By the time he got back from Blackthorne, it was midnight, and Snape was nearly two hours late to meet Jane. His mind had been busy with activity, and he had allowed the time get away from him. Princilla? Draco? How had he not seen that? Well, of course he had not seen. He never paid attention to the amatory whims of his students. Never tried to see what they were feeling about anyone, unless it directly affected their work. If he had, he would have been constantly bombarded by an endless stream of hormone-addled hysteria. Lupin muddled about in that, for all the good it did him.
But in this case, he would have to pay better attention. He would have to put a stop to this little dalliance, somehow. Somehow he would have to. It was the least he could do.
Gash and he had talked into the night about Princilla’s situation, and Snape had spent a good deal of time trying to persuade the man that things might not be as dire as they seemed, that Princilla would no doubt abandon her current attraction to Draco. Gash was not convinced, and in the end he had pressed further for Snape to sign the contract.
As a personal favor…he had said.
Snape was a hair short of agreeing. Just a hair short.
But then he looked at the clock. It was rounding eleven. He realized with a start that he was already an hour late for his rendezvous with Jane.
A cold finger touched his heart. He felt suddenly backed into a corner. And though he was being pressured by pleasant choices rather than unpleasant ones, he noted with some bitterness that the emotion he experienced was exactly the same. He felt trapped.
No, he could not sign the contract. Not when the mere thought of being late to meet Jane made him nearly frantic to get back to Hogwarts.
But how to refuse Gash without offending him, without causing him to withdraw the offer?
In a flash of insight, Snape realized that all he needed to tell Gash was the simple truth. Or at least a partial truth. Being engaged to one of his students, even secretly, made him uncomfortable. He believed his pedagogical relationship with Princilla had already been compromised by the mere existence of the contract; were he to sign it things would hardly improve. He did not know whether or not he intended to continue at Hogwarts, but he did not wish for his colleagues to think that he had been involved with Princilla while she was his pupil, and once the contract was signed, word would no doubt get out.
No, if there was to be a marriage between them, the contract would not be signed until after Princilla had graduated, and there was time to foster a public relationship exclusive of Hogwarts. And Gash, though terribly disappointed, had seen the merit in this, and Snape saw that the man’s respect for him had even increased in light of Snape’s reasons.
Snape did not voice his main concern, however: that Jane might find out. They had not specifically cited that they would see each other exclusively, but in his bones Snape sensed that the nature of their relationship made this a logical assumption, on both their parts. Certainly he assumed she was being faithful to him, and there was never any sign from her that she was hiding anything from him. A good thing, too, as just the thought of Jane fielding offers from other interested males made him near mad with jealousy. He could have beaten Potter raw for an innocent Christmas dance. Torn Dean Thomas in two for taking a brief glance at her breasts. If a man, a real man had made actual advances…there was no telling what he might do.
The night would come when they would fight, hurl words they could not call back, and their affair would end of its own accord. No matter if he married Princilla, then. But that night was not this night. This night, Jane would be his, and his alone.
That is, if he could get back to Hogwarts. At eleven-thirty-five he made his apologies to Gash at last, taking his leave. Gash seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders as he escorted Snape to the door.
“Surely you don’t think she will do anything foolish,” Snape said, pulling on his cloak.
“She is not a foolish girl, by any means,” replied Gash, “but love makes fools of us all.”
To this Snape said nothing, but merely bowed lightly. Then, with a crack and a rush of wind, he was back in Hogsmeade. He strode across the Hogwarts grounds under the cover of near pitch darkness.
He spent all of 30 seconds in his quarters, just long enough to toss off his cloak, before he Flooed to Jane’s rooms. It was dark, but there was no sign or sound of Napoleon at least. Snape cast a Lumos spell, and saw that Jane herself was in her bed. She was sleeping. Apparently, she was also naked. Her bare shoulders and arms were akimbo by her head, and she was breathing deeply.
Snape felt an odd flush of relief, and a pang of guilt as well. She had not been waiting up for him after all, angry, ready to pepper him with questions. She had simply stripped herself naked and gotten into bed to wait for him. And when he did not come at the appointed time, she had fallen asleep.
“A sensible woman…” he murmured to himself, suddenly filled with regret over the warm, delicious hours he had lost. Precious hours in her bed, her body naked against his. Thoughts of Draco and Princilla faded to the back of his mind. Dimming his wand, he moved to the bed and sat gently upon it, and ran his hand slowly down the soft length of her.
She stirred and sat up on her elbows, looking at him sleepily. At first she said nothing, but in her eyes he saw the questions she would not ask. Where were you? Why are you late? Then…I was worried about you.
But she said none of those things. All she said was, “You smell like fresh snow.”
Snape allowed himself half a smile. “Because it’s snowing,” he said.
She sat up fully, now, and the covers slipped down, uncovering her full breasts as she slid her hands into his. She didn’t seem to notice. “You’re cold,” she said.
For a moment, one brief moment, her nakedness humbled him. He felt himself on the verge of clutching her to him, felt himself about to burble forth a stream of apologies, murmured pleas, anything so that she would not turn him away for his forgetfulness. He could not bear that.
But as he looked at her he knew she would not turn him away. Would not ask for apologies. She had worried for him, and now he was here. That was enough for her.
“You’re cold,” she repeated, gently putting her hand to his face. Then she put her arms around his neck, slowly. Her doubt was fading, he saw, fading to be replaced by relief, and her seemingly inexhaustible desire for him.
He looked into her eyes. “Warm me,” he murmured.
She was still half-asleep, her thoughts mere flashes of pure, elemental emotion. He smells so good so cold so snow must kiss him warm his hands on me kiss him take him…
Then she did kiss him, as she had wanted to, pulling him down onto her warm, soft bed, where her body, even softer, even warmer, and fonder more of pleasure than recrimination, utterly forgave his lack of explanation, and the lateness of his arrival.
It was wonderful beyond telling, and Severus Snape should have been relieved. But he stiffened, suddenly resistant.
I shouldn’t…I don’t have the right…I shouldn’t…
He looked into her eyes one last time.
So good kiss me fuck me in me yes now yes…
And he could not resist her as she kissed again and still kissed, opening to him as slowly and silently as a flower, until there was no room in him for guilt or thought of any kind, just the sound of her quickening breath in his ear, and the feel of her body moving under his.