It all belongs to Rowlings, except what you don’t recognize.
AN: Originally written 4/03, this was a fluffy counterbalance to the angst in Eyes Soft With Sorrow. Shortly afterwards I took up the good ship HG/SS.
I’d definitely had better days. It was my first year as Potions Master at Hogwarts and after breaking up a fight that night in the Slytherin common room, I was glad to finally be back in my rooms and reading the latest potions journal. Of course, I would have to be interrupted by a knock on the door--that is what my life is all about.
Hooch stood outside the door looking sheepish, no mean feat for a woman who exemplifies Gryffindor brashness. “And what can I do for you this evening, Madam Hooch?”
“Hmm, Severus, it seems you’ve been holding out on Poppy.” She walked right under my outstretched arm and into my rooms, looking around with curiosity. “Not bad digs. Much bigger than mine, of course.”
“Okay, Hooch, out with it.” I turned to her and folded my arms, feeling a trifle nervous.
She tossed me two books and I caught them, barely. “The Idiot’s Guide to Shiatsu? Reflexology for Dummies: Wizards Edition? Hooch what is this about?”
“I swear Sev, I get no respect at this school. A dog’s body, that’s all I am to them. Why didn’t you go to Poppy when you developed the bleeding ulcer? Now they’ve got me involved, damn it!”
I winced as she threw herself down on my couch. “Who are they?”
“McGonagall, Sprout, Trelawney--for the sake of the White Goddess I’ve got three weeks seniority on that one--Pince, Poppy. You know, the distaff side of the faculty. They had me in and drew lots, as if I didn’t know McGonagall rigs this sort of thing. And I, as usual, got the short end. Severus, it’s not fair.”
I sat down next to the woman who since I had returned to Hogwarts as a professor had been my friend through default. All of the rest of the staff, except Dumbledore, treated me like I was a time bomb ready to go off. Unfortunately, Hooch and I had gotten off on the wrong foot with a mindless shag, and we’d been cautious with each other since then. Since it was my first year as a professor at Hogwarts, I was on my best behavior. Not that it had been much good, my work with the students had been nothing less than an exercise in frustration and futility.
“How did they know--”
“Well, are you puking blood or aren’t you?”
“It’s none of your business!” I felt myself flush. Too many of the professors remembered me as a child, and were not about to let me forget it. At least Hooch was only six years older than I was.
“Welcome to the fishbowl, Severus. I have no idea how they found out. I suspect it’s those damnable house elves again. I don’t trust ‘em. I do my own cleaning. I didn’t need such creature’s growing up and I don’t need them now. Wizards are such a lazy lot.”
I smiled and shook my head. This was one of her favorite rants in the faculty staffroom. I could tell she was feeling better.
Hooch returned my smile and flexed her hands. “All righty. I’ve been sent here to give you a pressure point massage, your choice, full body or feet. So, let’s get down to it.”
I sat down on the couch next to her and kicked off my shoes and socks. This might be fun. “Umm. Would you like some wine? One of the parents of my students in Slytherin sent me a bottle of Black Magic Merlot. I can’t join you, of course, but you’re welcome to have some.”
Her intense hawk eyes met mine with speculation. “Severus, you know I don’t drink anything stronger than butterbeer.” She stood up and transformed a pillow into a footstool. She sat down on it facing me and began to open one of the books. “All right now, the anti-phew spell is on page 39.”
“Don’t bother.” I pointed my wand at my feet and did a quick cleansing spell.
“Thanks for being so cooperative. I have to admit I’m rather surprised that you’re going along with all this nonsense.”
“I rather suspect that if I didn’t I’d be faced with Sprout or maybe Hagrid giving the massage.”
Hooch’s golden eyes crinkled as she chuckled. “Not Sprout, or you’d have to watch your back for the next few years. Don’t forget that Filch has a thing for her and he’s crazy jealous.”
“Right. I do rather want to forget that image, Gods, Sprout and Filch.”
Hooch took out a vial out of her pocket and spilled out some oil from it, sweet almond by the smell, into her hands. “Okay, here goes. Honestly, you’d probably be better off with a snogging and a shag. I’m not good at these things,” she indicated the books with a nod of her head.
I gave her my smarmiest grin, “Making me an offer, Hooch?”
She smiled right back at me, while taking my left foot. “Are you still determined on that celibacy thing of yours?”
I felt rather taken aback. I didn’t think she’d remember that particular conversation we’d had. It had been late at night at the Leaky Cauldron after a faculty party had broken up, and although I wasn’t drinking, my guard had been down. It had been stupid of me to mention it, but then again, somehow she had that effect on me.
“It’s only fair, Hooch, that I don’t get involved with anyone. I have nothing to offer in a relationship. I’ve messed up my life royally. If I were to date any woman, it would be an open invitation to disaster.”
“Right, the Death Eaters are under the bed and will swoop out and destroy anyone you get involved with.”
I felt my temper start to flare and pulled my foot from her hand. “Don’t mock me. It’s a very real threat. I gave testimony against almost 30 Death Eaters and only half are in Azkaban. The rest are out there and free to do whatever they wish. Some of them suspect my loyalties. And some of them have children here at Hogwarts and they would peach on me the moment I showed an interest in anyone.”
Hooch went pale, “You really mean it.”
“I thought, just maybe the reason you told me that you were worried about retaliation was because you wanted to let me down easy. You know, after that night we had. I mean, you’re a pure blood and there’s only one thing they hate worse than a Mudblood and that’s a half blood like me. I thought maybe you’d regretted what happened.”
I felt hurt, but I wasn’t about to let on that I was a half blood the same as her. It was a normal assumption that only pure bloods wound up housed in Slytherin. I leaned forward and stroked her cheek. “No Rolanda, never--It was a wonderful night, but it’s too dangerous.”
Hooch pulled away. “Don’t ever call me that.”
“What, your first name? Why ever not?”
“It’s bad luck. Everyone who ever called me that is dead. So maybe you are right about courting disaster. I went by Hooch here at Hogwarts and, of course, everyone here is safe.” Her eyes were hard and shiny with unshed tears. She shivered. “So you mean it about the Death Eaters still being a threat and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is going to return?”
Her mouth tightened and then she said, “Give me your other foot.”
I poured her a glass of wine. “Here, try to relax.”
She laughed. It was a warm, rich sound. “You know I’m supposed to be the one here getting you to relax.” She picked up my right foot and began massaging again, referring to the diagrams once or twice. It was a good thing that I wasn’t ticklish there.
“You know, Severus, I’ve thought about entering Auror training.” She sipped the wine and then started to rotate my ankle. That actually felt good. I sighed and leaned back.
“Bad idea, Hooch. They are all hopeless nutters. The training alone makes them battier than bedbugs. No one should practice undergoing hexes, Imperios and Crutios. It’s just stupid.”
“How else can one train?”
“Beyond a point, one can’t really. There is no real defense--you just have to have better common sense, faster reflexes and superior wits.” And Occlumency, but again, that wasn’t for her to know.
“Well, thank you for the advice. Considering the source, it’s most helpful.” She was laughing, but the bitterness rang out.
“Hooch, I can apologize every moment of every day, it’s not going to bring your relatives back.”
Dumbledore had warned me once that she had lost not just immediate family members, but her entire extended family to Death Eater raids. Hooch was one of the walking wounded and perhaps that was why I felt so drawn to her. We understood each other, even though we were from different sides of the fence.
“Oh don’t get yer knickers in a twist. I know you’re one of the good guys. It’s just that the pain won’t go away. I’m sorry.” She was trying to make light of it all, but her voice again betrayed her. I reached out and took her hands.
“No, I am sorry. Look here, let me do you now.”
Hooch did a double take. “You mean it?”
“Sure, get on the bed, full body massage.”
She got up and kissed me lightly on the lips. I worked hard not to respond.
“Clothes on or off?”
“Let’s start with them on, and we’ll go from there.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but it just didn’t seem right for us to have sex, no matter how much I felt for her. I wanted to rip all her clothes off and devour her, but there was always the fear that if I let myself go and we were found out, there would be severe and possibly fatal consequences down the road.
She lay down on my bed and I crouched over her.
“Careful of the spine,” she said her voice muffled by the pillow.
“I know, you broke it in five different places your last year of profession Quidditch.”
“You never told me you were a fan? Were you?”
I gathered her long dark hair, revealing her neck. I then grasped her shoulders and gently squeezed and released, until I felt the tension there lessen. “I used to sneak out from Hogwarts on my broom whenever you played nearby. I loved to watch you play.”
“Well, thanks. I have to admit you’ve been much nicer about it that most of my fans. Usually I’m bored to tears from the blow-by-blow recounts of my successes and failures in the league. I appreciate your reserve.”
I whispered “Not at all,” in her ear and continued down her back gently massaging the muscles and avoiding her much-abused spine.
She gave out a deep sigh. “You know, they have it all wrong about you. You’re really quite decent, all things considered.”
“Yes, I know, Hooch.” I tried not to let her hear how relieved I was.
“Honestly. Poppy didn’t want me to come down here. She thinks you’re going to murder us all in our sleep. And McGonagall and Pince feel the same way, but they don’t have the courage to out and out say it.”
“And what about Trelawney and Sprout? Do they think the bad old ex-Death Eater is going to come after them?” I massaged down her arms and thought about putting my hands under her sweater. It would be so wonderful to touch her naked flesh.
“Oooooh,” moaned Hooch. “Well, they could only hope you would. After all you are the only male staff member under the age of fifty here at Hogwarts. By the Goddess, yer not even 30 yet.”
“Turned 22 last January. So that’s how it is?” I would need a very cold shower soon. “You girls all sit around and discuss my attributes? The Order of the Hen. Cluck. Cluck”
Hooch with a flip of her wand brought her wine glass over and took another sip of wine. “What’s the Order of the Hen?”
“When Dumbledore became aware of the risk the Dark Lord was beginning to pose to the Wizarding world, he brought together other concerned Wizards and Witches to investigate the problem and be prepared to take action. It’s called the Order of the Phoenix.”
Hooch lifted herself to face me. “I got you. So you are like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And we women are all keeping our eye on you. Very clever. And you are very dark and dangerous. Just the thing of fantasies.”
I stopped. I took a very deep breath. “Right, massage over.”
Hooch’s eyes traveled to where there was an indisputable tent in my clothing.
“I’m sorry. You really do fancy being talked about.”
“Please, just go.”
She got that speculative look again. “Are you any good at glamours? Transformations and things?”
“What are you getting at? That I should use a disguise to go and pick up women?”
I really was getting a bit exasperated. Why couldn’t she just go? “Because I’m not like you. I don’t go disguising myself to pick up St. Andrew’s University students. It’s immoral and unethical.”
Her eyes widened as if I’d slapped her and I instantly regretted my outburst.
“You bastard! You followed me. Damn you.” She was up and off the bed. Well, I had gotten what I wanted.
“I don’t go to St. Andrews to pick up men. You must have seen me with Dirk last January. And he’s not a student; he’s a Professor of Muggle Studies in the States.” Her face started to crumble into tears. Oh no, not the waterworks. I can’t resist her when she cries.
“He was over here on sabbatical and I just went up to his apartment to say to goodbye, he was leaving to go back to Salem Academy, and yes I did stay the night you feckin’ prat. It was none of your business.”
I intercepted her before she could get to the door. I took her in my arms. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know I’m a rotter. I just thought--”
She pulled back and looked up at me. The tears were coming a bit less and I handed her my handkerchief.
“Yes, Hooch, I should have asked. I’m sorry. I’m a horrible, horrible person. Let me make it up to you.”
She smiled a bit through her sniffles. “How?”
“I’ll finish the back rub.”
“Tell me why you followed me first.”
“Because I’m an ex-Death Eater and a prat. All right? Mea Culpa with all sincerity. I’m not used to trusting people enough to ask them questions straight out.”
“So are you ever going to trust me?”
“I don’t know. Get back on the bed, let me finish the massage.”
“I trust you.” She walked over to my bed and laid herself down.
“That’s nice, Hooch. And you’re not even a Hufflepuff.”
She giggled. I worked on her lower back and she sighed softly into the pillow. Her friendship was worth a pair of blue balls. Within a short time her sighs deepened into slumberous breathing.
“Hooch? Hooch?” She was asleep.
I kissed her three times; first on her forehead, then on her cheek and finally on her lips, “Sleep well, Rolanda Hooch.”
I threw a dark green travel rug over her and then I headed to my bathroom to take care of some urgent business.
A few heated minutes and a cold shower later, I settled myself down next to her and fell asleep.
It was funny how I never had nightmares when I slept with her.