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Chapter Seven-

Genera was still awake long after Severus had fallen asleep. They hadn’t had sex again, but she had let her self be held by him. Even now his arms wrapped around her body in an almost vice grip, as if he were afraid she would slip away in the dark.

And that was exactly what Genera wanted to do.

God, I’m so stupid. He was right, he knew it was a mistake and I talked him into it any way. Now I wanna leave and he’ll hate me for it.

I hate me for it.

The castle was painfully silent in the wee-hours. Genera could have counted sheep by the even and deep pacing of the professor’s breath and by the hateful steady beat of her own heart.





She shifted where she lay on her side, her bottom snuggled up against the spoon of Severus’s body. The scent of their afternoon together still lingered in the room, if not on them. Afterwards Severus had found some bread and cheese, a good dark beer and some left-over roast beef and then he’d taken her to an upper-level bathroom where he ran her the biggest bubble bath Genera had ever seen.

Though she’d been grateful for the soak (the tub was big enough to do laps across and an array of strange bright copper taps reached out over the surface of the bath tub like eager little fingers just waiting for her to float by) she hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that she was some how cheating the teacher.

I just don’t know what of.

They’d talked a little then. Snape had carefully lounged at the rim of the tub and Genera had floated in the water, her arms prompted up over the lip of the bath. They’d swapped stories about school as a child. Genera had been unsurprised to hear that Snape had attended Hogwarts himself as a boy, that the school was as close to a home as he’d ever come across.

And he’s shown mild if polite interest in Genera’s education, high school and college. He didn’t ask about Steve, or her sister, or her parents but he had asked what she did to make a living.

“I’m a lay-out editor for a little home-harth magazine,” she’d told him. “Its nothing big, but I’m happy doing it.”

“Did you always want to be such an editor?”

“No,” she’d said, blowing at a pillow of bubbles on her elbow. “I just kind of came into it.”

“Things must be very strange here for you,” he’d said then, peering at her in the dim light. Candles oddly enough, floated up around the ceiling of the bath room, throwing shivering pools of light around them. “I can’t imagine what it would be like, to have my self suddenly thrust into your world.”

“Yeah,” Genera had replied with a sigh, “it’d be weird.”

She’d spent the better part of the last hour since, trying to picture Snape in her world. In her apartment, sporting his billowing black cloak and stalking around the cramped space of the high rise bewitching the spider plant into healthy happiness and flushing the toilet with a flick of his wand. She tried picturing him with the same familiarity she knew Steve.

Severus driving a low-emissions sedan, picking up a ham and rye for lunch, going to a ninja movie for a Friday night date. Severus standing at a crosswalk, talking into a cell phone while he waited for the light to change, reading the Sunday newspaper over coffee.

And then Genera saw Severus as he’d been that morning, with the tea cup dwarfed by his gentle competent hands and the news paper about the dragon sighting. She smiled to her self as she again saw him pulling out his wand to blast the overly-curious house-elf, Severus staring out at the lake.

Either way, the conclusion was the same. Tomorrow they’d part ways, each going to, or staying in, the respective place that they belonged. Genera didn’t bother trying to imagine her self into Snape’s world, she knew bone deep that she couldn’t do it.

“I’m sorry Severus,” she whispered. The man of course, made no reply and Genera fell asleep with the brittle knowledge that she’d never expect one.

They woke up together though and Genera enjoyed the easy silence between them as they’d gotten dressed. Snape had lent her his brush and Genera watched him button the front of his shirt as she’d de-tangled her hair.

It was a little surprising how quickly she’d come to know his body, she thought as he’d padded around the dungeon bedroom. His body wasn’t lean but wasn’t entirely gone to seed either. His stomach pouched out a little, but Genera knew his legs to be strong and shaped from much walking, his mouth to be dry and warm.

He smiled at her when she’d hugged him from behind, watching her with avid dark eyes in the reflection of the mirror.

“I’ve ordered a carriage,” he said. Genera nodded.

“All the boxes ready?”

“Yes, Dizzy’s already sent them to the train.”

Genera pressed her face between his shoulder blades.

“When does it leave?”

“Soon, little over an hour.”

Genera sighed then, her hands clasped around Severus’s middle.

“I’d like to show you something,” he said turning in her arms so that he faced her, “if you don’t mind.”

“Of course,” she replied. Severus nodded and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

They didn’t bother with breakfast. Genera wasn’t hungry any way, and they both stayed silent as the professor lead her up through the levels of the castle until they came to an out of the way turret. At the door he turned to her and took Genera’s hands in his.

“I wanted you to be able to say goodbye,” he said evenly. Genera frowned, glancing around the windowless space but Severus just pushed open the wooden door and stepped aside. Genera entered the room gingerly, her eyes slow to adjust to the dark heavy air. She spotted then, at the opposite end of the room what looked like a old looking mirror. It was almost as tall as her self and though the metal around it seemed mottled and gray, she could see it had something written around its top.

“Step up so you can see your self,” Severus said from behind her. Genera wordless followed his instructions, blinking at her own reflection in the dusky glass. Then, as she looked closer, a form appeared next to her. Genera glanced to her left, but no one was there. Still, she could see some one standing next to and in the space of a breath, the figure became Maggie.

“Oh god.”

“What do you see?” Severus asked from behind.

“Its Mags. She’s holding my hand, she looking at me and she’s laughing.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m...laughing too. And look Severus, there’s the blanket I gave her. Oh god, she’s so beautiful.” Genera glanced behind her. Snape was watching her with a small uncomplicated smile on his face. “You see how beautiful she is?” Genera asked, looking back into the mirror.

“I don’t, actually,” the professor replied, coming up behind her. “I can’t see what you see.”

“Why not?” Genera asked, glancing over at him. “What is this?”

“The Mirror of Erised. It shows each person exactly what they want most, the most sincere desire of their heart. I thought, it’d be good for you to see her one last time.”

“How did you know though,” Genera asked stepping back from the magical floor length mirror, “that I’d see Mags?”

“I’m not all good looks,” he replied with a self deprecating smile. Genera smiled back, shaking her head a little. She stepped out of the way and Snape came forward, avidly watching his own reflection. His expression changed, his mouth pressed into surprise.

“What do you see?”

“You actually,” he replied, slowly looking over at her. “I see you and you’re happy.”

Genera swallowed, her eyes pricking. She knew he was telling the truth. He held out his hand and Genera took it, receiving to, the long slow kiss he gave her as if he could some how impart everything he’d seen and hadn’t said of, into her soul through her mouth.

And Genera held him for the longest time.

When Genera got home sixteen hours later, she was beyond exhausted. She paid the cabby too much and didn’t care, instead stumbling past the doorman without returning his greeting.

“Welcome back Miss le Sarte,” said the night-desk man. He ducked under the front desk and pulled out a rubber-band stack of mail and a small cardboard box. “This just came for yah’,” he added, pushing the box toward her. “From England it says, you were just there, right?”

Genera pulled her purse up high on her shoulder and set to rest her roller-suitcase. She picked up the box in one hand, fumbling it against her chest as she peered down at the return address. ‘Severus Snape, care of Potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’

“You must have some jokers for friends, wizard’s right!”

“Yeah,” Genera replied stupidly. She tucked the box and mail under her arm and made her way to the bank of elevators. She set the box down on the floor of the elevator as she dug out her keys and when she got into her apartment, she dumped everything on the couch to open the box, breaking through the tape with her key.

Nestled inside was a tin-canister among shredded pieces of parchment. Genera blew a strand of hair out from her eyes as she held up the canister. Printed in tight black ink the label read, ‘Egyptian chamomile and essence of cranberry: tea blend by Severus Snape.’

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