I finish this and then it's on to Innocent Shadows. Honest. *shuffles feet*
Severus Snape stared into the smoke and amber of his fire whiskey. It caught in the soft glow of the flames flickering in the library hearth. He drew in a deep breath, the scents of the fire, the warmed alcohol and the hundreds of leather-bound books filling his senses.
He sank back into the firm padding of the wingback chair. Somewhere beyond the library walls the sounds of a party carried on. Voices, bursts of laughter, the crash of something big –no doubt Tonks proving her talent once more. He sat alone. Probably forgotten. After all, they didn't need his skills now. He was free.
And this would be his last time in this accursed house. Did he feel relief? Pleasure? Sadness? He took a sip of this fire whiskey and let the smooth texture cover his tongue, his sharp palate picking apart the hints of vanilla, nutmeg and the sharpened hints of liquorice as he swallowed. It burned down his gullet and he let out a long sigh. It surprised him that he felt very little. In a strange way he was almost numb.
Potter had urged the Mutt to break out the good stuff from the Black cellars to toast the final disbanding of the Order of the Phoenix. Their job was done. The last of the Death Eaters and supporters of Voldemort were either remanded in Azkaban or their bodies awaited incineration somewhere in the bowels of the Ministry. The war was finally over. And he was still alive. Which was a surprise to everyone. Including him.
A cold draft wrapped around his legs and he shivered. He wouldn't have to winter in this place. He could hunt out his own home now with the threat of reprisals gone. The area around Spinner's End had been gentrified, which meant good money for little more than a neglected shithole. With his hoarded money from teaching –when had he had the time to spend it on anything?— and the inheritance as the last living Prince, Severus was set for a new life.
He smirked into his glass and thought about another sip. Of course, he'd not been idle. Even under the threat of Death Eaters, he'd revelled in the freedom he'd had from not being chained to two megalomaniacs.
His grin grew as he remembered Molly's shocked face, her eyebrows at her hairline and the splutters of contempt as the Prophet reported on the first of his 'affairs'. She'd even gone so far as to snatch the paper from the Granger girl's hand, vanishing the lurid article with a violent flick of her wand.
Molly had stood with her hands on her wide hips. "I expected more from you, Severus. There are impressionable young witches under this roof!"
Her shocked and affronted tone –acting as if her quidditch team of brats had sprung fully formed into the world— simply forced him to lift an eyebrow. His gaze had slid to Granger, her cheeks pink, her wild morning hair beyond control and her brown eyes not daring to meet his. He dropped his voice low, too aware of its sensual power. "Miss Granger has always been a most willing pupil."
Her gaze snapped to him, her eyes wide. And darkened.
Molly had exploded.
Back in the library, Severus took another sip and stared into the open hearth. He could've had her in that moment. He knew it. Locked Molly out of the kitchen and spread Granger across the table amongst the breakfast dishes. A delectable morning feast. But there was an innocence about the girl that held him back.
Severus swallowed and welcomed the sharp burn. Despite the youngest Weasley boy sniffing around –and his not-so-subtle boasting— Severus was certain Granger was still a virgin. A surprise, but at least no longer a dangerous one. The last thing he ever wanted in his bed was a woman he had to teach. His gut tightened and he pushed down old memories that threatened to resurface. No, Severus Snape did not do virgins.
The library door creaked open. "I said no, Ronald."
Severus winced. The virgin in question. His chair had its to back to the door, hiding him from those entering the library. If he stayed silent, they would no doubt leave. If they lingered, a single word from him would have them running.
Severus almost rolled his eyes at the boy's petulant whine. How old was Weasley? Five?
"I told you—"
"It's not natural. Not the wizard way. We don't follow the same rules as muggles. We start young, explore, experiment. Don't you know not having sex stunts your magic?"
Severus almost snorted. Was he trying that old lie? They'd been living together in 12 Grimmauld Place for almost seven months and Weasley still hadn't wormed his way into Granger's bed? How inept was he?
"Stunts my magic?" Granger's voice had sharpened. "Do you think I'm an idiot, Ronald? You've already lied to everyone I know, claiming that you've taken me every way there is, so why don't you and your imagination go and get a room?" She huffed out a quick breath. "So, to be clear, no I will not sleep with you. No, I will not go down on you. And no, I will not "Please, Mione, just a hand job to take the edge off". Am I absolutely clear yet? Oh, and my name –for the final time— is Hermione."
"Do you honestly think anyone else will ask?"
There was an edge to her voice. Weasley had cut her. How did Granger see herself? She was small, shapely and there was a dark passion lurking under her innocence. One day, she'd be eminently fuckable. Severus knew that. She, obviously, did not.
"We've been stuck in this house for months. You were the only free hole." The room was silent, with only the crack and spit of the fire. Severus' jaw tightened and he placed his glass on the table. "You were nothing more than my attempt at a pity fuck, Mione."
The little shit had gone too far. No one treated a virgin witch that way. He unwound himself from the chair. "Hermione."
They both froze, Weasley's face burning more red than his mop of hair. Granger's head dipped and her eyes squeezed shut. She was mortified. Severus placed a hand on her shoulder, stroking its slim length to the tangle of her hair. She twitched under the caress of his fingertips over the skin of her neck. Weasley blinked.
"You wondered who would ask?" Severus held the boy's gaze, seeing his eyes widen, disbelief and disgust firing through their paleness. Hermione's neck tilted, offering herself unconsciously to him. She sank back against him as if she were his completely. She really was a responsive little thing.
A dark smile lifted Severus' lips, before he dropped his mouth to her neck. She tasted of vanilla, sweet with a hint of darkness. His dick twitched. Severus' gaze never left Weasley's. "I did."
"You? She?" Weasley gaped. "You had her first? You?"
"Why would I want your…fumblings?" There was a thread of steel in Granger's voice as she played along with Severus' game. "When I could have his expertise?"
Weasley was visibly shaking in his anger. "Him? You'd sleep with him, over me? You—"
Severus silenced the boy before more hate spewed from him. "You will desist in your pursuit of Miss Granger. It has been agreed." He wrapped his arm around her, brushing the underside of full breasts. He ignored the hard ache of his dick. "I do not share." He lifted an eyebrow. "Are we understood, Mr Weasley?"
Weasley opened his mouth, still caught in the spell.
"Nod, idiot boy."
He nodded and with a final glare at Granger, fled the room.
The witch slumped in his arms, her firm breasts pressing against his forearm. Severus cursed. How did he always manage to find his way into trouble?
As if suddenly realising where she was, Granger gasped and struggled free of his hold. He didn't fight her. She staggered away from him, her face scarlet. She caught her fingers in her hair and simply breathed. Severus let her find her courage. It happened a moment later as her shoulders straightened and her gaze moved to his. Almost. It hovered somewhere around his mouth and nose.
"Thank you, Professor." Her lips twitched a smile. "He has been…persistent."
"I agree, he's not the best choice for your first lover."
She blinked, her face –if possible— becoming even more red. "My…?"
Severus waved her to the other chair. He would have to have this conversation. One he'd had a number of times with the older girls in Slytherin. The old pureblood families still favoured The Virgin Agreement. Mostly in its minor form to ensure the girls' safety. However, he never thought he'd be having it with Granger. What in the name of Merlin had Minerva been doing to let her cubs get to this girl's age with no guidance? Whether the girl agreed with the path or not, she should've at least been made aware of her choices.
Granger moved forward on wooden legs and dropped into the heavy padding. He handed her a tumbler of firewhiskey and she curled her fingers around the glass, not yet taking a sip.
"I recommend Kingsley."
She stared at him. "The Minister?" She wet her lips. "To…"
Severus resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. This was why he avoided virgins whenever he could. Particularly muggle-borns. Especially them. An articulate and clever girl was reduced to single words and half questions all in the name of sex. "Yes, to make the beast with two backs. Make love. Fuck."
She stared into her glass. "I've never thought of him that way."
"He broke in Tonks. Fleur Weasley. Miss Clearwater. I've recommended him to a number of Slytherins. He has an excellent reputation."
Her chin lifted and anger flared in her brown eyes. "I am not a horse."
"No, you are a young woman in need of guidance."
"And Minister Shacklebolt's well-known hobby is breaking in virgins?"
Her lack of knowledge of the wizarding world was showing. But then she'd spent most of her time in it trying simply to stay alive. She'd missed the nuances as her head had been stuck in one book after another. The shit, Weasley, had spoken some of the truth. They differed from muggles in their openness about sex. Of treating it as an art and finding a master or mentor to show them the way. Molly Weasley was a total hypocrite.
"His speciality. Future lovers of those Kingsley has…tutored are always appreciative. Sex is a skill, one that can be learned just the same as Charms or Potions." He lifted his glass and a smile touched his mouth. "Think of it as taking an advanced subject in which you are guaranteed an O."
She closed her eyes and for a moment, Severus thought he saw a flicker of pain cross her face, but it was gone. "Thank you for your candour, Professor."
He frowned. What was wrong with the witch? Was Hermione Granger turning down the opportunity to learn? "Weasley is imbecilic. But then that hardly comes as any surprise. Come to The Agreement with Kingsley and he will show you just how much of an idiot the boy is." He sipped his whiskey and the burn was raw and sharp. He rubbed his throat, wondering if the venom from the thrice-damned snake was making itself known in the winter air.
"It's…it's difficult to think of him that way." Her mouth twitched and she looked up at him. Firelight warmed her eyes. "And honestly, I don't need to rush into this."
She was waiting on someone else. Someone who hadn't asked her yet. It was there, unspoken. Who'd moved through her life? Potter. No, he was all over the Weasley girl like a pernicious rash. Lupin had formed agreements in the past, but he was now taken. One of the other Weasley's? Dear gods, not Percy. She'd get as much of an education out of him as she would being fucked by a gargoyle.
Or Sirius Black? He'd been sniffing around the girl all summer. He'd once been a pretty boy –getting any girl with the snap of his fingers— and putting in just as little effort into the art of sex. Severus had had his leftovers. And those witches tumbled from his bed in shock at what a dedicated and talented wizard could do…
"Who would you prefer as your first lover, Miss Granger?"
She swallowed, her fingers tightening around the glass until her knuckles showed white. She wet her lips. Her warm brown eyes held his. "You, sir."