Categories > Books > Harry Potter > What Now, Severus?


by Emilie_D 1 review

A chance to regroup, snog and pass on information.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Romance - Characters: Snape - Warnings: [X] - Published: 2006-11-17 - Updated: 2006-11-18 - 3265 words - Complete

Severus was almost at the end of his endurance. He arrived early on a cool, sunny morning and heard pounding from behind the cabin. An excited young dog ran out from the trees. She bounded silently to him, her tail wagging madly.

"Rowena," he muttered. "Merlin, I forgot about you."

Obviously the dog had not forgotten. As he bent to stroke her soft head, she licked his chin, whimpering ecstatically. He discovered there was something pleasing about being greeted by an adoring animal upon returning home, but he wanted more.

"Where is Zelda?" he asked, groaning irritably at his foolishness at asking a dog. But when she turned and raced away, he followed her.

The dog began barking and the pounding stopped. He rounded the corner and found Zelda, ax in hand, talking to the dog. He stopped, wanting simply to watch her.

"What's up, sweetie, is someone here? It's much too early for Phineas," she said fondly, scratching behind the soft ears. Then she looked up and her eyes widened in disbelief.

"Severus," she breathed, setting her ax down carefully against the side of the cabin. She walked slowly to him, her eyes locked on his. "Are you okay?"

He realized that she wanted to be sure he was indeed himself, and opened his memory of their last time together as he reached for her. She wrapped her arms around his waist, smiled radiantly and raised her face to be kissed. As his lips touched hers, though, she put her hand on his shoulder and he flinched.

"You're hurt," she whispered, horrified at causing him pain. She stepped back. "Come inside."

"Not yet," he replied sternly. He reached for her. "My left arm and collarbone were broken and healed. There is still muscle damage, but if I cannot kiss you, I'll be most unhappy." He looked hopefully into her eyes and she relented, carefully pressing against him.

"I missed you," she said in an unsteady voice. Her lips trembled as she kissed him and she struggled to keep from bursting into tears.

"Much better, darling. Please fawn over me as much as the dog did," he murmured wickedly. He led her to the cabin, but stopped and asked urgently, "Are we alone?"

She chuckled weakly. "I'm only expecting Phineas." Her blue eyes flew over him anxiously. "What can I do for you?" She saw lines etched by pain on his face, dark circles under his eyes and an increased hollowness to his thin cheek that told her he had not eaten much of late. "You look starved."

"I am hungry, but also filthy, and will feel better after soaking in a hot bath." He tossed off his cloak, followed more carefully by the jacket. "Will you help me?"

In response she began filling the bath, then carefully helped to remove his shirt. There was nothing visible where his broken bones had been, but his movements were painful.

"I'll be right back," she told him. When she returned, she brought a glass of water and held out three small orange pills. He smiled quizzically at her and swallowed them without questioning her.

"It's not magic, but it'll help the pain somewhat," she explained. "Now, into the bath."

"Not without you," he said. "I only have two days."

Without further protest she began undressing as he stepped into the water. He settled himself carefully and watched her disrobe, becoming so dreamily content he considered pinching himself.

When she joined him, they managed to get him clean, but with so much kissing and touching that they went directly to bed. Severus was finally able to greet her properly then. He lay on his back and pulled her on top of him.

"How're you feeling?" she asked anxiously.

"Splendid," he replied. "Except that you must not worry about me." His persuasive hands explored the soft curves of her body and he knew precisely when she finally let go of her worries and relaxed in the moment. Making love to her erased the vile memory of his time among the Death Eaters more effectively than anything else, and when he slept afterward, it was dreamless and refreshing.

Zelda lay awake, trying to make sense of her emotions. She was too old to be so pathetically lovesick, but her instinct for self-preservation had flown out the window regarding Severus. Instinctively she responded to his desperate need for love by opening herself more to him. She was terrified by her vulnerability. How could she bear it if he were killed?

She raised her head cautiously to look at him. In sleep he looked ten years younger. His normally taut mouth was relaxed and she kissed his lips lightly. He didn't stir, so she relaxed into his arms and took a short nap.

Rowena's barking startled her awake. Zelda realized that Phineas had arrived and must be told about Severus.

"Severus," she said, kissing his cheek and hopping out of bed. "Phineas is here."

He was instantly alert. "I will be right out."

Zelda threw on a robe and left the bedroom. "Good girl, Rowena," she said, caressing the dog in passing.

"Finally," said Phineas sourly. "I have other business to attend to, you know."

"Blah, blah, blah..." she said, smiling. "Severus is back. He'll be here in a minute."

"I assumed as much when you appeared after noon in that disgraceful negligee," he snapped. "Do you two completely lack self-control?"

"It's been eight days," she said defensively. "We have to make up for lost time." She winked at the portrait wizard. "And I think it's a nice negligee."

The bedroom door opened and Severus stepped out, wearing his comfortable Muggle clothing. He petted the dog, greeted Phineas briefly and said, "I have much to tell the Headmistress. When can she meet with me?"

"She wishes to see you immediately. I shall report your return and you may expect her today," Phineas said hurriedly. He nodded to them and walked briskly out of his frame.

Zelda had gone to the kitchen area while Severus was speaking with their portrait messenger and begun heating stew on the stove. "Come here, Severus. You're going to eat now," she said, giving him a stern look as she sliced a thick piece of bread.

"Yes, Ma'am," he replied meekly. He enjoyed watching her efficiency as she served him a large bowl of savory stew with fresh bread and butter.

While he ate hungrily, she cut herself a small piece of bread and nibbled at it as if to encourage him. "More?" she asked hopefully.

"Of course. It is delicious," he replied, going to the stove and refilling his bowl. While he did so, she went to cut more bread for him. "Thank you, my girl. Did Michael come and cook for you recently?" he asked slyly.

She glared haughtily at him. "That wasn't kind," she said reproachfully. "I can cook, you know. I just choose not to, most of the time." She put several thick pieces of bread in a basket on the table, feeling wretchedly anxious.

"Zelda," he said coaxingly, "look at me."

He held out his hand toward her, took her hand and kissed it. "Relax, my girl. You must not worry more than I do."

"I missed you, Sev, and I'm trying to be normal, but..." she gulped back a sob, "I'm a mess."

"Come sit by me," he said softly. "What's in this excellent stew?" He moved a chair closer to his own and looked expectantly at her.

She moved close and placed her hand on his knee. "Beef and onions and carrots and garlic. Thyme, rosemary, parsley and Guinness," she recited meekly. "How did your arm get broken?"

"A giant threw a boulder at me, but the bones are mended and the damaged muscles feel much better," he said. "It is the Guinness that I did not immediately recognize. Did you bake the bread too?"

She nodded. "I like baking," she said. "You could've been killed. You should take more pills again before bed tonight."

"I will," he replied. He wiped the bowl clean with a piece of bread, ate it and turned to her. "Come sit with me until Minerva arrives." He led her to the couch and he sat down, holding her close. Rowena leaped up on the other side of him, wagging her tail. She curled up against his leg and laid her head on his knee.

"Thank you for Rowena," said Zelda. "She's the smartest, most wonderful dog I've ever known."

"You're welcome, of course. But you do not prefer her company to mine, do you?" he asked skeptically.

She leaned her head against his uninjured shoulder and sighed. "I prefer you. Always."

"Excellent, since one day you will be my wife," he murmured, kissing the top of her head.

"You knew me less than a week when you asked me," she said. "Are you sure?"

"Yes. Do you have doubts?" he asked.

"No," she replied baldly. He hand stole up to cup his cheek and she examined him minutely. "Oh, no," she repeated, gazing into his eyes.

"Good," he said, guiding her into his lap and kissing her. He untied the belt of her robe and slipped his hand in to caress her bare skin. "Merlin, I missed you, Zelda," he whispered, reclaiming her for his own with his hands and mouth.

"Minerva's coming," she said, even as she caressed him in return. "I should get dressed."

"I shall assist you," he replied, following her to the bedroom. "Rowena may greet the Headmistress if she arrives while we are occupied."

Again they made love, but this time Severus touched her mind with his Legilimency, inviting her to reciprocate. There was a long, dazzling moment when physical desire was forgotten. Instead, love and recognition blazed triumphantly from his black eyes to her blue ones. They were silent, unmoving, until Severus suddenly laughed out loud.

"My darling girl, this is all that matters between us," he said, kissing her fiercely.

Incredibly, she realized Severus was right. His courage and what she now recognized as his amazing magical power wrapped around her, creating an embrace of souls. The strength of their connection made her sadness and fear come to nothing.

Their joining became wildly passionate then, as though having touched souls, they had freed themselves from worry. When they finally looked at each other, hearts pounding and still quite breathless, joy had overcome Zelda's fears. Her eyes sparkled with happiness again.

"You are your indomitable self again," he said. "I missed your laughter."

"Goddess, how I love you," she said, running her hands possessively over him. She kissed his thin chest and pressed her cheek over his pounding heart, letting the strong beat of it comfort her. "I'm sorry I was pathetic. I've been alone, thinking of the danger you're facing. Then you came back and you were injured," she said. "I won't be so stupidly weak again."

"I wanted you so much when I was hurt, that I almost Apparated to you in front of the Dark Lord," he confessed ironically. "It would have been disastrous, but instead of berating myself as I lay there, I was happy for an instant, knowing I would return to you soon and you would make me feel better. Precisely like a witless child."

"I'd like to make everything better for you," she said, as she traced his hooked nose with her finger. She jumped... Rowena was barking, what Zelda had learned to recognize as the "we've got company" bark. "It must be Minerva."

Severus had discovered his entire wardrobe, fresh and ready for him. It was wonderful to wear clean clothing. He turned to Zelda, who was still getting dressed and said, "You make my life better, Zel." He picked up his wand.

"Go to Minerva. I'll be right there," she said, and her eyes were shining.

Minerva was speaking with Phineas, but she turned immediately when the bedroom door opened and relief washed over her stern features. "Severus, I am happy to see you."

"Thank you for coming so promptly," he replied. He waved his wand and a tea tray appeared before them. "Where would you like to sit?"

"Come to my new sitting room," she said. She led the way into a tiny room as different from the Headmistress's office as possible. It was sparsely furnished, and everything had simple, even severe lines. There was a small fireplace with a fire burning, even in summer. "It is very restful to be here." She poured the tea, looked over the tops of her spectacles at him and asked, "Will Zelda join us?"

"She is getting- er, she will be here momentarily," he replied.

"Very good. I've been worried about her since Potter's near escape," she said pensively.

"/What near escape/?" he hissed, glaring at her.

"I assumed that she told you. Potter managed to destroy another... Horcrux. It nearly killed him, but his friends Apparated with him here. Zelda and Michael used a bezoar and then brought him to Hogwarts. We barely got him to St. Mungo's in time."

"Is he all right?" asked Severus coldly.

"He seems fine. He stayed here with Zelda to recover for several days," she said. "She is extremely worried about him, as well as about you."

He schooled his face to impassiveness. "What else has happened?"

"Well..." she looked slightly guilty. "Alastor Moody saw Michael and Zelda when they brought Potter to my office. I brought Michael with me to St. Mungo's, and asked Alastor to come along so he would not be left alone with Zelda. He is... curious about them."

"Keep that paranoid madman away from them," he snapped angrily. "It will be a challenge, but I believe I can successfully Obliviate him..."

"Severus!" she exclaimed. "That's quite enough."

"They must not be put at risk. They have no defense against magic," he said, forcing his voice to calmness.

"We'll protect them. We owe them a great deal. Without their quick actions, Potter would have died," she conceded.

"Explain that to Moody and the Ministry," he said grimly.

There was a knock on the door, and Zelda entered the room.

"Good afternoon, Minerva," she said cheerfully.

Minerva noticed immediately that the air of anxiety hanging over her had dissipated. "You look well," she said with a smile.

"I'm well," replied Zelda. Her eyes flitted briefly to Severus, who sat across the table and was fuming with anger.

"You did not tell me about Potter," he accused. "That you were called on to save the brat's life." He pulled up a chair next to his own.

She sat down and put her hand over his. "He'll be more careful in the future and I'm glad Michael and I could help."

"Zelda used Legilimency on Moody during the chaos," Minerva interjected. "Something neither of us could have managed, Severus. You'll be happy to know that he is, for what it is worth, loyal to the Order."

He stared, astounded, at Zelda. "You did /what/? Was he aware of you?"

She shook her head. "People in your world tend to lose it if they think Harry Potter's dying. He was focused on Harry, and also trying to learn about Michael."

Minerva poured tea for Zelda and handed it to her. "Now that you are here, I hope Severus will tell us his news."

Recalled to the task at hand, Severus reviewed the events of the past week, much of which was dreary and repetitive. The tale of his visit to the giants took some time, however, and when he had finished, he asked hopefully, "Is there any progress on removing them from the battle?"

"Grawp returned to the female who cared for him after his mother died. She was eager to go to a new place, far from her current overcrowded home. Her daughter's family was also relocated three days ago. Their husbands were supposed to follow the Gurg, but have gone with the family instead." Minerva smiled and continued, "Hagrid and Madame Maxime Apparated with them and plan to take more tomorrow."

"Excellent," Severus muttered. "If they go gradually it will be best."

"Have you learned anything about the plan for the Ministry?" asked Minerva hopefully.

"He toys with me," Severus replied in a low, frustrated voice. "At times I believe he sees through me. I have tried everything and learned nothing yet." He shook his head heavily. "I am sorry, Minerva."

"Severus..." the Headmistress was distressed. How could he imagine she could ask more than he was already doing? "You are doing your best, which is exceptional. Do not dare to feel guilty."

"Hey, on to the most important question. How long can you stay here?" asked Zelda. She smiled hopefully at him. "Earlier you mentioned two days. Is that a promise?"

"Two days," he said firmly. "I hope that we can accomplish our business efficiently, Minerva."

Minerva saw that he badly needed rest and a chance to regroup. The stress of it would get far worse before they were finished with this. "I'm glad you have a safe place to rest, Severus," she said gently. "I will only come to you if I must."

A fresh pang of guilt smote him. "If I can help you in any way, tell me," he said sternly. He met her gaze commandingly. "Mine is the task and I will do what I must to complete it."

Minerva was forced to struggle to meet the immense power in his black eyes. He would cede none of his responsibility to another, she saw, and her respect for this burdened young wizard grew even more. She nodded her assent. "Potter has repeatedly asked about you," she said hesitantly. "Will you see him?"

His lip curled, but he merely said, "Will it be productive?"

Zelda snorted. "If he's here, he probably won't say much, but he'll sit and stare at you when you're not looking his way," she said wryly.

"Marvelous," he said sourly. "Why must I subject myself to it?"

"How many people does he know who've faced the Dark Lord and lived to tell the tale?" she responded lightly. "Only you. He's scared, Sev, and you're the one who might understand."

His assent was so grudging that Minerva could hardly believe this was the powerful wizard of two minutes ago. If there ever came a time when they had all survived this, she would ask Zelda about Muggle psychology and how a wizard so capable and strong could be such a bloody mess. She said nothing, however, but merely nodded.

"Tell him he can come around noon tomorrow," said Zelda casually. "If all of them come, I'll have them make lunch and dinner. They like to be busy."

Minerva chuckled. "You don't need to do magic, Zelda, you manage very well with good sense." She rose from her chair. "I must return to my other office and the headaches that await me there. We shall speak again, Severus, perhaps tomorrow afternoon."

Severus and Zelda walked her outside and stood side by side, watching her Apparate away. They turned to each other and smiled resignedly, and then Severus put his arms around her and Apparated with her back to their bedroom. "Only two days, and one of them wasted with Potter," he murmured, endeavoring to look pathetic. "I believe you owe me some extra attention, my girl."

"Poor long-suffering wizard, you'll have whatever you wish today," she said softly. "What can I do for you?"

A wicked smile glinted in his black eyes. "I shall make a list..."
Sign up to rate and review this story