A woody scent mixed with the fresh aroma of bamboo and mint filled Leonor’s nose. It felt intimate, not new. The smell woke the dreaming senses quickly; she remembered the sleeping place and the night before clearly.
When the warm body next to her elongated slightly, Leonor whispered, “Severus?”
“Yes,” came the prompt reply and Leonor sat up to press a series of soft kisses to his lips. He neither objected nor responded to it.
“Kiss me back!” she said with a grin.
He answered nothing, just tightened his grip around her waist with a smile.
Leonor insisted on an answer, kissing him again, “Do you enjoy it?”
“Be careful, I may want more.” Severus pressed her suddenly back into the sheets, returning a passionate French kiss. Leonor felt his weight on her body and lay motionless, giving in to the temptation.
“Good morning, Leo.” Severus smirked, self-satisfied with the seduction.
“Good morning, Sev.”
“Breakfast is ready.”
“How late is it?” asked Leonor, alarmed, looking for her clock and wand. Rays of brittle sunshine illuminated the room; clouds obviously broke the autumn’ sun in pieces.
Severus watched the hectic moves with pleasure. He snatched a glimpse of Leonor’s femininity and leaned back to the wall at the top of the bed.
“I guess it is almost lunchtime,” said Severus with a boyish grin and a tinge of sadness when Leonor wrapped herself in the white blanked to get up.
She looked shocked about the time, observing his expression cautiously. “I see, you are dressed already!”
“Yes. It would have been inappropriate to floo to the kitchen without a piece of fabric.”
“T-shirt, pants, muggle outfit? Is that in line with your ethics?” mocked Leonor sardonically.
“You complained about that grey nightshirt, when I visited your quarters after catching Potter in the trick stairs. Still, not satisfied?”
Leonor watched him thoughtfully. Severus Snape looked handsome in the lazy grey shirt and the black pants. It excited her as much as the bat-like cloak intimidated the students. She blushed with a bit of shame when Severus encircled her waist again, holding the blanket tight between their bodies.
“Did you sleep well?” he breathed to her ear. She just snuggled closer in response.
“Are you free today? You are usually busy on Sunday’s too. I mean, is it a problem if I’m still here?” whispered Leonor suggestively.
Severus just shook his head sternly, before removing carefully the white cloth from her body, slowly tracing his fingers over her mouth and then along her neck to finish with tender touches of her breasts. The nipples looked like buds of a creamy-white rose, inviting him to a thrill of joy. He felt how her body tensed, sending obvious tingles down her chest. Severus played with Leonor’s stands of hair before answering the question in more detail and with a husky voice.
“It is Hogsmeade weekend. The Dark Lord calls me usually on such a day, but I do not expect it before dusk. Dumbledore wants little noise if that happens and I think Minerva doesn’t trust me observing the students outside school anymore. Death Eaters patrol the village but are instructed to lie low. I’m not on duty all day. It was the best possibility for a visit. I’ve been lucky you came here tonight.”
Leonor knew, that it was Dumbledore who defined that day and thanked him quietly. They looked at each other. Every word was so familiar, as if they never broke up.
“You did not move into new quarters. Isn’t it an obligation?”
“Slughorn wanted a better place than the dungeons; I did not mind keeping it and the office too. I still do most of the potions for Poppy and his classes.”
“How is it, teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts? Do you like it?”
“I do what I can to give an idea to the students how to fight against black magic. They do not listen as always.”
“What do you teach to Harry’s year?”
“Unspoken spells and things that might be important soon, basics of course.”
“How does he accept it?”
“Yelling the spells, still unable to close his mind. His father and friends would have hexed me permanently if I had not been able to cast a silent shield in my second year. They considered it evil when they didn’t succeed breaking that shield. I held them at bay sometimes. Lucius taught it to me. Precious Potter is Slughorn’s favourite, excelling in potions now. Granger is mad at him for outshining her skill.”
Leonor enclosed Severus’ thin face cautiously. He looked anxious. Deep lines of worry framed his eyes. The always pallid skin appeared even more ashen and certainly older. Leonor trembled slightly thinking of the unknown implications of those summons by the Dark Lord.
Leonor asked, “How was your sleep?”
“I do not sleep a lot recently.”
“Your eyes are tired, Sev.” She brushed over the lids, causing Severus to close his eyes for a moment. It felt good.
“I watched you,” he suggested with a small smile.
“Oh, you blame it on me?” teased Leonor.
“Are you hungry? Breakfast is in the other room.” Severus had broken the eye contact obviously to distract her, but he didn’t move an inch towards the door.
“Not really. And you?” She watched him secretly while he covered the bulge in the shorts with the blanket, still staring at her. Leonor just wanted to keep the moment, the magic of being together without an imminent duty.
“You are beautiful,” he whispered with a low voice. “I cannot, I mean …” Severus looked away, stopping mid-sentence. He hadn’t seen a naked woman for a long time. It made him positively nervous, wanting to repeat the pleasure like a repayment of suppressed emotions in all those years. The last year had been the worst of all.
“Thank you,” said Leonor ignoring the half-finished sentence.
“I cannot stop to look at you. I don’t know when I will see you again after today. I must be patient, want to make the most of it when I can. I need that memory to go on.”
“And what does it mean?” Leonor did not wait for an answer; his body language showed it clearly and she wanted to experience the same, just Severus and her. She leaned forward, grabbed his grey t-shirt and removed it above his head, covering his sight quickly with the cotton fabric.
“I like to watch you,” moaned Severus suffering a defeat.
Leonor replied promptly, “Later.”
Her hands moved along the leanly built shoulders, down his arms, touching the skinny hips and brushing her fingers along the waistband of the pants. The right arm showed a faint thin scar which had not been there at the Yule Ball. It was Leonor’s turn to look at him, discovering the details of the still unknown body. Wiry black hair drew fine lines across his chest and down to the navel, a black picture painted on white skin. She kissed his neck down to the nipples and further along his body finding certain more sensitive spots. It heated her up as much as his body tensed under the tenderness.
Severus kept quiet, clutching the crushed bedclothes with his fists. His muscles were strained, suppressing the urge to moan in pleasure with every new touch. He forgot to caress Leonor in return, still pressing the mattress with force while feeling the sensation of her tender moves across his thigh. He wanted to scream ‘Stop’ but couldn’t even breath steadily.
Leonor lay now down on him, straddling his legs, sucking and licking his neck with her tongue and whispering softly, “Do you want me to release you?”
Whatever she had meant — the t-shirt, the pants or the whole situation — it brought his self-restraint to an end. The fabric flew to the wall, he turned burying Leonor below him. Severus struggled to remove the already wet pants and swore loudly to himself. He grabbed her hair, discovering her mouth hotly, and covered their faces with the curtains of black hair. Severus whispered and it sounded like an excuse. “I cannot stop anymore. Leo, I need you.”
He found her firm and full tits, biting the nipples hastily before grabbing Leonor’s ivory-coloured bottom. He moved her in a better position to finish what started already when she woke up. Her body was wet, ready, clinging to his unrestrained moves, holding tight to his arms and skin that it ached.
They had to find a rhythm, quickly, before it was too late. Severus needed a short pause to control the fierceness, finding more energy to continue. He moved her left leg upwards, removing his weight slightly from her body. Leonor shivered under the touch of his hand on her thigh and the fingers wandering to her middle. The new position gave them room, finally rubbing their bursting sensitiveness into perfection. They gazed at each other with open eyes, frightened and overwhelmed by the sensation until gratification shook them violently.
When the bell on the astronomy tower chimed and announced the early afternoon, Severus’ relaxed expression faded, and his caress became tense. He insisted that they both got ready and dressed. Leonor cuddled a bit longer in the bed, snuggling to the white crinkled sheets with the scent of their relationship and feeling the moment of intimacy a little longer.
Severus returned from the bathroom clad in long black pants and the usually invisible white shirt. He did not miss the opportunity to pull the witch once more into his arms, fondling the still bare body with tender hands until Leonor escaped from the slow gentle kisses. He watched her sexy backside vanishing into the bathroom with a sigh.
Leonor remembered all the little details of the time together, smiling happily to herself; her whole body was filled with love from the imposing dark-haired man. The small bathroom filled gradually with steam when Leonor took a shower. The memories and the hot water embraced her like Severus’ strong arms did before.
“I am presentable again,” grinned Leonor and sat on the sofa next to Severus’ armchair, observing him with a mug of tea in his hands. He was stern, thoughtful and moved just slightly to look at Leonor. His lips opened as if he wanted to say something but decided otherwise. Severus’ robes were complete, each button carefully closed. A heavy cloak made from more expensive fabric than the teaching robes lay across the backrest of the armchair.
“Help yourself!” He gestured to the table and took a toast with marmalade. “It’s not much, but eggs would have been cold by now.”
“Definitely,” replied Leonor blushing slightly. “How is Hattie?”
“Good, keeping slyly out of the way of the Slytherins. I made sure that she doesn’t tell. Other elves must not know about us; we cannot be sure who will lead the school when the Dark Lord raises to more power.”
Leonor buttered her bread and asked, “What did you want to say before?”
Severus gazed at her, the dark eyes narrowed in surprise, pinching his nose with the slim fingers guiltily.
“What?” she insisted.
“You are always presentable.” Severus smirked; mischief dripped from his eyes. “Have I been too rough?” he added in a low serious voice, peering at Leonor as if he wanted to read her answer thoroughly.
Leonor put her hand on top of his left knee. “Your passion does not hurt; violence is different. I can tell. It makes your soul bleed, but you healed mine. I need you too, Severus.”
Severus moved forward; their foreheads leaned against each other. Leonor’s lips brushed over his face and found his mouth for a relaxed kiss.
“I still want our relationship to be a secret,” said Severus after a while. “Dumbledore’s magic is still extraordinary, but within a year? The curse won’t go without a trace, he might not hold the same endurance as in the ministry. The power of the Dark Lord is unbroken, probably increasing. He is about to invent new magic.”
“Alright, but what about the Order of the Phoenix. Shouldn’t they know?”
“They trust me only because of Dumbledore. You won’t gain confidence showing that you are with me,” hissed Severus resentfully. “It is better nobody knows, gives us possibilities to act differently. Tactic can make it necessary to expose our relationship at the right moment but not immediately. I neither want the gossip at the staff table nor at Grimmauld Place.”
“Ugh, I hear the spy talking!”
“You knew that nothing will be normal!” complaint Severus angrily.
“Yes, and I didn’t expect any other decision from you. Smile at me! I’m not leaving you, whatever you want me to do.”
Severus smiled indeed, weakly. “Have you heard of Tonks and Lupin?”
“No, not really. Tonks allowed me into the castle yesterday.”
“Lupin left her to live with the werewolves. She is sick because of that. I don’t know what came into his mind to do that. He is running away from a relationship, and Dumbledore didn’t stop him.”
“Is there really no chance that it will help to align the wolves with the ministry?”
“I do not believe in miracles.” Severus face contorted into a sardonic grimace. “I am not running away from you, not anymore,” said the wizard with pride and determination.
A moment later, Severus stood up and walked to the long narrow window. The end of the autumn approached. The red and golden colours changed into brown and grey, making room for rain, fog and colder temperatures. “Will you be able to serve the Dark Lord?” said Severus after a while still watching the Hogwarts grounds.
“I thought, you want to avoid that?”
“I said, I want to keep you from being harmed. It can mean to obey the rules of the wrong side.”
“And what do you think he wants me to do?”
“Healing captives to press information from them, Death Eaters, it can be anybody if he likes to demonstrate mercy.”
“I have to help because of my Hippocratic oath. It cannot be considered a political support by the ministry.”
Severus nodded. “I hope he doesn’t insist on a visit at Malfoy Manor.”
“And what if he does wish to see me?”
“Play along, no resistance, block your mind except some useful memories, keep away from Bellatrix Lestrange, have a hidden second magic wand, be prepared for a cruel encounter, he’s not looking human anymore.” Severus shrugged, “You don’t need to prove yourself, just be an excellent healer, not more.”
Leonor only listened, remembering the details carefully.
“Come to me, let me hold you!” Severus embraced her, resting Leonor’s head to his chest and caressing her back. “I try to see you as often as I can.”
Leonor knew that she had to follow Severus’ rules; she just had to be patient and cross the fingers. She trusted his competence to judge the strategy of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
“Have you thought about that plan tonight when you were awake?”
“No, it is already in my mind since the healers returned. I bring you to the gates,” said Severus.
“I will travel next week. I leave Tuesday and will be back on Halloween.”
“Is that really necessary?”
“I visit the bird trader in France. I will apparate there, short distances via places I know from travelling Europe. It should be safe. He found a free specimen for a very decent price. I must get it in person. If the bird accepts me, then it might come in handy.”
“Be careful, avoid public places. We exit the dungeons through the back door. Come!”
Severus stood already at the threshold to lead Leonor through the nearly unused cold narrow passageways. When they crossed the corridor to the Slytherin common room, Severus stopped abruptly. Then he moved some steps and hauled somebody on his collar from the shadows into the open.
The blond boy hissed menacingly, “Ouch!”
Severus let him go and drawled coldly, “Why do you hide? You are supposed to meet somebody in Hogsmeade if I am not mistaken.”
Draco looked up, considered his Head of the House Slytherin first and then Leonor. His eyes flickered with hatred before he spat, “I don’t need to tell you!”
“You beg for more detention? Answer my question, now!”
“I am back already,” said Draco through gritted teeth. It sounded genuine.
“Will Professor McGonagall confirm that?”
“Yes.” Draco’s expression changed from defiant to victorious. His superior gaze lingered a moment too long at Leonor to go unnoticed.
“Hello Draco! How are you?” said Leonor friendly. The last year changed the boy into a handsome but gloomy young man, perfectly groomed, showing the wealth of his family.
“Can I go now?” demanded Draco Malfoy without answering the question; he still watched Leonor.
“Go,” hissed Severus but seized the boy right above the still fresh Dark Mark. Draco winced. “Don’t be stupid, think of your mother. Let me help you!”
The boy shot another contemptuous look at Severus and toddled off quickly without looking back.
Leonor broke the silence when they continued the way through another empty passage, “He looks grown up.”
“Just on the outside. He is a frightened child, cornered by a task too big to fulfil. Damn it, I am sure he will send word about your return.”
“Do you really think he will do that?”
“He is a teenager. Draco wants to prove himself, pleasing the Dark Lord and conquering Potter. The boy is no killer and Potter not his enemy. Narcissa knows that. Draco ruins his life if he continues like that.”
Severus looked worn out and Leonor knew what he meant. He had been a teenage idiot too, still Leonor knew that Draco’s parents loved him. If they could, they would sort it out. She wasn’t that sure about Severus’ family, maybe there was indeed nobody who valued him in that age.
Severus cast the Disillusionment Charm, and they walked safely disguised to the village. When they passed ‘The Three Broomsticks’, Harry, Hermione and Ron exited the tavern laughing. Severus whispered with disdain, “The Golden Trio does not even have the wands at the ready.”
“They will learn it.” Leonor searched for Severus invisible hand and pulled him in a side-along apparition to her garden. Nobody knew that Katie Bell carried a necklace to the school which almost took her life only minutes later.
“Come in,” she said and took his hands.
“No. I have to prepare myself. Dumbledore is waiting. Be careful when you travel and send a message when you are back.”
Severus kissed Leonor one more time, brushing slightly over her cheeks and was gone.
Severus entered the Great Hall. The students filled the long tables and tucked in as if food was served solely on weekends. Severus’ good mood darkened when he spotted Draco. The boy shot him a derisive look. Granger watched the former potions master too, obviously the girl had noticed the teacher’s absence from all previous meals. Severus ignored the glances to observe the staff table. The headmaster was not there either. Dumbledore had not opened the door when Severus approached him for the regular visit before an expected summons by the Dark Lord. He must have left right after sending Katie Bell to the hospital. It sent the feeling of unease to the wizard’s chest; Albus preferred the solo runs despite his condition. Maybe it gave the temporary advantage avoiding the questions about Severus’ whereabouts all day. Minerva interrupted the fruitless thoughts and pricked the brittle peace of reflectiveness.
“Poppy needs more depressant potions before Halloween. Peeves and some ghosts are up to something.”
“Can she not send the requests with a message and is Peeves not always ‘up to something’?” snapped Severus without knowing why the question riled him.
“She tried, but the note kept coming back to her.” Minerva watched him carefully but collided with Severus’ belittling expression.
He snarled, “I was busy. The potions are ready. I bring it upstairs later.”
“Albus looked after you too,” hissed Minerva back, confirming that Severus had indeed not been available as normal. “He wants me to tell you to visit him tonight at any rate.”
“He isn’t in his office.”
“He said, that he’ll return quickly.”
Severus jumped off his seat and walked away, the insides fumed. The students in his way ducked the heads when the teacher passed. Hogwarts certainly represented no place to have some privacy; the watchful eyes of the colleagues and students replaced Leonor’s warmth. He would better meet her in the apothecary. The absence explained itself, a visitor not. At least the spells stopped any disturbance in his room today, he hadn’t lifted them yet. It had indeed been a free day until Katie required his skill; Severus forgot about that bloody role of a spy and the constant need of play acting. A sigh escaped his lips; he felt the edginess in every part of the body.
A while later Severus ascended the stairs first to the hospital wing and further to the headmaster’s study. The door opened without a touch, signalling that Albus waited.
“Good evening, Severus. I heard you vainly climbed up here earlier.”
Severus gave only a curt nod.
“You spent the day away?” Dumbledore winked cheerfully.
“I studied some books on request of the Dark Lord. I should deliver an answer soon. It is not wise that teachers or students see certain literature,” lied Severus without a moment hesitation. It wasn’t a downright lie, just the timing of working on the requested magic had been different.
“Of course, always a step ahead, Severus,” retorted Albus. Reasonable doubt resonated in the answer. The headmaster pressed the matter further. “I assumed you had a visitor, but maybe I am mistaken.”
“Scott sought me out, obviously because you told her so?”
“Well, she needed information about the current situation. I trust you are well-informed.” Dumbledore turned the blackened hand curiously. “She wanted to help, certainly the unadorned character of a healer. But I am curious to know what you told her?”
“The truth.” Severus showed no emotion when the headmaster looked him directly into the eyes.
“I see; and that is what?” asked the old man with a biting undertone when Severus occluded his mind successfully. Usually he provided Albus with a life view of Voldemort’s behaviour, but his privacy had been no part of it and Dumbledore considered it never as ‘important’ either.
“I explained that the Dark Lord may be interested in her skills, not as much as last year, but the danger is still pending. I told her to offer no resistance.”
“Will she give in to your request?”
Severus replied coldly, “I hope that she sees the implication, if she doesn’t.”
“Good. The ministry plans muggle regulations. Wizards and witches in hiding may need a healer too. Keep an eye on her.”
“The members of the Order of the Phoenix increased their security measures after another attack. A home near Emmeline Vance has been subject of a raid in the late afternoon. I visited the place and despite the devastation the intruders left empty-handed. Luckily nobody was at home. It is not clear if Emmeline was the target or the muggles living in that house. Try to collect some information about it.”
Severus bowed in response.
“You have not been summoned tonight?” questioned Dumbledore.
“Obviously not. Draco met his contact in Hogsmeade, but the boy is still reluctant to tell me.”
“Keep his possibilities tight! Give him detention if you feel you need more time with him. He cannot do much under supervision. A frightened teenager is dangerous for everybody, most for other students as we see with Katie Bell”, instructed Dumbledore.
“Certainly”, said Severus moodily. He surly gave no detention to Draco. It would only increase the mistrust and not prevent anything. “Is there anything else?” Severus stood still next to the door and the headmaster sat behind the desk with a copy of the newspaper. Severus was keen to leave quickly.
“You’ve done well today. Visit me after you’ve been summoned, will you?”
“As usually.” Severus bowed fleetingly and was gone. The Dark Mark had not anguished him all day. It wasn’t a good sign.
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