Just a Holy Fool

A/N: All is property of JKR, etc. Unosoo. This is the very first time I’ve ever written a Ginevrus fic, so please forgive any OOC’ness :) Also, it’s the first time I’ve been able to be T-rated LOL (music is “Judas” by Lady Gaga)  And, yeah, this was meant to be HGSS, but she just didn’t work out that way ;)  She wanted to be Ginny.  And Ginny gets what Ginny wants. LOL

(One-shot)

Ginevra was pacing again, copper, artificial curls piled atop her head and bouncing with every step. “C’mon, Snape, someone has to watch the little twerps with me.”

Her green jumper had a lovely cowl neckline that sat atop her chest loosely, with just enough hint of the possibility that it might drape a certain way…He shook himself out of those thoughts and put up a cursory effort to deny her this latest oblivious tactic at friendship. “Must you include me?”

She turned to him, pierced him with those glittering blue eyes, and threw out her hands. She was always moving. “Yeeesss, Snape, I must. You’re the only one on staff that’s even below ninety, besides me, so therefore, you’re it by default.”

Couldn’t she even pretend she liked his company for more than age group? He sighed, knowing he’d capitulate, but wanting to make her fight for it, regardless. “May I say I’ve endured less indignity at the hands of multiple madmen?” It was true. None of them had ever made him dance. No, that had been his mother. She was the dancing torturer—er—teacher.

She rolled her eyes. “You may, but that doesn’t get you out of this.” Spinning on her booted heel, she shoved her hands into her denim pockets. “It’s just a little stress relief for them, you surely can’t begrudge them that.” She looked at him to appeal.

She was appealing, but he couldn’t let her know that. He sneered instead. “I don’t. I begrudge being included in this debacle.”

Her face tipped down at his sarcasm. “This debacle needs to be chaperoned, and as the Muggle Studies Professor, I victimize—er-”

“Ha!” he crowed, catching her in a Freudian slip.

“VOLUNTEER you for the task.” She’d caught herself and grimaced, corrected the word, but he was a little more than suspicious she’d done that on purpose.

Regardless. He grumbled under his breath about always being a victim at the hands of dunderheads.

She thought of another point, he could tell. Her face brightened and she pointed at him imperiously. “Besides, when was the last time you made it out of the castle?”

He opened his mouth, pointed a finger-

She interrupted him, “And forays onto the grounds don’t count, I don’t care what you do with the Giant Squid in your spare time!”

He scowled. “I don’t know where you get your information, Weasley, I was just swimming. You should have had the decency to look away.” Except she hadn’t. Oh, no, she hadn’t, and he had dreamt of that night ending in so many different ways than it had…

It was her turn to point, “Ta. You should have had the decency to be clothed!”

He glared at her. Did she have to sound so particularly indignant? His backside wasn’t that bad to look at, was it?

She continued staring at him until he asked the inevitable question, “Where is this place again?”

Grinning triumphantly, she stepped a little closer to his desk. “It’s called ‘Kicks’ and it’s right next to Rosmerta’s. They took that old shell of a building from the war and turned it into the teen club they’re all so mad about.”

He arched a doubtful eyebrow. “Kicks.”

She continued grinning. “Yes.”

He had a thought…”Next to The Three Broomsticks?”

Her eyes shuttered and her smile faltered a tiny little bit. “Yes.” She knew where he was heading with this…

“I could-”

Frowning at full force, she looked like an indignant pixie. “No, you don’t, you’re not saddling forty Seventh Years on my shoulders alone while you sneak off to have a bitter!”

He smirked and employed one of his favorite tactics. “Surely Potter’s former paramour-”

Tiny orange sparks tripped at the tips of her hair, frizzing the careful curls as she pulled her wand out. “Say that ridiculous moniker one more time, Snape, and I swear, I’ll curse you into dancing with them!”

He threw up his hands and came around the front of his desk. “Now that’s incentive for you. Why should I go with you and the brats at all with that attitude?”

They stared at each other for a few quiet moments and Ginevra, always now Ginevra in his head, softened a bit. She turned on the begging. “Please?”

No, not the begging. He closed his eyes and crossed his arms. “What?” He straightened up and edged a bit away.

She followed, walking a few steps closer. Bugger. “Please? I really can’t do this on my own and everyone else would be so…”

He blinked down at her. “So…?”

She was practically under his nose now, staring up at him so pleading, “So…boring! Snape, please? I thought you were my friend?”

Bollocks, friend? If only she knew. He threw a distraction at her and shifted away. “Oh, now she plays the guilt card!”

She called to his back as it retreated to the enchanted window of his office. “I will if I have to! I did save your life, you know!”

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Of course, there was that. “Only by chance and circumstance.” Chance that she’d come back to him after the battle. Circumstance that he’d been wise enough to ingest the anti-venom. Pointless mooning after her ever since. Gods, had it really been fifteen years? Fifteen years of her slowly growing less afraid of him, slowly growing apart from Potter, growing into a kinship with himself he was terrified to disturb. One foot wrong had destroyed any vestiges of the last love he’d had, and look where he’d ended up then. Such a bloody fool.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when her hand landed softly on his shoulder. “C’mon.” He turned his head to look down at her bright eyes staring so trustingly up at him. “Pleeeeeeease?”

Oh, Merlin, she was laying it on thick! He couldn’t stand that look on her face, now. She continued begging him in that wheedling tone that she’d surely honed to perfection in a family of so many males. “Oh, shut it already, alright! Alright!”

She twirled away with a shout, “Sweet!”

Sweet? “What?” There were times when she still seemed so young…

She grinned at him. “Nothing! Just…Great! Grand! Let’s go!”

He looked to his window and back again. “Now? I thought it wasn’t until tonight?”

She tipped her chin down and eyed him, then looked to the enchanted window, back to him and cast a simple Tempus Charm. “It’s seven-thirty, Snape. It is night. Now. Let’s go.”

Right. Enchanted window. He’d never altered it from summer and fall quickly altered the sun’s setting.

He closed his eyes for a brief moment, sighed, then looked back at her walking towards his coat rack. She was growing entirely too comfortable in his office to grab his things for him. “I’m discharging that life-debt crap for this, you know.”

She reached for his scarf and he started towards her to retrieve it. She waved her free hand in the air, “Fine, fine, just get the lead out. Move your tight arse.”

He stopped in his tracks. “My what?”

Her mouth closed from a little ‘o’. “Erm…nothing. Just…here’s your scarf.” She shoved it at him unceremoniously.

He snatched it out of her grasp unceremoniously. “Right. No more comments about my arse.”

She blinked, smirked a little, even. “Even if they’re well aimed and deserved?”

“Excuse me?” Who was this person? Was she…teasing him?

That was definitely a smirk.

“No, I don’t think you need any.”

He blinked and ground his teeth. “Weasley, I am taking off my scarf and will sit my ‘tight arse’ right here all night if you continue with comments like that.”

She dropped her arms to her sides, then peeked up at him through a fine, shining, red fringe. “Fine, no more comments.”

“About my arse.” Just to clarify.

“Is that all? I was being more generous.” Good Goddess, was that a dimple? Directed at him?

He needed to get her back on normal footing if he was to survive this night. Levelling a sneer at her, he ground out, “Weasley.”

She tossed her head back with a smug look. “What.”

He reached for the door, opened it and stood by it with his eyes fixated slightly above her head. “Just…move.”

With a grin and a salute, she sailed past him into the hallway. “Aye-aye, Cap’n.”

Gah!

Oo00oo

Ginny dropped her elbows onto the steel countertop, nudging Severus as he sat on a barstool facing the crowd. “Not a bad night, overall, I’d say.”

He turned his lovely, dark, oblivious head to her with a snark, “Don’t they serve anything adult to drink, here?” With a look and a further turn, he swiveled on his stool and shoved his soda away from him. She watched it glide across the metal, clinking ice as it went.

She grinned at the thought that perhaps…perhaps she could induce Severus to loosen up a little. Her eyes cut up to his devilishly. “Sure they do, but since it’s a Muggle-based establishment, meant to promote Muggle practices and appreciation, you’ll have to order something—gasp!-Muggle!”

He dropped his face in his hands for a moment, “Gahn.” then looked to her through his fingers, speaking over his hand, “And just what, Miss Muggle-Studies, should I ask for? I didn’t exactly grow up in the most Muggle friendly environment.”

“Oh, exactly! Precisely! Here, can I order for you?” This was going to be perfect! Oh! What would he do if he got a little schnockered? Probably nothing, her mind protested, but she’d never know if she didn’t try—an attitude taken from several older brothers. She toned down the grin as she waited for his reply.

He rolled his eyes. “If it’s anywhere near as strong as what’s on your breath, then, of course.”

Yes! She turned away from Severus and caught the barkeep’s eye. “Oy, Aberforth!”

“So loud?”

She turned back to see Severus holding his ears and blinked at him in confusion. “How could he hear me otherwise?”

He simply snorted and motioned with one hand that the last-living Dumbledore was across the bar from her.

She turned to smile at the old man, but he merely grunted, “Yeah?”

Glancing from Severus to Aberforth, Ginny felt something deliciously like a plan grow in her mind. “Get an Irish Carbomb for our good Professor, here, please.”

Aberforth grunted again and spun to the work surface behind him, grabbing bottles at lightning speed. Severus gaped, “A—Excuse me, Weasley, but a WHAT?”

The awful concoction, reminiscent of a few choice potions she could remember, was slid in front of him with a smirk from Aberforth. Severus started to push it away, but Ginny interceded, “Oh, God, no, you have to try it!”

He stared dubiously into the drink. “There’s a shotglass inside my Guinness, Weasley.”

“Well,” She motioned with both her hands, “Drink it up! Fast, before it curdles!”

His eyes flew up to hers in horror, “What?”

She laughed and saw a few students taking interest in their interchange but kept talking to Severus, “Fast! Chug! Hurry!”

“No!”

“It’ll only get worse-tasting the longer you wait and it’s an awful waste of good alcohol…”

A slow chant started behind her and he sat up sharply, noticing the students circling them. They got louder as he glared at them, “…Chug, Chug, Chug, Chug…”

She watched his face grow sour as his gaze settled on someone who looked suspiciously like Harry…”Ten points from-” Yep, there he went.

She placed a hand on his arm, interrupting him before he could finish. “Now, don’t start that again! They’re supporting you, not making fun. Just try it!”

His head swung around and stared at her hand until she removed it, then stared at her with some sort of strange emotion…Not sure what to do with that, she plastered a smile on and waved to the drink again. The chanting got a little louder as he reached for the glass, lifted it to his mouth, and worked the drink down that…

Good God, what a gorgeous throat that man had. He slammed the glass down to the bar and the sound of students cheering broke her out of her fixation.

“Oh, Great Goddess, that’s…”

She wanted to laugh so badly at the disturbed look on his face! He swallowed, then smacked his mouth. “What the hell is in that?”

The students went back to dancing as a new song barraged the room. Her face lit a smile as she turned back to him. “Guiness, Bailey’s and Jameson. You like it?”

“I don’t know, but…weugh…”

Weugh? Now that was a noise she’d never think to hear from him. “Want to try something else?”

He eyed her suspiciously, but nodded.

Well, it was a start, wasn’t it? “Aberforth! The Fall of Rome, Please!”

Severus’ eyes grew large, “Are we taking a turn about Europe?”

She laughed. “Perhaps. Do you mind?”

He settled an elbow on the bar, leaned his head on that hand and surveyed her. “Are you trying to get me inebriated?”

She mimicked him, smiling, “Again, do you mind?”

“I might. If I knew why.”

The drink slid between them. She eyed the orange-ish thing with interest, then pushed it over to Severus. “We all need to relax every now and again.”

He took a sip, then looked at the drink in appreciation, “Mh. Perhaps.” He took another drink and took the time to swallow. “Although, I think it highly strange that Aberforth knows how to mix these drinks, much less in a teenaged dance club.”

“Snape, c’mon. Lighten up, will you?” He glared at her, she continued with a blithe smile, “Haven’t you noticed how many other Muggleborn adults there are, here?”

He took the cue and looked about the bar, which was littered with ten more adults drinking concoctions from the rumored goat-lover. She snorted a bit at that, then was glad that that music was too loud for anyone to hear it. By the time Severus turned back to her, his drink was halfway gone and a slightly glassy expression dropped across his face.

She laughed, not believing her eyes. “Feeling it a bit, are we?”

He blinked, looked from her to the drink, then took another sip—er—gulp. Good God, there was brandy and sherry in that! “I don’…I don’t normally drink,” he protested.

Ginny feigned mock astonishment. “You? Professor Snape, I’m surprised!” Of course the man didn’t normally imbibe, or he’d be dead tipsy every moment of the day with what he had to put up with in Potions class. “I figured you for a firewhiskey man, myself.” She knew well enough with Muggle Studies, what the brainless brats could get into. There was no telling what kind of stress the man had been through in life, much less in such a demanding class that required so much control.

He blinked slowly at her. “This is not—not firewisskey.”

She stared at him in shock. “Was that a slur in your speech?” And while he was trying to form his defense, she heard the first call of one of her current favorite songs flare across the speakers.

Oh-oh-oh-woah-oh-ohI’m in love with Jud-a-a-s, Jud-a-a-s…

“Certainly not.”

She blinked at him and shook her head slightly. He was answering her question, not denying the song lyric. He didn’t know…couldn’t possibly know that she identified this Muggle song that he’d probably never heard before…with him… Not that he was a Judas, but people certainly called him that behind his back…That was the sentiment behind the song, wasn’t it? That she loved the man that everyone despised, despite what they called him?

Ginny had a little sighing moment before recalling they were discussing Severus’ slurred speech, which he’d denied—with slur. She gasped a little too much and put her hand over her mouth in mock horror. “Oh my God, it was!”

His brows slammed together as he slammed his nearly finished drink down on the bar. “Wasn’t!”

Oh, why did he have to be so bloody cute? Even halfway tipsy, he was adorable, especially with his petulance and knitted eyebrows. She needed to get away from him before she made a fool of herself. At an opportune time, the music saved her and sped up to its dance beat. “Well, while you’re deciding whether you’re slurred or not, I’m going to dance.”

He watched her slide off her barstool, but grabbed her by the arm, “You are not.”

She looked, with palpitations, from his hand to his face, then stuck her chin out in mutiny. “I am, watch me.”

He scowled. “You can’t ask me to do that.”

She quirked a bit of a smile, but tried to keep it under control, “Whyever not?”

His scowl grew perplexed. “‘ts inappropriate.”

She looked from the bouncing teens on the dance floor back to him, “It isn’t. I like this song.” As she plucked his hand off her arm, she cheekily stuck her tongue out and blew him a raspberry, then flounced to the edge of the mob.

When he calls to me I am ready,

I wash his feet with my hair if he needs,

Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain,

Even after three times he betrays me

Ah-ah, ah ah ah ah, Ah-ah, ah ah ah ah

I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down

Ah-ah, ah ah ah ah, Ah-ah, ah ah ah ah

A king with no crown, king with no crown

I’m just a holy fool, oh baby it’s so cruel

but I’m still in love with Judas, baby!

I’m just a holy fool, oh baby it’s so cruel

but I’m still in love with Judas, baby!

Oo00oo

Severus watched her smile and nod at a few of the students as she started gyrating to the music blaring into the room. She liked this? His face scrunched in consternation. Why? She motioned with a few girls to get similar dance steps and as the three of them twirled and stepped together, he heard the chorus.

His face bled away.

The bloody chorus.

I’m just a holy fool, oh baby it’s so cruel

but I’m still in love with Judas, baby!

Judas? At first, he was shocked at the wildly sacrilegious subject of the song, then became angry when he saw her lip-syncing. Judas?

Was she making fun of him?

Oh-oh-oh-woah-oh-ohI’m in love with Jud-a-a-s, Jud-a-a-s…

Bloody buggering hell! He sat back against the bar heavily as she slid a glance to him, then quickly away. Her dancing was becoming a bit racy for being amongst students, wasn’t it? He watched over the rim of his glass as he drained the last of it down, hitting a mouthful of brandy. It burned, but he controlled the cough though his nose. As an automatic gesture, he rolled his head on his neck to loosen the muscles, but found his head reeling from the alcohol.

He peered down at the empty glass.

Two drinks did this to him? He must be tired.

Focusing again on Ginevra, he watched her fend off seventh year boys with a laugh. Prats. They shouldn’t be able to watch her dance like that. ’twas bloody inappropriate. With determination, he pulled out his wand and flicked a Disillusionment Charm her way.

Bloody missed and hit the boy next to her.

He looked down at the wand. Missed? Him? He must be tired. That must be it. He aimed again, hit her with satisfaction, then frowned as the charm wore off when she moved too fast, too hard. He shot another on her direction, hit another boy, who then lost the charm when another boy bumped into him. Damn, that was almost funny.

Staring at his wand, wiping his nose with a sniff and the back of his hand, then focusing on Ginevra, he sent a series of Disillusionment Charms her direction.

Weugh.

The effect, with her wild gyration, was rather strobe-like. He didn’t know whether to be sick from her sporadic and unexplained movement, or to be entranced by what was turning out to be a peep show.

Students were laughing and backing off from her, thinking old Professor Snape was playing a trick on Professor Weasley. She continued dancing with her eyes closed, oblivious.

Aberforth dropped a shot next to him. “You should dance with her then.”

Severus eyed the shot, “Pardon?”

He reached for it as the old man continued, “Go on, won’t harm nothin’.”

He shot the whiskey and demurred. “I don’t.”

He shrugged. “So? When’d that ever stop anyone before?”

With a blink, and a good dose of liquid courage, he was sure, Severus nodded with a tilt to the left and stood up.

I wanna love you,

but something’s pulling me away from you,

Straightening his jacket, he had no idea why, he stalked over to the dance floor and reached for the lovely, lithe creature… She looked up at him, startled…

Jesus is my virtue,

and Judas is the demon I cling to,

He stuffed one hand into his jacket pocket and snaked a hand to her waste. Her hands came automatically up to his shoulders for balance.

I cling to!

The music started back to its wild rhythm and he pushed her into a fast cha-cha, glad to see her keep up with him. After an appropriate count and just as the music changed, he lifted one of her hands off his shoulder, brought her closer in and spun her with him round and round in a tandem spin. Keeping her gaze, staring as intently as he dared, he stopped and twisted her into her own spin, catching her still with one hand to her waist and one to the back of her head, just as the music zipped to a grinding call of “Judas, Jud-a-a,”

Her head turned dramatically to the side in time with the call and the end of the song.

As a chorus of cheers flew up about them, she looked slowly up to him. He released her gently, watching her eyes form realization. Yes, he knew what the song could mean between them. His heart beat a hard pounding against his chest as the room spun into another frenzied song.

They ignored it.

Ginevra stared at him, open-mouthed. “Oh, my God.”

He straightened. There was something about her tone that sounded a bit off. “Erm. Right.” He looked for a quick exit back to the bar. What time was it?

“Oh, my God.”

His head snapped back to her, “It wasn’t that bad.”

She just stood there, trembling with her hand over her mouth. “Oh, my God.”

Severus grit his teeth and stepped backwards. “Right, I get it, I’ll leave you alone now.”

He spun on his heel but heard a muttered, “Oh, no you don’t,” behind him. Surprised when a pair of hands latched onto his arm and yanked him back around, he was unprepared for the mouth reaching up to his.

He froze. She was kissing him. Kissing him. Her lips were so soft, so warm, so perfectly…Ginevra…He opened his eyes to make sure it was her, then breathed and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. Please, don’t let this be a mistake!

oh my god! Professor Snape! Professor Weasley! Ewwww!”

Well, that certainly killed the mood. He lifted up from her delectable mouth and stared at the students gathered about them in shock that he’d done something so private, so publicly. “Um.”

Ginevra was looking around with him and pulling out of his arms. “Uh-huh. We’ll, um, talk later?”

She looked to him with a closed expression. He matched it. “Yes.”

She nodded. “Good.”

He stalked back towards the bar. Halfway back, he heard her clap her hands loudly and yell over the raucous music. “Ahem. Alright, shows over, and Oh! Lookit that! It’s curfew for the kiddies!”

Severus stifled a smirk as the children groaned in protest.

He felt her come up next to him at the bar and watched her reach across for her bag. She stared at him a moment before handing him a clipboard. “Professor? If you would be so kind as to mark them off the list as we exit the building?”

So formal? Was she regretting or simply acting for the students? Now was not the time to ask. “Fine.”

After a careful checking as the students exited the front door, he called out across the crowd of students to her. “We’re missing…” He looked back to the list to confirm, “Craven…and Hartebrink.”

“Oh, Lord.” She rolled her eyes and turned to a blond boy taller than she, “Grantree, where would they have gotten off to? I remember seeing you with them earlier.”

He’d also been one of the ones trying to dance with her, so Severus was not surprised when he stuttered in response, “U-um. Uh-um.”

Severus called out to jolt the dunderhead out of his stupor, “Spit it out, Mister Grantree.”

He did jolt out of it, looking from Ginevra to Severus and back again. “The back stairs. There’s a cupboard to the right of it, kind of hidden.”

Severus nodded and headed back inside. “Thank you. Weasley, I’ll see you back at the castle.”

“But-”

He turned and leveled a glare over his shoulder at her.

Her eyes narrowed at his, but she spat out, “Fine.” With a quick turn, she marched to the front of the crowd, “Alright, then, move along. Back to the castle by eleven or it’s a date with Filch for all of us.”

He smiled at the cavalier way she could make them all groan. Halfway back onto the dancefloor, Aberforth met him with a disheveled pair of students at each hand. He shoved them forward, “Found these two after turning off the music. Figured you’d be back for ’em.”

Severus eyed them and the darkening bruise on the girl’s throat. “Unfortunately.”

The old man snorted, “Yeah, well, have a good night then, eh?” And then he winked. Winked!

Severus could do nothing but stare at him in affront. Aberforth shook his head and walked away, shaking his head and muttering under his breath. Unfortunately, Severus’ hearing was a bit too beaten to catch whatever he was saying.

He turned to the defiant students before him, instead. “Do you know what the punishment is for inappropriate conduct during a school function?”

The boy, Craven, smarted off, “Same as you, I’d suppose?”

Oh, they thought they’d get off easy with a bit of blackmail, did they? Little did they know…Merlin, had they all forgotten who he was, what role he’d played? He sneered at that thought. What was worse, that they no longer feared him so much, or that his past had finally been forgotten? Which mattered more?

Well, regardless of his wishes to be absolved of his past, students still needed to understand respect, if not fear. “Teachers do not get punished because it is not inappropriate for ADULTS to dance together or even kiss in public. It is, however, highly inappropriate for two underage children to scurry off into a broom closet to perform nefarious and licentious acts.” He watched them ponder his words, their little minds stumbling over the larger ones with more syllables. Honestly, why did they not incorporate some sort of Grammar or rudimentary understanding of the English language? “Detention for three nights with Filch, the both of you—at separate times—and twenty-five points each from your houses.”

They shifted closer together, then gaped in indignation. “What!”

The boy continued on dangerous territory, “We weren’t doing anything you weren’t—”

“Silence!” Yes, he still had it. Their eyes widened, wondering what he’d do next. “I was dancing with a coworker. You, from the judge of the darkening hickey on Miss Hartebrink’s neck, were enacting something much less acceptable. We were here to dance, not to cavort! Ten more points apiece!”

This time, the chit spoke up, “But Professor-”

What else would it take? Merlin! “Would you rather I transfer your detentions to me?”

“No, sir.” It was nearly comical how quickly that shut them up. Regardless of what students remembered about his past, his detentions were still notorious. At least he still had that…

He eyed them, “Then bestir yourselves. We’re running behind schedule.”

As he turned to lead them out of the establishment, he missed the knowing smirk passed between the two students.

oo00oo

A little over an hour later, someone was knocking on his door. To his private quarters. He knew it would be Ginevra, but honestly, he didn’t know whether they should continue their…conversation tonight or not. Tomorrow seemed a smarter, more sober thing to do. But there she was as he opened his door.

Looking up at him with her slipping curls and bright blue eyes. “May…may I come in?”

He had met her at the door so many times before to exchange school information, but never had she asked to come in…never had he offered. He moved back from door and watched her tentatively enter the room. She looked around a bit, less than he’s expected, before turning back to him. “I’m…sorry.”

He felt his left eyebrow shoot up…in confusion, in question, in fear…be quiet and she will explain

She played with her fingers and glanced nervously up at him. “F-for making a fool out of myself.”

“Ah.” Of course. Herself. He pushed past her to put the kettle on the wood stove he had instead of a fireplace. Much more practical. He snorted. Practical. It would have been practical if he’d simply left her alone tonight. Everything looked so…embarrassing? Clear? Strange?…with the clarity of sobriety. “You needn’t bother apologizing.”

“I needn’t?”

He looked askant to her, pausing before filling the kettle with water. “No.” He filled the kettle with water with a quick Aguamenti, then turned to her, “I shouldn’t have danced with you.”

Her face scrunched in confusion. “What? Why?”

He peered at her, narrowing his eyes. “If I hadn’t, then your foolery wouldn’t have happened.”

“My—Severus-” She stepped towards him.

He tightened at her free use of his name. Had she ever before? Not that he could remember, and it sounded like honey in her mouth, like promise and affection…he controlled an involuntary shiver.

She continued, “Did you think me so foolish, then?”

He opened his eyes and stared at her, tilting his chin and inch to the left, then center again. “You apologized. You said kissing me was foolish.”

She gasped, “No I did not!”

“You did.”

“That’s not what I meant!”

At her continued protestation, he exploded, “Well, how was I supposed to take it then?”

She answered just as vehemently, “That I was apologizing for doing it in public!” He stiffened. She continued. “For not doing it somewhere private where we could continue!”

His mouth dropped open, by several degrees. He could feel it floundering as he blinked rapidly to absorb her meaning. Continue.

Continue.

“C-contin-” he choked out.

Her voice was half growl, half laugh, “Yes, you tight-arsed, fabulous dancer, you.” She pointed at him, “And that’s another thing! Why the hell did you put up so much of a fight if you could dance like that?”

He was so shocked. “I-”

“Nevermind.” She waved off any response he had with an astounding request as she stepped very, very close to him: “Kiss me again?”

His breathing hitched as he stared, hopelessly, down at her, “Again? I never kissed you.” Would that he had, but no, hsi little Gryffindor had been far braver than he.

She smirked at him and twined her arms around his neck, “Pedantic bugger.” She lifted herself onto tiptoes, tilting her face to him, “Kiss me, anyway?”

He stared, entranced at the shape her mouth made as it puckered up, “Since when have you ever needed my permission for anything?”

She tilted her head back and smiled lightly at him, “Oh, now we’re getting grousy. I’d better add the sugar in…” She pulled his head down to hers and he was lost.

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