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The Pandora Complex

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The door to the potions classroom crashed open and Severus Snape swept in. Whereas a Gryffindor might have charged, a Slytherin swept, or stalked, or stormed, or slunk, or skulked, or, if he felt particularly mellow, merely strode. Snape had taught potions for nearly twenty years -- two decades, same classroom, same curriculum, same incompetence, same sea of terrified and uncomprehending faces, with only the details and the number of Weasleys changing -- and in that time he had mastered the art of terrifying children into the semblance of intelligence.

It stung his professional pride, therefore, that the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw fifth years were not sitting in meek apprehension at their desks, awaiting his entrance, but stood clustered on the Hufflepuff side, hovering over some implement of mayhem on Pandora Brown's desk.

They did scatter as he swept in, but too slowly to suit Snape, and accompanied by giggles. Giggles. In his classroom.

"Put away your books and take out a sheet of parchment," he said in a fit of spite. A flick of his wand brought an appropriate list of test questions to the board at the front. "You have thirty minutes."

He expected a chorus of groans; a short test meant they would do a practical unit as well, and with a great deal less time to finish it. The announcement went unprotested, however, the Hufflepuffs red-faced, the Ravenclaws smirking, and an unusual number of them meeting his gaze. In the back, someone snickered.

Snape fixed the offender with an icy stare, knowing damn well the situation was his own fault. If he had not acted like a complete idiot, a complete Gryffindor, at the ultimate battle between good and evil, he would not have lost his veneer of suppressed and potentially homicidal rage. He had not thought of the long-term consequences when he screamed his defiance at Voldemort, turned his legendary cutting tongue on his one-time master and put his practiced vitriol to good use, drawing the Dark Lord's rage to himself -- and incidentally away from a certain green-eyed walking disaster. And in front of two dozen aurors and a good percentage of Hogwarts staff and students no less. At the time, he had only thought of the stupid boy, bumbling into situations a fully qualified wizard would run from. The stupid, stupid boy, who then repayed Snape's ill-considered act of selflessness by repeating the story -- loudly -- to anyone who would listen.

Their fear had melted into a sort of warped pride after that. "That's our Professor Snape," they said, like he was some kind of twisted school mascot; snarky, yes, but deep down he was good and brave and had saved Harry Potter's life, and everyone bloody well knew it.

He realized they were staring at him, and that some time had passed without the order to begin. Darting glances, mostly, and a few outright stares, full of mirth, or speculation, or that damnable admiration.

"Accio," he hissed, and whatever had stirred them into this state flew out of Pandora Brown's hand as she attempted to stuff it in her book bag.

He spared a brief glance for the short stack of well-handled muggle paper, too white, too smooth, covered with the tiny, disturbingly uniform text muggles favoured. The words 'Harry Potter' leapt out at him, and he gritted his teeth against yet another pages-long love letter to the saviour of the world. He tossed it into his desk drawer, ignoring Miss Brown's spluttered protest and flaming cheeks -- as if he would read her doubtlessly overblown rhapsodizing on the appeal of green eyes and hair that had never known a brush. He glared. "Ten points from Hufflepuff, Miss Brown, for bringing rubbish into my classroom. You may begin."

After a moment of slack-jawed shock and muffled snigger or two, they did.

The drawer needed emptying once a week, as it filled quickly, and the contents tended to be more... active than objects more ordinarily found in drawers. Despite the heavy containment spells, muffled booms shook his desk now and then as confiscated items inside reacted to one another. The drawer had been quiet of late, since the last Weasley -- last, at least, until the next generation arrived to plague him in another eight years -- had departed Hogwarts for the wider wizarding world.

Friday found Snape donning a pair of dragon-hide gloves. He checked the deflection spells around his person, then took a deep breath and eased the drawer open. No explosions, no vapours, no sparks, no odd noises. Good. He carried the drawer to the enchanted bin used for dangerous waste and upended it onto the day's failed potions, sending a flurry of loose paper across the floor.

"Five points from Hufflepuff, Miss Brown, for not writing your love letter on a roll of parchment like everyone else," Snape muttered, and collected the sheets. He waded them up, tossed them in the bin, then sealed it and floated it out to the hall for Filch to collect.

On his way back to an evening of grading second-year essays, Snape spotted a lone sheet lying under a desk. He stooped and retrieved it, deciding it was safe enough to dispose of it in the regular waste bin. He idly scanned the page, noting excessive use of caps and exclamation marks. "Five points for melodrama, and five more for excessive use of the word 'thrust'." His steps slowed. It appeared not to be a letter after all, but a story, unless Miss Brown was recording her dreams in third person. And--

All forward motion stopped as Snape stared, eyes wide, mouth suddenly dry, one foot still in the air.

"Great Merlin's beard. 'Fuck me, Sever--'"

He flushed and glanced around to be sure he was still alone. Essays forgotten, he sat at his desk, reading and then re-reading the page, which was apparently from the middle of a story postulating himself and Harry Potter in a sexual relationship.

An explicitly sexual relationship.

A kinky sexual relationship, to judge by the liberal use of restraints and nipple clamps.

Snape suddenly recalled the entire class clustered around Brown's desk. Ten points was nowhere near enough. Fifty was unthinkably generous. "Two-hundred points from Hufflepuff, Miss Brown," he snarled to the empty room, "and your right arm, and your firstborn child."

Clenching his fist around the sheet, Snape rose and paced furiously, stopped, smoothed the paper over his desk, and read it again. He considered retrieving the rest from the dangerous-waste bin, but that required breaking the seal, and boomslang skin and bubotuber pus had no doubt rendered the sheets unreadable by now.

He forced himself to sit motionless and read the pathetic attempt at literature objectively. The content itself was not as... mocking as he might have expected, had he expected anything like this to be written about him; at least the author presented him in a favourable light, even if he or she had him doing unspeakable things to a bound and 'rampantly erect' Harry Potter. The description of Snape's endowment was particularly flattering. And long. And quite detailed.

He shook away any notions of leniency; flattery had never worked on him, false as it generally was. He could handle this. Direct confrontation was foolish, as it would only encourage the little beasts, but a few well-timed, subtle comments could nicely shift the embarrassment back to his students.

He smoothed the paper again, then folded it and put it away as evidence, noting the small line at the top next to the date and time. For some reason, the tiny 'http//:www' part sent a knife of unease into him.

He shrugged the trepidation off. He could handle this.

By Saturday -- a Hogsmeade weekend, thank Merlin -- Snape had given in to the sense of foreboding and retrieved his copy of the school's collective syllabi, dust-covered as he didn't care what the little monsters learned in their other classes, yet finally worth the four inches of space it stole from his shelf.

Snape had had little contact with the muggle world since coming to teach at Hogwarts. Even as a young man he had no interest in muggle culture, muggle politics, or muggle technology, but he was neither stupid nor deaf. He knew about phones and cars and television and computers. It was the last that disturbed him enough to sacrifice his Saturday to a possibly fruitless search.

Flipping through Professor Glumdunley's endless verbosity, he discovered that computers were taught in fourth year Muggle Studies, and the assigned text was called Muggle Magic: Technology for Wizards.

One furtive trip to the library later, Snape was comfortably ensconced in his favourite chair with a cup of tea and an annoyingly patronizing book on his lap.

Six pages after that, the cup was in pieces on the floor and the tea was splattered across 'Chapter Nine: The Internet -- Alternative to Scrying or Forum for Inanity?'

A bout of swearing and a mad dash through mercifully empty halls after that, Snape slunk into the deserted Muggle Studies classroom, sneering at the various devices, electronic and otherwise, scattered around the room. Power cables snaked across the floor, spreading out from the combination arcanorium energy generator and electricity converter -- with added magical field depressor -- which hummed away in its corner and occasionally shot fuchsia sparks into the air. A set of two telephones graced opposite corners, complete with dialing instructions and etiquette tips sellotaped to the handset.

Snape recognized a microwave, several ball-point pens, a stapler, and a lone roller skate, oddly enough with the wheels in a single line. The most current muggle device for playing recorded music lay dissected on a work table, bringing him fond memories of his fifth year, of hexing Sirius Black's contraband eight-track player -- which Potter had rigged to run off flobberworm pus -- to spew purple slime at whomever hit the play button.

Hogwarts had only one computer, and it sat glaring at Snape, daring him to attempt to master it. Snarling back at the dark screen, Snape thumped the textbook down next the machine and flipped to Chapter Eight: The Wizard-Friendly PC.

Two hexes and the beginnings of a headache later, he found the 'on' button.

Another hex and ten minutes of staring at a clearly marked diagram after that, he figured out what the 'mouse' was.

Six more hexes, a bout of screaming, and a reboot after that, Severus Snape was surfing the web.

The address in corner of the now mangled and dog-eared sheet took him to a glaring yellow screen covered with large, angry, red text. And there it was in its entirety, complete with clamps and restraints and cock rings and Severus Snape fucking Harry Potter through the sheets.

He read it through, twice, in all its misspelled, clichÈd glory, then sat back in the alarmingly mobile chair. Though his experience with such machines was limited to one afternoon spent playing arcade games in 1978, the internet, according to the book, was accessible by anyone with a computer and a connection. This page, this story was accessible to anyone with a such a device... and half the school was either muggle-born, had muggle relations, or belonged to families who indulged in muggle fripperies.

Fury exploded in Snape's chest, a dull point of tightly controlled anger. He fought the urge to storm up to Dumbledore's office and demand the immediate expulsion of the entire fifth year Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw classes. He had no way of proving Pandora Brown wrote the story, for it could have been anyone at the school, or even someone outside Hogwarts, as the wizarding world seemed to have an endless curiosity about his life since the war ended.

Merlin's beard, it might even have been a muggle.

Acid churned in his stomach, and he wished he had simply thrown the damned sheet away without looking at it. Nothing could possibly be worse than starring in a sick little drama, written without his permission and offered up for public consumption. Then he spotted the little button at the bottom of the screen.

The one that said 'Want more Harry Potter fic?'

A feeling of dread infusing his soul, Snape clicked the button.

Early Sunday morning.

He had mastered the mouse.

He could now find any letter on the keyboard in under thirty seconds.

He knew the difference between het and slash.

He knew what BDSM stood for.

He wondered if fisting felt as good as it sounded.

Snape blinked his dry, burning eyes. After an endless parade of stories in which Potter shagged some stunningly beautiful, intelligent, witty, female nonentity, he had refined his investigation, and stumbled upon a neatly organized directory which offered stories of Potter paired with everyone imaginable: Granger, predictably enough after that Skeeter woman's article, but also each and every Weasley from Bill right down to Ginny, the extras of the Gryffindor class of '98 from Parvati Patil to Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy. Snape outright laughed at the idea.

Then he read some of the stories, and started to wonder about those two.

Potter and Lupin... Merlin's beard, Potter and Black... Potter and Hagrid... Snape winced, and decided not to read those ones. Potter and the elder Malfoy. Potter and assorted Death Eaters. Potter and Voldemort.

And then Snape had discovered a large section featuring Potter and himself... and beyond that, what appeared to be his own little following, who seemed every bit as obsessed with him as the other brainless twits were with Potter.

The same eclectic, hormone-indulgent collection of partners existed for him. Lupin (he sneered). Black (he shuddered). Hagrid (he crossed his legs). Lucius, Albus, James, Lily, Narcissa, Voldemort, and what looked to be every single student to attend Hogwarts in the last thirty years.

He didn't even want to think about the broomstick.

I'll never be able to look Albus in the eye again, Snape thought and clicked away from the jumble of partners, drawn back to the little section labelled 'HP/SS'. Once the initial shock wore off, Snape found some small measure of amusement knowing that there were hundreds of people who wanted him to fuck Potter until the Boy Who Lived became the Boy Who Couldn't Walk In The Morning.

By midnight, his rational mind had reasserted itself and, now accustomed to reading about himself in every imaginable sexual scenario, began reacting to other aspects.

"I would never say that!" Snape snorted, and jabbed the monitor as though assigning it blame for sloppy characterization. "And why would Potter react that way? It doesn't make any sense." Muttering under his breath, he clicked away in search of something with more substance, more credibility, and more accuracy. He supposed these 'PWPs' might be titillating for someone who could suspend their disbelief for a few minutes, but Snape prided himself on logical thought.

Three a.m. found him deeply engrossed in a long, breath-taking saga. The author had given him some truly memorable lines, cutting and witty and so very Snape that he filed them away in his mind for later use. He found himself wanting to slap Draco Malfoy the next time he saw him, and even admitting the writer's version of Potter was not quite as annoying as the real one.

Then it ended.

Right after he, Snape, had been forced to betray Potter in order to win the war, sending Potter straight to Black, who was under the control of his lover, Lupin, who was actually a polyjuiced Pettigrew.

"TBC? What the hell does that mean? Why does it end there? What's this WIP rubbish?" Furious, Snape resolved never to read another of the stories labelled WIP, but his vow only lasted until he came across one sporting a positively salacious summary. He read it, slipping a hand absently under his robe to rub the front of his trousers, and resigned himself to never knowing the ending.

Besides snaring him with their simplified worlds where sex was as easy as breathing, everyone came twice, and lubrication was always handy, the stories hinted at interesting tidbits which might in fact be based in reality. That blank sheet of paper he had confiscated from Potter might actually be something called a Marauder's Map. Universal opinion seemed to be that Potter's relations were verbally abusive at best, and horrible monsters who beat, raped, and starved him at worst. Snape shied away from stories featuring the Dursleys; he had no wish to feel sympathy for the brat, particularly over something that may not have even happened. Instead he flitted through the directories, following links to still more archives, scrolling through summaries until one snared his attention...

And found himself sitting back wearily, rubbing his eyes against the dawn light spilling into the Muggle Studies classroom. The computer declared it to be six o'clock Sunday morning, and Snape realized he'd been at the machine since mid-morning, Saturday. Fumbling for advice from the textbook, he managed to turn the computer off, then staggered down the stairs to bed.

Late Monday night, restless and irritable after a long day fraught with incompetent and increasingly irreverent children, he casually passed the Muggle Studies classroom at the end of his rounds, and was surprised to find it occupied.

"I do hope you all have passes, Mr Shaw, Mr Creevey, Miss Dessier, Mr Talbot," Snape purred as he stalked into the room.

"Of course, Professor," Talbot said, and to Snape's dismay they produced four passes bearing Glumdunley's signature. "We never get enough class time on the 'puter. I'm surprised you haven't seen us here before. There's always someone here, 'cept on a Hogsmeade weekend."

"Merlin, someone's been hitting the adult fanfiction sites," Creevey muttered, flying through screens with disgusting ease. "Glumdunley's gonna restrict our access if those bloody fifth years don't stay out of the porn."

"Better tell them how to erase their tracks," Shaw muttered, and was elbowed in the ribs by Dessier, who shot Snape a weak smile.

Snape felt his face heat. He'd left a trail?

"Er, I'll just erase this then, sir," Creevey said. "Wouldn't want the fourth years to blunder into it."

"You do that, Mr Creevey. And don't... forget... to inform Professor Glumdunley of this matter." With a final glare, Snape swept from the room, and slunk back to his dank, dark, technology-free dungeons.

Tuesday brought the fifth-year Hufflepuffs back to his classroom, and with them Miss Pandora Brown. Snape decided to remove the two-hundred points slowly, since he doubted Dumbledore would allow him justice, especially not without hearing a description of Miss Brown's infraction. Fifteen minutes into class, Hufflepuff had lost a collective thirty points for various quills dropped, postures slouched, and fingernails uncleaned.

They quickly lost their smirks, which ranged from malicious to salacious, and huddled over their cauldrons with adolescence-flavoured sullenness. Snape skulked along the back aisles, appearing at unsuspecting elbows moments after dicing drifted into chopping, or digitalis was misread as dersilotus, or an ill-timed nudge turned a pinch into a dash.

By the end of class the students fled with a haste reminiscent of the days when they would actually believe him if he said he would make the last one out drink one of Neville Longbottom's concoctions. Satisfied he'd put the fear of Snape back into them, at least for the moment, he tallied the points taken. Eighty from Hufflepuff and thirty-five from Ravenclaw. Not a record, for that still belonged to a Gryffindor/Slytherin sixth year class (January thirty-first, 1997, Potter had incited a fight with Malfoy during production of the volatile cardimona bonflagere potion, causing four serious injuries and seven-thousand galleons worth of damage, and resulting in the largest conjunct point reduction in Hogwarts' history) but it was still gratifying.

You're a petty, petty man, Severus. The voice in his head sounded, oddly enough, like Lupin.

"Yes," he told it, "I am."

Waiting for the next Hogsmeade weekend was agony, and Snape firmly believed in the adage about shared pain being halved. By Friday's last class, the entire student population lived in terror of the Potions master, which guaranteed those who could flee would be in town, and those who couldn't would hide in their common rooms.

Whistling a lively tune (and he would have been mortified to know it was one of the Weird Sisters'), Snape strolled down the corridors toward the Muggle Studies classroom.

"Why, good morning, Severus."

Snape blinked at the chubby wizard clacking away at the computer.

Momus Glumdunley grinned back, and waved him in. "Don't hover, Severus. Sit down. I must say, I never thought I'd see you in here."

"I've been..." What exactly had he been doing? "... wondering if those machines could be useful. For potions."

Glumdunley's mouth formed an astonished 'o' before twisting into a triumphant smile. "Of course, of course. Computers are a rather like thinking pensieves, only more versatile, and they do wonders with information. We can set up a database to organize ingredients and their properties, catalogue recipes, run simulations for experimental elixirs... I don't know why you haven't come to me before, Severus." The Muggle Studies master was nearly bouncing with excitement. "Of course, you won't be able to use this machine, since it's barely adequate for the students... though I wonder how many of them are actually working when they're in here. Before you came in I was configuring the browser to deny access to the adult sites. You wouldn't believe what some of them are reading!" Glumdunley shook his head. "Ah, hormones. In any case, unless you only plan on using this one on Hogsmeade weekends, you'll have to use the computer in my quarters."

"You... you have a computer in your quarters?"

"I teach Muggle Studies, Severus. Of course I do."

"Could I get one?" The words slipped out before he could think better.

Glumdunley snorted. "I should have known you would want to be independent. Don't worry, I'm sure once you explain how useful it will be, Albus will arrange an energy converter and an electronic allowance field in your quarters. I believe Professor Vector is already set up to use muggle electronics. So is Filch, and I know his is just for a telly because I had to help him set his DVD player's clock."

Snape stared blankly at the man.

"Never mind. Talk to Albus, then come and see me. I'll hook you up with a nice owl-order electronics shop that specializes in helping wizards who are new to muggle technology. Once your computer arrives, I'll help you set it up."

"Thank you, Momus. Er, I'll be able to visit websites?"

Glumdunley nodded eagerly, apparently overjoyed he had converted the ultimate technological heathen. "Yes. There's a rather large wizarding community on the web, and as I recall there are several potions chatrooms."

Snape scowled, and wondered why everyone seemed to think he lived, breathed, ate, and slept potions. "I have other interests, too."

"Of course you do, Severus. Of course you do." Glumdunley grinned, and Snape stomped away.

Two weeks, six-thousand galleons, and one painfully awkward conversation with Albus later, the desk in Snape's quarters had vanished beneath a nest of wires and assorted mysterious devices. Glumdunley gave him several books from the 'Wizards' series, including Computers for Wizards, The Internet for Wizards , and C++ for Wizards. Apparently, the last would help him write a spell that would let the computer simulate new potions, without the explosion/hospitalization/two-month-recovery part.

As if he cared about bloody potions when his name was being tacked on to the basest pornography and pasted up on a world-encompassing forum.

The door barely shut behind the Muggle Studies master before Snape blasted it with a locking spell that would have impressed Mad-Eye Moody. He rushed to his lovely new machine, and punched in the long-memorized address.


There was a new chapter.

Snape had revealed Lupin to be Pettigrew, and graciously accepted Harry's tearful apology. They set out to rescue the real Lupin. It was still a WIP, and he was glad.

He discovered one of his favourite authors -- very talented girl -- had written a new story.

He discovered fanart.

He discovered dominance and submission.

He discovered that Harry begged prettily, and gave orders like a general.

He discovered a newfound enjoyment in masturbation, and a new star to rejuvenate old fantasies.

He discovered there wasn't nearly enough time to a day, and wondered what idiot had decided on a clock with merely twenty-four hours.


How do you set this blasted machine up for email?


To: mglumdunley @

From: ssnape @

Re: chat not working


I've downloaded the IRC client and set it up according to your instructions, and it's still not working. Is there a help page, or can you come down to the dungeons after tea?


To: mglumdunley @

From: ssnape @

Re: wizarding servers?


You won't believe how many ppl out there don't take galleons. What in Merlin's name is American Express, anyway? Must be some kind of train. Do you know any wizard-run ISPs? My website is getting too big for the free servers and they never give you enough bandwidth. ty



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

To: harry_luvs_snape @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: Re: cruciatus (was: Death Eater rituals)

pufflehuff_sue wrote:

> and while it has been proven You-Know-Who did use the

> cruciatus on his own followers, it isn't proof of coercion. I

> suggest reading some of the published trial transcripts

> before starting your story.

No proof of coercion? Having experienced the cruciatus on more than one occasion, I can say that the average wizard would avada kedavra his own mother to avoid feeling it again. If you doubt me, cast it on yourself. Be sure you have someone there to remove it, for you will be far too busy WRITHING IN SCREAMING AGONY to do it yourself.

And to Sev's Sugar Baby, the transcripts are a good place to start, although they have been heavily edited. I would be happy to beta the finished story for you, in the interests of factual accuracy.



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

To: mglumdunley @

From: ssnape @


i know you said i could get by with html, but i'd like to add a search engine. can you rec any books on php? i saw one at, but it was written by that fletcher woman, and after seeing that article on, i don't think she knows her arse from her keyboard.



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

To: salazarslovechilde @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: [harry_luvs_snape] Re: FIC: Slytherin's Secret Crush 4/?

Dear SL:

Your grammar is atrocious. Your characterization is not only unbelievable, but wildly inconsistent, and your fic is riddled with plot holes the size of a quidditch pitch.

It was also unbelievably hot. Please write more.



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

Visit my website:

To: harry_luvs_snape @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: FIC: Keeping Score (1/1)

Greetings, listsibs.

This is my first attempt at writing fiction of any sort, and while I have ideas for longer stories, I thought I would begin with something short and smutty. I can hear the complaints already *g*. Feedback is appreciated (therealsevvie @ Do not even attempt to flame me, as I assure you I will gut you and decorate your corpse with your intestines like a Christmas tree -- verbally, if I can't track you down.


Keeping Score

by RealSevvie

Xiomara Hooch hated Severus. She must, or else she would not have chosen to catch Mandrake fever on the day Professor Vector, the substitute quidditch coach, had taken her arithmancy class to visit the Ministry's Numerological Insurance Division... which was also the day of the last quidditch game of the year.

Ravenclaw versus Gryffindor, of course.

As Severus had volunteered to referee once before, Headmaster Dumbledore assumed, without asking, that he would be happy to fill the position again, which was how Severus found himself huddled on his broom in the freezing rain while bludgers and broom-mounted children and other dangerous objects whizzed through the dim sky around him.

He couldn't even see the ends of the pitch, so it wasn't surprising that he only found out Potter had caught the snitch when Colin Creevey (who only had trouble calling the game through the poor visibility when *Ravenclaw* scored) announced it.

Grumbling to himself, Severus landed, declared the Gryffindor victory, and began collecting quaffle and bludgers while players and spectators exited the pitch. He wondered if he had enough cherry-bark and grindylow-spit elixir to dose the entire school, as the rain hadn't deterred anyone from coming to Harry Potter's last quidditch match.

Although it would serve them right to let them suffer the consequences of their hero-worship, Severus knew he would be up late for the next week, brewing remedies for everything from the sniffles to pneumonia. He didn't know why he maintained his professional ethics when no one else seemed to, but he had learned long ago that he had only himself to answer to, and only himself to live with, and that he had better be sure he was capable of both.

He returned the quidditch balls to their chest and floated it into the equipment room adjoining the pitch, then spent a good half-hour putting the school brooms away *properly*, as the players had shoved them every which way into the rack, regardless of size and model.

By the time he made it to the locker room, his robes had settled like chill jellied-eel skin around him. He was not looking forward to the long walk back to his quarters.

The locker room was nearly empty, the last few stragglers dressing hurriedly as Severus entered the warm, steamy room. The thought of a hot shower tempted him, and he thought it would warm him against the trek back through the rain. Rather than making the last departing student pick up all the towels dropped on the floor, Snape simply glared at him until he ran, then set about levitating the used linens to the laundry basket.

Several minutes went by in which the room remained empty but for himself. Once he was certain of his privacy, he stripped away the soaked robes, delighted when the warm humidity touched his smooth, marble-white skin. He turned one of the showers on, and stepped under the spray, lukewarm water burning his chilled skin. He shuddered, stinging needles massaging life back into his flesh, stirring torpid blood, raising false colour to his pale body. Tipping his head back, face under the stream, he slid his hands down his throat and chest in a rare moment of indulgence.

Severus froze as he heard a small thud behind him. He half-turned, and opened his eyes just as Harry Potter -- sopping robes clinging obscenely, wild hair tamed into wet, snake-like strands pasted to his forehead -- dropped his other glove.

Severus stood unblinking and still as Potter raised his leg and removed a shin guard, all without shifting his curse-green eyes from his naked professor's face. The other guard fell, and there was a clink as the cocky young man set his glasses on the bench. His hands moved to the lacings on his garish red quidditch robes, which were dark with rain.

"Potter," Severus said at last, lips the only part of him moving. "What are you doing?"

An insolent half-smile curved Potter's mouth. "I'm taking a shower, Professor."

"And why didn't you take your shower with your teammates?" Severus forced a measure of sternness into his voice.

The cheeky smile broadened to a true grin, and the green eyes glittered without the glass lenses to obscure them. "I stayed to ask Ron to take my broom to our dorm. Got caught by the crowd after I gave it to him." The last of this was muffled as Potter drew the robes over his head, exposing his smooth golden chest. He dropped the gaudy robes to the slick floor, toed off his boots, and yanked down trousers and pants in one go. Naked, he flicked on the shower next to Severus, and stepped into the spray.

"Do you need any assistance, Professor?"


"You haven't moved since I came in." The green eyes bored into Severus, defiant and challenging as always, but also hungry. Potter's body thrummed with predatory tension.

"Mr Potter," Severus began, but he got no further, for Potter plucked the soap from the shelf and brought it to Severus' shoulders, running the slick, cold bar down his back, and boldly continued to the crack of his arse. A single step brought him into Severus' shower, and another had the Potions master up against the wall, Potter's tongue down his throat, Potter's erection stabbing his thigh. His mouth was hotter and wetter than the water raining down on them, warming Severus' lips, and before he could think better of it, he met the invading tongue with own.

"I have been trying to get you alone for months, Professor," Potter whispered against Severus' lips. "No matter how many cauldrons I melted or rules I broke, you just kept giving me detention with Filch. Must you always be so contrary?"

"With you?" Severus gasped. "Always." His arms came up around Potter, the sensation of wet skin sliding across wet skin driving blood to his prick, the traitorous flesh rubbing eagerly against Potter's firm stomach.

"And you have the nerve to call *me* stubborn. Turn around."

The order demanded defiance, and Potter seemed to realize this, for he pulled back and physically spun Severus around, pushing him unresisting into the cool tiles, thrusting soap-slick fingers into his arse in the same motion. The mild soap stung slightly, but the fingers expertly playing his prostate more than made for the small discomfort, and Severus moaned, and decided not to think, for then he would be obliged to protest.

"Like that, don't you?" Potter panted.

"Oh, Merlin, yes!" The words slipped out, and Severus pressed his lips tightly together to prevent any others from escaping.

It seemed enough for Potter, who bit his neck, and replaced fingers with cock so swiftly Severus only registered the change in thickness and heat, and then it was driving, driving; much-needed, unadmitted friction, flesh inside flesh, and the cold, hard tile pressing, strange and wonderful, against his prick.

Potter strained, rocking on the tips of his toes, and Severus bent to accomodate him. He thrust his hips back to meet the steel shaft pistoning into him, and Potter's hand seized Severus' prick and worked it, graceless compared to the skillful finger-fucking only moments before, but exactly what he needed -- hot and rough and slippery, the occasional cold kiss as the head brushed the tiles.

And then Potter was screaming into his shoulder, devastating triumph and ecstatic defeat, warmth blossoming inside Severus even as he emptied himself onto the indifferent wall.

The water had grown distinctly cool by the time they stopped trembling.

"What, Mr Potter, was that all about?"

Potter sighed, and nuzzled the base of his neck, arms tightening around Severus' waist. "Just evening the field, Professor. I owe you... or perhaps you owe me. I can't remember."

"Are we keeping score, then?"

"With you? Always."

~ Finite Incatatum ~

To: nimbus_witch @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: Re: your fic

What do you mean my characterization was off? A bunch of articles in Witch Weekly and an unauthorized -- and very shoddy -- biography, and suddenly Severus Snape has a set 'character'?

I shall interpret Snape's actions however I see fit, based on my knowledge of the man, which, I assure you, is greater than yours.



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

Visit my website: http: //

LJ: SerpentSnape

IM: RealSevvie

To: goldsnitcher @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: Re: snape's character (was: your fic)

THANK you. I'm glad someone around here appreciates the art of subtlety.

BTW, I rather enjoyed your take on Harry's reaction to Cedric's death. Potter has his faults (which everyone conveniently forgets), but he is neither a whiner nor emotionally fragile. You managed to portray a sensitive yet strong character, without drowning him in the worst Gryffindor qualities.



"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

Visit my website: http: //

LJ: SerpentSnape

IM: RealSevvie

To: goldsnitcher @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: Re: potter's 'sensitivity' (was: snape's character (was: your fic))

LOL. Very true. I can understand the attraction when you put it that way, but I still think you're giving Potter too much credit. The real Potter and Snape hate each other, even though, as you say, they appear to be complimentary opposites. Feel free to IM me if you want to discuss it further.


And yes, I was in Slytherin.


"I can teach you to bewitch the mind, and ensnare the senses..."

Visit my website: http: //

LJ: SerpentSnape

IM: RealSevvie

*goldsnitcher is online*

RealSevvie: wb. get booted?

goldsnitcher: yes @%$^$!!! >:O

RealSevvie: lol

goldsnitcher: as i was trying to say before i had to hex my puter, do you really think snape brought out the worst in potter?

RealSevvie: either that, or the other professors indulged him, so he felt less need to defy them.

goldsnitcher: or maybe snape was too harsh. he does have a reputation for unfairness

RealSevvie: snape is a very controlled man. do you really think his apparent bias was unintentional?

goldsnitcher: what possible reason could he have

RealSevvie: perhaps to bring a much-needed dose of reality to students who had gone straight from sheltered homes to a school where they were coddled by their professors and worshiped by their peers.

goldsnitcher: between his family and voldemort, potter had too much reality to face

RealSevvie: i wonder who started those rumours about his home life.

goldsnitcher: why do you think they're rumours?

RealSevvie: potter would never tolerate such treatment. he would have told someone

goldsnitcher: maybe he thought a gryffindor should endure what he couldn't change without complaining.

RealSevvie: potter not complain? you jest, sir. and if he didn't say anything, then where did the rumours start?

goldsnitcher: children see things.

RealSevvie: such as?

goldsnitcher: such as potter never getting any mail, only going home on summer hols, only getting christmas presents from friends, and always wearing old clothes that didn't fit right on the weekends.

RealSevvie: i fail to see how that adds up to abuse. perhaps his relatives were simply poor. in either case, i'm sure snape mollycoddling potter too would have done him no favours against voldemort.

goldsnitcher: so why did snape do it?

goldsnitcher: 'help' potter, i mean.

RealSevvie: maybe he felt the boy had to fulfill expectations greater than anyone should have to carry.

goldsnitcher: i never thought of that. how do you know so much about snape? this stuff isn't in his biography

RealSevvie: didn't you read my screen name? i'm the real severus snape.

goldsnitcher: that's ok. i'm the real harry potter.

RealSevvie: :)

goldsnitcher: :P

Snape swept into Bubble, Bubble, one of Diagon Alley's better restaurants, but one which had escaped notice by the younger wizarding crowd -- for which he was profoundly grateful. The choice also showed that Goldsnitcher, despite freely admitting to being both younger than Snape and a Gryffindor, had a measure of good taste.

"Reservations for Keeper-Seeker," he told the host-witch, and she led him to a quiet booth, and brought him his requested glass of chardonnay.

Momus had chided him for meeting an online friend in person, claiming all sorts of wizards and witches did this only to find the people they had been chatting with were muggles, or werewolves, or Death Eaters (the last was patently ridiculous; no proper Death Eater knew a chatroom from a tea room). Snape dismissed his colleague's cautions. He had been exchanging emails and chatting with Goldsnitcher for several months, sharing stories and ideas, and he knew the younger man wasn't a Death Eater, and was fairly certain he wasn't a werewolf or a muggle either. All the same, Snape prepared himself for disappointment.

His friend sounded like a nice, intelligent, thoughtful young man who was not intimidated by Snape's brusque manner or insights into the darker side of magic.

Nevertheless, he steeled himself, sipped his wine, and tried to ignore the happy, hopeful anticipation which was, despite all good sense and past experience, bubbling inside him once again.

*goldsnitcher is online*

goldsnitcher: hi

goldsnitcher: r u there?

RealSevvie: I'm here.

goldsnitcher: well, that was awkward

goldsnitcher: at the restaurant i mean

RealSevvie: Your undiminished talent for incoherence amazes me, Mr Potter.

goldsnitcher: don't. please

RealSevvie: Don't what, Mr Potter?

goldsnitcher: look i understand your angry and i have every right to be mad to. but im not. its actualy kind of funny

RealSevvie: I fail to see any humour in being publicly humiliated.

goldsnitcher: how? no one knew why we wer there. they just saw a student meeting his former professor for drins

goldsnitcher: drinks. sorry. can't type when i'm upset

RealSevvie: Upset? You? I thought you said you were enjoying this. You found it funny.

goldsnitcher: not like that. its just both of us writting about each other, about us. i know your not embarassed about what happened at the restaurant. your embarrassed because you wrote all those stories about me, and now i know. but i wrote stories about you too, so you don't have to feel that way. i dont

goldsnitcher: i thougth we were friends

goldsnitcher: are friends

goldsnitcher: aren't we?


RealSevvie: i thought so.

goldsnitcher: then we are. and i dont care if you know i think we'd be hot together, so there.

*RealSevvie snorts*

RealSevvie: apparently so does half the wizarding world.

goldsnitcher: lol. so, i have this great fic idea. want to collaborate with me?

RealSevvie: i've never had much luck collaborating.

goldsnitcher: maybe you haven't found the right co-author.

RealSevvie: maybe.

goldsnitcher: you'll never know unless you try

RealSevvie: how disgustingly cliched.

goldsnitcher: it's cliched because it's true.

goldsnitcher: we'd probably need to do some research

RealSevvie: research is always commendable.

goldsnitcher: i'll be there at 7. ok?

goldsnitcher: professor?

RealSevvie: it's Severus. 7 is fine. and you owe me a bottle of chardonnay, Potter.

To: harry_luvs_snape @

From: therealsevvie @

Re: FIC: Love Potion Online

Love Potion Online

by Goldsnitcher and RealSevvie

Severus Snape sat stiffly at his table, watching other diners eat, and wondering when -- or if -- his companion would show up. He had never met Godric's Own before; nevertheless, they knew each other well, for they had been talking online for months.

Severus fiddled with his glass of wine, then stilled his hands once he noticed their fidgeting. He tried to pretend he wasn't nervous, but his stomach had tightened unbearably, and he couldn't even enjoy his drink.

Then Severus heard the host-witch's voice behind him. "Right this way, Mr Potter!"

Severus stiffened; the last thing he wanted was for Harry Potter to be staring at him when his friend arrived. He hoped the host-witch would seat Harry far away from him, but she walked right up to his table... and set the extra menu down!

Severus glared at Potter, and Potter blinked back, eyes wide and surprised behind his glasses. "I don't know what kind of game you are playing, Mr Potter, but kindly go play them elsewhere. I'm waiting for someone."

"Er, Son of Salazar, right?" Potter said, and Severus could only gape in shock that the boy knew his screen name. "Godric's Own," Potter whispered, and slid into the other seat. "Hi."

Fury boiled up inside Severus, for he was now certain that the last few months had been a joke, and that Potter had been laughing at him the whole time. "Well, Mr Potter, you've had your joke. I'm sure you won't mind paying the bill." Severus stood, leaving his untouched glass of wine on the table.

"Wait!" Potter cried, then flushed as people turned to look at them.

"All right, that's the point you stormed out of the restaurant."

"You were making a scene, Potter."

"It would have been less of a scene if you'd sat back down and talked to me like an adult. In any case, let's pretend you didn't behave childishly."

"How about we pretend I threw you over the table and fucked you senseless?"

"Please, Severus, we're attempting a plot."


"I said attempting. What happens next?"

Snape folded his arms and stared, the same piercing look Harry remembered from his school days. He'd had a bit of a crush on his potions professor back then.

"Is that true?"

"Not really. I thought you had a sexy voice. I didn't appreciate your other qualities until later."

"Well, Mr Potter, you wanted me to stay. I'm staying. Now talk."

Harry squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. The absolute shock of being led up to his former potions professor was fading, and in it's place came amazement, and a bit of embarrassment over some of the things they'd said to each other over the last few months. Harry berated himself for not recognizing Snape's brand of wit--

"Make that rapier wit, Potter."

-- brand of rapier wit, even though it was far more amusing when not directed at him. A flush graced his cheeks as he recalled some of their conversations, some of which bordered on cyber sex.

"Do people actually do that?"

"Oh, yes. All the time."

"I can't imagine why."

"Severus, we've done it several times."

"No we haven't. I think I'd remember."

"You don't remember when we had that little chat about sexual fantasies?"

"That was an intellectual discussion! And you asked me about what I... oh. Oh."

"And you call me slow."

"Shut up and give me the keyboard."

Severus glared across the table at his former student, growing angry as the boy refused to speak, and instead grew pinker and pinker, green eyes sparkling worse than Dumbledore's ever did, expression warring between dismay and something Severus could not decipher. Potter's tongue darted out to wet his lips, leaving the darker flesh glistening in the candle-light.

Potter seemed to realize Severus was waiting for him to speak. "I... I can't say I'm not shocked, but I'm not as disappointed as you might think. Er, that didn't sound too good. What meant is, it could be worse. You might have been Crabbe." Potter winced. "Merlin, it's so much easier typing to a computer screen."

"I'm not quite that ineloquent, thank you."

"Yes, Mr Potter. You are."

"Give me that keyboard."

A smirk escaped onto Snape's face, and Harry took it as a sign he had diverted the anticipated tirade. He relaxed minutely, and a rueful grin slid onto his face. "I imagine you're as embarrassed as I am about some of things we've both said."

Snape stiffened, and Harry cursed his own stupidity.

"Whatever sordid little blackmail scheme you have planned will not work, Potter. You may think--" He broke off as he seemed to realize the entire restaurant was staring at them, those closest listening avidly. "Come, Potter. We will continue this discussion elsewhere."

"Nice plot device."

"Thank you, Severus. Too bad we didn't actually leave the restaurant like civilized people."

"I paid for the damages. It's my turn to type."

Determined to take and keep the advantage, Severus led Potter back to Hogwarts, down to the dungeons and into his office, hoping memories of detentions past would keep the obnoxious brat in his place.

"Obnoxious brat?"

"Be patient. I'm going somewhere with this."

"Like bloody hell, you are. You just want to insult me with impunity."

"Been reading the dictionary, have you? And don't stick your tongue out at me unless you plan to use it."

"Give me the keyboard."

"No. I'm not done with it."

The tactic seemed to work, for Potter shivered and wrapped his arms around himself.

"Well, Potter? Care to explain yourself?" Severus smirked as Potter began to stammer out an excuse. Fond memories returned, and Severus briefly longed for the days when Potter and his cronies regularly disrupted his class. The thrill of catching the boy rule-breaking had brightened many of his days.

"I knew it. You loved me all along, Severus. Admit it."

"Of course I loved you. I loved catching you. I loved taking points from you. I loved giving you detention. I loved punishing you."

"Mmm, I love it when you punish me, too. Aha!"

"Give that back!"

"Nuh-uh. My turn."

Midway through explaining himself, Harry realized what Snape was doing. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm an adult now, Severus. I don't have to explain myself to you, particularly since, as I recall, you were quite the willing participant. If you need proof, I can always read you some of your lines. I saved all our conversations, you know."

"You-- you *saved* them?"

Harry smirked, and decided not to mention exactly what he'd saved them for.

"Did you? Save our chats?"

"Oh, yes. You?"

"Er, just one."

"The sexual fantasies one?"

"I believe it's my turn. Move over."

Severus clenched his teeth, recalling some of the things he'd written, thinking 'Godric's Own' was some anonymous young man with whom he shared many interests and opinions, and had some lively debates when their opinions clashed. He tried not to remember that he'd also thought they shared a tiny spark of attraction -- there was no way he, Severus Snape, had ever been attracted to Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Wouldn't-Bloody-Die.

"I hate that whole Boy-Who-Lived thing."

"I know. That's why I put it in."


"You're the one sitting on my lap."

"Only so I can steal the keyboard."

"Potter, if you are planning to show those chats to anyone--"

"Why would I? Do you have such a low opinion of me? I honestly thought I'd met this wonderful, funny, intelligent person--"

Snape sneered. "And instead you discover it's your greasy-haired, big-nosed, creepy former potions master."

"Why does everyone insist that I am insecure about my looks? I'll have you know that my nose is not big, it's roman, and my hair is not greasy, it's fine."

"Why are you so insecure about your looks, Professor? Your nose is not big, it's roman, and your hair is not greasy, it's fine." Harry blushed, for his defense of Snape's appearance had emerged a little more passionate than he'd intended.

Snape raised an eyebrow, but at least the vein in his forehead had stopped throbbing. "I noticed you did not dispute 'creepy'."

Harry grinned. "I wouldn't want to destroy your entire reputation."

Snape smirked back, and some of the tension left him.

Deciding to make a peace offering, Harry produced the bottle of chardonnay--

"Wait, where did that come from?"

"What, the wine? You told me to bring-- oh. Shit. We didn't write that part in."

"Continuity, my dear Potter. Continuity. Delete that and give me the keyboard before you mess it up even more."

Deciding to make a peace offering, Severus produced a bottle of scotch.

"Oh, come on. Everyone has you drinking scotch."

"Perhaps it's because that is the sole true fact in that farce of a biography."


He set out two glasses, and, deciding they both needed it, filled them three-quarters full.

"Cheers," Potter said, rather inanely, and Severus grunted in response, though he did raise his glass.

"It's funny," Potter said after a while, "how well we got on when we didn't know who the other was."

"Mmm," Severus replied, unwilling to sate an actual opinion. He felt rather glum, between 'losing' his online friend, and the alcohol hitting his system.

"Pick up the pace a little, will you, Severus. I want to get to the good part."

"Just because it took you all night to work up the nerve to kiss me--"

"You were glaring at me! What, was I supposed to just throw myself into your lap?"

Potter quite suddenly sat down his glass, crossed the room, and perched on the arm of Severus' chair. "Look... Severus. Can't we still be friends? And maybe--" Potter had obviously drunk a little too much scotch, for his lost his balance, and fell right into Severus' lap.

"Oh, that was so cheap."

"You wanted to pick up the pace."

"You've written the last six paragraphs. It's my turn."

Snape's arms came up around him, steadying him, surprisingly warm and comforting. Harry felt his face heat. "And maybe, maybe we could be..."

"Be what, Mr Potter?"

"Harry. Just Harry."

"Be just Harry?"

"Yes. Just Harry, and just Severus." And then Just Harry kissed him.


"Mmm, you're sitting on the keyboard."

"Who cares? Take me to bed."

"Just let me save this."

Severus groaned and pulled Harry closer, running hands down a warm, strong back as the young man positively *squirmed* in his lap. Which raised certain other questions.

"Severus," Harry whispered, grinding pleasantly, and answering the question before he could ask. He slid a hand between Harry's legs, rubbing the erection--

"Impressive erection. Don't snort at me. You get rapier wit; I get impressive erection."

"You're very bossy after you've been fucked, you know that?"

"Shut up and fix it before I really get bossy... Why, Severus, you're shivering. I take it you like me bossy, then. You'll just have to fuck me more often."

"No arguments here."

-- rubbing the impressive erection he found there as Harry ground his body against Severus' own throbbing prick. Harry gasped and thrust into the pressure, squirming delightfully.

"Oh Merlin, Severus, don't stop."

In answer Severus tightened his arms around the young man on his lap, wondering how so little alcohol had loosened his inhibitions so quickly.

//You lost your inhibitions long ago, Severus,// a little voice said.

"Wait, don't do that double slash thing. It's annoying."

"So are you, Potter."

"I'll make it worth your while."

*You lost your inhibitions long ago, Severus,* a little voice said. *You already let him past your defenses.*

Severus groaned and kissed Harry's neck, trailing lips and tongue up to his ear. Harry gave a low cry, and his squirming intensified. Severus quite suddenly stood, dumping Harry onto the floor. His hands flew to the buttons of his robes. "Take off those damn muggle clothes," he ordered, already halfway through his buttons.

"Why do you wear such Victorian clothing, anyway? Defending your virtue?"

"I can't exactly go around in short sleeves, can I?"

"I'm sorry. I didn't think."

"Obviously. Don't fret on-- oh! Mmm... yes, keep going... I needn't worry about my virtue at all. I won't have any left by the time you're through."

Harry had never stripped so fast in his life. Half afraid Severus would revert back to his cold-hearted bastard persona--

"Excuse me?"

"'Be patient. I'm going somewhere with this.' Isn't that what you said?"

"Insolent brat."


-- and leave him in a state of intolerable desire. The moment the last article of clothing fell, Harry pushed Severus back into the chair, climbing atop him and straddling his slender hips. He could not risk the interruption of finding their way to the bedroom. Harry took possession of his mouth once more--

"Are you going to have us make love in a chair?"

"Yes. Problem?"

"Well, we've always made it to the bedroom. I'm not exactly clear on the mechanics..."


"Let's go."

Harry took possession of his mouth once more, devouring, consuming, and Severus slid his hands down to cup his firm arse, pulling their erections together. He grazed a finger questioningly lower. Harry moaned and pushed back into the inquiring digit.

"Oh, yes, please," he whimpered, and--

"Should we go back and mention a handy container of lubricant?"

"I hate that. Who leaves lubricant lying around their living room? And don't look at me like that. We've been closeted in my rooms for two days, going at it like we overdosed on Aphrodite Elixir, so of course there's lube everywhere. You'll recall I had to fetch it from the loo the first time."


"Lubricus," Severus whispered, and before Harry could register the meaning of the word, two fingers slid easily inside him. He could only utter a faint gasp and thrust back as Severus' long, graceful fingers sought his prostate, and then a shriek as they found it.

"That's it, right there, oh, more," he murmured into his lover's neck, pushing back against the fingers and forward to rub his prick against Severus' firm belly. Severus' own cock slid between Harry's legs to caress his balls.


"Yes, yes, do it." The fingers vanished, and Harry freed his legs from where they lay trapped between the chair arms and Severus' hips. He flung them over the chair arms and let Severus guide him down onto his hot, hard prick.

"What's wrong? Why did you stop there? It was just getting good."

"I thought we might, ahem, take another research break."

"You're absolutely brilliant, you know that?"

Harry gripped the high back of the chair and levered himself up and down while Severus held his hips and shoved into him with fast, small thrusts. With his legs splayed by the chair, Severus' cock reached deep, and soon they were both sheened in sweat despite the faint chill, moving faster, moaning, Severus' lips mapping Harry's throat, his hand grasping Harry's cock and milking it as opalescent streams of come spurted over Severus' chest.

Limp, Harry let Severus lay him down on the rug, and obediently raised his legs for Severus to drive back into him. Re-entering the newly discovered warmth of Harry's body, he wrapped his arms around the younger man, and rocked himself to completion, to the tune of Harry's murmured encouragement.

Spent, wrung out and left to dry in a sticky mess, Severus laid his head on Harry's chest and listened to the bird-like flutter of his heart.

There was a sudden tension in the air, but Severus had endured too many classes with him not to know what it signalled.

"Potter, just spit it out before you burst."

"Am I that obvious?"

"Yes. Now say whatever mood-destroying comment has entered your mind so we can move this to a location more comfortable than the floor."

Harry laughed, and kissed the top of his head. "I was just thinking that this is something we could never do online."

Severus snorted.

"Really. And Severus... I'm glad it was you on the other end."

Severus was silent for a moment before rising and lifting Harry into his arms. "As am I."


You have 17 new messages.

"We have feedback, Snitch."

"Who's it from?"

"MoonMonkey64. She wants to know if we're planning a sequel."

Harry draped his arms over Snape's shoulders, and pressed a kiss to the side of his neck.

"Tell her it's a work in progress, with no end in sight."