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Princess Potter

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Credit and thanks goes to JK Rowling for setting up such an awesome sandpit for us to play in all these years. I have used some text from the books to 'anchor' dialogue and scenes in places.

This is an aged-up femHarry adaptation set in Order of the Phoenix (from Chapter Four and onward), we first gloss over Holly's early Hogwarts years (Chapter One-Four) to set the stage for a complicated relationship between Severus/Holly/SS/HP before moving to deeper water.

I aspire to be as canon and in-character as possible throughout this literary adventure: Professor Severus Snape is not a wizard to woo in a single chapter (slow-burn alert) so skip to Chapter Five, Seven, Nine and Ten if you're only here for 'the juice' (you're welcome!)

This fic will be updated regularly as it is a procrastination project to contend with a thesis this year - so please follow along if you enjoy it, there will be more chapters coming!


Professor Snape entered his chambers with a melodramatic door slam after a tiresome day stocktaking and planning a year's worth of lessons.

Shaking off his teaching robes and tossing it in the general direction of the coat-stand, he made a beeline for the lonely armchair in front of the cold hearth. He pointed his wand lazily at the blackened flagstones and produced a small bluebell flame, bouncing happily in the grate and somehow succeeding in fouling his mood even further.

He opted for closing his eyes, dragging a hand wearily down his face.

He sighed deeply, feeling the heat from the little fire warming his tired body.

The dungeons always started turning unpleasantly cold this time of autumn and soon winter will freeze a crust over the Great Lake outside, robbing his rooms of even more light.

This is what it must feel like to be a flobberworm, he thought idly.

His eyes open again, but only to stare blankly at the vaulted ceiling, listening to the distant calls of the Giant Squid echoing through the dark waters that pressed on the magically enforced windows. The soft blue light flooding his darkened rooms made his headache a little less painful and he took the opportunity to kick off his boots. With another flick of his wand and a wordless Accio the bottle of fancy fire whiskey he got himself for the holidays sloshed through the air, landing in his waiting hand.

Soon the silver cup that accompanied it was filled with amber liquid. Severus took a sip and slowly started to feel some of the tension leaving his shoulders. He sank back into the ancient cushions, finally relaxing.

Everything was suspended in a moment of silence before his mind stubbornly slipped toward his work again; he still had a lot to do before the term commences.

Suddenly restless again, he summoned a leather-bound file with his class registers for the upcoming term and leafed through; counting first years and deciding on the amount of mistletoe berries he ought to order from Pomona for their scheduled forgetfulness potions.

A name caught his eye and his chest constricted painfully.

So, Holly Potter was finally coming to Hogwarts. Has it really been so long? It felt like just yesterday Lily was still alive.

Severus stared at the small name above his finger and wondered for a second if she would be anything like her mother.

His hair fell like curtains over his face and his nose flared as he took a deep breath before tossing the file unceremoniously aside, deciding she would obviously be a spitting image of that half-wit James.

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There weren't many people left now. Minerva placed the sorting hat on the heads of the first years she called forward one by one.

Severus Snape was stared off into the distance with an air of outright disinterest. He was thinking hard about the research conducted by Potions researcher, Professor Velenti Abedeer, regarding the proper curing of slaughterfish scales for use in invisibility potions.

Did he really recommend biweekly darkness and light cycling? Why wouldn't he save himself the trouble and soak it in Seer's water for an hour? Perhaps I should write a suggestion to the dear Professor.

'Moon' … 'Nott' … 'Parkinson' … then a pair of twin girls, 'Patil' and 'Patil' … Perks, Sally-Anne' … and then, at last, Severus allowed his eyes to drop to the scene playing out in front of the head table, failing to suppress a scowl at the way students craned their necks to see the small girl next in line for the sorting hat –

'Potter, Holly!'

Holly stepped forward amidst a sudden outbreak of whispers hissing like little fires all over the hall. Severus could see her pale cheeks turning a bright shade of pink as she walked purposefully toward Minerva, who was dangling the timeworn hat above the stool.

She has her eyes, her lips, her nose, her skin –

The girl turned away to face the whispering school so he couldn't see her face anymore.

But he had seen enough.

A little dark-haired, bespectacled Lily…

Something inside him was satisfied at the girl not strutting about like James most certainly would have, he could even see her almost imperceptibly shrinking away from the school of murmuring children (and evidently two adults, he thought, noticing Pomona and Filius gossiping among themselves).

The Potions Master inside him wanted to get to up at once and bring order to the erupting anarchy, but he was not about to influence the fascinating scene – the master spy inside him was too content.

He watched closely instead as the girl swung her legs nervously and gripped the edges of the stool while waiting.

From the back, he could see her thick and unruly black hair better, the reminder of James bringing a sour twist to his mouth.

It was apparent that she had tied her hair without adult supervision as the thick locks were wrestled haphazardly into a long braid hanging down her back with multiple muggle-looking elastics wrapped around the end. Some of the strands had sprung loose and curled rebelliously into the air like horns.

Lily definitely never looked this chaotic.

He folded his arms and leaned back casually, catching snippets of conversation from the nosy people around him.

'Potter, did she say?'

'The Holly Potter?'

The hat fell over the little girl's head, covering her eyes and knocking her glasses askew. About half a minute passed before the hat shouted:

'GRYFFINDOR!'

Ah, naturally... Severus thought.

He was finding it very difficult to resist the urge to roll his eyes. She walked shakily towards the jubilant Gryffindor table. Now that her glasses were awry, he could see her eyes clearly for the first time.

Big, bright green, almond-shaped eyes…

The girl had gotten the loudest cheer yet, but seemed not to notice. She looked rather relieved to fall into the mass of red and gold. She didn't seem as arrogant as her father but rather the opposite, shying away from the students craning their necks to get a look at her.

He felt a strange, wild instinct taking hold of him, fostering an odd will to give detention to everyone falling out of their chairs to get a look at her.

He shifted slightly in his seat, the sudden onslaught of unsolicited emotional responses making him uneasy; he tried harder to focus on the proper curing for slaughterfish scales.

After everyone was stuffed to the point of nausea and the buzz of conversation calmed somewhat, Severus took the opportunity to look past Quirrell's turban, straight into Holly's eyes – the girl looked back at him and clapped a hand to her forehead in what looked like pain. He saw the lightning bolt scar hidden under her hair after her hand left and turned back to Quirinus Quirell yammering on about his sentimental school memories.

He could feel the girl watching him for a while, but didn't look at her again. Only when he swept from the Great Hall after the feast did he realize how painful it had really been to see her.

It would have been so much easier if she had rather been a spitting image of damned James Potter!


Hi all! Welcome to the first chapter and thank you so much for reading. This story has been evolving in my brain for the past year and it's going to become deliciously lemony in the future, so please leave a comment or follow if you enjoyed reading (and I'll probably upload the next chapter quicker!)

Chapter Text

Professor Snape appeared in the shadowy doorway of his classroom, a tiny cup of strong coffee drifting in the air above his shoulder. The aroma issuing from the cup was so powerful it would make the nearest toad's eyes water; however, it was the very first thing Severus Snape wanted to smell when he woke up - especially if he had double first years, first thing on a Friday morning.

He strode to his desk with his black robes flowing behind him and flicked his wand at the torches bracketed about the chamber. There was a bright flare followed by a warm glow that settled comfortably over the empty classroom.

As always, he had forgone breakfast to get ahead with his personal reading. He dropped his copy of Magick Moste Evile into his top drawer and took a seat, shutting it with a click.

He leaned back to rest his head in his long, interlocked fingers, crossing his ankles neatly in the corner of his desk where there were no piles of parchment.

He is a thin man, broad but round-shouldered with pale skin, shoulder-length black hair framing his face and a large, hooked nose. He wore voluminous teaching robes over a frockcoat with tight sleeves and a neat row of buttons, formal trousers and soft leather shoes. He stuck two fingers in his cravat and tugged it looser.

Severus considered himself so far out of fashion that he was in fact in fashion – a classic, fixed wardrobe that has proven practical and powerful on many occasions (and able to survive Scottish weather year-round).

It was only ten minutes before his first lesson of the day and he was savouring the last moments of peace before his dungeon would be filled with hardly literate teenagers. He checked the ancient grandfather clock between the storeroom and blackboard.

Holly Potter will be here in approximately five minutes. How interesting it would be to measure her likeness to Lily…

He was self-aware enough to know himself to be possessive and slightly obsessive whenever it came to Lily, but he couldn't decide if he should safely be harbouring these hopeful feelings and expectations.

It not only hinted at the depth of his depravity but he was naïve enough to entertain thoughts of a second chance at saving Lily.

And now that James is out of the way, all the better...

Severus could hear his mother's voice plainly then:

'If you are wondering if it's wrong, you're probably right.'

He shook his head like trying to get rid of a fly before reaching for his almost forgotten coffee.

Severus Snape has never thought to consider himself a noble man. He has always been sincerely drawn to the Dark Arts, spending most of his waking hours in the company of often disreputable books and people. He joined the Death Eaters soon after graduation and was responsible for passing an incomplete version of Trelawney's prophecy to the Dark Lord, resulting in the death of Lily and the orphaning of Holly Potter.

He lusted after a married woman that has been dead for fourteen years…

No, Severus Snape has never imagined himself as any sort of protagonist, because he was not a good man. He has always had a limited quota for priorities and there wasn't enough honour to go around after Gryffindor was founded; he would have to settle for helping the Order of the Phoenix out of pure regret and revenge.

Three minutes left.

He finished the rest of his coffee in three mouthfuls and rose silently, pointing his wand at the heavy wooden door which swung inward and groaned ominously. The childish voices outside died away abruptly and the class filed in obediently, Slytherins in the lead.

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Starting the class by taking the register, Severus paused at Holly's name.

"Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Holly Potter. Our new — celebrity."

He could hear the Slytherin table sniggering behind their hands. He finished calling the names and looked up at the class.

"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but he knew they caught every word – Professor Snape has always had the gift of keeping a class silent without much effort.

"As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even stopper death— if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

More silence followed this speech.

"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Holly jumped visibly, sitting up straighter and quickly glancing at the newest Weasly edition sitting next to her, who looked as bewildered as she was. An already exasperating-looking girl's hand shot into the air.

"I don't know, sir," she said.

That familiar voice… A sweet dagger to his heart of hearts, she had the look of a trapped fawn. She was of such a striking resemblance to Lily; he couldn't help marvelling at his own good fortune. His lips curled into a sneer and, despite what he was feeling, he pressed on.

"Tut, tut — fame clearly isn't everything."

He ignored the know-it-all's hand, still speaking only to Holly. He could hear the Slytherin table shaking with laughter now. One final nudge, then.

"Let's try again. Princess Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"

Holly seemed to struggle not to look at the jeering Slytherins. Her cheeks were getting pinker with each question, her green eyes shining.

"I don't know, sir." She said bravely even as he noted her lip started quivering faintly. He turned away abruptly, switching targets before Holly could embarrass herself any further.

"Longbottom!" he snapped. "Answer the question."

Longbottom visibly melted under his gaze, mute as a rock. A cold voice in his ear reminded Severus who this boy truly was. Had the Dark Lord chosen Longbottom instead of Holly, Lily would perhaps never have died…

"Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming, eh, Longbottom?"

Snape was still ignoring the bushy-haired girl's quivering hand.

"What is the difference, Longbottom, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

At this, the girl stood up, her hand stretching toward the dungeon ceiling.

"Sit down," he snapped at her.

Neville Longbottom looked like he was going to puke, which obviously rendered him quite unable to answer. With a roll of his eyes, Severus folded his arms and projected his voice so to reach everyone more clearly.

"For your information, Longbottom, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

Severus swept back to his desk, leaning his knuckles on the dark wood with his head bowed. He flicked his gaze toward Holly, how he itched to see her mind. She was rummaging for a quill and parchment with a slight frown.

He felt a building surge of excitement as he prepared to steal into her mind for a Blitzkrieg attack, if you will, interpreting any thoughts and emotions she might have.

An overgrown bat, really?... and fear… of course, she fears me.

Fear was merely an emotional response induced by a perceived threat that causes a change in brain and organ function. It was as good a place as any to start.

He withdrew from her mind just as her wary eyes met his, suspecting magic perhaps. Over the noise of scratching quills, he said,

"See me after class, Miss Potter."

He looked away and his lip curled despite his restraint.

The girl was absolutely petrified and he struggled to conceal his small satisfaction at this.

Things did not improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lesson continued. He put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a simple potion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak, watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs, critiquing almost everyone - except Malfoy, because he was doing it correctly and, of course, for Lucius' sake.

He was just telling everyone to look at the perfect way Malfoy had stewed his horned slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissing filled the dungeon. Longbottom had somehow managed to melt his partner's cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes.

Within seconds, the whole class was standing on their stools while Longbottom, who had been drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs.

"Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilt potion away with one wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?"

Longbottom whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.

"Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at his partner. He rounded on the rest of the class and said,

"Everyone who still has a potion and or cauldron, clean your workspace and bring a sample to my desk for grading."

There was a sudden scuffle of footsteps and cauldrons, the smell of smoke as flames were put out. He returned to the high-backed wooden chair behind his desk, brandishing a serious-looking hawk feather quill and reaching for his red ink.

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Holly hung back after class reluctantly, standing two flagstones away from the door her classmates just left through.

"Come closer, Miss Potter." He said, finishing his marking with a curt flick of his quill and stacking the documents together in one swift movement.

He slipped the metal tip of the instrument into the inkpot as he rose smoothly from his seat, towering over Holly.

"You need not fear me, I am not your enemy." He paused, trying to put her at ease. "Here–" Severus pushed a book into her surprised hands; she took it automatically, her frown deepening. "-it was your mother's ... I knew her well."

Her head whipped up, her eyes searching both of his.

"You?" She whispers after a moment, unmistakably intrigued but seeming to grapple with the idea of her mother and Professor Snape as friends.

Holly looked down at the battered cover of Charms of Defence and Deterrence by Professor Catullus Spangle and turned it over in her hands; it had once been bright orange and purple with elaborate golden decorations around the title.

"T-thank you . . ." She stammered opening the book and staring at Lily's handwriting.

"Perhaps you will enjoy it as much as she did." He said awkwardly, waving a hand.

"I believe you are due for Transfiguration next, yes?"

She beamed at him unexpectedly then, the same delightful grin his Lily had. He was caught off guard for a second. She turned on her heel and dashed out of the dimly lit room.

Chapter Text

It was four years later and Professor Severus Snape was sitting in the dingy kitchen of number twelve, Grimmauld Place. Breathing across the table from him was one of his absolute least favourite people on the Isles: Sirius Black.

They were glaring in opposite directions, Severus entertaining himself by mentally reviewing his vast library of dark hexes and curses, trying to choose one just for Black. The silence between them was heavy with mutual dislike; he had handed him the letter from Dumbledore and was still waiting for Potter to 'grant him an audience.' It has already been five minutes since Molly left to call her down.

She would have been a perfect replica of Lily had it not been for her knack for making trouble (and the untameable hair) she shared with dear deceased James.

And of course the curious characteristics she shares with the Dark Lord himself…

He was fairly certain that there was no animosity between them, but the last four years had proven very trying indeed:

He saved her from Quirrell jinxing her broom in her first year and has since been refereeing every Hogwarts match he could, attempting to prevent her premature death. He even had to sit examinations for three respective courses for refereeing as required by the Department of Magical Games and Sports.

Then there was the Philosopher's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, damned Sirius Black and the blasted Shrieking Shack, the Triwizard Tournament, the return of the Dark Lord . . . his stomach twisted uncomfortably and he reached a long finger to his inner left forearm, touching his Mark. Severus had to return to His side because of Holly . . . for Holly . . . but He would have somehow returned to power regardless of her actions, he was convinced.

She was seventeen and a fifth-year now and have faced (and survived) the Dark Lord on three separate occasions already, more than most could say.

Holly pushed the kitchen door open without warning, breaking through his thoughts and interrupting his intense eye contact with the filthy scullery window.

He looked around at her; she was wearing a surprised expression and . . . a fluffy white one-piece unicorn suit paired with striped red and yellow socks, her hair twisted into an unruly nest of curls and her wand used as a hairpin. Her sleeves were rolled up to the elbow, ink stains crisscrossing her forearms. The result was immature and frivolous mixed with a dash of frowzy forest-hag. She closed the door carefully behind her, resting her back against it momentarily and gazing at the two seated men.

She really is a perfect replica of Lily. I always forget until I see her again . . .

His practised eye could do nought but take note of the outline of cold-hardened nipples straining against the overlarge, pink belly of the unicorn. He had no doubt that Black noticed it too because he now wore a pained expression, hands twitching and looking like he wanted very much to run over and wrap her in a cloak.

Want to hide her from me, eh Black?

He enjoyed Black's reaction almost as much as he was offended by him daring to sexualize both him and the girl in one go. He wouldn't have paid her breasts any real mind if it weren't for Black's juvenile and possessive response to his godchild.

"Er," Holly said to officially announce her presence. Clearly dumbfounded as to why her professor would call on her.

"Sit down, Potter."

"You know," said Black loudly, now leaning back on his rear chair legs and speaking to the ceiling, "I think I'd prefer it if you didn't give orders here, Snape. It's my house, you see."

He could feel an ugly flush suffusing his face and was almost touched when the girl sat down in a chair midway between him and Black instead of picking a side.

How diplomatic.

"I was supposed to see you alone, Miss Potter," said Severus, the familiar sneer curling his mouth, "but Black —"

"I'm her godfather," said Black, louder than ever.

"I am here on Dumbledore's orders," said Severus, whose voice, by contrast, was becoming more and more waspish, "but by all means stay, Black, I know you like to feel . . . involved."

"What's that supposed to mean?" said Black, letting his chair fall back onto all four legs with a loud bang.

"Merely that I am sure you must feel — ah — frustrated by the fact that you can do nothing useful," Severus laid a delicate stress on the word, "for the Order."

It was Black's turn to flush. Severus's lip curled in triumph as he turned to Holly.

"The headmaster has sent me to tell you, Potter, that it is his wish for you to study Occlumency this term."

"Study what?" said Holly blankly.

"Occlumency, Potter. The magical defence of the mind against external penetration. An obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one."

Holly sat up straighter, sweeping stray hairs out of her eyes.

"Why do I have to study Occlumency?" she blurted out.

"Because the headmaster thinks it a good idea," said Severus smoothly. "You will receive private lessons once a week, but you will not tell anybody what you are doing, least of all Dolores Umbridge. You understand?"

"Yes," said Holly. "Who's going to be teaching me?"

Severus raised an eyebrow.

"I am," he said.

Holly gave a small nod and opened her mouth to answer but was interrupted by Black.

"Why can't Dumbledore teach Holly?" Black said aggressively. "Why you?"

"I suppose because it is a headmaster's privilege to delegate less enjoyable tasks," Severus said silkily. "I assure you I did not beg for the job." He got to his feet. "I will expect you at six o'clock on Monday evening, Potter. My office. If anybody asks, you are taking Remedial Potions."

He turned to leave, his black travelling cloak billowing behind him.

"Wait a moment," said Black, sitting up straighter in his chair.

Severus turned back to face him, sneering.

"I am in rather a hurry, Black . . . unlike you, I do not have unlimited leisure time. . . ."

"I'll get to the point, then," said Black, standing up.

He was taller than Severus who had instinctively balled his fist in the pocket of his cloak over the handle of his wand.

"If I hear you're using these Occlumency lessons to give Holly a hard time, you'll have me to answer to."

"How touching," Severus sneered. "But surely you have noticed that Potter is very much like her mother?"

"Yes, I have," said Black proudly.

"Well then, you'll know she will be better off without your protection." Severus said sleekly. He could see Holly standing a bit straighter after his statement, confusion drawing her brows together.

Black pushed his chair aside roughly and strode around the table toward Severus, pulling out his wand as he went.

Severus whipped out his own.

They were squaring up to each other, Black looking livid, Severus calculating, his eyes darting from Black's wand tip to his face.

"Sirius!" said Holly loudly, but Black appeared not to hear her.

"I've warned you, Snivellus," said Black, his face barely a foot from Severus, "I don't care if Dumbledore thinks you've reformed, I know better —"

"Oh, but why don't you tell him so?" Severus whispered. "Or are you afraid he might not take the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother's house for six months very seriously?"

"Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he's delighted his lapdog's working at Hogwarts, isn't he?"

"Speaking of dogs," said Severus softly, "did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform . . . gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn't it?"

Black raises his wand higher, now pointing it straight at the other man's face . . .

"NO!" Holly yelled, vaulting over the table and trying to get in between them, "Don't, please!"

"Are you calling me a coward?" roared Black, trying to push Holly out of the way, but Holly would not budge.

"Why, yes, I suppose I am," said Severus, keeping his cool.

"Holly — get — out — of — it!" snarled Black, pushing her out of the way with his free hand.

As Black's hand made contact with Holly's furry shoulder, he found his wand tip glowing with the first non-verbal hex he could think of.

The kitchen door opened and the entire Weasley family, plus Granger, came inside, all looking very happy, with Arthur Weasley walking proudly in their midst dressed in a pair of striped pyjamas.

"Cured!" he announced brightly to the kitchen at large. "Completely cured!"

He and all the other Weasleys froze on the threshold, gazing at the scene in front of them, which was also suspended in mid-action, both Black and Severus looking toward the door with their wands pointing into each other's faces and Holly immobile between them, a small hand stretched out to each of them, trying to force them apart.

"Merlin's beard," said Arthur, the smile sliding off his face, "what's going on here?"

Severus lowered his wand at the same time as Black, the unexpected entrance of so many witnesses bringing him to his senses. Holly looked from one to the other with an anxious expression. A few strands of her hair once again hanging over her face.

Severus pocketed his wand and swept back across the kitchen, passing the Weasleys without a comment.

At the door, he turned to look back at Holly one last time.

"Six o'clock Monday evening, Potter."

He was gone, feeling Black's glare following him.


A/N I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I like writing it!

We are almost venturing into uncharted waters for the first time, I wanted to create my own version of Rowling's original chapters (as base camp to establish Holly's character) before galloping away with 'the real' story.

Thanks for reading and please consider leaving a review of my labour-of-love, it's like a coin in my proverbial hat - except that I don't get paid... See you in the next chapter!

Chapter Text

Severus Snape's features were stony, the corners of his mouth were turned down and his brows drawn together, his forehead carved with lines of deep concentration.

He was staring, almost vacantly, through the silvery mist drifting in the ancient bowl of Dumbledore's Pensieve.

Severus wore the expression anyone probably would if they watched years of their bygone life storm by like the rush of train coaches. He was so engrossed in his archives that he wasn't even bothered by the sharp white light of the Pensieve that reflected into his eyes.

His stooped silhouette stood outlined against the darkened office, a tall shadow stretching back into the room.

He was attempting to cull his most violent and otherwise explicit or too personal memories before Holly would arrive for her first Occlumency lesson.

It was a quarter to six and he was making final precautions in favour of maintaining the privacy of his mind, especially since recent evidence – the attack on Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries – attest that the girl shares some sort of unique link with the Dark Lord's mind. Her head was dangerous and evidently increasingly susceptible to His manipulations, which was alarming . . . more so since Dumbledore delegated the task of relaying to Miss Potter the crucial and subtle art of Occlumency to him.

Severus did not discover himself to be particularly entertained by the idea of dying both violently and prematurely, and so opted for protecting himself as best he could.

In any case, he probably couldn't get more involved than he already was.

Still, he understood why Dumbledore chose him as tutor for the girl. He has a notorious and hereditary gift for Legilimency and Occlumency, the natural ability to extract feelings and memories from the minds of others and a stone fist guarding his own mind from intruders.

Who better to teach Holly than the wizard with the most experience keeping the Dark Lord out of his head?

He pressed the sharp point of his ebony wand firmly into the curtain of slick black hair to rest against his temple.

His hair was tousled around his face, the strands catching flecks of light from the glowing stone basin as they sway slightly in the shimmering air.

He directed his focus to control the spell and was simultaneously entranced by the memories flitting across his mind's eye as he dropped them into the ceaselessly moving mass below.

Breathing in a deep sigh of relief as his head started to feel lighter with each discarded memory, it was like a great millstone gradually being lifted from his back.

He continued to purge secrets, most memories regarding the Dark Lord, past exploits of sexual nature and anything to do with James Potter. And so, both his worst and best remembrances fell into the ancient rune-covered basin.

Only as Severus called forth a final memory, did he realise he had been subconsciously saving it for last.

Feeling sentimental?

It was laughable and yet his pulse quickened as he brought the events to his mind's eye again.

He was severely conflicted as a result of the few minutes' worth of events . . . but to his great distaste, some ghoul inside him savoured the details in privacy all the same and he allowed the scene that has tortured him for the last seven days, to be remembered one last time.

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He had been patrolling the hallways of the fifth floor during his staff rounds near midnight when he heard the unmistakable whisper of parchment in fingers from the corridor stemming off to his left. Stepping to the side reflectively, Severus is determined to catch the rulebreaker red-handed.

Standing perfectly still for a heartbeat, his back brushing against the panelled wall beside the statue of Boris the Bewildered . . . two heartbeats . . . His cloak had snapped near his heels as he stepped sideways, and he feared momentarily that he had given himself away.

Then, out of nowhere appeared the head of none other than Miss Holly Potter, bobbing up and down the corridor towards the fourth door to the left.

The brass doorknob below the floating head turned impatiently, seemingly on its own accord.

"Pine fresh! . . . PINE FRESH!" she whispered urgently to the wood while glancing around, perhaps feeling his piercing eyes through the darkness. She almost fell headfirst into the chamber as the door suddenly swung inward.

The statue shielding him from view featured a lost-looking wizard with his gloves on the wrong hands, the fellow provided him with a reasonably unobstructed view of the prefect's bathroom Potter was currently accessing both illegally and past curfew.

A thin strip of moonlight fell from the door she left ajar behind her, the line stretched over the carpets and into the velvet darkness of the sleeping castle.

How very much like her father. Totally irresponsible. What is she thinking?

He was considering how to best handle the situation when Holly pooled a suspiciously familiar invisibility cloak around her feet and kneeled to open one or two of the hundred golden taps surrounding the swimming pool-like bath. Her body was no longer invisible, and he took note of her muggle t-shirt, old jeans and a small vanity that she carried under her arm – in much the same way one would clutch a quaffle.

He tugged curtly at his cuffs, readying himself to step out from behind Boris the Bewildered and invite her to detention over the next two Hogsmeade weekends along with confiscating the invisibility cloak he knew must have been James'.

He could feel a pleasant self-satisfaction fizzing inside him by now, as if he had just swallowed a pepper-up potion.

With a sneer, Severus started walking purposefully toward the door but stopped abruptly again.

In the moonlit chamber he saw Holly peel her t-shirt over her head, elbows now joined above her head.

His stomach turned, and his outstretched fingers faltered mid-air, hovering above the metal knob.

Her face was briefly hidden from view and his gaze consequently dropped to pale breasts bouncing from their constraints.

The skin of her torso was snow-white, untouched by the sun and so obviously hidden away from all, her nipples too were fair and swollen as if stung by a bee.

She bent to turn the soap taps after quickly adding her shirt to the growing pile of discarded clothing on the floor. He could smell floral oils fragrant with cinnamon and lemon wafting through the chamber.

Severus looks away and back again instantaneously, trapped in renewed indecisiveness. His heart hammered painfully in his ribcage; he could feel the fingers of his right-hand quiver slightly until he opted to clutch his wand in a fist instead.

Only mere seconds had slipped away as he stood outside the door, immobilized and very much as bewildered as the statue of the wizard behind him. He looked up and down the deserted corridor. No one was there.

Severus carefully observed that his first instinct was to burst in and command the girl to get dressed immediately and scurry off to bed. But instead, he found his mouth parched, as if it was filled with soil, his legs too heavy to move. He closed his eyes, his shoulders tense and pulled toward his ears. He had missed the window of opportunity, if he interfered now if would reflect more negatively on his own person. He would also be risking the delicate sense of trust he had tried, in his own twisted way, to cultivate during her years at Hogwarts.

His gaze returned hesitantly, the sliver of light coming from the door falling back across his face.

I had never even seen Lily . . . like this . . .

But I have wondered many times . . .

He felt nauseous.

Lily-white skin, thin, willowy frame to the point he was able to count ribs and see abdominal obliques shifting like ropes under her skin. An unruly mane of black hair hid her shoulders from him, but he could see the lightning-bolt scar and two yellowing bruises on her upper right arm. Holly reached down a hand and popped the button on her jeans, the flesh of her small tits squeezed together between her arms . . . Struggling to tear his eyes away, Severus felt like his cravat is tightening around his neck, becoming uncomfortable.

This is wrong.

Abruptly, he shook his wand from his sleeve and pointed it at the door, making it swing shut silently.

He turned on his heels and swept toward the dungeons.

Portraits sped past, most of the occupants fast asleep, others stirring fitfully or snoring dramatically.

Only on the Grand Staircase did he dare close his eyes for a searing moment, the image of the half-naked girl branded into the back of his eyelids derailed him completely.

She's just a child he pleaded with himself.

Virgin another, deeper voice whispers, ignoring the first. Besides, it continued its unsolicited justification, witches younger than seventeen marry; laws are more archaic in the wizarding world, after all.

For some reason he then also thought briefly of selected Dark Potions needing virgins' blood and how he only once managed to get a vial for sale.

At the statue of Gunhilda of Gorsemoor, he paused, shaking his head in disgust as he warily lowered a hand to adjust his cock, displeased and unsurprised to find that it stood half-rigid, no doubt inspired by the events.

Severus scolded himself viciously for the few seconds he had spent hovering when he should have either made his presence known and enforce school rules or just walked away.

He pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh before he descended further into the bowels of the castle, black robes billowing around him.

It would not be the first time he spied at doors, he reminded himself of Trelawney's prophecy that fateful night at the Hog's Head.

. . . and it has always turned out to be a very bad idea . . .

Before he could recall the sleepless nights filled with shame and guilt he experienced following the event in question, the memory vanished altogether as if it never happened, his mind suspiciously untroubled. Severus dropped the final silver wisp into the basin and stood up, all too aware of the vulnerable state of ignorance he was in, now that all his most prized recollections were removed.

Chapter Text

To his great surprise, Holly was two minutes early.

She knocked twice, then entered soaking wet, a trail of water dripping from the tip of the broom over her shoulder, a bag slung over her other arm. He stood still in the darkness, watching her blink and look around his office.

"Shut the door behind you, Miss Potter." He spoke from the darkness, his voice somewhat hoarse with disuse.

She jumped at the sound, turning quickly to close the heavy door behind her and making hundreds of potions and specimens jars containing many different forms of animals and plants, clink in unison.

When she moved closer to him, Severus could see her lips are bluish-white, her knee pads' clasps loosened a peg after practice and her close-fitting, sand-coloured flying breeches stained by grass here and there. He also took notice of a large, muddy handprint on one buttock as she took off her waterlogged Quidditch cloak embroidered with large golden letters on the back. Her wild hair, matted flat to her head by the rain, was looking as neglected as ever. He could see she attempted to fix it up a bit, but there was no taming it without magic.

Holly was a fifth-year now, tall and thin, the top of her head almost reaching his shoulder. Her hand-knitted emerald jumper, with a yellow H on the front, was sitting so tight over her chest, Severus assumed that she must have gotten it for Christmas the year before the last. He could just imagine boys falling over their feet trying to get her to notice them now.

Lily was fifth year when we . . . separated.

If he had not removed his Worst Memory in preparation for this lesson, Severus would have known why he felt a seemingly random rush of hate for the late James Potter just then.

In reaction to the hateful glow brought by thinking of his own fifth year, annoyance shot up like a weed in the back of his mind. As always, she sought to remind him constantly of James. He also found himself wondering exactly whose handprint that was, imagining a strutting Gryffindor teen groping at her after Quidditch practice.

Hormones . . .

He rolled his eyes and exhaled slowly through his nose, folding his arms tightly as he watched her kick her bag into the corner with the muddiest boots to have dared enter the Potion Master's office to date.

She turned back to face the room, her bright green eyes immediately finding the Pensieve at the far end of the room. Severus moved into the light and pointed silently at the chair opposite his desk.

Holly and Severus both sat down silently. He fixed his eyes unblinkingly upon her.

Holly's face was lit by the candelabra on his desk and met his gaze briefly as she was struggling out of her dragonhide flying gloves, tipping the water trapped inside onto the dungeon floor like a trickle of gnome piss.

Seeing his brows dropping ever lower in bemusement, Holly flashed the special smile she seemed to reserve for him – a kind of sheepish grin you would surely flash someone you suspected could see your nastiest thoughts as if written on parchment.

She whipped out her wand from her tight, damp trousers and pointed at the pool of water that gathered beneath her chair.

"Evanesco." She said loudly.

The puddle vanished.

"If you are quite done, Potter." Severus snapped, he could visualize his patience wearing thinner.

She sat up straighter and touched her wand to her brow in a light-hearted salute.

"This may not be an ordinary class, Miss Potter," said Severus, his eyes narrowing malevolently, "but I am still your teacher and you will, therefore, call me 'sir' or 'Professor' at all times."

"Yes . . . sir," said Holly.

"Well, you know why you are here," he said. "The headmaster has asked me to teach you Occlumency."

"Right," said Holly.

As silence fell for a moment, a wicked rumbling groan resounded through his office. Her stomach seemed to be the origin.

"Skipping dinner for Quidditch practise?" he asked in a bored tone, lifting his brows questioningly.

She started shrugging in reply, just as he cast a nonverbal Accio, sliding a box of Sugar Mice across his desk toward her with a long-fingered, pale hand.

"It was a gift," he offered as explanation, "and I don't like liquorice."

She hesitated.

"We haven't got all night, Potter. We still need to get a team of house-elves to clean down here after you are done with the dungeons."

She rolled her eyes – like only a teenager could – uncrossed her legs in a very unladylike manner and scooted forward to grab hold the box and tear inside the colourful wax paper wrappers. She broke eye contact to rummage around for a fat mouse with an acceptable layer of sugar dusting and met his eyes as she stuck it head-first into her mouth. Considering its size, he was surprised.

Is this a challenge?

Before long, Holly stuck another mouse in her mouth. She started shaking her wet hair loose and running it through with one claw-like hand, combing it with her fingers and wringing water from the lengths whilst chewing happily on the mouse.

He could smell her flowery shampoo, heavy with cinnamon and lemon that reminded him of something he couldn't put his finger on. She watched him through her lashes as she worked her hair back into a wet bun.

"Careful Potter, you know what they say about witches who sit like wizards –" his black eyes fell to her lap for a split second before meeting her eyes again. He regretted it instantly.

The material of her Quidditch breeches was stretched tightly over her sex, showing the outline of her labia separated by the seam of her trousers.

She crossed her legs on the chair again, making him wonder how strangled his expression must have been to motivate the change of position. She rested her elbows on the ankles of her muddy boots, sliding her hand sweetly under her chin.

"I only know you like to look, Professor." She blushed pink but kept his gaze, her eyes sparkling with juvenile delight.

This must be a joke.

"You flatter yourself, Princess. I prefer older witches." He set his face in a death mask, giving nought away.

She feigned a yawn and laughed. A light tinkling of bells he knew from boyhood. He wanted to smile.

Lily.

She shrugged again, "I don't mind. It's like a compliment. I trust you. Sir."

At a loss for words, he cleared his throat, the idea of a smile fading as quickly as it came. He opened his mouth to strike out but Holly interrupted his sarcastic retort.

"How'd you like my new glasses, Professor?" She asked quickly, pointing up her nose at the pair of thin, golden round frames, with a too-long fingernail.

She probably perceived his awkward silence as a good opportunity to change the topic.

The spectacles certainly were better than the worn pair she had before. He could see more of her face now that the frames were finer and the glass free of scratches.

"It seems to be within the prescribed school uniform regulations, your nails, however – show me your hands – "

She held out her hands with a huff.

He read I must not tell lies scarred into the back of one of her hands, but he decided to ask about it later.

"– must be clipped as to not exceed the fingertip, Miss Potter."

He looked sternly down at her, his arms still folded tightly over his chest, hands tucked under his arms.

Lily would not like to see how neglected her daughter is . . .

She nodded and shoved her hands under her armpits too, miming his body language and making him uncomfortably self-aware.

The corner of his mouth twitched impatiently and, with slow deliberation and unbroken eye contact, he loosened his stance again and laid his palms on the table.

"Now. Occlumency. As I told you back in your dear godfather's kitchen, is a branch of magic that seals the mind against magical intrusion and influence."

"And why does Professor Dumbledore think I need it, sir?" Holly asks, looking him square in the eyes.

Severus looked back at her for a moment and then said more contemptuously than he meant to; "Surely you could have worked that out by now, Potter? The Dark Lord is highly skilled at Legilimency —"

"What's that? Sir?"

"It is the ability to extract feelings and memories from another person's mind —"

"He can read minds?" said Holly quickly, her worst fears seemed to be confirmed.

"You have no subtlety, Miss Potter," said Severus, his dark eyes glittering.

He pauses for a moment before continuing.

"Only Muggles talk of 'mind reading.' The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing, Potter. Or at least, most minds are. . . ." He smirked.

"It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly. The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so utter falsehoods in his presence without detection."

"So he could know what we're thinking right now, Sir?"

"The Dark Lord is at a considerable distance and the walls and grounds of Hogwarts are guarded by many ancient spells and charms to ensure the bodily and mental safety of those who dwell within them," Severus took a quick breath. "Time and space matter in magic, Miss Potter. Eye contact is often essential to Legilimency."

"Well then, why do I have to learn Occlumency?" Her voice was quieter now, leading him to conclude that she is, at least a little, afraid.

Severus eyed Holly, tracing his mouth with one long, thin finger as he did so.

"The usual rules do not seem to apply with you, princess. The curse that failed to kill you seems to have forged some kind of connection between you and the Dark Lord. The evidence suggests that at times, when your mind is most relaxed and vulnerable — when you are asleep, for instance — you are sharing the Dark Lord's thoughts and emotions. The headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord."

Holly started fidgeting with the sleeve of her jumper. She looked up at him with renewed confusion.

"But why does Professor Dumbledore want to stop it?" she asked. "I don't like it much, but it's been useful, hasn't it? I mean." She struggled for a moment, "I saw that snake attack Mr Weasley and if I hadn't, Professor Dumbledore wouldn't have been able to save him, would he? Sir?"

Severus stared at the girl for a few moments, still tracing his mouth with his finger.

When he spoke again, it was slowly and deliberately, as he was weighing every word.

"It appears that the Dark Lord has been unaware of the connection between you and himself until very recently. Up till now, it seems that you have been experiencing his emotions and sharing his thoughts without his being any the wiser. However, the vision you had shortly before Christmas —"

"The one with the snake and Mr Weasley?"

"Do not interrupt me, Potter," his voice held a dangerous tone.

"As I was saying . . . the vision you had shortly before Christmas represented such a powerful incursion upon the Dark Lord's thoughts —"

"I saw inside the snake's head, not his!"

"I thought I just told you not to interrupt me, Potter?"

She had moved forward in her chair so that, seemingly without realizing it, she was perched on the very edge, tense as though poised for flight.

"How come I saw through the snake's eyes if it's Voldemort's thoughts I'm sharing?"

"Do not say the Dark Lord's name!" spat Severus, his blood pressure spiking.

There was a long, nasty silence.

They glared at each other across the Pensieve.

"Professor Dumbledore says his name," said Holly quietly.

"Dumbledore is an extremely powerful wizard," Severus muttered. "While he may feel secure enough to use the name, the rest of us . . ."

He rubbed his left forearm unconsciously on the spot where the Dark Mark is burned into his skin.

"I just wanted to know," Holly began again, forcing her voice back to politeness, "why —"

"You seem to have visited the snake's mind because that was where the Dark Lord was at that particular moment," snarled Severus. "He was probably possessing the snake at the time and so you dreamed you were inside it too."

"And Vol — he — realized I was there?"

"It seems so," Severus answered coolly.

"How do you know?" Holly voice was now filled with urgency. "Is this just Professor Dumbledore guessing, or —?"

"I told you," he said, rigid in his chair again, his eyes now slits, "to call me 'sir.'"

"Yes, sir," said Holly impatiently, "but how do you know —?"

"It is enough that we know," said Severus repressively. "The important point is that the Dark Lord is now aware that you are gaining access to his thoughts and feelings. He has also deduced that the process is likely to work in reverse; that is to say, he has realized that he might be able to access your thoughts and feelings in return —"

"And he might try and make me do things?" asked Holly. "Sir?" she added hurriedly.

"He might," he said, trying to sound cold and unconcerned.

"Which brings us back to Occlumency."

Severus pulled out his wand from an inside pocket of his robes, making Holly tense in her chair, but he merely raised it to his temple and placed its tip into the roots of his hair again. When he withdrew it, a silvery substance came away, stretching from temple to wand like a thick gossamer strand. It broke as he pulled the wand away and fell gracefully into the Pensieve, where it swirled into the silvery-white that was neither gas nor liquid. Twice more Severus raised the wand to his temple and deposited the silvery substance into the stone basin.

Without any explanation, he picked up the Pensieve carefully, removing it from between them. After placing it on a shelf to the side, he returned to face Holly, his wand held at the ready.

"Stand up and take out your wand, Miss Potter."

Holly got to her feet, clearly feeling nervous. They faced each other over the desk.

"You may use your wand to attempt to disarm me or defend yourself in any other way you can think of," Severus could not deny that he was feeling a bit of excitement at the prospect of looking into her mind.

He focused on controlling his breathing.

"And what are you going to do?" Holly asked, eyeing Severus's wand apprehensively.

"I am about to attempt to break into your mind," his voice was soft, but not gentle.

"We are going to see how well you resist. I have been told that you have already shown aptitude at resisting the Imperius Curse. You will find that similar powers are needed for this."

For a moment they just stared at each other.

"Brace yourself, now. . . Legilimens!"

Severus struck before Holly was ready, he watched through her eyes as the office vanished, image after image racing through her mind like a flickering film . . .

She was a little girl of four or five, watching a fat boy riding a new red bicycle, and her heart was bursting with jealousy. . . She was about nine, and a bulldog was chasing her up a tree and there was a family of muggles laughing below on the lawn. . . She was sitting under the Sorting Hat, and it was telling her she would do well in Slytherin. . . Granger was lying in the hospital wing, her face covered with thick bushy hair. . . A hundred dementors were closing in on Holly beside the dark lake. . . A boy with dark hair was drawing nearer to her under a bushel of mistletoe. . . He felt her shy away from his invasion as soon as the boy came up and he prompted for more, testing her resistance. Severus recognized him as Chang, a Ravenclaw peer.

No, said a voice in Holly's head, as the memory of Chang drew closer — She let out a yelp as she fell to the floor, one of her knees had collided painfully with the leg of Severus's desk.

She was looking up at him where he had lowered his wand and was now rubbing his wrist. There was an angry weal there, like a scorch mark.

"Did you mean to produce a Stinging Hex?" His eyes were cold and his face pensive.

"No," Holly could not keep the bitterness out of her voice. She got up quickly, trying to hold her composure.

"I thought not," said Severus contemptuously. "You let me get in too far. You lost control."

"Did you see everything I saw?" Holly asked, sounding unsure whether she wanted to hear the answer or not.

"Flashes of it," said Severus, his lip curling. "To whom did the dog belong?"

"My Aunt Marge," Holly muttered, hatred shining in her green eyes.

He didn't care that she hated him now, this lesson was for her own good.

"Well, for a first attempt that was not as poor as it might have been," he was already raising his wand again. He wasn't sure if she understood this as the compliment it was meant as.

"You managed to stop me eventually, though you wasted time and energy shouting. You must remain focused. Repel me with your brain and you will not need to resort to your wand."

"I'm trying," said Holly angrily, "but you're not telling me how!"

"Manners, Miss Potter," said Severus dangerously.

"Now, I want you to close your eyes."

Holly threw him an exasperated look before doing as she was told. She did not seem to like the idea of standing with her eyes shut while her opponent faced her, carrying a wand.

Good girl.

"Clear your mind and let go of all emotion."

But Holly's frustration at Severus's attack continued to befuddle her brain.

"You're not doing it, Potter. You will need more discipline than this. Focus, now. . ."

Holly frowned, clearly trying to empty her mind, but it isn't as easy for her as it was for him.

"Let's go again, on the count of three . . . one — two — three — Legilimens!"

A great black dragon was rearing in front of her. . . Lily and her father was waving at her out of an enchanted mirror. . . Cedric Diggory was lying on the ground with blank eyes staring at her. . .

"NOOOOOOO!" She was on her knees again, her face buried in her hands.

"Get up!" Severus says sharply,

"Get up! You are not trying, you are making no effort, you are allowing me access to memories you fear, handing me weapons!"

Holly stood up again, her face ashen.

Severus also felt paler than usual, and angrier, though not nearly as angry as Holly was.

"I — am — making — an — effort," she said through clenched teeth.

"I told you to empty yourself of emotion!"

"Yeah? Well, I'm finding that hard at the moment," Holly snarled.

"Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!" Severus knew it was harsh, but it was true.

"Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Holly!"

"I am not weak," Severus had never heard Holly's voice like that. She was trembling with rage.

"Then prove it! Master yourself!" he spat.

"Control your anger, discipline your mind! We shall try again! Get ready, now!

Legilimens!"

He saw a man hammering a letterbox shut. . . . A hundred dementors were drifting across the lake in the grounds toward her. . . . She was laying on an altar covered with runes in a white linen dress. She was running along a windowless passage with Arthur Weasley. . . They were drawing nearer to the plain black door at the end of the corridor. . . Holly expected to go through it . . . but Weasley led her off to the left, down a flight of stone steps. . . .

"I KNOW! I KNOW!" She was on all fours again on Severus Snape's office floor, her scar standing out against her pale skin, but the voice that had just issued from her mouth was triumphant.

She pushed herself up again to find Severus staring at her, his wand still in the air. Severus had lifted the spell before Holly had even tried to fight back, he was perplexed by the unnaturally clear image he saw of her on an altar and equally by the memory of what looked like the corridor in the Department of Mysteries.

Impossible.

"What happened then, Holly?" he asked, eyeing her intently.

"I saw — I remembered," Holly's panting filled the room, clearly, she was distracted. "I've just realized . . ."

"Realized what?" His voice is still sharp.

Holly did not answer at once, instead, she rubbed her forehead before her eyes found Severus again.

"What's in the Department of Mysteries?" She asked.

"What did you say?" Severus asked quietly and saw Holly watching him closely for a reaction. His suspicions were confirmed, and he could not stop his nostrils flaring or his eyes widening.

"I said, what's in the Department of Mysteries, sir?" Holly said, looking satisfied.

Indeed. The Dark Lord is in her mind already, what is His plan?

"And why," said Severus slowly, "would you ask such a thing?"

"Because," said Holly, still watching him, "that corridor I've just seen — I've been dreaming about it for months — I've just recognized it — it leads to the Department of Mysteries . . . and I think Voldemort wants something from —"

"I have told you not to say the Dark Lord's name!" He spat as if burned by something hot.

She's been dreaming under His influence for months already! He wants the prophecy, of course, but there's more to it.

They glared at each other, his mind racing.

Something's off.

Holly's scar clearly hurt again, because she moved a hand up to cover her forehead like a wound. When he spoke again he tried hard to not sound as though he was acting cool and unconcerned.

"There are many things in the Department of Mysteries, Miss Potter, few of which you would understand and none of which concern you, do I make myself plain?"

"Yes," Holly said, still rubbing her scar.

Liar.

She was still sitting on his office floor. Severus stepped closer, offering her a hand.

She took it without thinking and he felt his Dark Mark burn like a Summon without warning as soon as she touched his hand.

He pulled her onto her feet quickly and drew his hand away with a frown, looking down at her.

"Sir?" She had noticed his discomfort as he clutched his forearm, confused. The sensation had gone as soon as she let go of him.

Only the Dark Lord has the power to summon Death Eaters . . .

"It's nothing." He said, trying to be gentle but failing. Severus stuffed his affected hand in a pocket.

A summoning burns much longer . . . What on earth was going on here?

"And the altar?" He asked, weighing his disordered questions and going with the one that bothered him the most.

"What altar?" She replied, genuinely mystified.

He narrowed his eyes, boring into her mind for truth.

"Just now." He hissed impatiently. "You . . . don't remember?"

She shook her head, looking at him like he'd gone a bit mad. Hundreds of little red flags sprouted and started waving frantically all over his brain.

"I want you back here same time on Wednesday, and we will continue work then."

"Okay," piped Holly.

"You are to rid your mind of all emotion every night before sleep — empty it, make it blank and calm, you understand?"

"Yes," she barely seemed to be listening. She was white as a sheet and looked a bit feverish. Her scar seemed to be more noticeable than usual.

"And be warned, Holly . . . I shall know if you have not practised. . ."

"Right," Holly mumbled.

"I have something for you," he said, picking up a book from his desk. He held it out to her and said:

"Homework."

She took the book with pursed lips and turned it around to read the weathered title, her hands shivering.

Occlumency and Legilimency for the Novice by Nicolaus Borage.

Holly opened the first pages automatically, quickly finding what she was looking for.

"Severus T. Snape." She glanced up at him. "What's the T for, sir?"

He opened his mouth and closed it again.

"Try asking me again Wednesday, Princess."

"I'll start guessing." She smiled despite looking like she just got off a week-long voyage at sea. The ghost of a smile hovered over his lips.

"You are welcome to take the Sugar Mice with you." He said as he turned away, desperate to meditate on what he had learned and equally annoyed at her habit of disarming him with a well-timed smile.

After picking up her schoolbag, broom and other possessions, Holly opened the door.

He could feel, and hear, her pausing to look back at him.

His back was still to her, while he scooped his own thoughts out of the Pensieve with the tip of his wand and replaced them carefully inside his head.

"Goodnight, sir." She said to his back.

Holly left without another word, closing the door carefully behind her.


A/N Dearest friends, I'd like to apologize for the tardy update. These last two chapters were half-written and waiting in limbo until some kind-hearted reviewers came along and softened my heart into putting them up . . .

P.S. I think girls work harder in school (compared to most boys) so that's part of my reasoning for a more studious Holly.

Let me know your thoughts and a big THANK YOU to everyone who took time to write a comment, follow and favourite!

Chapter Text

A hellish week layered by sleep depravity dragged by and suddenly it was Saturday again. The sun was starting its climb through the morning sky, the day was bright with only a slight draft coming from the snow-capped mountains around Hogwarts.

The fact that today was the first Quidditch match of the season, Gryffindor versus Slytherin, summarized most complications that sought to involve Professor Severus Snape the past week. The Quidditch Cup had not been held for so long, it saw to considerable added interest and excitement surrounding the approaching game.

Rolanda Hooch and Severus Snape hovered at the fringes of the pre-match scene, keeping an eye on players and supporters gathering on the pavilions. He found himself somewhat eager to referee a match between the two big competitors, as he has interests on both sides.

Only once James Potter laid six-foot underground, Remus Lupin was ostracised, Sirius Black a dead man walking and little Lily found herself at risk did Quidditch begin to rub off on him.

Being comfortable on a broom was a skill he had to learn the hard way. Severus had put in hours of practice to be able to keep his composure during the fast-paced game, played whilst basically clutching a stick between your thighs and speeding through the air – and he had to pass the three levels of practical assessment trials during the Department of Magical Games and Sports International Practical Quidditch Refereeing Competency Examinations.

He had to learn to fly like he had to learn to like Quidditch and, although Severus had to make up for many disadvantages during his four years involved in the sport, he was now the most heavy-duty referee Hogwarts had. This was proven by the frequency he was placed on the field at the special request of Hooch, McGonagall or at times even Dumbledore to enable staff to catch cheats and break up inevitable fights between hot-headed participants.

His ability to bring players to heel and his shrewd knowledge and severe enforcement of the rules made him an intimidating referee. Even statistically, his matches were cleaner compared to the rest of the staff because of the control he usually maintained over the field.

His main objective was still to keep Holly from breaking her neck by accident or otherwise and he liked to think that his promise to keep her safe made him at the very least less bias toward other teams.

The Gryffindor players sat in a circle, going through a stretching routine together before warm-up.

Holly laid her ear on her knee in a deep hamstring stretch while simultaneously chatting happily with a friend twisted into a similar pose. She laughed with the general conversation and joined in with a cheer or witty comment as they did shoulder mobility. She then showed off by tying her boot laces while doubled over like an acrobat, her friends seeming to love it.

They love her.

Something strong inside Severus seemed to be inexplicably slighted by this.

Could it be jealousy?

He looked away, trying to distract himself.

Gathered by the changing rooms, the Slytherin players huddled together in a strategic planning session. The new captain, Montague, used his wand to draw on the cold mud, occasionally pointing at players around him and then poking at the elaborate dirt-plan again. The team seemed reasonably prepared, but whether or not they are better than last season remains to be seen. He had booked the Quidditch pitch for their practice so often that the Gryffindors had difficulty getting on it to play and yet he was still missing the House Cup in his office.

Severus despised seeing Gryffindor triumph over his own house . . . even if Holly was part of the team.

They have had enough victories, today the cup is for Slytherin.

And what a perfect day it is for a Quidditch skirmish; there was little wind and the sky was a uniform pearly white, which meant that visibility would be good without the drawback of direct sunlight in the eyes.

Severus' black goat hair scarf whipped away in the icy breeze but he caught a fistful in a gloved hand, stuffing the tip in between the buttons of the black waistcoat he wore over his usual white shirt. For Quidditch matches, he preferred to play without his constricting teaching coat and opted for soft leather knee-boots with his trousers tucked inside. He also wore an official Department of Magical Games and Sport (DMGS) issued lightweight, black referee cloak lined with wool, which he found was enough to keep him warm and still agile during the game. Severus knotted his scarf more securely around his neck when laughter and delighted shrieks pulled his black eyes back to the Gryffindors.

Not knowing why he was even still surprised by the things she did, he found Holly and two teammates doing cartwheels while holding their brooms above their heads in a triangle. Onlookers lay sideways as they laughed and applauded as Holly now entertained them by walking around on her hands with what looked like the Weasley twins and another female player. Although impressive physical display, it was too James-like for him to enjoy at any level.

Please. Lose.

He caught a glimpse of the decidedly English skin tone of her exposed hip bone and navel before she flipped upright again in an elegant flourish of crimson, leaves and legs. She bowed with her Firebolt held aloft and a brilliant grin, her face red.

Severus didn't understand how she could possess of this kind of energy, he had been unable to sleep for more than forty minutes at a time for a week and she was wasting energy walking around on her hands.

She certainly doesn't look like she's been under attack by the Dark Lord for months . . .

Perhaps it troubled him because she was the reason he could not bring himself to sleep (or eat) and yet there she was, acting all unbothered in the very face of his suffering.

Stress had caused his neck and shoulders to grow stiff and sore, and the index and middle fingers of his right hand quivered with irrepressible, albeit minor, tremors when he wasn't paying attention.

When finally he did find sleep, his dreams were haunted by spectres in darkened rooms, gathered around ancient stone altars inscribed with peculiar runes – no doubt brought up helpfully by his sub-consciousness to solve the riddle of how Holly Potter got to be on top of one in a nightdress, without recollection of the strange event.

Severus used most waking moments fostering unhealthy suspicions and brooding over a plan aimed to firstly, determine the extent of and reasons for the psychic attack and thereafter – to somehow – exorcise the Dark Lord from her mind. He required honest answers to several questions at the earliest opportunity and found himself even considering proactively using Veritaserum.

Lies will only waste more precious time.

He could hear hundreds of footsteps mounting the banked benches of the spectators' stands now. Severus was starting to feel anticipation for what was to come. After shouldering his broom he bewitches the trunk containing the various Quidditch balls to levitate in front of him as the players march onto the pitch in single file. A roar of sound greeted them.

Let the game begin.

666666

"— and Katie Bell of Gryffindor dodges Pucey, ducks Montague, nice swerve, Katie, and she throws to Johnson, Angelina Johnson takes the Quaffle, she's past Warrington, she's heading for goal, come on now Angelina — GRYFFINDOR SCORES! It's forty-ten, forty ten to Slytherin and Pucey has the Quaffle . . ."

Slytherin was in the lead and the Snitch was nowhere to be found, the new Weasley Keeper seemed to be having trouble controlling his limbs well enough to knock a Quaffle away from his person today. All things considered; it was looking good for Slytherin.

Severus kept one eye on Draco and Holly soaring around the stadium as he climbed higher above the players like a large, black bird of prey.

He kept his whistle slack in his mouth, circling the game whilst looking for discrepancies.

Holly ducked a Bludger that Crabbe had sent rocketing in her direction and resumed her frantic scouring of the pitch for the Snitch.

He forced himself to focus on the progressing game again.

"— Pucey throws to Warrington, Warrington to Montague, Montague back to Pucey — Johnson intervenes, Johnson takes the Quaffle, Johnson to Bell, this looks good — I mean bad — Bell's hit by a Bludger from Goyle of Slytherin and it's Pucey in possession again . . ."

The next moment, Severus saw a green-and-silver blur streak out of the sky on his left. Draco had caught sight of the tiny Golden Snitch hovering a few feet above the ground at the Slytherin end of the pitch. He was diving toward it, lying flat on his broom.

Holly had noticed him too and had pulled her Firebolt around, quickly following Draco down to the ground.

Soon, she was neck in neck with Draco.

The Snitch skirted the foot of one of the goal hoops and then it shot off toward the other side of the stands. The change of direction suited Draco, who was nearer.

Yes! Get it!

Feet from the ground, Holly lifted her right hand from her broom, stretching toward the Snitch. To her right, Draco's arm was also extended, groping for the tiny winged ball. . .

It was over in two desperate seconds — Holly's fingers had closed around the tiny, struggling ball — Draco's fingernails scraping the back of her glove hopelessly. Holly pulled her broom upward, holding the struggling ball aloft. The Gryffindors and some of the other Houses' spectators were screaming their approval so loud Snape could feel the vibrations in his tight chest.

No!

Severus groaned inwardly even as he blew the whistle signalling the capture of the Snitch and the subsequent hundred and fifty points to Gryffindor, making them win once again.

WHAM!

Fuck.

A revenge-Bludger by Crabbe hit Holly square in the small of the back. She flew forward off her broom and landed flat on her back on the frozen pitch. Thankfully she was only five or six feet above the ground, having dived so low to catch the Snitch.

Severus exhaled slowly as he heard Hooch's shrill whistle for a foul in her territory and saw her zooming toward Crabbe.

He made a quick decision to break off toward Holly when he saw Slytherins descend near her but was relieved to see her chest rising and falling. He jumped a few feet before landing and made hard contact with the ground, feeling the icy grass crunch underneath his boots. One hand gripping his broom handle, he drew close to Holly, his cloak swelling around him like a black sail. His cold shadow slid over her face, blocking the sunlight as he stood over her.

Her eyes were open and blinking slowly.

He stood a few feet from her, not daring to come closer in such a complicated political setting. He tried to keep his voice level and loud enough to carry over the commotion.

"Are you all right?"

"'Course I am," said Holly grimly, shielding her face with one hand and holding the struggling Snitch in the other, trying to see him in the bright sunlight.

Severus beckoned the Gryffindor captain over.

"Take Potter to Madam Pomfrey."

The older girl obeyed promptly.

Holly's green eyes paused on him as she picked up her broom.

He watched them start off toward the castle and when he was sure that Holly was fine, he turned and strode over to join Hooch and Crabbe.

He heard the girls talking as he left.

"It was that thug, Crabbe," the captain said angrily at Holly.

"He whacked the Bludger at you the moment he saw you'd got the Snitch — but we won, Holly, we won!"

Severus added the incident report to his mental to-do list and cringe inwardly. It propelled his feet faster down the pitch toward the group of gathering Slytherins, his cloak whipping back in response to his quickened pace.

A fuss erupted behind him and he turned irritably, looking for the culprits sure to regret it soon.

"Spend holidays there and everything, don't you? Can't see how you stand the stink, but I suppose when you've been dragged up by Muggles even the Weasleys' hovel smells okay –"

Draco was standing close to a few Gryffindors, openly baiting both Potter and one of the Weasley Beaters to what looked like Muggle hand-to-hand combat.

"Leave it," the captain said, holding Holly by the arm. It was taking the combined efforts of four teammates to stop a Weasley Beater leaping on Draco, who was laughing loudly. Holly looked around desperately, probably for Hooch, but met Severus' narrowed black eyes instead.

"Or perhaps," said Draco, leering as he backed away, "you can remember what your mother's house stank like, Potter, and Weasley's pigsty reminds you of it —"

A split second later both the Beater and Holly were sprinting at Draco, she seemed to have completely forgotten that he was watching. With no time to draw out her wand, she merely drew back the fist clutching the Snitch and sank it as hard as she could into Draco's stomach.

"Holly! HOLLY! GEORGE! NO!"

Severus heard their captain and a few team members scream, Draco howling, Weasleys swearing, and then his own whistle piercing through the chaos. He raised his wand.

"IMPEDIMENTA!"

Only when Holly was knocked over backwards by the force of the spell that she abandoned the attempt to punch every inch of Draco she could reach.

Severus started to move toward the brawl.

Although he grasped the severity of wrongness happening, seeing her spitting like an enraged cat and manhandling Draco that made him feel a strange tinge in his belly.

"What do you think you're doing?" Severus snarled at them.

Holly had already leapt to her feet; realising it was he who had hit her with the Jinx.

Severus was holding his whistle in one hand and wand in the other, his broom lay abandoned several feet away.

Draco was curled up on the ground, whimpering and moaning, his nose bloody. The Gryffindor Beater was sporting a swelling lip and the other was still being forcibly restrained by the three Chasers. Crabbe and a bunch of other Slytherins were making noise in the background.

"Wait for your Head of House outside the changing rooms, both of you! Go! Now!"

Holly and the Weasley twin marched off the pitch, both panting but neither said a word.

Severus looked around until he found a fuming Minerva struggling through students to reach the scene. He pointed to the changing rooms as a way of explanation and she nodded stiffly, changing direction to set after the two sulking Gryffindors.

He dealt with Draco personally, dropping to a knee next to him and checking his vitals before reprimanding him. He was disappointed in him but knew that he could not go at him too viciously. If Lucius got wind of it, he might start trouble.

The stands were almost empty when he finally sent Draco back to the castle.

He started toward the changing rooms when he saw Holly and her teammate with Minerva. His stomach dropped when he noticed the had been joined by Dolores Umbridge.

"– a lifelong ban?!" Minerva's cry carried to him. He quickly lengthened his stride.

"Ban us?" Holly said, now closer. "From playing . . . ever again?"

"Yes, Miss Potter, I think a lifelong ban ought to do the trick," said Dolores, her smile widening still further as she watched Holly struggle to comprehend what she had said.

Perfect.

He slowed his pace and came to a standstill behind Holly, towering over the tense scene of upset witches – and George.

"Dolores. Minerva." He acknowledged his colleagues.

"Pardon my intrusion," he said graciously to the toad-like woman, ignoring Minerva.

"But I have heaps of imp spleens that need to be extracted, salted and pulped for the particular potions you ordered yesterday." He paused for effect. "In light of the recent events, may I put these two to good use in the dungeons?"

Holly made the marvellous mistake of glancing at George – in obvious relief – at his mention of 'these two'.

Blood rushed into Professor McGonagall's face and Umbridge smiled broader still, she looked from Holly to Severus. Taking apparent delight in the idea of sending the Girl Who Lived, alone, to the dungeons to be subjugated to the pale, sinister Potions Master (rumoured to have been a Death Eater).

"Why, thank you, Severus. A splendid suggestion indeed, those potions are of the utmost importance concerning official Ministry business. I do think I might appreciate some assistance with these two. You take Miss Potter and I'll see to Mister Weasley here." She smirked horribly at Holly.

"Well . . . good afternoon to you. I will be checking in." Dolores said finally, and with a look of the utmost satisfaction, she left.

Minerva was preoccupied with staring after Dolores, her mouth pursed like a cat's ass. He decided not to interrupt her reflections.

"Six o'clock. My office. Tonight." Severus breathed near Holly's ear, seeing her shoulders tense.

Satisfied, he turned on his heel and marched toward the castle. As he swept away, the fingers of his right hand started trembling feebly at his side and he clenched his hand into a fist.


A/N Dear friends, I'm excited to already be working on the next (and very first) juicy chapter *eek!* and will post asap. I'd love to know what you think, reviews are what I think of to conjure my Patronus AND what I use to fuel this story. See you soon!

Chapter Text

Veritaserum is a substance strictly controlled by the Ministry of Magic, arguably the most potent truth serum in the world. Severus Snape had not waited for explicit Ministry permission for – ah – 'most' batches of the serum he produced in the past, but his current brew was by order of the 'Hogwarts High Inquisitor' herself.

The production of a superior vial of Veritaserum was an advanced undertaking with many stages of brewing and maturing spanning over the course of a full lunar cycle. Needless to say, it was taking up a lot of his precious time.

After a week of insomnia, and it being Saturday evening, he was glad to finally be looking forward to sleeping nine hours straight.

Severus teased a hardback journal out from under Liquescent Solutions for Uncommon Venoms and flicked through pages heavy with black ink and cramped writing. He opened the lunar calendar to find the dates Dolores would anticipate the Veritaserum completed. Severus was mildly surprised to see the unmarked slot of the ninth of January, his birthday, seven days after.

Wednesday. Waning Gibbous. Thirty-six years old.

He initially managed to trick the Hogwarts personnel out of 'celebrating' his birthday two years in a row. But having been on staff for fourteen years, in due course, they discovered the day. A decidedly awkward affair, he typically acquired a few bottles of alcohol and a book or two he would not have chosen for himself.

Hopeful that they will forget this year, he turned his attention back to the task at hand.

His personal improvement for the standard Veritaserum recipe substituted crushed Sopophorous Beans with pulped Imp Spleen, speeding up the maturation considerably without sacrificing quality. He also preferred an alembic for distilling in order to extend shelf-life – instead of filtering the end product through wax cloth as directed in traditional texts.

Severus poured a Vial of Ptolemy into a copper cauldron simmering on a bluebell flame while using his other hand to stir in an anti-clockwise motion. A hot cloud of steam issued from the bubbling potion and rolled out over the tabletop and flagstones like fine mist over a forest floor.

The ladle touched the copper belly with rhythmic thumps. He counted fifteen clunks and slipped the tool out of the translucent potion, reaching for the velvet satchel of Moonstone Powder and his most sensitive set of scales. He knew the recipe by heart, his hands moving deftly about his workspace.

Stir Powdered Moonstone into the mixture one spoonful at a time, dissolving thoroughly.

He could hear the wind howling around the many corners of the castle even in the dungeons three levels below ground.

The clock on the corner cabinet had barely struck six when the unmistakable sound of Dolores Umbridge's kitten heels echoed through the corridor outside. He cast a Stasis charm on the bubbling would-be Veritaserum and braced his self-control in preparation for the encounter.

When the door creaked open, the white vapour from the potion slid over the threshold. What a sight he must be, the black-robed Potions Master standing up to his knees in fog.

A miserable-looking Holly stepped inside first, followed by a smug Umbridge. Holly's schoolbag hung over one shoulder. Her Muggle jeans and her greying top both clearly old. Severus could only guess that she chose this outfit to irritate Umbridge, who has made her hate for students wearing casual Muggle clothing very clear. Her eyes were fixed on the floor and her mane of dishevelled black hair hid her face.

In order to set Umbridge at ease regarding Holly's punishment, Severus made as much a show of unveiling the pile of imp bodies tied together by the hair on Holly's workstation as he could endure. He performed a practical demonstration of extracting the spleen with a scalpel and a hooked needle, taking special care to exhibit the saline soaking and pulping processes. For the pulverising procedure, he donned hard leather gloves and worked methodically over the spleen with the mallet. By the end of his demonstration, both witches eyed him and the mallet warily.

Dolores observed gleefully as he then ordered an unmistakeably revolted Holly to perform her first imp splenectomy. He scoffed at her when she mangled the creature in an attempt to find the tiny organ located posterior to the stomach and anterior to the left hemidiaphragm.

The Hogwarts High Inquisitor left his office with a light-hearted giggle when the spleen Holly managed to extract squirt sticky yellow liquid over the table and her face.

Finally.

As soon as the sickly sweet perfume died away Holly took her glasses off, Scourgifying both herself and the round spectacles before pressing it back onto her nose.

He did not have to use Legilimency to know that Dolores had her burning with hatred. It seemed as if the weight of the entire castle was pressing down on Holly's shoulders.

Infuriated by Draco's behaviour on the pitch, he found himself empathising with Holly, knowing all too well what it was like to be harassed by peers.

We seem to have a lot in common.

Not trusting himself to not upset Holly further, Severus choose to pour silently over a tome in a shadowed corner of the room. When he did look up, it was only through his hair and to check on Holly as she accumulated a small stack of spleens on her cutting board. She worked with the enthusiasm of someone who very much wanted to do just about anything else.

It was good that she was keeping her hands busy. He wanted her to cool down before pushing his own agenda, therefore he finished another eleven pages before checking the number and snapping the volume shut.

Page three hundred and ninety-five.

The rumble of raindrops falling on the Great Lake started as a faint pitter-patter and grew louder by the minute. It was quiet and warm inside, a fire hissed in the grate and torches were lit along the walls. The faint smell of burning wood hung in the dimly lit chamber, pleasantly contrasting the raging cold outside.

He wanted to speak but thought better of it, instead looking up at the portrait of Vindictus Viridian above the limestone mantel of the hearth.

"Leave us, Vindictus." Severus bid the Potioneer brewing inside the ornate frame as he rose to return The History of Systems of Thought to the bookcase.

The eighteenth-century Headmaster sniffed indignantly and threw down the ingredients he had been measuring bitterly before leaving with his nose in the air. A phial spun around noisily on Vindictus' abandoned table, dribbling purple liquids over his notes.

Severus paused at his private ingredient cupboard and slid out a rectangular wooden box and a bundle of Jobberknoll Feathers before joining Holly at the worktable. She looked over with interest while preparing the saline blend, pouring liberal amounts of salt into a beaker of water without mixing.

He stuck a long finger under her hand holding the bag of salt, preventing her from tipping more into the water.

"Too much. Now, stir." The green eyes found the black.

Holly looked mutinous but thumped the salt sack down and started to stir vigorously.

He placed the box and feathers on the table.

The cheek. She's still upset.

"You will play Quidditch again." He said quietly, busying himself with removing the Statis charm on the Veritaserum. With a wave of his wand, he lit the bluebell flame under the cauldron again.

"How do you know?" She quickly added, "Sir?" She picked up the mallet and slipped on his oversized gloves, trying to copy his method for pulping.

The potion simmered again, exuding white steam. He was pleased to see her make quick work of the spleens.

He raised his brows and said simply: "She will leave Hogwarts – as all the rest before, and you will fly again."

Holly watched him as he unlocked the case and took off the lid, pointing his wand at the live snake curling into a corner inside.

"Sir?" She asked doubtfully.

Severus stunned the adder before it could possibly engage in any kind of conversation with the Girl Who Lived.

"Veritaserum, Holly, we've been progressing this batch the entire evening. Adder's Fork comes next." He nodded at the immobilised reptile in his hand and pointed at the open book on the other side of the table.

"But for Umbridge? Why?"

Severus fixed his eyes on her as she was adding the flattened spleens to the saline blend.

He paused.

"I will be giving her a fake." He stated frankly.

"Then why are we making this?"

"What better way to disguise a placebo than producing the real thing in front of her. Besides, you have to do something during your many detentions." His lip curled, "Who knows, you – might – even learn something."

She grinned broadly at the idea of cheating Umbridge. "I won't tell. Sir."

He was relieved to see her looking happier than when she arrived.

"I'm counting on it, Princess." He said, compressing the adder's jaws to open its mouth. He used a small silver scissor to cut the tongue out at the root.

"What will you do with it now?" Holly looked at the petrified snake on the table.

"I will most probably use the skin and heart for other potions." He said as he deposited it back into the box, thinking of the uses of adder's heart and skin for more disreputable brews.

"Hand me the blade." He held his open palm in front of her. She swiftly laid the silver knife in his hand.

Severus cut the tongue lengthwise and dropped it into the cauldron, suspending the other half in a jar of liquid.

"Add six spleens."

She leaned over the cauldron, dropping the pulped intestines in the bubbling concoction.

He counted out twelve, tiny blue feathers and dropped them into the potion.

Their fingers brushed in passing.

"Now we allow it to cool before distillation and thereafter a full moon-cycle of maturation."

"Brilliant." She gazed into the now translucent mix, sniffing as if trying to determine if it was truly odourless. Her hair curled up in the rush of steam.

"Sir, I've been meaning to ask you . . ." she said softly, pausing to study her fingernails.

Severus killed the flame and place the lid on the cauldron.

"Would you tell me about my mum?" she asked, now sitting on her hands and leaning toward him.

He studied her carefully. "What would you like to know?"

United through death – and love – for Lily. Perhaps the Dark Lord gave me a gift I have been blind to. He slew my mortal enemy and a woman that would never love me back, uniting me with their daughter instead.

"When did you meet her?" She leaned her chin on a hand, her green eyes shining.

"We were nine. She lived close by." He replied.

The idea of Severus Snape as a nine-year-old seemed to be amusing to her.

"What was she like? You know, when she was as old as me!" She looked delighted imagining a fifth-year Lily.

"Well, she looked just like you. . ." he began, drinking in her features as if given permission.

"Except for the hair, yeah." She smiled, smoothing a jet-black lock behind her ear and exposing the lightning bolt on her forehead. "Everyone says that."

"Her Patronus took the form of a doe." He said, surveying her coolly through his greasy curtains of black hair.

Holly's eyes grew big.

"NO WAY!" She jumped up. "Mine too!"

"Show me." Severus said very softly, staring intently at her as she sat back down.

He had seen it from afar in her third year during a Quidditch match against Ravenclaw, but he wanted to see it again now.

Smiling, she stood up, and as she did so she raised her wand.

"Expecto Patronum!"

From the tip burst a silvery doe, landing on his office floor and casting its brilliant glow across the chamber.

Severus raised his own wand, knuckles white and another silver doe burst out and landed next to Holly's. Her head snapped around to him, eyes round.

The deer sniffed at each other curiously, ears twitching. One was clearly larger and more poised, the other smaller in stature with a bigger head and eyes. Both animals hopped around each other, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the closed window into the dark depths of the Lake.

Holly watched the deer float away, as soon as their silvery glow faded, she turned back to Severus. Her eyes were full of tears, although she smiled prettily.

They regarded each other quietly for a long moment. He followed the progress of a single tear running over her cheek to gather at the tip of her nose. She did not seem to notice.

"Did you love her very much?" Holly asked gently, more tears sparkling on her lashes.

She could just as well have struck him through the face.

Seconds passed.

His eyes bored into hers covetously and when he found his breath he said: "I still love her."

His lips curled into a rare, thin smile and for a moment outside of time, they shared a moment of complete understanding.

The dark shape of the Giant Squid passed close by the window in a rush of bubbles.

"Go wash your hands with the foxglove detergent," He pointed to a carafe above the stone sink. "- and come to my desk."

"Right." She said, watching him leave.

She ambled over to his desk after scrubbing her hands, plopping down.

"I am going to ask you questions pertaining to your dreams since autumn. If I find any deceit, I will break into your mind by force. Do you understand?"

Holly glared at him with unguarded disgust.

"Is this about the Department of Mysteries, sir? That's the only one! I swear."

Severus snorted.

Always the rocky road.

"Take a seat by the fire." He said quietly, rising to his full height and rounding his desk with robes swelling melodramatically. He took his preferred armchair and waited for Holly to join him.

She took a seat across from him, hands stuffed in the pouch at the front of her top.

"What is that altar doing in your head, Holly Potter?"

"I don't know what you're talking about." She said stubbornly.

He sighed forcefully and whipped out his wand again, pointing it at her nose.

"Legilimens." Severus growled without warning.

He brushed her defences aside and bore into her mind, immediately flooded with hundreds of images. She stood no chance against him.

He proposed the Department of Mysteries corridor and was rewarded with the same recollection from before, a dream following the path to the prophecy. It seemed to be the only dream for weeks on end.

A rush of feelings came to meet him as soon as he suggested the altar to her again.

He was appalled to find her feelings regarding the ruin covered altar restricted to arousal and offering no further remembrances.

It was as if there was a dam created in the core of her memory, dark energy ebbing from it. He immediately suspected a strong memory charm of sinister origin.

He investigated the phenomena, attempting to penetrate the barriers with different techniques. His suspicion mounted considerably after being forced back from the vault after each attempt to breach.

Severus soon found that the more he upset the barriers, the more Holly seemed to react with overpowering feelings of excitement at the stimulation.

Every time he drew back to attempt to infiltrate the barrier, she seemed hopeful that he would return to try again, finding some sort of erotic delight in the stimulation.

He thought he heard a moan and released the spell.

His office appeared and he found Holly holding onto his forearms, her nails digging into his sleeves, the Dark Mark humming with fire.

Confused, he shook her off. She seemed to be as baffled as him, but her cheeks were pink and her pupils dilated.

They both sat back in their armchairs, she looked at him expectantly.

"There are clear signs of an elaborate memory charm performed on your mind . . ." He declared slowly. "I have to think."

Severus closed his eyes and raised his hands to the hair hanging into his face, raking it together and tying it magically at the base of his skull in one fluid movement. He sat back into the cushions of the armchair, thinking hard.

What could be concealed inside? A reservoir of secret memories?

The Potions Master leaned his face into the resigned hand he was dragging down his face and sat like a stone for a few minutes, his thoughts drifting in and out of focus. He knew it was very important to stay awake, but he could no longer remember what exactly it was that he had to do.

He heard the soft rustle of clothing and fought the urge to see what was going on.

The arm of the wingchair creaked and he felt warmer.

He smelled chocolate frog and something faintly sour he identified as imp gall.

Hours could have gone by.

Severus opens his eyes with great difficulty and regarded Holly through his fingers with tired eyes and a deep, multi-year-old frown.

In the low light, he could see her reach out slowly, taking hold of his wrist to pull his limp, cold hand toward her face, pressing it to her jaw.

He stared up at her in dangerous bewilderment.

He could not think.

A slow-burning sensation was spreading throughout him, paralyzing his arms, legs, and brain.

She was even nearer him now.

His mouth was very dry.

She placed one of her small, warm hands on the side of his cold face.

She was much too close. He could count every one of her eyelashes . . .

His brain seemed to have been Stunned.

Severus hesitantly skimmed his fingers over the apple of her cheek and watched as she rubbed up against his long, pale fingers like a cat.

He turned his nose toward her hand and closed his eyes, smelling milk chocolate and ink and feeling decades of bottled-up longing exploding in his skull.

She used a finger to trace his lips and he felt her place one, two and then three delicate kisses against his palm before he twitched his hand away from her.

"Enough." His voice was gravel.

Holly grabbed hold of his retracting wrist with both hands. She brought his palm back to her face with her warm hands cupped over his larger, calloused hand.

Dismayed, Severus saw his index and middle finger shaking faintly against her hair. It took him another second to realise that she had now slid his thumb into her mouth, completely unaware of his reservations.

He quickly started feeling very self-conscious, as if roused from a dream.

He was dozing off in an armchair with his fingers being sucked on by a schoolgirl.

Severus sat up straighter.

It was like he'd never seen her before.

Holly's eyes were lidded as she looked down on him.

Their eyes ate at each other.

He could only watch her lips close around his knuckle before taking back control of his hand.

He hissed while sliding his finger over her wet tongue, slowly taking his thumb out of her mouth.

Severus was unable to resist pressing down on her bottom teeth with his fingernail as he exited her mouth, briefly opening her mouth wide for him.

More.

His hand dropped to his side and he knew his expression must betray absolute pain for her to smile down on him so . . . sympathetically.

MORE.

Holly's green eyes sparkled in the firelight, he kept her gaze steadily. He resisted the instinct to dip into her mind.

Seconds slipped by.

"You may go to bed, Holly."

"Sir." She hesitated. "I wanted to ask you something."

His insides were howling.

He grunted in reply.

"Why do you think I can't remember the dreams?"

Severus took a moment before answering. "I will have to read more before I can hypothesize. They have been hidden by dark magic; I can ascertain you that."

Taken aback, she stared at him.

Severus swallowed and rose slowly from his seat, pushing past her. He moved to his cupboard and produced from a neatly labelled box lined with straw.

"Dreamless Sleep." He offered her the box. Holly took out a vial with two fingers.

"You have to take half of it every night before you go to bed. Do not go to sleep without taking the dosage." He stressed the last sentence through clenched teeth.

"Drink it now. Please." He did not recognize the rasping sound coming from his mouth.

She gave him a small smile before popping cork, gulping down half before wiping her lips with the back of her hand.

"Thank you, Professor. See you tomorrow." Holly said.

Then she was gone and his office was cold and empty again, the drone of rain lashing at the surface of the Lake filling his ears.


A/N I've been listening to the HP soundtracks and writing all over Easter weekend, hope you have as much fun reading as I had writing. RR, friends!

Chapter Text

A/N Greetings friends, just quickly want to announce that I got a wonderful editor to review my work and that I updated the previous chapters!

Special thanks to everyone who favourited, followed and left a review, you helped me push through when it got difficult, ily: AwesomeFangirlOtaku01, LauraB90, metamorphstorm, Milla Blakemore, Fin0739, Writer of Wonder, JimmyHall24, Alyvia01, Aqua644 ( all the Guest accounts)! Enjoy.


The remainder of Saturday evening was spent pacing up and down the length of his office carpet, agonizing over every conceivable plan the Dark Lord could have for Holly. It was already Sunday morning when Severus finally killed the torches and climbed the hidden spiral staircase leading to his private quarters above his office, a book pinched under his arm.

Two hours after breakfast, he was roused by a muffled boom of firecrackers resounding through the corridors overhead. It reminded him so much of the Weasleys, he was forced to get up.

A dull headache had started to bloom behind his eyes. Severus blamed the inflexibility of the cover of The Heretical Warlock's Handbook to Dream Defences, he had unintentionally utilised as a pillow.

Professor Severus Snape frequently fell asleep reading, only usually it was with lighter stuff – like paperback potion publications or some botanical text. He rolled out of bed, extending his arms above his head in a languid stretch, his left shoulder joint giving a satisfying pop.

Although he was not especially hungry, he knew he would need energy for what he had to achieve today and so summoned a house-elf to bring his standard breakfast of oatmeal with a pinch of salt, two eggs and black coffee.

His private quarters and office previously belonged to Professor Swoopstikes and were located in a corner-turret on the castle's eastern face. The rooms were circular with a high, cavernous ceiling. The tower's roof beams would have been shrouded in shadow were it not for a single pin of light shining from a small hole in the centre of the roof. The pin of light was currently resting on the spine of one of the innumerable books crammed into the tall, curved bookcase dominating the entire wall apart from the alcove containing a writing desk and a single, large stained glass window with an arch leading to the wash closet.

The window of the turret was finely crafted with amber glass disks wrought together with black lead. It was cut into the cliffside a few meters above his office, which was submerged just below the freezing surface of the Lake.

In a rare yellow shaft of late morning sunshine, Severus continued reading at his desk. He could smell damp pine needles through the glass and hear the icy water lapping at the ancient stones of Hogwarts.

He had hoped for a gloriously peaceful weekend, but instead, he got even more to do. And on top of that, he could not stop mulling over the newest developments brought to light in Holly's last detention.

Shuddering and running his hand through his hair, he remembered with a lurch that he had implied his love for her– albeit cryptically – by admitting he still loved Lily and then continued to provide proof in the form of a corporeal Patronus identical to her own . . .

A moment of weakness with only unpleasant consequences by his calculations.

And then she willingly came to me . . .

Severus traced his lips with an absentminded finger.

It was as if he could still see every detail of the scene: Holly hovering over him, drawing his hands to her face, taking his thumb in her mouth. Half asleep, he had lowered his guard and lost control of the situation. He did not plan to compromise his delicate role in her life by acting on any feelings of attraction, no matter how powerful.

Professors are trusted in positions of authority and, of course, they will sometimes be the objects of student fantasy. It came with the territory. He was both physically and emotionally more mature than her peers and in a position of power. It was natural for Holly to be curious about him, but boundaries were becoming increasingly blurred and he was starting to lose trust in the amount of sheer willpower he had left to fend her off.

Dumbledore clearly overestimated my objectivity. I should involve him immediately.

But the Headmaster was distracted with the Ministry interfering in the School of late. Perhaps it was best not to disturb him until he could produce a written report with progressed evidence and theories.

Besides, he did delegate the safety of Holly's mind to me. I need to take control of whatever this has become.

He evoked again the delicate swell of her lips, her tongue sliding over his skin, slightly sucking… and her green eyes never leaving him.

Severus reread the same two sentences for the fourth time.

"The magician aims to gain full access to the dream plane and to assume control of it. The attempt to do this invariably involves the magician in a deadly and bizarre battle with his own psychic censor –."

He had discovered an impregnable vessel of memories in Holly's mind, sealed with old magics. It was most definitely the Dark Lord's spell work; delicately made and distinctively brilliant. Although Severus was forced to fill in some blanks, he assumed He was using Holly's sleep, the time when she was especially vulnerable, to manipulate her toward some goal. And whatever it was, it was to be avoided at all cost . . .

It would take an equal or greater wizard to break the spell and Severus would never dare consider his abilities equal – never mind superior – to the Dark Lord's own –

Except in my capacity as Occlumens and Legilimens . . . He had proven this without failure to date.

But to break any spell, one must deconstruct it first, which meant extensive research.

Consequently, Professor Snape took a whopping total of two breakfasts and one dinner in the Great Hall from Sunday to Wednesday. He did not talk to anyone outside class hours, avoided the staffroom and spent every other available moment working through a long reading list.

He even paid a Floo-visit to his private library in Spinner's End and pulled down a few texts from the Hogwarts Restricted Section.

By chance, he had found valuable information in a tome bound in human skin from the Hogwarts archives. The Dark Lord's enchantment seemed to be inspired by 'Persephone's Fountainhead', a spell predominantly misused by seventeenth-century Warlocks to stimulate sexual euphoria in others through Legilimency. The question was how the Dark Lord was casting any variation of memory spells at such an impossible distance.

He was all the more certain that establishing the reason for Holly and the Dark Lord's connection was key to solving the riddle. Severus was not surprised that he had been unable to breach the 'stronghold' now that he knew more: Whilst Holly was awake and conscious; she was interfering with the well, keeping it intact. When she slept, it would come undone in her relaxed mind and poison her dreams.

He checked his class schedule for the next day, tapping absentmindedly on the block marked for fifth-year potions after lunch.

666666

Professor Snape stood behind his desk, watching with folded arms as students quietly trickled into his classroom. He waited until the scuffling stopped before flicking his wand at the board, revealing the list of ingredients and detailed instructions to the class.

"I think it appropriate to remind you that next June you will be sitting an important examination, during which you will prove how much you have learned about the composition and use of magical potions."

He was pleased to see a few students looking greener at his mention of their upcoming O.W.L.S.

"Today you will be brewing the Volubilis Potion. Additional information can be found on page eighty-four."

Amidst the noise of handbooks, quills and cauldrons being dragged out onto tables, Severus strode along behind the rows of students.

He made sure to end his round by the Gryffindor table where Holly was paging lazily through her handbook, lucky for her, she had lit her cauldron burner already.

"Miss Potter." She did not flinch at the sound of his cold voice behind her; perhaps she'd been following his progress about the dungeon.

"Fetch the basket of mint sprigs from my stores and hand three to each of your classmates."

She mumbled something that sounded like "Yes, sir" and got up without looking at him.

Choosing not to see it as a slight, he watched as Holly disappeared into the door at the back of the class before following her, doing random check-ups at workstations as he moved toward the storeroom.

Severus blocked the light from the small room as he strode through the doorway. Holly was kneeling on the floor, pulling the basket of fresh mint from a low shelf. She pushed herself up and glanced at him.

She brushed her knees off and he could not help but to look away curtly when she tugged on her skirt, folding the hem down where it had doubled over.

He exhaled through his nose and forced his eyes back to the girl now carrying the basket of strong-smelling herbs on her hip.

"Yes, Professor?" She said softly, looking questioningly up at him.

With a soft rustle of robes, Severus drew close to her, pulling the basket from her grip and speaking in a firm, low voice. "Take this, Princess –"

He placed a new vial of Dreamless Sleep in her hands, his Mark burned red-hot at the contact.

She swept a lock of hair springing loose from a deteriorating braid out of her eyes, and pocketed the bottle.

"Come to my office at nine. I have a plan." He said.

"Nine? Er. Okay. What is it?" She added hopefully.

"I will explain tonight. Bring your cloak and that map you try so hard to hide from me."

His lip curled into a sneer at her expression of falsified confusion.

"Do you still want me to hand out the mint?" She whispered conspiratorially, recovering quickly.

"Of course." He snapped. The basket creaked as he pushed it back into her arms.

He turned, sweeping from the room and letting the light back in.

Holly

He can be such a prick. Holly thought as she held the basket to her chest, facing the empty doorway.

Holly busied herself with making a passable Volubilis Potion for most of the afternoon, finally ladling it into a bottle and taking it to Professor Snape's desk for marks.

She got away with an Exceeds Expectations, because he said it was more orange than the shade of buttery yellow specified in the handbook.

He only glanced at her once as he filled out the rubric.

It was as if the shadows underneath his hard black eyes grew deeper every time she saw him again and she had the sinking feeling it was because of her. She couldn't work out what the wizard was thinking, but she knew that tonight would at least be illuminating.

Holly tried to fit all her emotions into a single smile when he handed her rubric back, but he just called the next student closer.

The rest of the day Holly couldn't seem to get her mind off Professor Snape. He was getting more and more obsessed about the Occlumency-thing and although she wanted Voldemort to stay out of her brain, she still thought it useful to occasionally see inside his. It saved Mr Weasley's life, after all . . . Who knew who else she could help?

It would have been better had Hermoine and Dumbledore not agreed with Snape though, it only made her feel worse about not really wanting to be a better Occlumens.

In her defence, Holly did learn valuable things during Occlumency so far: like how much easier it was to get information from Snape than it was from Dumbledore, who still had not spoken a word to her almost all year.

She also knew her Professor was 'active' – to whatever degree – in Voldemort's inner circle and that if she was going have to defeat him, there was a lot more she would need to know. Holly had so many questions and nobody had answers. No one but Professor Snape.

It frightened her when she woke up with no recollection of any dreams she might have had, her scar prickling and Hermoine insisting that she'd been hissing things in Parseltongue during the night. It was like she wasn't in control of her own head. Like everything was slowly falling apart since the night in the graveyard.

She held onto the hope that Professor Snape would figure out what was going on and make it stop before Hermoine had to hide another Prophet article covering The Chosen One's mental instability from her.

Holly moved to the common room to finish homework before dinner, but her mind kept wandering.

By the time Ron and Hermoine left for Prefect duty, she was only just starting with Potions homework. Professor Snape had assigned them twelve inches of parchment on the uses of powdered moonstone and reading on maturing processes for a 'spontaneous' pre-holiday class test.

Holly made her letters as big as she could without him noticing and kept a ruler on the parchment, intending to not do an inch more than necessary.

After finishing the essay, Holly started to make her way downstairs. She was just thinking about going to visit Hagrid when Cho rounded the corner a few feet in front of her.

His thick black hair was combed back perfectly as always and he carried a notebook in one hand.

"Holly! Fancy seeing you here, how are you?"

Holly smiled at him uneasily. The last time they spoke was about Cedric, and that wound was still open.

"Hi Cho, I'm fine, thanks. Saw you on the pitch yesterday, you guys are looking good."

"Yeah! We have a strong team this year, we might even beat you guys."

Feeling that the conversation was over, Holly started to push past Cho, but he had other plans.

"Do you want to go for a coffee next Hogsmeade trip?"

At first, she couldn't even think of an answer. The audacity of this boy to ask her out as if he wasn't crying over his ex on her shoulder, just a few days ago.

Did he really think I would say yes again?

"Sorry Cho, but I don't think that will work, if last time was any indication . . . But best of luck on the Quidditch season and have a good night." She didn't mean to sound angry, but she couldn't hide it well enough.

"Look, Holly, I'm sorry about last time. I'm better now, just give me another chance."

"Cho, we both know you're not over him yet, just let this go."

Holly was just past him when his next words made her stop dead at the top of the stairs.

"You really are a bitch. Just be honest and tell me that there's someone else. Who is this secret lover? Maybe it's that Weasley you hang around with. Or is it someone older? Your daddy issues must make the older ones look more tempting?"

Holly tried to hide the fact that Cho had just struck a nerve, but her anger got the better of her.

She gripped her wand handle in her pocket as she turned.

"Just because I reject you, you assume I have 'daddy issues' or that I'm seeing someone else? Have you ever considered that maybe I just don't want to be with you?"

"That's rich coming from you!" Cho gave a cynical laugh. "Not so long ago you were desperate for any kind of attention from me."

Holly felt a terrible rage twisting her gut. Deciding to leave before she gouged his eyes out with her wand, she stormed off.

When she spotted Peeves at the end of the hall, she quickly threw her invisibility cloak over her head. Her hands were already shaking with anger and an argument with a Poltergeist wouldn't help.

Holly didn't think about where her feet were carrying her, so when she stopped in front of the Potion Master's door there was nothing more to do than burst inside.

Professor Snape sat at the table in the corner where she always served detention, scribbling in the margin of a book he was reading.

"Has no one taught you to knock, girl?" He said, not looking up.

"Sorry." Holly whispered. She was far too angry to care if he thought she was being disrespectful.

She pulled off her dad's cloak, regretting upsetting Professor Snape so quickly.

"Close the door." He barked.

She was glad to see his eyes flick up to her now-visible form, as she tucked away the cloak into her bag. Holly ran a hand over the back of her head, trying to flatten her hair.

"You are far too early." He drawled apathetically, his quill still moving deftly between his fingers.

"I know. I just-"

"What's wrong?" He said sharply, now looking up at her through the curtains of his hair.

"Nothing!" she said quickly, seeing he was jumping to the worst conclusions. "Just a stupid boy."

Holly could feel a blush creeping up her neck.

"Ah." He sat very still for a second. "Well. They are a waste of time anyway." He cleared his throat. "You have a bright future ahead of you, don't waste it on some idiot."

"If Voldemort doesn't kill me first." His black eyes snapped to hers. She knew how much he hated it when she said that name, but it just slipped out.

Instead of getting angry, Severus sighed deeply and rose from his seat, striding over to a spindly table in the corner.

There he opened a silver tin of powered coffee beans and measured a few heaped spoons into a complicated-looking silver contraption with twisting tubes and a rope fuse he lit with his wand.

Holly watched closely as he worked, as always mesmerised by the meticulous way he seemed to approach every task.

The smell of coffee soon hung in the cold air.

Hesitating before pouring the dark brew into two small cups, he turned to her with an unreadable expression.

"You look like someone who takes milk." He paused, frowning. "Unfortunately, I only have snake milk in my stores. I will have to send for an elf."

Not knowing exactly why, she laughed, the sound ricocheting through the room.

"It's fine. I'd love to know what you like."

She could feel her cheeks warming even before she fell silent.

His brows shot up and he sent one of the steaming cups floating through the air until it hung over the armchair she was starting to see as 'hers'.

She noticed that the chair had been moved closer to the hearth, a grey woollen blanket folded over the armrest.

Holly settled into the seat and snatched the saucer out of the air. She felt his eyes on her as she took a small sip, letting the strong black coffee warm her mouth and knock her breath away.

She grinned up at him as he swept closer with his cup.

"And?" He looked unconvinced. "Do you like what I like?"

"It is quite strong." She decided not to lie. "You don't add milk or sugar?"

Professor Snape sat down gracefully in front of her. "No." He brought with him the smell of fresh ink and coffee.

Holly giggled at his tone and took another sip. "I could have finished your twelve inches on Moonstone quicker with this."

For a long time, they sat in silence like two veterans, each nursing their warm drink.

"We should probably start." He said finally, his cup disappearing into thin air.

When the Professor spoke, Holly realised that when he opened her mind tonight, he would be able to see all her memories of both Cho and Cedric.

"Could I use the Pensieve tonight, sir? Please?"

"There is nothing I should not see at this point, Holly." It looked as though he might apologise but he did not.

"I told you earlier that I have a plan." He steepled his fingers casually. "I have been researching memory enchantments since we last met and determined that my only option is to put you asleep before I enter your mind."

"Is that why you look so tired, Professor?"

His head jerked and he slowly parted his thin lips to retort.

"Thank you. Is what I meant." She added hastily, hoping he would understand.

He closed his mouth and contemplated her for a long while.

Professor Snape then picked up his wand, summoning an elongated vial and holding it out to her. The strip of parchment around the neck read 'Sleeping Draught'.

Of course.

"You need not fear my intrusion. I am not interested in your social endeavours. My purpose is to untangle that spell in your mind." Professor Snape's voice was firm and calm when he said this.

"I know that." Holly squirmed, unsettled by the idea of being defenceless in front of him. "Fine, we can do it."

Sitting forward, she took the slim bottle and flipped it over in her palm before releasing the cork and throwing her head back to swallow the contents.

"So how long does it take to -"


Thank you for reading, friends! I finished baking  a STEAMING LEMON PIE for the next chapter and it's practically oozing all over my desktop.  W ould love to know what you think so far!

Chapter Text

Thank you to every soul who took their precious time to review/favourite/follow - enjoy your slice of Lemon Pie, you deserve it!


Severus stared at the sleeping girl slumped in the armchair in front of his fireplace. He pushed a stray lock of thick black hair behind her ear and traced a finger over her scar before he took out his wand.

"Legilimens." He whispered.

He dipped into the darkness of her mind like plunging headfirst into dark water.

It was like a film was waiting to start. First, the black-haired Ravenclaw (whom Severus disliked very much by this point) wanted to trade Chocolate Frog cards with Holly during an O.W.L exam in the Great Hall. Very soon, however, the dream shifted into the chase down the Department of Mysteries corridor.

The scene transformed again, this time to a featureless black door. Once inside, he recognized the room as a Gryffindor dormitory.

The breeze drifting through the open windows was warm and he could hear students on the grounds far below the tower.

Two figures were huddled together at the far side of the room. Severus moved closer, careful to keep his back to the cupboard behind him.

When he was close enough, he identified the smaller of the two as Holly.

The other was a tall boy with dark hair and pale skin, dressed in a Hogwarts uniform. His back was turned to Severus.

After a second, it became clear that the stranger had a hand resting at Holly's throat, pressing her against the twisted pillar of the four-poster bed.

They were conversing softly in the familiar hissing sounds of Parsletongue.

Holly seemed relaxed; her hand moving to her hair a few times too much for his liking. He could see her giggle and touch the boy's arm playfully.

His heart pounded painfully in his chest.

Severus moved until he could see the boy's face and although he had suspected it, he felt a surge of raw fear twisting his gut when he noted the strikingly handsome features and dark eyes of a young Tom Riddle.

The Dark Lord leaned toward Holly as if he was going to kiss her but instead he pushed her to sit on the bed, making her shriek with laughter.

The young wizard's lips split into a predatory smile, one Severus had never seen before, as he teased his wand up her thigh, lifting her skirt with the tip.

I may vomit.

Holly was now lying back on her elbows, following his progress with bright eyes, her cheeks red and hair messy. To his horror, she spread her knees casually, allowing the Dark Lord to move in closer.

And he did.

With adrenaline-infused panic gripping him, Severus retreated from her mind. Thinking on his feet, he thrust out an arm, knocking the cup and saucer from Holly's armrest with as much force as he could muster.

CRASH!

The last thing Severus saw as the cup shattered and he released the spell, was the Dark Lord turning his head to the side with a frown.

His office reappeared and he clutched his wand tightly, breathing hard.

Awoken, Holly blinked, rubbing at her scar with the palm of her hand.

"Can you remember what just happened, Holly?"

The girl shook her head.

"It- it just felt very good. I dunno."

Silence stretched out as they watched each other wearily.

Holly's skin glowed in the firelight, her cheeks flushed with anticipation although she seemed afraid.

Severus swallowed before breaking eye-contact.

He was torn between intense feelings of jealousy and the fear of being discovered in Holly's head by the Dark Lord.

He did, however, feel a sense of accomplishment, now that he finally discovered first-hand what was happening in Holly's buried dreams.

What could possibly be gained by seducing the girl?

His mind reeled, jaw set and eyes locked on the pieces of wet ceramic scattered over the flagstones.

The sexual nature of the dream haunted him with guilt. It was like he had failed Lily all over again.

He drew teaching robes protectively around himself, aware that the voluminous material would hide any evidence of arousal.

A small hand came to rest on his knee. For a moment he just stared at it, trying to decide if it were really there.

Black and green eyes found each other again.

There was a dark blush on Holly's face, her golden spectacle frames glinting with the dancing fire.

The skin under her hand was becoming too hot to bear and yet Severus did not wish to move away, lest he startled her.

Her glasses reflected the stark white strips of his skin visible under strings of black hair. His cheekbones cast dark angular shadows and his brows were drawn together in a scowl that he could not seem to get rid of.

Her hand slid up further on his thigh, the skin beneath his robes burned a trail of fire.

"Not this again, Holly." He pleaded softly, looking at her hand as if it were a snake on his leg.

Holly slipped off the armchair to fill the empty space between them on her knees.

"Now listen to me." He hissed, pinching her chin roughly. "I will only say this once," his voice rasping. "I am not easy to please. I might tear you apart . . . and I will only break your heart."

He snatched his hand back, breathing fast.

Holly looked up at him with stubborn resolve, her soft warmth and weight pressed against his legs.

Then the girl gently pried apart his knees and wriggled into the empty triangle between his thighs.

His body was paralyzed with indecision. Severus felt like he was watching the scene unfold from afar.

Her warm scent carried the smell of soap, coffee and something flowery and decidedly feminine.

He looked down his nose at her, his hands balled into white-knuckled fists on the arms of his chair.

She made a move for his groin, but an iron hand clamped shut around her forearm.

It was so delicate he knew he could break it in half if he wished.

Severus struggled with his focus, his Mark burned agonisingly.

This was what I wanted for so long, but taking it is another thing . . .

His mind raced, giving him reasons to do it, to just let go.

Rather me than some 'stupid boy'.

If this was what she wanted, then he would let her have her way this once.

Jealousy made his final decision for him.

Severus released her and let his hands fall.

Realising she won, Holly smirked beautifully at his surrender. When her hand inched back to his inner thigh, he did not stop her again.

She trailed a nail over his robes until she reached his loins. There, she slid her hands underneath his robes and fumbled to find the row of buttons keeping her from his sex.

He raised a brow at her, glad to see she was very obviously inexperienced as she still fumbled to release him.

Severus watched patiently as she finally coaxed open the last button with the enthusiasm of someone tearing open a gift on Christmas morning.

For a moment he wished that James could see his daughter now. The thought made him smile down at the girl between his legs.

He would have killed me for this.

Encouraged by the positive reinforcement, Holly plunged her hand into his gaping robes and grabbed roughly at his cock, releasing it into the cold dungeon air. He drew a shallow breath through his nose.

Blood gathered rapidly in his pale length, making it swell even more in her fist.

By the awestruck way she held him, he concluded that she had never seen a penis before. She looked up at him, clearly unsure of what to do next.

"Loosen your grip." He drawled, trying to keep his voice cool, hands still not leaving the armrests.

He felt her comply, her loose fist now sliding slowly down his length.

Severus heaved a sigh of pleasure at the sensation. He could feel her heartbeat hammer against his legs.

A fat bead of precum gather on his gorged tip, and Holly took her time spreading the translucent liquid around with her thumb, eagerly watching his face as she did so.

He heard himself utter a string of profanities at the gesture.

"Don't bend it down that much." He said.

She sat up higher and corrected her position quickly, her hand moving from the base to tip in quick jerks.

"Relax your elbow and use your wrist instead." His voice was strained and guttural, the sensation of her hands on him almost too much to handle.

Holly obeyed eagerly again, her hand now bouncing up and down lightly, pulling his foreskin down and over the head of his cock.

To his absolute horror, she spat on her hand and rubbed the moisture around him with her hand.

He could not stop a deep moan from escaping him.

She looked up at him in surprise, but soon her expression became devious. She moved her hand even faster, the other now kneading his testis gently.

"By Merlin, girl –."

Holly's almond-shaped eyes flicked back to her task, working with renewed vigour.

In an overly enthusiastic gesture, she opened her mouth and, grabbing fistfuls of his robe, she swallowed him halfway.

Severus grunted involuntarily, his fingers curled into claws.

Just breathe.

He laid his head back, drawing his Occlumency shields around him lest he came too quickly.

Feeling more in control, he glanced down at the head of wild black hair rocking in his lap. She was sucking on him like he was made of treacle tart, cheeks bulging with every rise and fall.

"No teeth." He snarled to the chamber in general as she nipped painfully at him.

Holly slowed her frantic rocking, using her tongue to cushion him from her teeth.

Severus struggled to retain control of his body. He closed his eyes again, fearing that seeing her would be too much for him to handle.

He could hear her breathing hard through her nose and whimper as she tasted more ejaculate leaking into her mouth.

Finally yielding, he snaked his pale hands down to where he knew her jaw was, taking control of her head.

He felt her pulse fluttering excitedly under his fingers, their combined magic crackling around them like electricity.

Severus forced her head down and thrust up into her mouth, making them both moan in unison.

The wrongness of it all somehow added to the charm.

An overwhelming pressure built steadily in his loins and soon he cried out like a wounded animal, pushing her to take all of him at once.

Holly choked prettily before pulling up, expelling his slick cock from the hot wetness of her mouth.

His temples pounded and he wanted nothing more than to be back inside her.

Her sudden laughter echoed like tinkling bells off the stone walls. She stuck her tongue out and pulled him slowly back into her mouth until his crown met the back of her soft, warm throat again.

He edged deeper, humming appreciatively in a voice foreign to his own ears.

His fingers were tangled into her thick black hair, repeatedly pushing her head down onto himself.

Severus shoved himself deeper still, watching with wicked delight as her green eyes started to water as she struggled to fit him into her throat.

Wet curls stuck to her creased forehead. Her tongue moved against him, trying to help.

Holly's hands suddenly left his hips, eager to reach down and find her own pleasure.

Severus had never seen anything so beautiful, her lips stretched around his cock, looking up at him through wet lashes while her shoulders moved in synchronization with her ministrations on herself.

He gathered her hair in a fist and pulled her head to the side, taking hold of her chin with his other hand.

She gasped, bracing herself and rubbing more urgently at herself.

His lip curled at her and he moved to the edge of the chair.

He held her in place on his lap and then he started to fuck her mouth with quick jabbing thrusts.

If he learned one thing today, it was that Holly Potter liked it rough. Which fit his love to punish like a glove . . .

His hissed as he abandoned all control. Holly too had surrendered to him, screwing her eyes shut and keeping her mouth slack, to allow him easy access. Her glasses had tumbled to his lap, but neither noticed.

She was still touching herself, her knees spread on the floor, writhing even as she was bent over his lap.

The sounds coming from her mouth was nothing short of glorious. Tears streaked down her cheeks and she gagged on every second thrust now, but he was too far away to care.

Severus guided her head with firm hands, committing every second to memory.

"I'm coming." He warned, savage and out of breath.

Holly took a gulp of air before reaching up to grab the base of his member with both hands, holding on for dear life.

His breath and hitched and body twitched as he shot three thick ropes of cum into her throat.

She looked up at him, frothy semen dripping from the sides of her lips still stretched around his spasming cock.

He tugged her off and whispered, "Swallow, Princess."

She almost puked but still obeyed, greedy to please.

"Show me." His voice was low and firm.

Holly's lips were swollen, cheeks flushed and eyes wet.

She stuck out her tongue to show him the back of her throat. Apart from a few sticky webs and a string oozing onto the H on her chest, she was successful.

"Good girl." He purred.

He released her and sagged, boneless back into the cushions of his armchair.

The girl beamed at him, making him chuckle darkly and reach down to pinch her chin between a long forefinger and thumb, ignoring his trembling fingers.

He could think again.

"Stand up." He said.

Holly stood, her legs shaking slightly.

Her knees were red like she had been scrubbing floors the Muggle way all day.

Severus slowly reached out to the moisture running down her thighs with a quaking hand. He dragged his fingers up the pallid flesh until he reached the hem of her skirt.

Holly reached down and bunched the grey, pleated material around her hips. Her plain white knickers were damp with arousal, her legs still unsteady.

Severus brought his fingers up further, stroking the final swell of her thigh and dipping down to the fabric covering her sex.

He pushed his finger into her slit until even her clit was outlined by the slick white material. His dark eyes found her face again and at that moment she was more beautiful than Lily had ever been.

Severus pushed her back gently with a hand spread on her belly. Her skirt fell down around her legs again.

He swiftly tucked himself away, buttoning up and rising despite the heaviness in his limbs.

She looked like she was about to protest when he swept past her on his way to his desk.

"Come sit here, Princess." His tone was professional again as he patted the wooden surface beside him.


New chapters on the way if you'd like to follow along! RR :)

Chapter Text

Holly replaced her glasses and hooked a hip onto his desk, regarding her Professor with something between frustration and anticipation.

Severus had placed her golden spectacles on the spot where he had indicated her to sit, but taking note of the thickness of her lenses for the first time, he almost felt cruel for making her walk the few feet to the desk without them. The latter sensation was however completely surpassed by Severus actively suppressing the guilt rising like bile from his stomach.

He was now leaning his palms against the wooden surface, his mind sobering rapidly. His aching Mark becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. It felt so much like an open blister after his encounter with Holly that he wished he could dowse it with Murtlap Essence.

But he would have ample time to tend his wounds and regret his deeds later – there was an agenda to attend to.

Notes. Where are my notes?

Severus pushed away from the surface, pulling open a drawer and rifling through it.

"You don't want me." She said behind him, her voice sounding distant and small.

Halfway through the contents of the drawer, Severus paused.

What a silly assertion considering what I just did to her.

He bit back an inappropriate retort and finished scanning through a notebook, taking his time replacing the book and shutting the drawer again.

The Potions Master straightened and met her eyes with a dead stare, Holly quickly looked away to study a jar of fungi suspended in liquid.

"Don't do that." She said firmly.

He had a moment to note the remnant of his seed on her jumper and endure another pang of self-loathing before responding as inexpressively as possible:

"You have little confidence in your Occlumency abilities. We have to work harder."

"You didn't answer me." She still kept her eyes stubbornly on the purple truffle mushroom.

A heavy silence followed. Severus wrestled with a response, trying to think of ways to deter her without losing his opportunity to break the curse.

"We cannot –" He closed his mouth again, deciding to phrase something gentler.

"am forbidden from . . . wanting you, Princess. You know that very well." He whispered. "They will burn me alive." Severus added as an afterthought.

Holly's eyes moved back to him, perturbed.

"No one has to know." She said, shrugging with one shoulder.

He considered the witch in front of him; her cheeks and the tip of her nose was reddened by the cold dungeon air. Her hair was an absolute mess and he knew he had a literal hand in it sticking up at the back like that.

In a very private corner of his psyche, Professor Severus Snape was pleased to see her lips still swollen, wondering if she could still taste him.

Holly bent over and slid her pinky into the hand resting at his side, catching his little finger with her own. His mouth twitched, but he stayed quiet. A tense second passed.

He looked down at their joined hands, remembering the promises he and Lily used to make in the same manner during his boyhood. Her hand was small, warm and the skin tanned, making his own look sickly pale in comparison.

His chest was tight and his cock started to inconvenience him again.

"No one can know." His tongue felt heavy when he spoke, Severus looked into her eyes, stealing into her mind.

"I promise." She said, a small smile blooming. Her intent pure.

"What is it that you promise?" He probed quietly.

Her pinky twitched inside his.

"I solemnly swear . . ." She said, making it up as she went. "Not to tell anyone or – thing about . . . us."

Us?

He tightened his finger around hers as response.

Holly flashed him the devil-may-care grin of her sire and Severus wondered when he stopped minding it.

"Good," he said, pulling her hand toward his body and moving a foot closer to her. He breathed the traces of arousal on her scent. "Now, how about I break that curse in your pretty head, hm?"

"But –" She started to protest.

Her pout almost made him laugh. Severus detached his hand from hers indifferently.

"Tut-tut – did you honestly think I was going to – what? Return the favour?" He said incredulously, folding his voluminous black sleeves over his chest as he looked down on her.

"It would only be fair." She said pointedly, holding her ground.

"Life's not fair, Princess." Severus sneered.

"We don't have to – you know –"She gestured vaguely,"have sex." She flashed him a bashful smile, pressing her tongue playfully on the inside of her cheek.

His first instinct was to dock points from Gryffindor, but he caught himself in time.

"Correct." He purred darkly. "And we most certainly are not going to."

"Oh, please Professor, I know you felt it too." She whined, leaning forward and forcing him to take a step back to retain what was left of his personal space.

"Tell me, Miss Potter, what exactly is it you expect from me?" Severus asked, his tone dripping poisonous honey.

Her expression turned surprised, or was it heartened?

"C– could you touch me like you did after you . . ." She fell silent.

"Came?" He suggested, as if they were discussing the weather.

"Yeah." She placed her weight on her hip and scooted onto his desk all the way. He heard something fall on the other side.

Arriving at wit's end at last, Severus uncrossed his arms and whipped out his wand.

"We can continue this discussion once I get rid of that fucking spell. Now, sit still and compose yourself, I shall –"

"Easy for you to say." She spat, interrupting him brashly.

"Why do insist on being difficult?" He hissed, exasperated.

"I'm not the one being difficult. Sir." She said, planting her hands on her hips.

"I think you are too used to getting what you want, Princess." He said coolly.

They watched each other with narrowed eyes for a long moment.

"I never get what I want." She stated bitterly, apparently after taking a moment of self-reflection.

He was about to be baited into goading her on but instead remembered he left his notes on his nightstand.

"You are trying my patience." Severus glowered at her through the curtains of his hair. "Wait. Here. I will be back momentarily." He turned abruptly and swept to the invisible spiral staircase, mounting two steps at a time.

He felt her eyes on his back, acutely aware that he was in the process of revealing the location of his private quarters.

As soon as he stepped over the magical barrier of his dark chambers above, he cast a non-verbal Accio and snatched the little black book as it neared him.

Then, in a flurry of black robes, he descended the unseen stairs again. After fourteen years, he knew the exact location of each step like the back of his hand. Severus started paging through the book before he reached the floor, looking for the transcribed disenchantments somewhere in the last pages.

He looked up and froze, his robes still swaying around him.

A pair of shoes, stockings, skirt and white knickers lay discarded on the floor.

"What the –"

Merlin's beard.

There was an overwhelming amount of naked skin on his desk. He was having trouble placing the pink bits, but his cock instantaneously recognized each respectively.

Holly was still sitting on his desk, but now only wearing her mother's bewitching smile. She had one heel on top of the desk to make space to reach in between her open legs, spreading her rosy cunt with two fingers.

Severus pressed the open journal against his chest and turned away. He was relieved to see the portrait of Professor Viridian still covered.

Madness.

"You will get dressed this moment! Or," He took a moment to compose himself, "or I shall be forced to use a Leg-Locker Curse on you." His voice was loud and menacing. Severus felt an odd satisfaction at managing to keep it so steady under the circumstances.

Severus raised his wand in front of him like opening a duel, but still faced the wall. He detected movement in his peripheral vision and heard her clear her throat. He decided to give her to the count of three.

One.

Two.

"Expelliarmus!"

The familiar hawthorn handle was plucked from his grasp and flung away across the room. He turned in time to see Holly catching his wand above her head, tits bouncing freely.

He did not know where to look.

Severus had seen her nude before, but from a distance and only half. Now that she was close, he was surprised at the overall muscularity of her frame and contributed it to years of Quidditch and running from bigger kids.

She pointed his own wand at him and said cheekily "You know, you really shouldn't tell someone when you're planning to hex them."

"Return my wand and get dressed at once, Potter." He snarled, feeling his face flush hot.

"I don't want to jinx you, Professor." She said coyly. "Just take a seat." Holly kicked out his chair with a bare foot so soft it was clear it had only ever seen the inside of white woollen school socks.

"This better be a joke." Severus said tightly, calculating all the ways he could possibly subdue the encounter but only managing to betray himself by glimpsing hardened nipples atop the pale swells of her bust.

He instinctively drew up his Occlumency shields to keep his emotions at a safe distance as he met her eyes.

Holly gave a humourless laugh. "Always so cold but when I push I always get past your charade. I'm not an idiot, I know you want me – because I feel it too. We want the same thing!"

He had very much frozen in shock but gathered himself, snapping the book in his hand shut.

"I seriously doubt that, Princess." He assured her.

"Just sit down." Holly whined at him, nodding to the chair.

He moved to the high-backed seat, restraining himself from using wandless dark magic against a student. The Potions Master managed sitting down gracefully despite his building wrath and succeeded in keeping his magic from overpowering his will.

"My wand." Professor Severus Snape was angry, yet he spoke in his customary deadly calm voice. He held out his good hand to her, guarding his notebook with the other.

Holly twirled the wood in her fingers, studying it.

"Stop fretting," She glanced at him. "I'll give it back in a while. What's it made of?"

"Hawthorn and dragon-heartstring." He spoke very quietly, still choosing to hold her eyes instead of looking at the rest of her.

She tried to bend his wand with both hands.

"Hard flexibility?" She mused.

"Yes." He answered stiffly.

"Length?" Holly asked, straightening and no doubt hoping to catch his eye with her chest.

"Fourteen inches." Severus stated, radiating indifference.

"Beautiful handle" She noted, rolling the dark wand over in her hands and looking closer at the pattern of runes covering it.

Holly had put her shorter wand down, giving his an experimental wave through the air.

She was enjoying this too much.

"Almost done fucking around?" He asked, all but gnashing his teeth by now.

"Not yet." Holly said offhandedly while making the tip of his wand shoot red sparks.

"Besides, a gift demands a gift in return." She said pleasantly, tracing the tip of his wand up her calf.

At first, Severus thought she meant to take his wand but he realised with relief it was something almost as insane.

How long could she possibly take to get off?

"Fine." He sighed deeply. "At least give me my pipe. Second drawer, bottom left."

He slid his notebook under his seat for safekeeping.

Holly obeyed merrily, getting off the desk and bending down in front of him to open the drawer and gather the satchel inside. Severus assumed she expected him to look at her while she was busy, and she was right.

For that brief moment, her rear was offered to him in a way he had only imagined on long nights when sleep would not find him. He could see confirmation of her proclaimed lust trickling from the smooth lips squeezed together between her cheeks. He itched to fill both hands with her rump, to follow the fold where her arse turned to thigh toward the secret of secrets between her thighs and see how far he could push her.

Yet the desires of the flesh were easily denied by Severus Snape, who had once again pulled close the iron curtains of Occlumency around his mind.

Holly's frame was as scrawny and wiry as Severus expected. Her uniform hid her well-developed body and shapely chest almost completely. Her breasts were small, barely a handful and suited her athletic build. He found himself thankful that none of the boys in her class knew how desirable she really was.

The girl straightened, turned and tossed the leather satchel at him before she returned herself to his desk with a jiggly little jump backwards.

He caught and untied the satchel, picking the old horn-pipe from its velvet casing and opening the fragrant tobacco pouch to stuff his pipe with a practised hand.

Severus kept his eyes on his task and his hair in his face, fully aware that Holly was now leaning back on her elbows, exploring her opening with one careful finger.

His hand shook as he compressed the final layer of sweet-smelling tobacco into the bowl. He could hear her breath quicken, hitching each time she found a pleasing angle.

Severus focused on his fingertip and a blue flame sprang up from it, he brought it to the surface of the tobacco and, while puffing gently, he moved it around the bowl in an even circle. The smell of burning tobacco immediately overpowered the sweet scent of pheromones he had been enjoying thus far.

He sucked at his pipe and continued to watch the witch whimper in pleasure, spreading her legs impossibly wide and inviting his gaze to her exclusive sideshow. She moaned delightfully as she circled her clit with a clumsy thumb. His attention was drawn to the middle finger she now used to penetrate herself.

The nicotine was making the scene in front of him even more overwhelming. He released smoke from his mouth, spellbound by the contorted girl in front of him. More than once he was tempted to help her, but instead he kept his hands occupied with the pipe.

Holly laid down completely and slid his wand over her skin until she reached her hips. Here she paused to look at her professor before flipping it over and, while holding onto the front-end, stuck the ornate handle into her wet opening.

She groaned as she forced the slim wooden shaft into herself, the wand was thicker than her finger and was expelled by the muscular passage almost immediately. Holly eased it back in, gasping at the sensation of the hilt sliding against her mound as she pulled his wand back out again, coating the wood with more creamy fluid with each stroke.

The same red sparks as before emitted from the tip of his wand. Her eyes rolled back, her abdomen tensed and her breathing became erratic. Severus felt a warm buzzing sensation spread through his body. The bond between him and his wand had always been strong, and tonight he was keenly aware of it.

The shield around his mind waned as his concentration wavered, he could no longer move his eyes away from the exhibition of flesh in front of him. A deprived part of Severus wanted to keep her from attaining an orgasm just to keep her with him for longer.

But unwilling to miss the singular opportunity, Severus bit down on his pipe, shifted to the edge of his seat and pressed his pale index finger into her sopping slit just as she was about to come around his wand. Her grass-green eyes grew wide as she realised what he was doing and soon she cried out in pain and pleasure at the sensation of his addition. Their eyes met over the length of Holly's writhing body and he could not hold back a victorious smirk at her frenzied state. Her expression was simultaneously on the verge of laughter and crying.

There was no space left in the indescribable warm, delectable wetness of her hole and yet she tried to push the hawthorn shaft deeper, rocking against it. Her internal walls convulsed powerfully on his finger and wand and he had to grip the desk to keep his finger from being forced out by her orgasm.

"Mmmmmph!" Holly raised her hips up and compelled him to rub his knuckles against her as he continued to press into her.

Absorbed by her sighs and moans, Severus let her hold onto his sleeve as leverage to buck against the hand now missing a long finger inside her. Her nails dug into his stinging Mark and he hooked his finger inside her passage to retaliate, watching her belly rise and fall rapidly as she rode out her orgasm.

He waited until her breathing calmed before popping his finger from her snug cunt, the moisture on him quickly turning cold in the dungeon air. Severus closed his fist around his reversed wand and pulled it from her too, surprised at the tightness holding it back.

A moment passed where both breathed heavily, he watched the girl shaking in front of him, her legs now clamped and shielding her sex from him.

"Never touch my wand again." He drawled, wiping it on his cloak. Somewhere outside in the depths of the lake, the Giant Squid screeched.

He vanished the contents of his pipe and returned it to the leather satchel. Severus recovered his notebook from under his seat, using the opportunity to move his hard-on to a less prominent position.

Holly blinked at the ceiling and propped herself up on her elbows again, he could not ignore the movement of her breasts shifting. She was grinning from ear to ear, her hair curling into all directions and covering her body like mane a lion.

"Wow!" She declared to the chamber as she straightened her glasses like a mad person.

"Did it hurt?" He asked softly, rising to stand over her with his wand and book brandished like sword and shield.

"In the good way." Holly said, sitting up on the desk and raking through her hair.

She thinks there's a good way to hurt?

Their faces were very close together.

"Let me help you now. Please." He did not mean to beg, but he knew she did not understand the gravity of the situation.

Holly looked up at him through her lashes, her cheeks bright red.

"Yes, sir." She said softly, as if she had hoped he would become distracted by her little show.

Severus rested the tip of his wand to her scar and, after scanning the first paragraph of runes one last time, he started whispering the incantation under his breath.

Halfway through the second page, the witch swayed dangerously, but he caught her by the upper arm, dragging her upright to keep his wand on her scar.

"Stay with me, Holly." He muttered into the glossy mane near her ear.

"Errythingssspinning." She stuttered, unable to keep herself up.

Severus extended his book-arm and caught her against his chest, managing to steady his wand against her head.

Holly gurgled, her eyes were glassy and far away. Panic broke over him like an icy wave, making Severus expedite the pace at which he was chanting the counter-curse. By the time he read the final column, the book was shaking in his hand.

Silence reigned.

He studied Holly's face with concern, her naked skin grew colder underneath his hands by the second. He shrugged out of his teaching robe and wrapped it around the girl's body.

A strained moment passed.

"Princess . . . can you hear me?" Severus squeezed her hand.

Her eyes fluttered open.

"Say something." He commanded, shaking her once.

"I – I remember." She squeaked, he could feel her breath on his neck.

Severus still supported the witch's weight, he chose his next words carefully.

"Will you show me?" He asked calmly.

"That boy, the handsome one . . . is that –"

"Yes, it's Him." Severus said quickly, fearing she would name the Dark Lord again.

"But why does he want . . . He wanted to kill me just last year." She frowned, her eyes left him and she shivered.

"What does he want, Holly?" Severus prodded, holding her tighter.

"He needs me to lay down on the altar … on Wal–Walpurgis? What is that?"

"The altar? Walpurgis Night?" Severus quickly lowered himself to her level. "Why?" (1)

Holly grimaced, her cheeks losing colour. "He wants to give . . . to put . . . a baby in me?"

"What?" Severus asked flatly. "Why?"

"He's planned a ritual." She piped, looking anxious and weary.

"What else can you remember?" He asked, alarmed.

"I – I dunno." She pulled his cloak closer to her. "Why me?" she squirmed in his arms, Severus drew back as she sat up on her own.

A child? It makes no sense.

"Professor?" Holly interrupted his thoughts.

"Princess?"

"I want to stay with you tonight."

"Holly we –" Severus started in a firm tone.

"I'll be gone before dawn." She said quickly.

"Holly –" He pleaded, raising his hands.

"He'll come for me." She murmured, turning away from him.

Silence.

"I will escort you to your dormitory before the stars are gone." Severus finally said.

"Thank you." She gasped, throwing herself at him in a sincere hug.

He patted her back awkwardly, his mind spinning with the burden of his responsibility. She needed him to keep the Dark Lord out of her mind, there was no one else.

The witch shifted against him.

"You're hard again." Holly giggled, touching his stiff length.

"Let me be, Holly." Severus said firmly, pulling away from her and whispering, "Accio."

He plucked a small vial and a needle from the air.

"I have one more trial for you, I am sorry."

"You've never apologized to me before." She said sceptically.

"I have never drawn your blood before and it may hurt." He replied evenly, stepping closer to her again.

"What? Why?" she demanded quickly. No doubt thinking of the graveyard and the Dark Lord's return last year.

"Do you remember I told you I had a plan earlier?" He asked calmly.

"Yes." He lifted a brow at her and she quickly added, "Sir".

"Well, I need your blood for the artefact I have to craft. It will allow you to –" Severus paused, carefully choosing vague wording, "keep your dreams safe."

Holly regarded him doubtfully.

"Is that all you need from me?" She asked.

"Yes." He held out his hand for her to take. Holly laid her trembling hand inside his palm, the 'I must not tell lies' still lightly visible over the back of her hand.

Not being the type to waste time, Severus turned her hand and pricked the pad of her thumb with the silver needle, holding the vial underneath it to catch her blood dripping into it.

Holly sucked in her cheeks but kept still, staring at the drops slowly filling the glass casing. He squeezed her finger until he had more than half-filled. She bit her lip when he capped the vial and slipped it into his front pocket.

"Now, you have exactly four hours of sleep available to you. Better get you to bed, Princess."


(1) Did you know Jo Rowling originally wanted to name the Death Eaters the 'Knights of Walpurgis' but changed it at the last moment?

A/N  Hail friends, subscribe for the next chapters!