|Beth H (bethbethbeth) wrote in hp_beholder,|
@ 2009-04-19 12:08:00
|Entry tags:||albus dumbledore, beholder 2009, fic, het, minerva mcgonagall, phineas nigellus black, severus snape, slash|
FIC: "By The Light Of The Moon" for venturous
Recipient: venturous / venturous1
Title: By The Light Of The Moon
Pairings: Albus/Phineas, Severus/Minerva
Word Count: 8,480
Warnings: voyeurism, wanking, non-sexual violence, Rowlingesque Latin, portrait sex, first time, h/c
Summary: One cold and fateful night in that wretched year of the Hallows, two couples come to a better understanding of one another...
Author's Notes: Thank you to venturous / venturous1 for her spread of pairings and prompts that inspired this fic. Pleasant beholding!
By The Light Of The Moon
Minerva watched from the shadows behind a suit of armour as Snape hurried down the corridor, carrying something that glinted in the dim light.
Shifting into her alternate form, she hurried silently after him.
It was not until the light of a nearly full moon shone down on them that her sharp feline eyes were able to make out the gleam of a length of sharp, inscribed metal. Her eyes narrowed, her back arched and she hissed as he Apparated just past the gates to the grounds.
The Sassenach shilpit[1,2] was absconding with the sword of Gryffindor!
Albus sighed. Being nought but a portrait was bad enough, a monotony made agony when one had to wait on another. He waited yet again on Severus, wondering if he shouldn't go to the portrait of Willoughby the Wonderstruck near the Main Hall so that he could see when the boy arrived.
The door of the Headmaster's office opening made him straighten, then slump immediately and close his eyes when he saw it was Minerva who entered.
"Albus! Wake up man! I know ye can hear me. Wake up!"
He stirred a little, and then issued a sighing snore. It was just as well he dared not wake; Minerva in full Scottish brogue was to be avoided at all costs.
"Ach! Ye malingering bampot! Dinna think I dinna ken wae yer on aboot! 'Tis vital ye wake! Snape's taken the sword, man! He's taken the sword of Gryffindor! That belongs to the school! He cannae be taking it away, to gie to that vile creature he serves. If ye dinna care o' nothing else, ye care aboot this, Albus. I know ye do! Wake, I say!"
The hardest thing Albus Dumbledore had ever done was remain with his eyes shut as one of his oldest, dearest friends broke down in tears. Her quavering voice was loud and resolute as she swore.
"If ye are keeping silent to protect that... that two-faced, murdering Sassenach, Albus Dumbledore, I swear by my mother's honour I'll set Fiendfyre to your portrait!"
The timid knock on the door stopped her tirade and he risked opening his eyes a slit to see what was happening.
Minerva waved her wand over her face before calling out, "Enter!"
To his surprise, two Slytherin students strode in, Goyle and Crabbe, both bristling with self-importance. Their eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"Well," she demanded. "What do ye want?"
Goyle frowned. "We came to speak to the Headmaster."
"Yeah, what are you doing here," demanded the far-less intelligent Crabbe.
Albus nearly smiled as McGonagall straightened to her most severe stance.
"I am the deputy Headmistress. The Headmaster is away from the castle and it is after curfew. Whatever business ye had, ye had best speak to me or else return to your dorm and not speak at all."
Crabbe looked at Goyle, confused, who considered what she said and finally nodded, nudging his friend. "Yes, ma'am. Let's go."
"But Pansy sa--"
"Shut up," Goyle muttered, grabbing Crabbe hard by the upper arm and heading toward the door.
"Ow! Watch it!" Crabbe tore his arm free and rubbed it as they walked out. Dumbledore just heard his plaintive voice as they exited, asking Goyle what he supposed Fiendfyre was. He hoped most sincerely that the two were much too disinterested in studying to research such a spell.
He barely had time to close his eyes again when Minerva turned back.
She swore, paced a bit, and then muttered a hex that would cause the Headmaster's chair to disappear from beneath him the next time he tried to sit. She added a few other innocuous, but humiliating, hexes and charms throughout the room, before sighing and striding out.
Things, he thought with a sigh, must be dire indeed if those were the only actions she felt able to take despite Severus's absence. Either that, or it was even worse than he feared, and Minerva was too upset to concoct a more complicated bit of revenge.
He wondered if he would tell Severus. The poor boy did not need more aggravation, but on the other hand, Minerva was not privy to his knowledge and the illusion of an adversarial and uneasy partnership needed to be maintained in order for him to retain the trust of the Death Eaters.
He sighed and decided to traverse to a different painting. At least that way he could tell Severus with perfect honesty that he had been away from his painting and therefore had no idea that anyone had been in the office whilst he was away...
Severus hovered far above, watching intently as his Patronus lured the boy to the sword.
It was ludicrous to think the boy wouldn't know his mother's Patronus form; the boy had spent much time with Black and Lupin who would surely have told him and lo! Here was the proof.
Potter followed the ghostly silvery form without hesitation and Snape sighed with relief as well as irritation. Whilst Potter held a wand, he was paying no attention to the surrounding area. Just because it was not a full moon night did not mean there weren't dangers in the woods for the unsuspecting and inattentive.
It was all to the good he hadn't merely planted the sword and sent a message. This way, at least he could do something to fend off a wild beast if one wandered too close.
The boy finally approached the frozen pond and Snape cleared his mind and prepared to banish his Patronus. The pang of guilt and longing and regret remained familiar.
His attention was suddenly diverted by movement that Potter could not see behind him and his loss of concentration made the doe fade away.
Severus held his wand at the ready, flying a bit closer, only to start with surprise as a familiar red-headed young man slipped from behind a shrub to stare at Potter. He waited, but Ronald Weasley did nothing but stare. He wondered now if the boy had not been under the Invisibility Cloak, following Harry with his own wand at ready to use against any enemy, and he re-appraised both of them.
They were no longer truly boys, he noted as Harry stripped. They were young men. Perhaps there was reason to hope.
He watched Harry's compact, muscular form as it was revealed. He was a handsome, sturdy young man and Snape thought now that Lily would be proud of her son. He felt some small measure of satisfaction; his own actions, at least in part, were why the boy still lived. But for how much longer?
The thought stung, badly, and he looked away as Potter stripped off his trousers. Enough. The Weasley boy stood watch. He could leave now, secure in the knowledge the sword would be in his hands as Dumbledore had demanded.
He glanced down once more and was relieved that the boy had not removed his undergarments. He studied him, noting his obviously healthy condition, the firm muscles of his well-shaped torso... and flew away.
Like father, like son, no doubt. Lily had once seen him dangling upside down in as little as what her son currently wore, but he knew now that what he had resembled at 16, just one year younger than Potter was now, was a far cry from what Potter looked like. Little wonder, he thought, that she chose another. What was there about him to attract anyone?
He found himself wavering in the chill air and finally flew down to an empty clearing and landed. Clearing his mind of pointless thoughts, heart still burning with pain and resentment and guilt and regret, Snape Apparated back to Hogwarts.
Dumbledore was disappointed to discover Everard was away from his portrait. He had hoped to enjoy a nice game of Catch the Ten with Everard's wonderful pack of Wizarding whist cards which changed images at random and included racy pictures. These erotic cards were wild in all games, since they only appeared for a few moments before changing to something innocuous.
He moved on toward Phineas's portrait in Severus's office. Perhaps he could kill, as it were, two birds with one stone and await Severus's return whilst engaging in a bit of stimulating conversation. Phineas was a bracing individual, never dull or boring, rarely pedantic and quite witty if a bit irascible and contrary at times. He reminded him rather a lot of Severus, actually.
This thought brought with it a twinge of guilty yearnings of the sort he had rarely allowed himself to indulge in whilst alive. He wondered now, if he oughtn't to consider seeking out a bit of dalliance as so many other of the castle's portraits did. There was little else to do sometimes, and there were always landscape and room study portraits that were in unused rooms that a couple (or more!) could nip off to for a bit of frolic away from the staff and student's prying eyes.
Not, he decided now, until after this dreadful business is concluded.
The thought suddenly occurred to him that Severus himself might well grace the walls of the school. There had always been something about the boy that had, at first, driven him to keep him away, out of reach. He had, he knew, treated the boy Severus badly and the young man Severus abominably, but it had also kept him from doing the illicit and irreparable. There were many things of which Dumbledore was guilty of, but molesting a child under his care or a young man who had turned to him for help and assistance, was not one.
On this thought, he slid into the edge of Phineas's portrait to quickly ascertain if Phineas was in or possibly asleep. He had no wish to disturb.
What he saw made him swallow hard and grab for the edge of the portrait frame; they were solid to the portraits, appearing as windows.
Phineas Nigellus Black was leaning back in his comfortable chair, faced away from the portrait frame in order to hide his activity which was very much on display to a suddenly lustful Albus Dumbledore.
The old Slytherin Headmaster was stroking his fine, proud cock with a sturdy, steady hand, his wrist giving a bit of a twist at the end to rub his foreskin against the flared head. His head was thrown back and his mouth was open, his legs were stretched out and his eyes were closed, as he pleasured himself in his chair.
He should leave, Albus knew. His fingers still gripped the portrait frame. He could just shift back into his own portrait. He should just shift back into his own portrait.
He stood and stared and felt his old todger fill and grow heavy beneath his robes.
Dumbledore had never felt so ashamed of himself in his life or death.
Minerva waited near the Apparation point, in her sure-footed and far warmer Animagus form. She had no desire to present him with an implacable, demanding presence when he arrived. The time for reasoned response was long past.
Even as her sharp eyes took in her surroundings -- no one was near, and no other animals, either -- the soft crack of muted sound alerted her to his return.
Minerva barely had time to take in his stooped shoulders, his almost-defeated looking expression which began to clear as he looked to the school, and to wonder at either, when she noted the sword was not in his grasp and launched herself in full screech.
She morphed as her front paws touched his chest, smelling his terror and alarm with her feline senses as she reformed her human self and knocked him down.
She landed atop him, astride his shaking form, arse firmly seated on his groin, sharp nails pushing at his chest, her other hand holding her wand to his throat.
A shimmer of magic issued out along his arms and legs. His limbs lay frozen now as she leaned over to study his face, pressing her wand into his larynx.
The deep violet light shot from her wand directly into his voice box, which began to glow faintly in the moonlight. She did not move her wand.
"Now, Severus Snape. If ye move at all, even to nod or shake your head, if ye dinna answer me, or if I dinna care for your answers, then mayhap your foul master will find his servant staked to the front gate. A message he might understand, d' ye ken?"
He glared angrily up at her, but finally rasped out, "Yes."
He did not otherwise move. The look in Minerva's eyes did not bode well for his survival beyond a few seconds should he attempt it.
"Ye will tell me where ye took the sword of Gryffindor, ye thieving butcher, and ye'll spake it now," she demanded, her voice breathless with anger.
He opened his mouth, then got a pained expression. The purple glow grew bright, shining through the skin of his neck, outlining his vocal cords, and Minerva felt the heat from the spell warming her. The heat must have been excruciating to Snape.
"The Forest of Dean," he grated out. As he spoke, the light dimmed and he sighed in relief.
It was the truth, but not the full story, although Severus realised now that he might have no choice but to tell her if she demanded a full accounting, else find himself either fried to a crisp or become a grotesque new gate ornament.
Despite her surprise at his answer, her attention did not waver.
"Why the divil would ye take a priceless heirloom there?"
Severus said nothing, merely gasping as the purple light glowed bright and hot. He gritted his teeth and strained, fighting to keep from answering, but the pain grew so intense it was beyond his control, and a tear slipped from him as he screeched out, "to give it to Potter!"
Minerva nearly sat back, but she poised herself, eyes alone revealing her surprise. She studied him and knew he spoke truth. A silvery line trailed from one black eye which no longer looked at her, but straight up, at the stars. He was shivering, she realised. For a man as reserved as Severus Snape, she also knew he must feel some small measure of humiliation. She hoped now it would not make him reticent.
"Why should I believe ye?"
"I-it was Albus's wish," he rasped painfully. Her wand scraped against his voice box as he swallowed.
Her eyes flashed indignation and ire alike.
"Ye dare! Ye killed him sure as a fairy's fankle ye filthy murderer, an' ye dare to tell me ye carry oot his wishes!"
The purple glow brightened and dimmed as if uncertain whether her statement was, in fact, a question. The glow grew brighter, hotter, and then another tear escaped him, followed by another on the other side, sparkling like dew on the grass below.
"'s'true," he whispered after a moment.
His trembling increased now and she studied him. He still would not meet her eyes as still another drop welled and spilt down his thin cheek.
The Severus Snape she felt she knew would not act so. Minerva's eyes narrowed. It had been just over two hours since he had left, so any Polyjuice would no longer be active, but there were also spells and charms.
"Finite Incantatum," she directed, her wand pressing more tightly against his throat, although he did not react. Nothing happened.
This was Severus Snape. Her once-colleague was beneath her on the cold, frost-rimmed grass under the nearly full moon. He lay quiescent now as he awaited her next actions.
Minerva had never been more unsure in her life.
Had he been belligerent, foul, snide, or combative, she would have known exactly what to do. Instead he had left in full stride and returned stoop-shouldered and... she suddenly recalled the defeated look he'd borne on arrival. She shifted, moving closer to him, pressing down against his chilled and unresisting form as she spoke in a firm, insistent tone.
"What happened in the Forest of Dean?"
Albus could not help himself. It was but the work of a moment to slip his robes open, to take his own hardening cock in hand.
It had been so long and this was something he had not done since his portrait had awoken. Even in life he had continued to indulge himself until he'd grown too ill and weak to so do.
I've let it go too long, he chided himself. In life he had made sure he indulged and frequently so as to keep from having inappropriate urges, such as the ones he had felt for poor Severus, who would have been mortified to discover it. The poor boy deserved happiness with some kind, understanding woman.
It seemed unlikely, given the upcoming war, that such would ever happen or for long, but he hoped now against hope that Severus would take any opportunities for happiness, for pleasure and enchantment, however brief they might be, and seize them with both hands.
Thanks to their occasional shared sessions of legilimency, he knew the man had never even availed himself of the brothels. His hands might have blood on them, but his soul, as he had once asked him in anguish, his soul remained clean, if not innocent.
Perhaps the desperation of this wretched time would do what his own avuncular suggestions and oblique references had never accomplished? Perhaps Severus might find a bit of release of the horrific pressure he was under in the hands of a kindly, knowledgeable woman?
Then Phineas groaned and began to stroke himself faster and Albus stopped thinking and joined the man he watched in self-pleasure.
"Why did ye leave? Why dinna ye stay to ensure he got the sword?"
"Weasley was there. He was safe enough," Snape whispered.
"Two boys! Ye left them alone in the Forest, one of them near naked, diving for a trinket."
"Not boys," he rasped. "Not any longer."
She considered this and sighed. "Be that as it may, ye left them alone."
"I could not stay."
More shivers ran through him, but she remained as she was, shifting a little as his torso moved beneath her, his arms and legs remaining inert thanks to the spell she'd cast earlier.
"I..." the purple glow turned so bright she squinted and Severus closed his eyes and grit his teeth to keep from answering.
"Answer, ye foolish Sassenach!"
The glow faded and he cried out with relief from the pain. Minerva frowned. What the blazes did Harry's mother have to do with--
"I c-couldn't b-bear it anymore," he spat out through gritted teeth.
"Bear what anymore?"
"P-Potter looked l-like his f-father."
"Aye. Not an unlikely circumstance."
"I r-realised th-th-th..." Snape fell silent, biting his lip. The tendons in Snape's neck stretched as the light and heat grew. His face contorted and he cried out again as the purple light began to burn and then blister his skin which made a sickening crackling sound in the moonlight.
Minerva discontinued the spell and, eyes hard, cast Aquamenti in a thin stream which hissed as it trickled over the red area. She directed the stream to his mouth and he swallowed gratefully, his mouth issuing a cloud of steam as the heat dissipated.
His throat was suddenly coated with ice crystals and he heaved a sigh of intense relief, even as she dug the wand back in the same spot.
"I trust I dinna need to cast dico veritas again?" She waited until he shook his head, and then demanded, "Then answer the question."
He closed his eyes, then drew in an obviously painful breath. His voice was broken and hoarse, an indication of the damage he had suffered inside.
"End of my fifth year. The... the incident by the lake."
Minerva's orderly mind quickly pinpointed the incident he was referring to.
"When Potter and Black suspended ye unclothed?"
Severus shuddered and nodded.
"What of it? What has it to do with the sword of Gryffindor or leaving Harry behind to fetch it?"
Snape opened his eyes and his expression was weary and so grief-stricken that McGonagall was taken aback.
"Potter is a handsome boy. Like his father was. Well-formed. Fit and strong."
"I'm glad to hear it. Pray continue."
Those dark eyes glared up now and his nostrils flared. "I was a fool. When I saw him I realised what a fool I had been so long ago. How could she ever consider one such as I, a scrawny, penniless stripling, when this... wealthy, fair, young god desired her?"
Minerva frowned, then felt the chill of revelation rush through her.
Once, but once, during Severus's early years as a student had she wondered if there was not more to his and Lily's odd friendship, but had swiftly dismissed the notion. Now she felt shame.
She had dismissed the notion because she thought that surely it was clear to both how ill-suited they were. The Snape boy, she had thought, was clever and quick-witted, so he had to know there would never be anything in it. Lily she was not so sure of, the girl had a tender heart for the oppressed and the boy Severus had been practically wore his feeling of oppression like a placard.
The students of her year, she knew, would quickly teach her the way of things. The natural enmity between their houses would hold sway as they had for so many generations. Nothing would come of it. Snape would grow interested in another once his hormones began to speak louder than his mind, and that would be the end of it. She had never been more wrong, she now realised.
"So I left. I came back here," he spat, before finishing in a seething and indignant tone, "to face humiliation from without and not within."
For the first time he met her gaze squarely and his voice dripped derision.
"Does that satisfy your interrogation or would you care to continue humiliating me?"
He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised.
Phineas had died young after all -- still vital and with a younger man's hearing.
Dumbledore had adjusted his stance in order to leave quickly, knowing he would orgasm as soon as Phineas did.
Black had adjusted his grip in order to cup his bollocks, then cleared his throat.
"If you care to join me, Albus, I shan't gainsay you."
The last time he had been so startled was when he had discovered Harry had been taken during the Tournament in his fourth year. His own hand paused in its ministrations as he tried to decide what to do.
"Oh, give it up, Albus, and do come join me. Two fellows well met and all that. Come on and let's see who gives up his treasure first."
"Minerva? What on Earth?"
Poppy Pomfrey blinked tiredly at the deputy Headmistress who looked at her through the Floo.
"Please dinna ask any questions, Poppy, but send me through some burn salve and something for a burn inside the mouth."
"All right," Pomfrey responded uncertainly, but willing to provide innocuous potions that could be of help to anyone, regardless of circumstance. Had she asked for dangerous potions, she might not have been so obliging. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of a sneeze from behind Minerva.
"Oh, and a bottle of Pepper-up, if ye would, Poppy? I'd be grateful."
"I'll fetch it and send it through."
Whilst the throat soothing potion worked, Minerva applied the burn salve to the badly burnt area, fighting a wince as some of his skin sloughed off. Soon enough, the raw look to the area grew red, then pink as the healing salve worked.
Satisfied, she picked up the Pepper Up potion and eyed Severus, who glared at her from atop her bed, still unable to move his arms or legs thanks to her not discontinuing her initial spell. He could speak, of course, but she had known the ignominy of his situation would keep him silent better than any Silencio.
She had not dared to take him to the Headmaster's office, as her earlier experience with Crabbe and Goyle had showed Slytherins, and by extension Death Eaters, felt they had his ear without prejudice or appointment. So she had Disillusioned him and taken him to her own quarters, where she had placed him atop her bed, removed the spell, covered him with a quilt and then divested him of his cold, wet clothes with a spell that made them slither out from under the covers, leaving him nude in her bed.
She had cast a warming charm over the bed, then slid him to the other side of the bed where it was not damp and cast a drying spell to the spot he had lain in before going to contact Poppy.
His attempt to scowl was ruined by a prodigious sneeze and when he was through, the rim of the bottle of Pepper Up was against his lips.
"Drink up. I'd say ye need as much as possible if ye dinna wish a cold."
He sneered and drank half the bottle in one gulp. He closed his eyes as steam shot from his ears and nostrils, but soon it was over and he lay his head back, sighing wearily.
"Now dinna let it be said ye were mistreated."
"Yes, the same observation Alastor Moody once made after an interrogation. You have some ways to go, though, before sinking to his depths, Minerva. I don't have any broken bones," he retorted, before adding acidly, "yet."
"Nor will ye. I've no intention of torturing ye, Severus. I just needed answers and I still did not get the main one I asked. Why on Earth would ye give Potter the sword?"
He looked at her incredulously. "I told you. It was Albus's wish."
"Ach! So was staying alive I'd say!"
"Then you'd be wrong."
She glared at him and he looked away.
"Ye expect me to believe Albus Dumbledore wanted to die?"
"No. I don't expect anyone to believe me, and he did not want to die. He had to. He knew it. He chose it. He was already dying."
Minerva frowned. "What are ye saying?"
"The curse he took that was eating his arm -- it was spreading. It was reaching for his heart. It would have killed him within weeks, days, perhaps. He did not wish to die in agony."
"So ye claim 'twas a mercy killing?"
"No! I was angry, angry enough to use the Killing Curse and there was nothing merciful about it. I did not want to do it, but he forced me. He and Narcissa and the damned boy."
Snape laid his head back, no longer censoring himself. He refused to acknowledge the huge sense of relief he felt at finally admitting the truth to someone else, of no longer holding everything inside.
He would likely have to Obliviate her once he managed to get the upper hand, or at least the use of his hands, he reflected, but for now, for this moment, he felt lighter and freer than he had since before Voldemort had returned.
"What do the Malfoy's hae to do wi' all this?"
He turned his head to face her and said softly, "The Unbreakable Vow? I'm sure you've heard of it. Narcissa asked me to make one with her, on behalf of Draco, who had been ordered to kill the Headmaster or else face death and the death of all those he loved."
Minerva was aghast. "She asked ye to kill Albus?"
"No. She constrained me to protect Draco from the Dark Lord, to help him in any way I could, and to perform the task if he could not, so as to keep him alive."
"Now you see."
"What a perfect muddle. The lot of ye weaving circles within circles an' using murder as the binding cord."
She got up and began to pace, working off some of her agitation, analysing what he had said with the events of the past and coming to the realisation that everything he said began to make it all make a horrible sort of sense. Severus, she knew now, was telling the truth... about everything.
"Good lord, man, how could ye stand it all," she finally said, stopping her pacing to stare at him from the foot of the bed.
His black gaze was even and his voice sounded normal once again as he responded in his silkiest tones.
"Who says I can?"
She frowned and he threw his head back, voice now weary and resigned.
"I no longer know if I am mad amidst the madness or merely lost to the liminal."
"Ye make little sense, lad."
"I'm not a lad. I'm just gone mad. See?" He gave the ceiling a tight little smile. "I made a rhyme."
"Severus, ye cannae go mad. Ye hae not the luxury."
"The entire bloody world is mad, Minerva. Why does it surprise you that I sound mad? I feel mad. I've felt it since the tower... since I had to... to do... as Albus made me promise..."
Minerva's lips parted in surprise as she suddenly realised he was crying again, but in something approaching mania.
"Damn you, Albus!" He lifted his head as far as he could without the use of his arms and wheezed with the exertion. "Damn you to the bloody benighted underworld!"
His head fell back onto the pillow and he whispered shakily under his breath, "And damn me, too."
It had been so long!
Albus clutched at his aching stones. He would have thought portraits did not suffer such indignities, but he was both pleased as well as chagrined to discover it was not so. His todger had never been so stiff, not for several decades, and it seemed to take an age before he was able to achieve release despite his intense feeling of need.
Having started much earlier, it was only natural for Phineas to finish first. He lay back, panting and catching his breath as he watched with an intensely interested expression as Dumbledore suddenly bit his lip and ejaculated with surprising volume, if not force, onto his glittering robes.
"Been a long spell has it then, old man?"
Albus gasped, looked at the other man, and finally muttered, "It has rather, thank you for enquiring, Phineas."
"Well, there's not much else to do here when one isn't being chivvied about like an errand boy or some demented messenger elf," Black grumbled, waving away the mess on his own lap with his wand, and then straightening his attire. "You'll soon discover there is precious little else of interest in the life of a portrait."
"Still it is better than dying out entirely, is it not?" He frowned as Black became rather pinch-faced and sighed in resignation. It belatedly occurred to him that the man had lost his heir, his family name now reduced to a Wizarding historical reference. "Forgive me, Phineas. I had, most unforgivably, forgotten of your circumstances."
"Forgotten? You, Albus? I could believe that of flighty old Flitwick or the mendacious McGonagall, but you, you old conniver... you should have been sorted into Slytherin. You would have done well in my house."
"I would have become a name spoken of in hushed and frightened whispers," Dumbledore acknowledged.
"Yes, but unforgotten down the ages."
"I scarcely think I'll be forgotten as soon as all that," Dumbledore said lightly.
Black scowled, then sighed. "True. You did manage to leave an enduring legacy."
"Given time, anyone would," Albus said, gently reminding the man he had died far too young to amass any fortune or fame.
"Yes. Something Severus will learn I have no doubt."
Albus could not help wincing. He looked back to find Black eyeing him with interest.
"So. You are worried about him."
"As well," Dumbledore completed the unspoken in Black's enquiry.
Startled grey eyes suddenly met his kind blue ones and Albus smiled gently.
"Yes," he replied to both the spoken and unspoken between them.
After a long moment, Phineas Nigellus Black began to grin.
She did not know when her comforting embrace had become something else, something more.
She only knew that sometime whilst she held Severus's head to her bosom, sometime after she had dropped the spell keeping him immobile and half-expected him to flee or attack, sometime after she took in the fact that one of her hands was stroking bare, warm skin... that Severus had started nuzzling her chest.
It was the sort of action she would expect of a babe, except he was far from infancy, and she could feel the slight, but insistent movement of his hips. His hands trembled against her sides, one lifting, then lowering, and she felt his entire body begin to tremble.
His hand suddenly clutched at her arm, the other pressed against her ribs.
"S-send m-me away."
Suddenly she knew she was not going to send him away, alone and traumatised by this night of coerced confessions and the reliving of the greatest pain she could imagine. She could not.
"Hush, lad. I'll not be sending ye anywhere."
The shudders that assailed him caused the whole bed to shake and she stroked at his back and his hair even as the hand by her ribs shifted up... and in.
"M-Minerva." Her name was an anguished blurt of sound, forced past his nerveless lips.
Her voice grew gentle and knowing and accepting. She drew him even closer.
"I'm not going anywhere, lad an' nor are ye. Not tonight."
As if in confirmation, the candles in their sconces dimmed, and the room was cast into moonlight, the only illumination which shone through the leaded panes of her window.
It was not at all what she had expected.
Passion, yes, and the tenderness to be found between old friends become lovers, perhaps even desperate lust, but inexperience?
Still, the evidence could not be dismissed, especially as his hands fumbled with her clothing, obviously unfamiliar with the fastenings, startled to discover that the buttons for a witch's robes were positioned differently than for a wizard's. His cheeks reddened under her compassionate gaze, but whatever drove him fuelled his persistence.
It had tempered her response to their situation. Under other circumstances she would have vanished her garments, would have turned to her partner in a rush of passion. Instead she studied Severus, his wiry form now revealed as he slid from under the bed covers to kneel before her, gently removing her chemise and baring her breasts to his view.
His surprisingly thick, straining prick gave a sharp twitch, a reaction he could not fake or hide and she reached out to place her hand on his bare chest.
He stared at her, studied her, as she continued stroking her hand down to his belly which contracted at her touch. He closed his eyes as she continued down to the thick tangle of hair from which his rigid cock arched, gasping as she caressed his scrotum, then ran her fingernails gently over the lightly-haired surface. He opened his eyes as she lay back and extended a hand to him.
He moved to her with a look of intermingled fear and desperation and she opened her mouth to his fierce kiss, understanding his need far better than he could credit.
Minerva well remembered the era of Grindelwald; she had been a studious lass at the time, discovering her womanhood as she learnt of the horrors of war in both worlds, Wizarding and Muggle. This was, she thought now as she nibbled at his lip, her third wizarding war. Voldemort had marred Severus's young life just as Grindelwald had marred hers, and here they were now, witch and wizard, weary and heart-sore and seeking surcease from their burdens.
She rolled onto her back, grasping his slim hips with her thighs to bring him with her, groaning as she exulted in the feel of his thickness sliding inside her, sliding deep, filling her as she so badly needed. She was gratified to hear his stifled groans of pleasure against her neck, her name spoken against her throat and collarbones and whispered into her breasts as he discovered their taste and sensitivities.
"'tis between thee and me, Severus," she gasped, digging strong fingers into his shoulders to keep him at his task as he began to lift his head. "The gods will do as they see fit."
She cast a wandless strengthening charm on her bed as he began to fuck her in earnest, a hard driving rhythm that thrust out all thought save completion, satiation... release.
Her nails dug into him as she recalled he'd been untried and that she was his first and the wave of intermingled lust and pity both fulfilled her.
Minerva cried out as she climaxed, tightening around him as he continued to thrust in her, leaving nail marks on his back and neck.
As her body shuddered to a halt, she gave him a half-lidded sultry smile as he stared into her face, a look of awe and wonder on his own. She lifted a languid hand and stroked his sweaty face.
Then she watched as he lost himself in pleasure.
"I must say it's been rather a long time."
"Budge up, man, and be quiet. I prefer silence whilst fucking."
Albus opened his eyes at this.
"Surely not fucking," he said with a moue of mild distaste.
Black paused in his thrusts and stared down at him with astonishment.
"Surely you don't think we are as witches, believing ourselves in love eternal?"
"Well, no," Dumbledore hedged.
"There is nought wrong with a good solid rogering and I will curse any fool who believes thus."
With that, Phineas began to thrust hard into Albus once more.
"It is just," Dumbledore began, "such a crude term."
Black rolled his eyes, pausing to enquire, "When did you, the pleasure toy of Grindelwald, the randiest Gryffindor to grace the halls until Septimus Weasley began to sow his seed, become such a ninny?"
"Mind who you're rogering, there's a good lad," Dumbledore replied mildly, hitching his hips and squeezing in more of that thick, heavy cock inside him.
"Fuck, Albus! Do you have a mouth down there?" Black's eyes rolled back as he began to thrust again, groaning as Dumbledore smiled benignly and shut his eyes to enjoy a most pleasant, if unforeseen, interlude.
Minerva had finished silently and magically refreshing herself and the bedclothes when the deep, quiet voice drifted over from the other side of her bed.
"Why did you do this?"
He lay facing away from her, so she could not gauge his reactions, his emotions.
"Albus trusted ye and I dared not," she admitted softly now. "He knew ye and I did not."
She drew in a deep breath and sighed, finally adding, "Albus loved ye."
Severus stilled, then turned back to look at her in astonishment.
"Are you saying you love me?"
His tone was so disbelieving it pained her. Had anyone ever loved Severus Snape? She remembered young Eileen Prince, a few years younger than herself, a truculent, taciturn girl. She remembered a fresh-faced young red-head who had chosen another and died far too young. She remembered a stern and unyielding young teacher with eyes black as pitch and a tongue sharp as a scythe. She scoured her memories for a single instant of joy in his life, a single moment where she had seen pleasure in his eyes or triumph not engendered by someone else's chess or Quidditch loss.
The sole instance she could find was of a few moments ago, when his so-familiar face had been twisted unrecognisably with a pleasure he had not before experienced.
She had given him that pleasure. There was only her.
She swallowed before saying gently, "I'm saying I cannae do any different. With Albus gone, someone must, or ye will be lost to this madness."
She reached out a shaking hand to cup his face and swallowed again at his response to her touch and whispered, "And I'll nae lose one more person to this madness."
"That was most enjoyable, I must say," Albus sighed contentedly.
Phineas Black lay splayed out atop his ornate bed, fast asleep.
Dumbledore took time to enjoy the long sleek lines of his bare body, the handsome features reposed in restful sleep, and sighed. He hoped Severus had completed his task. He felt rather guilty at feeling a mere thread of interest in getting up to find out... but not so much as he could be arsed enough to bother.
Their second coupling was slower and gentler, but no less passionate, and Minerva found herself laughing like a girl as Severus carefully released her hair from its customary bun. When he lifted a questioning brow, she spoke, breathless with laughter.
"Ach! Trust a Gryffindor to be so caught up in the moment as to forget to let down her hair!"
She laughed again, delightedly as he gave her a shy smile back, then ran his fingers through her unbound hair.
He brought up a handful of locks to smell them, then followed up along their length to kiss her temple, and ear, and neck, slowly moving down to her breasts. His hips never ceased their gentle, rhythmic movements, filling her and receding and filling her again, a delicious sensation she had gone too long without.
"Yes, Severus," she sighed now, stroking her fingers through his own long, somewhat sweaty hair. She kissed the top of his head and held it to her bosom for awhile as he suckled at her. The points of her nipples ached when he gently nipped at them with the edge of his teeth. She hissed, then clasped around him tightly, and he pulled back and began thrusting with more authority.
She sighed with contentment, urged him on with her hands and soft sounds, reaching down to fondle his warm, heavy bollocks, then sliding a hand back to caress his buttocks. He moaned and she smiled, then slid a finger along his crease. After toying along the edge for awhile, she gently pressed it against his budded opening.
His thrusts faltered for a moment, then strengthened again, and he moved faster, holding himself on elbows above her now, pressed chest to breasts, looking down on her with his long hair swinging between them. His eyes never left hers and she smiled up at him.
"Yes, Severus," she whispered. Then she rubbed her fingertip along his opening, back and forth in a beckoning gesture.
He froze, then grimaced as climax found him, once more distorting his so-familiar features into something new and altogether different. She could feel him swell within her, felt the tickle of his warm wetness sliding from her as he released his seed deep inside.
Soon he rested his head against her shoulder and fought to catch his breath.
"Minerva," he said in a deeply gratified tone she had never heard before.
"Present," she said playfully, running her hands along his sweaty back and feeling inordinate pride at having been the cause of his condition.
He snorted amusement, then lifted his head to gaze at her.
"Much as this night means to me, I... I'm afraid I must ask that yo--"
"Don't ye dare suggest Obliviation, Severus Snape!"
He blinked, baffled, and then shook his head. "I wasn't."
She studied him, then calmed. "Go on then."
"I would not wish to Obliviate this night. I've never had one like it... nor am likely to again."
She shook her head. "There is no reason we cannae--"
"This cannot happen again," he insisted, then closed his eyes and sighed. "Not whilst the D-- whilst he exists."
She considered this, then conceded. "Aye. Ye could be right."
"I'm glad we are in accord." He shifted to lay by her side, head still close to her shoulder.
"Ye did not finish the question," she reminded him.
He nodded, then sighed again. "I would ask that you treat me no different, in any detail, from the way you have since the school year began. We must, in the eyes of all who know us, be as opposing forces."
She considered this, then swallowed the painful dryness that suddenly afflicted her throat. When he lifted his head to see her response, she closed her eyes, then looked at him and nodded.
"Very well. I concede."
No more was said between them that night, at least, not in words.
"Severus! I trust all is well," Albus smiled at his successor as he entered his office late the next morning.
Snape gave a curt nod, but Dumbledore noted his ease of movement, his relaxed stride.
So, a good night's sleep as well as a successful outcome. Albus beamed.
"The boy has it. What happens from here only Merlin knows." He sighed, then looked to Albus.
"I hope you did not stay up very late awaiting my return?" His cheeks reddened slightly. "I was unavoidably detained."
Albus's own cheeks grew rather pink, but he merely enquired, "Truants?"
"Someone out of bed that should not have been," Snape hedged.
"Ah. Well, such is the life of a beleaguered instructor. Even in these worrisome times, there are students who seek to cause mischief."
"Indeed." Severus turned and waved his wand to reveal any lingering enchantments, hiding a tiny smile he could not repress. Minerva had confessed, as he was about to leave her quarters, to having peppered his office with various hexes.
"Severus." Albus enquired, "I hope you did not come down too hard on them?"
Snape sputtered and began to cough and Dumbledore's gaze grew concerned. "Dear me. It sounds as if you spent far too long out in the cold last night. Perhaps you should see Poppy?"
"No," Severus wheezed, catching his breath, aware his face was probably cherry red and hoping it could be excused by his coughing fit. "I'll be all right after some tea. I should also really answer my correspondence."
"Very well." Dumbledore watched as he went to the Floo and called down to the kitchen for tea and some soup. "I truly am pleased with your success. It gives us all hope, my boy."
"I'm no boy," Snape muttered, but not with any true irritation.
Instead, he ran his hand through his hair, then picked up the steaming mug from the tray that appeared on his desk and lifted the first batch of letters that comprised his correspondence. He glanced at Albus surreptitiously, but the old codger was smiling contentedly, clearly reminiscing about something.
He could feel the heat receding from his cheeks now, to be replaced by another form of heat, one that seemed to start in his belly and move lower as he thought back over the events of the night before. He sighed, not discontentedly.
None heard Snape's remark, so softly spoken under his breath as he bent over his correspondence.
"Not any more."
A Few Weeks Later...
Poppy shook her head in amazement, looking down at her patient.
"It's a miracle is what it is," she told the acting Headmistress and Harry Potter, who both stood looking down in wonder at the still form of Severus Snape. "There was a pocket of tissue inside his throat. He must have run afoul of a burning potion or hex some time in the last few weeks and it badly blistered the inside of his mouth and throat. One of the thicker blisters remained, it was filled with healing potion. When the snake bit him, it tore a minuscule hole in the edge of the blister. The potion slowly oozed out and kept him from bleeding to death after he'd passed out from blood loss. It also kept the worst of the effects of the poison from permanently damaging his vocal cords and oesophagus."
"He probably suspected something like that would happen and had it all planned," Harry opined, not truly surprised after all that had taken place since the battle the night before.
"Mayhap," the Headmistress said noncommittally. "He was not a foolish man."
"If anything, he's a very fortunate one," Pomfrey said now. "If the snake had punctured the blister, if the potion had not trickled out slowly, or if the snake had not bitten him in the throat, we would not now be standing here speaking of his survival. He'd be atop one of the tables in the Great Hall, dead."
"Too many others are still there," Harry responded curtly, then shook his head. "Sorry. I'm glad the Professor is alive. I'm just tired."
"Of course, Harry." Both women readily forgave his outburst and he nodded at them and left.
"When will he wake?"
Pomfrey shook her head. "He could wake up in a few hours, but more likely he won't wake until the morning. He's been through a lot and he's extremely lucky to be alive."
She waved her wand over his throat and shook her head. "I'm a bit concerned about possible swelling, though. He's so profoundly asleep that if any develops, he might have trouble breathing and I would be none the wiser."
"I'll sit with him," Minerva assured her.
"I couldn't ask you to do that."
"You didn't. I'm offering. Go on, Poppy. You have a lot of other patients who need your help."
Pomfrey nodded. "Well, if he does have trouble, cast a Bubble-Head Charm on him and extend it down his windpipe to ensure he is getting adequate oxygen."
"I will. Thank you, Poppy."
The mediwitch nodded and headed off, and Minerva conjured a chair and sat by the bed.
She lifted one of those pale, sturdy hands, noting the callouses and slight stains. Old dry blood lay beneath his nails, she noted, and it made her wince.
She pulled out her wand and began to carefully work it away with a gentle cleansing spell. Soon Minerva McGonagall was humming When the Battle's Over under her breath as she watched over her old friend and newfound lover.
- finite incantatum -