Rita Skeeter, whose age certainly does not show in the slightest Rita Skeeter, an attractive woman with big eyes and a bigger mouth Rita Skeeter, ably assisted by her most highly prized Quick Quotes Quill
Rita balls up the test parchment that she's been using for her new Quick Quotes Quill and shoves it into a hidden pocket in her bag. She takes out a less-tatty roll and, licking the tip of the quill, sets them down: first the parchment, horizontal; then the quill, vertical. She clears her throat, taps the tip of her tongue to the back of her teeth and her lavender nails to the front of them, and starts speaking in hushed tones.
Rita has a secret. It isn't that the Daily Prophet would pretty much not stand up to its weight without her, which she figures is a given but which not many people seem to realize, and it isn't that sometimes she gets ridiculously tired of always having to keep her nails in perfect condition (because, of course, everyone expects her to), though both of those probably could qualify as secrets. No, her secret is Jasmine Katarina Roebling – the same Jasmine Katarina Roebling who supplies the wizarding world with most of its classy erotic literature. Except some critics don't seem to believe it's literature, but she's okay with it being called trashy because it's still page-turning and it's still sex, and that's what sells. Rita is all about what sells. Except if anyone knew that she and JKR, sex writer extraordinaire, were the same person… well, then her career would be pretty much over, because, hello, mortifying, and also there are a good number of witches who wouldn't be able to handle knowing that their favourite newspaper columnist also wrote the stories that show up in the dirty magazines that their husbands jerk off to when they think their wives aren't looking. Which would mean her newspaper career would be over, which would essentially mean that her life would be over.
But that doesn't mean that she's going to stop writing these, and the fact of the matter is that she's coming up on a deadline for her next book and even though she's in Hogwarts right now (against Dumbledore's requests, but that's neither here nor there) and it seems sort of wrong to be writing erotica in her old school, time constraints do not allow for her to pansy about the task (also, it's highly probable that the majority of the professors and possibly most of the students, too, read the erotica she writes, so it's not that sacrilege, her doing this, is it?).
So here she is, sitting in some broom closet waiting for an interview with some students about the Triwizard Tournament and writing about the exploits of Maeve, the buxom secretary to a Quidditch team manager and Roger, the svelte star player of the team, and how they're about to have hot sex – starting with oral, because not enough erotica writers these days cover oral, which Rita finds a pity mostly because oral is what generally gets her off most effectively – when she realises she has no fodder for this current story. The thing about Rita is that she believes in truth in words, which is to say she only writes about sex acts that she is intimately familiar with, which is a lot. Unfortunately, she's in the middle of this ridiculous annoying dry spell and is feeling decidedly uninspired. The cure for this is to have large amounts of sex as soon as possible, but (if she is to be entirely honest with herself, which does happen on occasion but only very occasionally), there haven't been men lining up at her door in order to take care of this particular problem for, well. A while, and that's all she's going to admit on this subject.
She considers going out to seduce the first person she sees, but that could quite possibly be a first-year and although she likes them young, that's just this side of disgusting. So she can't do that. She makes a quick list of the highly attractive people she knows of who work here, which amounts to exactly three (Arithmancy professor; Joseph who technically works in Hogsmeade; her married-with-children photographer), none of which is a very viable option. That won't work, either, which leaves her back at square one. For a moment, she considers experimenting with women again, which was fun the month she did that, but that's not really the experience she's looking for right now, so she discards the notion. She picks up her Quick Quotes Quill, which stopped writing two paragraphs in earlier – very good; that's when she stopped talking. Clearly this quill is worth the money it cost – and puts it back into her bag, stuffs the parchment in after it. It's time to go wander about and make some plans.
Rita has long since decided that being an Animagus isn't as fun as people make it out to be. It's pretty neat, being able to become something completely different and distinctly animalistic, but that's just the marketing for the product. No one ever mentions the act of the transformation when they talk about Animagism. The act of transformation is painful as hell, what with the whole organs compressing (or decompressing, as the case may be) and rearranging and reshaping and the growth (or discarding) of the exoskeleton and all of that. But it's ridiculously efficient, all problems aside, and Rita is (uniquely, she supposes) skilled at getting her belongings to become parts of her antennae and wings when she's a beetle so that she has them with her when she transfigures back. This makes it particularly handy for scurrying to the Great Hall, perching on a wall, and observing all of the students without being observed in return, which is what Rita does. There's a blonde boy who looks rather peaked but who has potential, and a gorgeous man-boy with hair that makes her ache to run her fingers through it, and that famous Quidditch player, Victor Krum, who would probably let secrets of his team and his sport slip during sex (handy for her current story!), and Harry Potter who would no doubt be impossible to take aside, but also a challenge (and Rita loves challenges) so that's a consideration, and from a distance Severus actually looks really decent and not terribly greasy.
She and Severus have a history, though, and while he probably doesn't exactly hate her, she's pretty sure he wouldn't take too kindly to her slipping into his room, beetle-shaped, and transforming back into herself in his bed and slipping her clothes off and pushing them under a pillow and waiting for him to come and fuck her. He was actually pretty good in bed, the one time they hooked up twenty-one years ago and that other time they hooked up fourteen years ago, but that was before she got crows-feet (covered up though they might be) and before he started cutting his hair in this particular style and before the years worked them apart.
Because of the events of this morning, Severus Snape loves a dead girl. Loves every aspect of her except for the fact of her death (or maybe it is just her death as a Potter rather than a Snape).
Rita Skeeter doesn't know that. Rita Skeeter doesn't know much of anything. She has just been hired on as a reporter (her job at the Ministry failed) and, thus far, all she has going for her is big hair and big breasts. And her trusty Quick Quotes Quill. She's on a throwaway assignment, researching the suspected love life of Dumbledore (a page-20 story, if that, unless something particularly scandalous is uncovered) when suddenly, boom, the Potters are dead (except the baby boy) and You-Know-Who is gone, and because she is conveniently staking out Hogwarts – the home to the widest variety of some of the most visible reactions to this news – on assignment, she decides to do a little snooping of her own.
"Rumours tell that you and James Potter had a certain… animosity," Rita says, adjusting her neckline, and Severus Snape snarls at her. One of his 'none of your business' snarls, she supposes, though it could be a 'if you don't shut the hell up right now I will quite likely kill you' sort of noise, too. Or maybe it's because she knows perfectly well why he hates James Potter and he knows that she knows. She promptly ignores it. "Perhaps due to multiple altercations between the two of you in your tenure here as students?"
Severus looks as if he is going to answer despite her already knowing, likely to the (honest) affirmative – he inclines his head slightly – but he does not say the expected. "Here's a hint: using bigger words does not always equate to bigger success in the journalism world."
Rita fluffs her hair fussily, and sniffs a bit before smirking at him. "Like you would know the first thing about the journalism world," she says in the simperingly-sweet voice she learned from her auntie Dolores, then realises that by speaking as she had she broke one of the first rules in proper interviewing technique. Oops. "Or perhaps you would," she adds hastily. "I'm not one to presume. Er, Mister Snape—"
"Professor," he corrects.
"Professor Snape," she amends. "Why, if you hated James Potter so thoroughly, did you react so strongly in an unexpected way at his death?"
"What do you want, Miss Skeeter?" Severus asks. "You know I'm not going to answer these inane questions."
Rita opens her mouth. Closes it again. Feels her tongue work and opens again. Closes. Opens.
"There is not going to be a reprise of seven years ago," he says, simply, and she stutters that that isn't what she was on about at all.
And Snape turns and walks away.
Rita is filing paperwork, a task which she despises. She feels that after three years of work at the Ministry, she should clearly have a better job than this, but unfortunately that is not the case. Three years, and she's still stuck forging the Minister's signature on letters and pretending like she doesn't, three years spent filing because the Ministry is too cheap to go for those special new magical auto-filing systems. Three years hating her job and hating her life. Even school was better than this.
Rita has days where she dreams of being a writer. On the scraps of paper at her desk, the beginnings of a hundred different novels can be found. One day, she tells herself, I will be published and highly celebrated as the best writer in wizarding history.
In the meantime, she is stuck filing official reports from Hogwarts. Pros: she gets to visit Hogwarts three times in the span of two weeks for the purposes of completing this particular nasty part of her job. Cons: everything else. Plus, she kind of hates Hogwarts. Her time there was not a happy time. She spent her days in dreaming of getting out, and her days out dreaming of getting in, and altogether that entire time was so unspeakable that she tries to avoid thinking of Hogwarts at all anymore.
But at least Hogwarts isn't this tiny grimy office.
When Rita is at Hogwarts, she can't help but observe the students. They fit exactly the same moulds they did five years ago: there are the clearly popular boys with their dashing good looks and sporty prowess, the girls hiking their robes up on the grass to catch sun and to catch boys, the others.
So many of the others.
There is one that catches her attention. He was a second year when she left Hogwarts, which she knows because she vaguely remembers him spilling a bowl of soup on her at some point. There is something about him, something that reminds her of herself. She takes out her quill (it's a Quick Quotes Quill, which is an entirely new invention. She loved the idea of it so much that she bought one even though it cost her half her salary) and quickly writes a note. Drops it on his book as she walks by, flouncing.
After she finishes her business, she stops by the place where he was before. For a moment, she can't find him, but she hears a commotion and turns around.
He's righting himself, and from the comments she hears he's been hung upside down from a tree by one of the sporty types. She waits for some of the students to disperse, then goes up to him. "I'm Rita Skeeter."
"I'm Severus Snape," he says, sniffling a bit and wiping his hand off on his robes, then extending it to shake.
She takes it and smiles, a predatory sort of smile she's been practising in her mirror. "Fancy going for a drink?" she asks, and he says, "Yes."
Three whiskeys each in, and Rita is reasonably drunk. She's letting Severus talk and it isn't very interesting but she can tell that he is relishing someone being there to listen. And she does listen – it wouldn't count if she didn't. He may be prattling about some poncy James character who she really knows nothing about, but it's always obvious when someone is just pretending to listen. There's something about being seventeen, lost in the world and in your school, with no one who will listen to you talk that makes you open up to complete strangers, she realises, and wishes there'd been someone to take her aside when she was in the same situation.
Four whiskeys in and she knows she should probably stop soon. Four and a half, and she leans forward to kiss Severus because she's tired of listening.
He makes a funny noise and she realises he's probably never kissed anyone else before. So she kisses him again, slower and deeper, and pulls away only when he makes a low noise in the back of his throat.
"D'you want go get a room?" she asks, and his eyes light up. He looks so pathetically eager, and she feels a sort of misplaced affection for him. "Come on, then."
The room is dirty, but that's to be expected with the Hogs Head. The sheets seem to be relatively clean, but that's never certain and for a moment Rita cringes to herself. But that moment is gone, and she kisses Severus again and tries to show him with her tongue what he should do with his tongue and it works, a little bit, and then he's fumbling with her clothes and she's pulling his robes off and she touches him and he shudders a bit, and she slowly reaches down to grip his cock and after one, two, three pulls he comes and looks suitably embarrassed but then he pushes her skirt up and pulls her underwear down and for someone who probably hasn't done anything of the sort before he's surprisingly good at working her clit with his fingers, but when he starts to use his tongue he scrapes her with his teeth and she hisses and he seems to be spooked because he pulls back and she imagines that he's probably blushing fiercely but he's touching her again so she closes her eyes and lets her head fall back against the bed instead of trying to watch and then she's coming coming coming. They don't fuck properly, but they do kiss once more and then she falls asleep and when she wakes up there's a note that says "thanks for everything" by her head and he is gone.
When Snape gets back to his rooms that night, Rita has snuck in and is sitting on his bed. She says, "Hi," and he either isn't surprised or manages to hide it because surprise does not register on his face.
"I'm not giving you any answers," he tells her.
"I'm not expecting any." Rita adjusts her neckline again and is pleased to note that his eyes follow her hand. She licks her lips, slowly. She's been having a lot of sex lately – 'researching,' she calls it. She wants a book deal. She wants Snape. He doesn't seem to be doing much of anything, so she breathes, "Severus."
"It didn't change anything for me," he says, quietly, unbuttoning his shirtsleeves underneath his robe. "Even though I was less virginal than James and everyone after, it didn't change everything. They still hated me and made my life hell. I was constantly relieved that Lily kept stopping them even after she defected and started dating him."
Rita mentally rolls her eyes. Is he going to want to talk again? That was fine back when he was seventeen and she was twenty-one and still very unsatisfied with life, but things are better for her now and she's used to getting sex without hearing angst first. "I'm sorry," she says, and adjusts her breasts in her shirt again, which is more low-cut than she's used to which is awkward but also nice because it showcases her cleavage quite nicely.
"You're not," he replies, and she gives him a sharp glance – she's usually better at feigning interest. Oh well. She's a fan of reasonable amounts of honesty in journalism (and life, which she's resolved to live like journalism now), though, so she gives a sort of affirmative shrug and although he looks pained at this, he nods.
"Do you want to..." she asks, and he hesitates.
"Yes," he says, finally, after raking his eyes over her silhouette. "Yes, I believe that sex would be really good right now."
Rita grins at him, pretending like he didn't sound sort of sad, and slowly unbuttons her shirt, takes a deep breath as some of the tightness on her breasts is released. He runs a hand through his hair – it's shorter than it was seven years ago – watching her hungrily. She decides to put on a bit of a show, slowly unbuttoning and unzipping her skirt, taking off her shoes (making sure to bend over in a way that kept her hair from obscuring her cleavage) and stockings, standing up to let the skirt fall down, running her fingers along the tops of her breasts and dipping them down between them before reaching behind herself to unfasten her brassiere, letting it fall off as she pushes her underpants down. She stands there for a moment, only posing a bit, and letting him take in the sight of her. She knows that she's pretty attractive. Sometimes she minds the pudge on her stomach that she can't get rid of, but her thighs are nice and strong and shapely and her breasts are large, sensitive, and rest nicely in her hands when she cups them, which she does for a moment. She reaches up and takes the few pins she has in her hair out and shakes her head slightly to let it all hang, loose and curly. After this is accomplished, she runs her hands through it and then down her body, over her breasts, down to the vee of her crotch and her legs.
Snape – Severus – looks at her for a while longer without doing anything, so Rita walks jauntily up to him and slowly undoes the buttons at the neck of his robe, pulls it off, kisses him. She tells herself that having naked woman cling to your front, warm and curvy, is enough to make a man forget about the deaths of the Potters for a little while. It probably isn't true, especially considering the magnitude of the situation, but.
But it's a nice thing to think, so she kisses Severus more insistently, and is pleased enough when he returns the kiss that she bites his lower lip. He hisses, pulls her closer, kisses her harder, and she compliments herself on a job well done before stepping back long enough to take off the shirt he was wearing under his robe. Reaching forward, he covers her breasts with his hands momentarily, then moves his hands to the side and moves his thumbs roughly over her nipples. She inhales sharply, and starts slowly taking off his belt, but pauses when he leans down a bit to kiss the side of her neck, then bite it gently.
"Feels good," she murmurs, tilting her head to give him better access, and shivers a bit at the low rumble of an almost-chuckle. This is accompanied by one of his hands travelling down her back to squeeze her bum, and she twitches a bit so he pulls away.
Rita looks at Snape for a long moment, and he looks back at her, and then suddenly everything is that much more fevered. She pulls his belt off, drops it to one side, and pulls his trousers and underpants down in one go. And then he's kissing her again, picking her up and moving her to his bed, and Rita is not okay with the way that he seems so sure of what exactly he's going to do with her so she pushes him off of her and climbs on top of him and kisses him again while sitting on his chest. It's sort of an awkward position to hold, but his hands are in her hair and she can't pull away and she doesn't really want to pull away but she does, lowers herself slightly and suddenly his hands are on her hips, gripping her tight, and then one of those hands has moved forward and she remembers this and it feels so good.
This time she doesn't let him make her come, yet, and she doesn't touch him but she does slide carefully down on him and fuck him, slowly at first, twisting her hips and just feeling, but then he pulls her down for a rough kiss and she goes faster.
When he comes, he says "Lily," and although she is so close, she stops and lets him slip out of her, sits down next to him and draws her knees up against herself, props her chin on them. For a while, she doesn't let herself think – it isn't terribly hard, because her brain is still lust-fogged – but slowly, the thought comes to her: Severus Snape is in love with a dead girl.
She is proud of herself for not confronting him directly with this theory, and happy when he rolls over to bring her off.
Unable to find anyone suitable in the Great Hall (Rita did try and catch the eye of Cedric, but all he was looking at was Viktor Krum, and she felt suddenly disenchanted with the whole seducing-a-student thing. She's done it before and, when she thinks about it, she doesn't really feel the need to face a teenager's totally involved and entirely inconsequential problems in order to finish her book), Rita sits, beetle-form, at the top of a banister and takes stock.
If she's to be honest with herself, what she really wants to do is to sneak into Severus's room as she'd briefly considered earlier. As she thinks about it in more depth, she realises that, despite all the excuses she has (he wouldn't want to, she hasn't seen him in years, this is such a bad idea especially as she isn't technically supposed to be in the castle anymore (which she feels is an overreaction on Dumbledore's part because, really, the article she wrote on his romantic life wasn't that incendiary), it is inevitable that she will wind up going. So she does go. He's pretty good, if he does fuck her, and even if he doesn't... well. No harm, no foul, right?
She waits for him in his workroom, naked and leisurely stroking her clit to pass time. She isn't masturbating to get off, she's just maintaining a low stage of arousal until he gets there.
When he gets there, he notices her sitting in his desk chair right off. His mouth falls open, works a bit, and she smiles smugly. He is so going to fuck her.
"No," he says when he finds his voice, and she is surprised.
She tries to think of something, anything to say to convince him, and settles for, "It will feel like a private victory against Dumbledore."
He stares at her for a moment, and then: "You know nothing about me," Snape states, flatly, and seriously, his voice makes her shiver inside.
Rita licks her finger, raises her eyebrows at him, teases her clit and then dips it into herself and rubs the moisture she draws out into one of her nipples. "Really."
Snape stares at her for a moment as she repeats the action, then sucks on the finger, swirling her tongue around it and giving him the hottest look she can. She's forty-two years old and knows that she looks it, but her crow's feet are mostly delicate behind her makeup and her breasts are still relatively firm and her stomach was soft even before she aged. So she inhales, brings one leg up on top of the desk, and silently urges him on.
"Really," he tells her, but his voice is slightly strained and she can tell she has him. She's scarcely able to tell him that she disagrees before suddenly he's murmuring an incantation and then he's naked, too, and half hard and kind of sallow and his hair is greasier up close and although he was never particularly muscular he's got a softer body, and his nose is as long as ever, but she doesn't particularly care. She beckons him closer.
There isn't any finesse, this time. He doesn't kiss her and she doesn't try and kiss him and she tells herself that it is better this way. He strides over to the desk and she slips out of the chair, to her knees, and wordlessly takes his cock into her mouth, sucking on the head until he's totally hard. She licks around the base, grips it with her hand, gives it one or two experimental pulls, then licks her hand. She wraps her mouth around the tip and her hand around the base and twists with her hand and sucks with her mouth, then licks with her tongue until she finds a rhythm that suits her. She feels his hands in her hair and speeds up, then slows down again when he pulls her hair, continues on for a moment longer, then pulls away. She glances up at him and he hauls her up, presses her against the desk with one hand and pinches her nipples with the other, but she pushes his hand away.
He gives her a look that asks if she's ready, so she says, "I've been ready since before you got here," because really, that's why she'd been touching herself so languidly. He nods, once and pushes roughly into her in a way that makes her cry out more because it's uncomfortable than because it feels good. He picks her up, with difficulty (she's gained weight; he's lost muscle) and sits her on top of his desk, then leans over her and she wraps her legs around him and scratches his back and he starts moving inside her and it's still slightly uncomfortable and for a moment she's worried about getting splinters but then she manages to work her hand between their bodies and works her clit again, sharper and stronger than before. He's hitting her in a way that she hasn't gotten much of in a few years, even back before the dry spell, and it feels weird but it's mostly a good kind of weird and she lets her head loll back with the hope that he'll start kissing and biting her neck again but those hopes are mostly unfounded and when she looks at him his eyes are screwed shut and he's got an almost offensive look of concentration on his face so she closes her eyes so that she doesn't have to see. Tightening the grip her legs have on him, she pulls him closer and this feels more like she's used to but it obstructs her hand so she pulls that away and uses it to prop herself up (her other hand is around his back). She squeezes some muscles around him and suddenly it's feeling really really good but then his rhythm falters and her muscles relax and then he comes, slumping against her and she has to push him off in order to get herself the rest of the way off.
Maybe not so brilliant as she remembers.
Rita feels entirely unsatisfied even though she did eventually come, almost as if she needs to have sex again, but she ignores it. "I know you maybe better than you think," she tells him, remembering twenty-one years ago and the fact that he used to be in love with Lily Potter and the fact that he doesn't know that she knows this.
Snape stares at her, breathing heavily, before going to pull his robes over his head without putting clothes on underneath first. He starts listing off reasons why she definitely does not and, through it, reveals even more about himself and she thinks, show a seventeen year old boy probably the only kindness he's known in seven years and twenty-one years later he's still reacting to that and tells herself that if she were a better reporter, she'd be writing this down. She gives him a meaningful look, and he stops mid-sentence. "You really do know too much about me," he says, as if this is the first time the thought has occurred to him.
Rita nods. "I know," she says and then, feeling a little daring and more than a little ridiculous, follows that with, "Maybe it's fate."
"I don't believe in fate."
"Neither do I," she says, and she has another flashback to when he was seventeen. He is still so dour, and for the second time in her life she experiences wave of misplaced affection towards him, so she decides to try and make him laugh. She reveals: "That's why I only slept with Sybil Trelawney once."
This startles a chuckle out of him, and she is proud. "That is both attractive," he says, and she can hear him breathe in through his nose, "and disgusting." He pauses, thinking, and then asks, "Did she try and read your fortune in your breasts?"
Rita laughs, brightly. "I kind of wish she did, actually," she tells him, thinking about this. "That would have been hilarious."
She falls silent then, and so does he, and they give each other long, contemplative looks. The seventeen-year-old charm is still present after twenty-one years, because Snape looks away first and says, "I've regretted so many things."
Rita is ridiculously tempted to say, like never telling Lily that you loved her? but he doesn't know that she knows about that, for one, and for two, she doesn't feel like being cruel. Plus, on the off-chance that he actually did tell Lily, Rita would look stupid. Instead, she says, "I never did regret you."
They fall silent again, and Snape touches her hand, so she accuses him of being a sentimentalist at heart.
"No, I'm not," he tells her, very firmly and almost intimidating.
She sighs. "I really do know too much about you"
"Definitely," she says, and doesn't mention her showing-kindness-at-seventeen theory.
"Seriously," he says, slowly, and she isn't sure whether he's agreeing with her or disagreeing with her.
Rita sighs a little bit again, and so does Snape, and they sit in silence for a while longer except this time the silence is pretty awkward. Finally, she tells him, "Even though I'm kind of loose with words, I will never sell your secrets," and she's talking about Lily again but he doesn't know that.
"Why not?" he asks, and she wonders at the fact that he sounds almost bitter. "Nothing seems sacred to you."
"Yeah," she says, slightly angrily, and because he sort of offended her, she follows that with, "But I don't want to offend the dead."
He looks at her for a long moment and there isn't an instance of realisation dawning on his face so much as resignation. "Lily."
"She never caused me complications in paperwork," Rita tells him, referring to her old job at the Ministry and not explaining at all how she knows about her. Snape looks at her for a while longer before nodding, and she half-smiles, half-smirks back at him.
Rita puts Maeve and Roger and their buxom bouncing sex aside after two hours of staring at the page and not writing. Decides, now is the time to be less trashy, more classy and puts down the Quick Quotes Quill, pulls out a new piece of parchment and a regular quill and inkpot. She sighs a bit, licks the tip of the quill and inks it, and stares off in the distance for awhile before starting to write. Jasmine Katarina Roebling is about to make a foray into the world of non-smutty literature.
It turns out that, while the market for compelling erotic reads is rather large, there is almost no market for Jasmine Katarina to write a regular book. After she gets the news from her agent, Rita puts the manuscript away, sighs a little, takes out her trusty Quick Quotes Quill, and goes off to interview Draco Malfoy about Harry Potter once more.