. She felt hungry, shaky and cold around the edges.

“I didn’t revive you because you seemed to need the rest,” said the man from near the door. Genera hadn’t even heard him walk away.

Kinda like a bat but without the bug fetish.

“I’m going to have to re-book everything,” she said, grimacing at the whine in her voice.

“Yes, well, all is not lost then.”

Genera looked at the man in disbelief.

“None of this would have happened if you hadn’t drugged me!”

“I assure you,” Snape bit off calculatingly, “I didn’t drug you.”

“Oh yeah?” Genera snapped back.

“If I had drugged you Miss le Sarte,” Professor Snape drew out, “it wouldn’t have been for a peaceful uninterrupted sleep.” He glanced meaningly at the night shirt she wore. His night shirt. Genera swallowed, something in her belly going hot and tight at the same time.

“As it is, now you have plenty of time to settle your sister’s estate. There’s toast and tea in my office, when your ready.”

Genera didn’t reply, watching the man stride out the room and set the door carefully closed behind him.

She dressed, surprised to find the purse she’d left in the little receiving room set gently on the night stand near the bed. The room was positively mediaeval, all stone and fragile broken light. All the available walls were set with shelves which were packed with books and bottles and boxes. The bed was on a raised dais in middle of the room, the headboard set against the back wall of stone.

There were candelabra scattered about on random surfaces (a shelf near thin slitted windows that seemed to be flush with the ground) a rounded table in the left corner, the seat of a chair. The scent of candle wax and damp stone though, couldn’t over power the professor’s scent.

Genera opened her purse, peering clumsily into the little lipstick mirror she always kept with her. It wasn’t enough for her to brush her hair, or wash her face with one of her antibacterial clothes. She caste around for a mirror, and noticed a little one sat on top of the dresser by the door.

Genera pulled on her socks then padded across the room, peering at her face in the dusky glass. She looked puffy from sleep, and scattered. She had no brush with her, so she picked out the tangles in her hair with her fingers, trying to get it to look less frenzied.

On top of the dresser were the average male things, then some. Cufflinks (silver, with an ‘S’ inscribed on them) and a comb. There was also a bottle of weird green liquid that looked like it was moving in the bottle, and a round box of powder. Genera was just turning away when she caught movement, and there peaking from just under the edge of the mirror was a faded photograph. Genera pulled it out from under the mirror stand.

It looked to be taken from a distance, but the obvious focus was a woman, young like her self, but pretty, much prettier. She was in a crowd standing next a fellow with black hair, an easy smile and glasses. The woman was talking at first to this fellow, then turned, looked directly at the photographer, and waved.

Genera flipped the photograph over. Lily was scribbled on the back in tight black ink.
The edges of the photograph were worn, as if it had been handled often. She flipped it over again, watching as the woman looked up at the man beside her.

She’s in love with him, really in love with him. But it can’t be the professor. What’s the deal here?

With a sigh Genera replaced the photograph as she’d found it, her fingers trailing over the comb and a black crumpled up scarf. After a moment she picked this up, and held it to her nose. The scent was the same as that of the pillow case.

I don’t get it, its wonderful.

Genera replaced the scarf, feeling for a moment like some kind of Peeping Tom. She couldn’t describe in exact words how it had felt waking up with the professor’s scent in her nose.

Safe though, like coming home or something.

Genera dug out one of her wet naps and cleaned off her face. She never wore much make-up, but even so it felt good to have clean skin. She sighed for a bit of face lotion, then settled on some hotel-bottle hand cream. She reapplied the little bit of mascara she always wore, and gave her lips some color. There was nothing to be done with her hair, so she pulled and twisted it into a tight bun at the back of her neck and secured it in place with a pen. The end result was...her. Genera peered at her self for a bit longer.

Me, average me. No one would keep a photograph of me for years on end. Beautiful woman inspire beautiful gestures and average woman inspire...

Genera didn’t finish the thought, instead putting on her shoes and straightening up the bed. She then grabbed her little purse and left the bedroom, shutting the door behind her quietly.

“Your tea is cold,” said the professor from behind her. Genera whipped around, pressing her back to the door as if she’d been up to something.

“Oh,” she said, taking in the office. It was bigger than she’d first seen, with a large desk and two chairs off to one end. There were cabinets and shelves packed into the space too, giving the office the feel of a well used busy place. There was also a small fireplace set against the wall that, she assumed, would have been the back wall of the class room. This burned low and merry in the grate, giving warmth to the space. The only cleared area was where Professor Snape was sitting at a round table which had two un-matching chairs. There was a square floor rug of deep maroon underneath it.

“Good morning,” she said, pulling out the spare chair. The professor glanced up at her from behind what appeared to be a newspaper, except that the picture on the front was moving. The headline read, “Dragon sighting over Bristol, Ministry of Magic scrambles and Memory-Modification Charms used.” The picture was of a young boy and his mother outside what appeared to be a country cottage surrounded by reporters, both pointing at the sky. Oddly enough, they were the most normal thing Genera had seen since leaving New York.

She blew out a breath, catching a strand of hair off her face as she pulled a tea cup and the tea-pot too her. She doctored the strange colored tea and took a tentative sip.

“This is wonderful,” she said, taking another drink. The brew was lukewarm, but the flavor was soft and sharp at the same time; herby and fruity.

“Egyptian chamomile and essence of cranberry,” said Professor Snape, putting his paper aside. He set to buttering what looked like a compacted English muffin. Genera realized it was a crumpet, she’d had one the other morning at her hotel. She hadn’t liked it, but this morning she was hungry so she slathered butter and jam over the top of it and downed it with more tea. She and the professor ate in silence for a little, the only sound being the ticking of a clock some where the occasional snap of the fire.

“This is really good tea,” Genera said after while. She wasn’t sure what to talk about. She chased possible topics for conversation around her head like a kid might chase after spilt marbles, but every time she picked one up, she’d toss it away.

The most normal thing they’d done together was have breakfast. Genera didn’t let her self think about what other activities they could do together that would be normal. It seemed, she realized after a moment, that everything that had happened between them had been weird and prickly.

How ‘bout, “Hey, you’ve got a great bed, I’ll bet you sleep like a baby every night.” Or maybe, “Loved the night shirt, very comfy.”

“Did you know Maggie well? Was she really happy here”

“What store did you get it from? I mean, the tea,” she asked instead with a sigh. Professor Snape glanced at her from across the table, his eyes lingering on her face for the barest moment.

“It’s a wizard’s brew, you wouldn’t be able to find it.”

“Oh, right,” Genera replied stupidly. She shrugged her shoulders then pushed her half-eaten crumpet away. “Well, I guess I should,” – she took a bracing breath – “ you know, finish my sister’s room.” She dusted off her hands and stood up.

“The password is Quaffle,” Professor Snape said as he stirred more sugar into his tea, “I assume you can find the door on your own? I have some things that I need to attend to this morning.”

“Oh yeah,” Genera sighed, not entirely sure at all. “Waffle, I got it.”

“No Miss le Sarte,” paused Snape, “Quaffle, qua-ffle.”

“I knew that,” Genera said, shaking her head with a chagrined smile, “I was teasing you. You’re really serious in the morning.”

“And you snore,” he replied without effect. Genera wanted to laugh, but couldn’t quite manage it.

“I know, Steve say’s it really annoying, he hates it.”

“Steve?”

“My boyfriend, he lives in Manhattan.”

“Uh-uh.”

Genera shifted on her feet, but it seemed the conversation was over. She nodded once to no one in particular then turned at left. She hollowly clumped her way through the class room and after some trouble ( facing two different nondescript walls while muttering ‘quaffle’) she found the Slytherin dormitories and her sister’s room once more.

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