His eyes returned to her. He quickly averted them. He’d only recently noticed what a voluptuous figure she had. He knew he shouldn’t look at her like this. There was the large age-difference, for one. And his Dark Mark. Not to mention that if she realised he was looking at her, his gaze always falling somewhere other than her face, she’d slap him, then hex him, before finally laughing at him. If it weren’t such a hot afternoon, if she were more covered up, he could resist.
“Everything all right, Severus?”
“Fine, Poppy, fine,” he said irritably, looking away.
Poppy wiped some sweat from her brow, but did not take the time to cast a Cooling Charm. She was in the middle of her summer potions inventory and completely engrossed. She had just finished tallying the number of bottles of Skele-Gro remaining and had waved her wand to transfer the number to her inventory parchment when she heard someone enter the infirmary. Wonderful! She was a mess, sitting on the floor so she could easily access the bottom-most shelves, skirts hiked up to her thighs, sleeves rolled past her elbows, and the first few inches of her bodice unlaced. She had discarded her hat the previous hour, and her hair was straggling from its casual bun. Hoping that it was just Minerva—there were few staff remaining in the castle at this point early in July—Poppy didn’t pause in her reckoning the number of doses remaining of Sleeping Draught.
Whoever her visitor was, they remained quiet, merely crossing the room to stand behind her, waiting for her to finish what she was doing. Wishing for about the thousandth time that she had a Self-Inventorying Cabinet such as those at St. Mungo’s, where she had trained, Poppy finished calculating the number of doses and looked up at her visitor. On seeing who it was, she blushed and tugged at her skirts, which was completely ineffective, given that she was sitting on them.
“Severus! What are you doing here?”
“Don’t sound so overjoyed to see me. I might fall over in a faint and require a few of your potions, and you will have to begin your inventory all over again.” The corners of Severus’s mouth twitched slightly.
Poppy didn’t know Severus to make jokes, but this sounded very much like one to her, at least more so than usual. Generally his witticisms, if one could call them that, consisted of snide comments that only he found amusing and that others found either annoying or hurtful. For a moment, she had even had the illusion that he was about to smile.
“Yes, well, I hadn’t expected you. I thought you might be Minerva.”
“Sorry to disappoint,” Severus said, his voice oddly devoid of his usual sarcasm. Poppy began to feel uneasy. Perhaps he had come to give her some dreadful news, and this was his notion of being kind before breaking it to her gently. But that idea was even more absurd than the thought that Severus had been joking just then. Nonetheless, Poppy was somewhat unnerved by his demeanor. In fact, Severus had been behaving most peculiarly lately; this was not the first time. Just the other day, she had found him staring at her. At least, she thought he had been staring at her. And he’d been oddly flushed . . . .
“So, Severus, how may I help you?” she asked as she pushed herself up from the floor and stood. Much to her surprise, Severus reached out, took her hand, and helped her to her feet. He dropped her hand immediately, as though stung, but Poppy was nonetheless taken aback by this unexpected gesture.
Severus cleared his throat and looked at her cabinet. “Professor McGonagall mentioned you were taking inventory today. I thought perhaps . . . .” He shook his head and took a step back. “I am sorry for disturbing you, Madam Pomfrey.”
Severus, apologising? Something must be wrong with him; perhaps he was unwell and had come to see her in a professional capacity.
“You’re not disturbing me. I was just about to take a break, have a cup of tea. Would you like to join me?” Poppy regretted her invitation as soon as it was out of her mouth. He was bound to make some nasty remark now, something about the general distastefulness of her company and how he had more important things to be doing than drinking tea with a mere school matron. To her great surprise, then, Severus just cleared his throat again and took one more step back toward the door.
“I couldn’t . . . I . . .” Severus looked at Poppy, then looked away again, his expression blank, but sweat beading on his brow. Of course it would, since he insisted on so many layers of black robes, even in this unusual heat wave.
“Of course you could. And if you continue calling me ‘Madam Pomfrey,’ I will have to start calling you ‘Professor Snape,’ and it’s too warm for me to be remembering to do that. Come, have tea with me.” Poppy felt oddly compelled to ask him to stay to join her for the cup of tea she hadn’t been intending to take. He always seemed so . . . apart. And if something were troubling him, perhaps she could be a sympathetic ear. She loved to listen to gossip, but she rarely gossiped herself and was known for keeping confidences. If not, well, he might just need some company; while his company wasn’t the first she would choose, there were very few folk about, and it was only tea. A matter of less than a half hour in his presence, if he reverted to his usual nasty self, and she could comfort herself with the thought that she’d tried to offer him a friendly cuppa.
“Right. A cup of tea.” Severus nodded.
Poppy took that as an acceptance of her invitation and led the way to her office. “So, Severus, what brings you by?”
“I understood you were performing your inventory. I thought I might be of assistance.”
“Oh. Well, I am close to being done with the inventory itself, but then I need to work out how much of each potion I need to order from the apothecary and what I need to request of you. Perhaps you could get a start on that while I finish up? If you’d like, of course. I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.”
“No. Possibly. No. Yes.”
Well, that was one of the most confusing responses she had ever received. “Um, right. So, tea. Or would you prefer lemonade? It’s so infernally hot, perhaps something cold would be nice?”
“Yes? You mean you would like tea or that you would prefer lemonade. Or something else?”
“Whatever you are drinking is fine,” Severus said, sitting gingerly in one of her guest chairs.
Poppy cleared some space on her desk and called a house-elf, requesting a pitcher of lemonade and two glasses. Then, rather than sitting behind her desk, she took the other guest chair, moving it so she was sitting at an angle to Severus. The lemonade arrived, and Poppy poured them each a glass.
Now what to say? Poppy took a long drink from her lemonade, hoping to think of something.
“Thank you for stopping by, Severus.” That almost sounded like a dismissal to her, so she added, “I am very glad for the break and for the company.”
Severus had taken only a sip of his lemonade and sat stiffly, holding the glass in front of him as though it might explode at any minute.
“Isn’t it all right?” Poppy asked.
“I’m sure you would prefer Professor McGonagall’s company to mine,” he answered.
“What? I meant the lemonade, Severus. Would you prefer something else?” she asked, not addressing his comment.
“No, this is fine.” He took another small sip.
Poppy wondered at the wisdom of her invitation. He was clearly extremely uncomfortable, and it didn’t appear that he liked lemonade.
“I have some vodka we could spike it with, if you like,” Poppy said, trying to lighten the mood.
Severus raised his eyebrows.
“Just kidding. I do have some vodka, but it seems inadvisable to drink anything alcoholic before I’ve finished the inventory. Though you’re welcome to some, if you’d like.”
“I don’t drink.”
“Oh. I thought I’ve seen you . . .”
“I remove the alcohol from any drink I am given,” he explained.
Poppy made a face. “That must taste nasty.”
“Usually, yes. Firewhisky is the worst. Tastes like . . . soot.”
Poppy nodded, wondering why he went to the trouble of pretending to drink when he didn’t.
“Well, if you would prefer tea—”
“This is good. It’s not too sweet.” Severus nodded at her and took another swallow, as if to demonstrate his lack of objection to the cold drink.
Poppy smiled and refilled her glass. “Peculiarly warm weather we’ve been having these last few days. Especially here, you wouldn’t expect it.”
“True . . . but we will have thunderstorms later today, I believe, and the heat should break.”
Poppy looked at him curiously. “How do you know? I didn’t know you went in for weather divination.”
Severus snorted. “It is not divination—which is a sorry way to determine something like the weather, or anything else, for that matter. I have a barometer.”
“Oh.” Poppy didn’t know what a barometer was. “Well, that will be a relief.”
Severus looked scarcely more comfortable than he had ten minutes ago. Poppy was becoming more uncomfortable, herself. He barely looked at her, glancing in her direction, then looking away again quickly. She became aware of the fact that, although her skirts were now hanging properly, she hadn’t done up her bodice again—not that she was immodestly covered, but she wondered whether he wasn’t uncomfortable with her showing so much skin. After all, his robes were buttoned right up to the chin, as always. He was an odd one, always had been, even as a student. He’d come into the Hospital Wing suffering from the aftereffects of some jinx or hex, and he’d never say how it had happened or who had done it, always making the soft request that she not report it to the Headmaster. There were only a few times when she hadn’t abided by his wishes, when his injuries had been more severe and clearly not the result of some innocent prank. He had never said anything to Dumbledore, either, when questioned. He’d just sit there, stoically, waiting until they finally either allowed him to leave or left him alone to spend the night in one of the infirmary beds. She always wondered whether it was his Housemates who hexed him or others, or whether he was beset on all sides. Poppy had been shocked when she learned he had joined the Death Eaters—the boy had always been such a loner—but then she reasoned that perhaps he had finally found a group of people that appeared to accept him. Unfortunately, it was a nasty group of people who no doubt merely wished to exploit him.
“Aren’t you warm in that?” she asked, indicating his robes. “You’re welcome to take it off—your over-robe, I mean,” she added hastily when it looked as though Severus was about to choke on his lemonade.
Severus recovered himself. “Cooling Charms, applied at regular intervals, keep me quite comfortable, thank you.”
Still no nastiness. Poppy looked at Severus with some concern. “Are you all right, Severus? I mean, did you need my services?”
Severus flushed and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “I am fine. I came to offer my assistance.” He set his glass on her desk. “I am sorry to have disturbed you.”
As he made a move to stand, Poppy set down her glass, then put out her hand and touched his arm. “Don’t leave just yet. You haven’t disturbed me. I am glad you came by.” She smiled at him and he lowered himself back into his chair.
Severus looked at her hand where it rested on his left arm. Poppy knew what was there beneath her hand—it was scarcely a shadow, barely visible, and likely unnoticeable by anyone who wasn’t already aware of its presence—but she didn’t remove her hand. Instead, in a sudden burst of warmth for this solitary wizard, sitting there so ill-at-ease, Poppy rubbed his arm, then gave it a gentle squeeze, half expecting to be hexed.
Severus nodded, though, and he didn’t hex her. Instead, his dark eyes moved from her hand to her arm, following her arm up to her face. Poppy froze. There was something so intense in his gaze, and as his eyes raked her bosom then raised up again to her face, she knew why he had been unable to look at her earlier, and why he had seemed so uncomfortable. Although he had not moved and his expression had not changed, Poppy felt his gaze generating a heat within her, and she saw in his eyes the cause of his discomfort.
Tearing his eyes from her, he made a move to stand again, but Poppy gripped his arm. “Don’t leave, Severus. Just . . . stay. If you like.”
“I shouldn’t have come,” he rasped.
“Of course you should have. I told you . . . I am glad for your company. Whether you stay to help with the inventory, or you just stay to keep me company.” Poppy was unsure of what to do now, but she did know that the feeling that had arisen in her when he looked at her so intensely had not faded, and that the sound of his voice had, in fact, increased it. She had been aware, in the abstract, that Severus had an attractive and powerful voice, and he used it to very good effect to deliver his nasty, sarcastic, and caustic remarks, but until that afternoon, she hadn’t realised what other powers his voice might have. Wanting to hear it again, she asked, “Won’t you stay just a while?”
Severus nodded, but neither spoke nor looked at her, seeming to have gone rigid again. Hoping she wasn’t about to make a complete fool of herself, Poppy said softly, “I am glad it was you who came, Severus, and not Minerva.”
She rubbed his arm again, this time moving it up to his bicep. She moved forward in her chair, the better to reach his shoulder, and gently brushed her hand over his shoulder and down to his chest. Still, he said nothing and didn’t move. Encouraged that he didn’t pull away from her, Poppy brought her fingers up to graze his throat. Severus flinched slightly, but did not stop her, so she again gently caressed his throat, then moved her touch up past his pulse point to his jaw, resting her fingertips lightly there. He moved then, turning his head, but into her touch and not away from it.
“What are you doing?” he asked, his voice low and dark, his eyes meeting hers.
“I thought . . . I thought I would show you that I am glad you are here, Severus.” Her heart pounded in her chest. She did not know whether she had misread him, or if she had read him correctly but had misjudged what he wanted and how he would . . . take it. He had been a Death Eater. Had he been restraining himself not out of some sense of reserve, shyness, or uncertainty, but because he had unnatural and dangerous desires? She was simultaneously aroused and frightened. But he would still do nothing to her, or would he? No, not here at Hogwarts . . . she was safe enough, she thought. Although she wasn’t entirely sure how safe she wanted to be.
“Are you, Poppy?” His demeanor shifted; he no longer seemed on edge and Poppy no longer felt in control of the situation as she had just a moment ago. It was as if, once she had touched him, he had flinched, and yet she had continued undeterred, Severus had regained his self-possession. “And why would you be glad to see me?” His voice was soft and surprisingly seductive.
“Because you came here to see me,” Poppy said boldly. “Because you wanted . . . to see me. You wanted my company.”
“I came to offer my assistance,” he replied, a slight smirk on his face but no acid in his tone.
“And I could use your assistance.” She had not moved her hand from his face and he had not pulled away. She moved her fingers higher, combing through his fine black hair.
He closed his eyes and Poppy moved closer, barely perching on the edge of her chair, as she raised her other hand and gently caressed his other cheek. A crack of thunder caused her to jump in her seat, and Severus reached out and grasped her by the waist with both hands. He looked up into her eyes as he drew her slowly closer; she did not protest or pull away, and he settled her on his leg.
“My assistance . . . and your services,” he whispered, and she cut off his words with her own lips on his.
Severus pulled her closer, and a rush of warmth passed through Poppy when she felt his arousal against her thigh. She moaned into his mouth as his tongue began to explore hers, and she reached inside his over-robe to embrace him, but he pushed her away, not breaking the kiss, in order to access the laces on her bodice. Her heart beat faster as she felt his hand loosening the laces and opening her robes, then reaching inside to touch her breast. She wore no camisole in the heat, and his fingers found her nipple easily, flicking it then gently rolling it between them.
Poppy couldn’t breathe and she broke away to gasp; his mouth moved to her throat, kissing and nipping, as she threw her head back. “Oh, gods, Severus . . . oh.”
He moved her robes aside to bare her breasts, and he drew back a moment to look at them. He said nothing, but the intensity of his gaze on her caused Poppy’s warmth and throbbing to increase. She moved so that she was straddling one leg, and he pushed her robes down around her waist. Severus pulled her forward on his leg, then leaned her back in his arms while he closed his lips around her right nipple. Poppy moaned again and rocked on his leg, barely able to restrain herself from squirming, but needing greater stimulation where her throbbing heat grew.
Severus stood suddenly, bringing her with him, one arm around her. He placed a hand under her buttocks and lifted. She needed no encouragement to put her legs around his waist. She could just feel the tip of his erection at her crux, and she moved back and forth, trying to get closer to it. Severus jerked her toward his chest and her nipples rubbed against his robes.
“Not yet, not here,” he breathed into her ear.
“My quarters—” Poppy gasped.
“I would have to cover you up again to leave the infirmary . . . and,” he added, looking into her eyes, “you might change your mind.” He paused. “Do you want to change your mind?” he asked seriously.
“No, Severus,” she said, returning his gaze, and suddenly sober, “I do not want to change my mind. The first private room, then—it’s closest.”
As they crossed the ward, Severus still carrying her, her legs around his waist, Poppy drew her wand and warded the main infirmary door.
“Wouldn’t want any interruptions, would we?” she said with a smile.
Severus gave her a crooked smile in return, then kissed her mouth, gently sucking her lower lip.
“Mmm, Poppy. I want you.”
The sound of his voice and the feel of its vibration against her chest, caused another thrill to pass through her. This voice, which so often was filled with bitter invective or acid sarcasm, was now filled with desire . . . desire for her. A sudden fear entered her. What if . . . what if this was all some nasty joke? He would bring her into the room, disrobe her, and then . . . not want her, ask her why she thought he would want such a witch as she, disdain dripping from that seductive voice.
She pulled back and looked at him. “Do you? Do you really?”
Severus looked at her oddly. Then, suddenly, he let go, and she barely found her legs as he backed away. “It’s a joke to you . . . the great git, slobbering all over you,” he said, his face twisted in contempt.
“No, no! Please, Severus—I was afraid, afraid that it was a joke to you.” She reached for him.
Severus looked down. He was breathing heavily. Slowly, he shook his head. “I thought I would just come up . . . spend some time with you. I felt foolish, but I came anyway.” He raised his eyes. “I do want you,” he whispered, as though it were a guilty secret.
Poppy stepped toward him and took his hand. She raised it to her breast and pressed it against her. “I want you now, Severus. Come to me. Come to me, Severus.”
Her robes hung from her hips, and she reached down and pushed them down and off, then stepped out of her shoes. Now only in knickers, she led him into the small private room. His eyes, the colour of night, seemed to swallow her whole, and she shivered. When he stepped into her, pressing her knees against the bed, hands roaming over her skin till they found her panties and tore them from her, Poppy arched her back and moaned. Severus leaned forward and the press of his body on hers forced her back onto the mattress and his legs pushed hers apart, opening her to his explorations; his mouth found her throat then travelled down to her breast to suckle. Just as his lips closed around her nipple, his fingers found her hot, moist crux, and they both moaned in unison.
“Oh, gods, Poppy,” Severus gasped, laying his head on her breast. “So hot, so beautiful, so desirable . . .”
His fingers caressed her folds as he began to lick and suck her nipple. His thumb found her throbbing clitoris and flicked it before pressing against it rhythmically as his index finger entered her warmth and began to stroke. Poppy gripped his shoulders and moaned inarticulately, struggling to find any words to express what she now felt under his touch. “Yes, Severus, yes, Severus, Severus . . .”
The sound of his name gasped in passion inflamed him, and, now sucking and licking her other nipple, he quickened his thrusting hand, his fingers seeking and finding her pleasure and raising her to greater heights of ecstasy, until he heard her cry out his name as she shuddered beneath him, coming in great waves of orgasm.
He raised up and looked at her, his own breath coming in gasps. “I want you. I want you, Poppy.”
“Yes,” she said, gazing at him with passionate and unfocussed eyes. She reached up and began to unbutton his robes. He held her hands, stilling her.
“You do not want . . . I am . . .”
“I want you, Severus. I know you and I want you. I want you, Severus Snape.”
“I could just—”
“I want you.” She eased her hands from his and began again to unbutton his robes.
He shrugged off his loose outer robe and closed his eyes as she continued to unbutton his under-robe. When her hands reached his waist, he gasped as she touched him through his pants, stroking his length through the soft cotton of his underwear. Poppy pushed his robes off of him and they pooled around his feet. She smiled as she pulled on the waistband of his pants and began to lower them to allow his erection to spring free.
“Oh, gorgeous . . . gorgeous, Severus,” she murmured.
He helped her push his underwear down, then he stepped out of it and toed off his shoes and socks. Naked now, he stood in front of her, wavering between vulnerability and mastery.
“Gods, Severus . . . I didn’t think I could want you more, but I do.” She reached for him and teased the head of his cock. “Come to me, Severus. Come and take me . . .”
He needed no more encouragement, but stepped forward and lifted her, moving her fully onto the bed, gently placing her head on the pillow, then he knelt between her legs and gazed at her, his eyes roving over her naked body, lingering on her breasts as he reached out and brushed her nipples with warm fingertips, then his gaze passing over her belly to her thatch of hair and on to her warm, dark crux, before moving back to her face. His eyes met and held hers as he shifted and hovered above her, one hand at her side, one on her shoulder. The tip of his cock was at her moist, throbbing clit.
“I want you, Poppy. I . . . I need you now.”
“Yes, please, Severus, now!” And as she said that final word, she felt the head of his cock slip down over her clit to her opening, and she gasped as she felt his full shaft entering her. “Oh, gods, yes!”
His gaze did not waver as he slowly raised and lowered his hips, rotating with each thrust. As Poppy’s gasps and moans grew more desperate and needy, his face relaxed and he smiled slightly as he began to pump harder and faster, pleased to see her reaction as he ground against her clit and stroked within her.
“Come for me, Poppy, come, come . . .” His dark eyes seemed to command her as much as his words, and his voice, deep and sonorous, stroked her soul as his shaft stroked within her.
She arched her back and moved beneath him, until finally she let out a shout and came again, in pulsing waves around his cock, and all she could do was feel, feel and know who held her desire and her release. “Severus, yes, Severus!”
At the sound of his name from her lips, he drove into her harder until, with one last push, he came, gasping and choking as he collapsed on her, trembling and shuddering. Finally, he lay still, only his chest rising and falling, his face buried in the pillow beside her head. Poppy stroked his back and combed her fingers through his hair; she turned her face and kissed his jaw, tasting the salt of his sweat on her lips. Severus turned his head from her, but did not move away. Poppy did not cease her caresses, and her fingers skipped lightly over the scars she already knew were there on his back, and traced patterns in the sweat that bathed him.
She wished she could say something, but she could not say she loved him; true or not, he would not believe her or wish to hear it, and she was unsure, herself, whether she could say such a thing truthfully, at least in the situation they were now in.
“I am very glad you stayed, Severus,” she whispered. “Very glad. I am glad you are here with me now.”
He turned his head and raised up slightly. When Severus blinked, she saw that the salt she had tasted may have been from tears as much as from sweat. But he simply swallowed, then kissed her lightly on the cheek, an unexpected yet genuine gesture of affection, and Poppy smiled.
“It’s warm,” he said softly. “I must be smothering you.”
She grinned slightly. “Not yet. But you know, there is a shower next door. If you would like one . . . to cool down.”
“I don’t know if I want to cool down, or if I wish to shower alone,” he said, a mild smirk on his face.
“Well, I suppose I could be persuaded to join you,” she said in a tone that indicated she would need very little persuasion, indeed.
“Perhaps I might just . . . insist,” Severus replied, pausing briefly to nip at her neck.
“Well, if you insist strongly enough, I will have no choice,” Poppy said softly, “as I do not believe I could resist you. And I certainly don’t want to.”
At that moment, the brightest smile that Poppy had ever seen on Severus crossed his face, only disappearing into a passionate kiss. Severus was quite willing to insist on a shower, and after the shower, to insist on trying out a different bed, and Poppy did not resist that or any other of his suggestions that afternoon.
The infirmary potions inventory was finished a few days later than scheduled, but the Potions master did not complain in the slightest.
~ Fin ~