Chapter 10 : The Fierce Snake
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Chapter Ten –
The Fierce Snake
It was the rhythm and soft feeling of Severus’ warm
breath blowing gently across Jessica’s neck that awoke her. Her eyes slowly
fluttered open and focused on the unfamiliar atmosphere surrounding her. It was
still dark and Jessica could barely make out the hour on the face of the old
oak grandfather clock that ticked quietly on the other side of the room.
Narrow rays of early dawn sunlight
shone red through the tiny cracks of the window shutters on either side of the
four-poster bed. Jessica could see Severus’ black pants and white dress shirt
hanging sloppily over the back of a green velvet armchair and his shoes tucked
aimlessly under the seat of the chair. It wasn’t like him to leave his clothes
out like that before going to bed, but nothing about last night was
For the first time in his life he had
allowed a woman to sleep with him in his bed without first having her satisfy
his body’s needs. In most cases, even after she’d done the job he’d demand she
leave. It just wasn’t like Severus to take pleasure in having someone to wake
up next to him in the morning.
Last night was also the first night
Jessica had ever gone to sleep with a man nestled closely beside her. Like a
couple of spoons, Jessica could feel Severus’ entire body cuddled up against
hers. His left arm drooped over her side and his hand coiled loosely over her
As slowly and as quietly as she could,
Jessica turned herself around and propped herself up on her elbow. The
nightstand on Severus’ side of the bed had three green candles sitting on a
pewter platter. Dribbles of wax had dripped along the sides of the candles and
then hardened into green pools on the pewter surface. Jessica looked at the
tiny black strings peaking from the centres of each candle, then with a wink
the candles lit themselves and the room brightened up a touch.
She looked at Severus still peacefully
asleep beside her and gently smoothed the black strands of hair out of his
face. Her fingers combed gently through his hair and around his ear until she
could see his face. Jessica smiled at his peaceful expression and listened
carefully for any thoughts she could pick up from his state of slumber.
There were none.
“Severus,” Jessica softly called as she
played with some of his hair. She repeatedly brushed the tips of her
fingernails through his hair and coiled the loose strands around his ear. The
soft pads of her fingertips gently caressed along the curve of his ear and then
wrapped around his earlobe. “Severus,” she called again.
Astonished that he was still fast
asleep even after her delicate touch, Jessica leaned her head forward and
gently pressed her lips to his forehead. A small popping sound followed after
Jessica pulled her lips away from him. She sat back up on her elbow and looked
down at his closed eyes.
Her hand pressed against his neck and
then began to slither beneath the heavy covers down the bare skin of his arm
until she had his hand in her own. Then with a tender squeeze, Jessica pulled
his hand up from under the covers and sat up on the bed.
The gentle bounce of the mattress had
finally woken him. Severus slowly began to open his eyes and then quickly
focused on the woman sitting up next to him. His eyes closed again and he
groaned before rubbing his hands over his face.
“What time is it?” he asked.
Jessica looked once more at the
grandfather clock in the corner and read the time to him. “It’s nearly seven.
You’ve still got a couple of hours before you have to teach. Did you sleep long
Severus rubbed his eyes once more and
then propped himself up with his arms behind him. He crossed his ankles under
the covers and looked curiously at Jessica as he flipped his hair out of his
face. He couldn’t say whether or not he had slept long enough. All he was sure
of is that he’d just had the best sleep he could remember. Between putting his
head down on his pillow and waking up to see Jessica’s sweet smile in front of
him he could remember nothing. No dreams, no nightmares and certainly no
interruption. It may have only been for a few hours, but the gift of deep sleep
that most people took for granted was a blessing as far as Severus Snape was
concerned. He couldn’t remember the last time he had woken up feeling this
“You’re still here,” he said as if he
were disappointed to have woken up with her next to him.
“Of course,” she said. “And don’t act
like you didn’t want me to stay. I know just how worried you were that you’d
wake up alone.”
“I wasn’t worried,” Snape barked
and didn’t hesitate to show her his morning scowl.
“Perhaps ‘worried’ isn’t exactly the
word I was looking for,” Jessica admitted. “However, we both know you would
have been disappointed if you had woken up without me.”
He couldn’t argue with her. It was
pointless. The scowl slowly turned into a half smile and a friendly hand
reached up and delicately cupped beneath Jessica’s chin. “Perhaps,” was all he
said before putting his arm back behind him. “How are you feeling now?”
Jessica slowly nodded. “It feels all
right,” she said knowing he was talking about the abrasion on her back.
“Good. Let me take a look.”
Slightly intimidated by his bold
instructions, Jessica turned around and sat with her back to him before she
started unfastening the buttons lining the front of her pyjama top. Once the
buttons were undone, Jessica pulled her hair over her shoulder and slipped her
arms out of the silk sleeves to expose the full of her bare back.
“It looks much better,” he assured as
he ran the outside of his hands down the sides of her back. “I’ll put some more
ointment on before we go for breakfast.”
“Where exactly are we going for
breakfast?” Jessica asked inquisitively as she rolled her sleeves back up her
arms and began fastening the buttons back up. She turned her head over her
shoulder and smiled mischievously at him.
“I don’t give a damn,” was his
unadorned answer. “We can go to your quarters and then at least you can put
some descent clothing on before anyone sees you.”
“Why don’t you want to be seen with me
in my pyjamas and dressing robe?” Jessica questioned. She turned herself around
and pressed the heels of her hands down on the mattress on either side of him.
“Because it’s not appropriate,” he
replied, one notch short of yelling. “The students can’t go prancing around the
castle in their nightclothes, so neither can you.”
His words were meant to sound
demeaning, but Jessica could sense that Severus didn’t really mean to
belittle her like that. Not really. All the years of striking fear into the
weak and feeble with his spiteful words made his it nearly impossible to break
the habit of spitting out one vulgar remark after another.
Instead of cowardly backing away like
anyone else would have done, Jessica locked her elbows and stared down at the
grumpy professor with her face no less than a foot away from his. She locked
her eyes with his and then slowly lifted her right leg over him and straddled
Severus at the waist.
“Do you fancy hiding me under your
robes instead so you can just carry me to my quarters?” Jessica asked, sounding
just as uncouth as he had before.
She didn’t wait for an answer. Instead,
Jessica closed her eyes and let her body shrivel up into nothing more than a
small rise just beneath the bed sheets. The shock of watching Jessica just
disappear like that took Severus by surprise and gave him a small scare. The
weight of her body lying on top of his was reduced to practically nothing.
He threw the bed covers off of his
chest and took a long hard look at what had become of her. “You’re an
Animagus,” Severus observed and then shook his head disapprovingly at the
slender reptile coiled around in a circle upon his bare chest. “I suppose you
think I’d prefer to waltz around the corridors with a poisonous snake around my
neck than with a harmless young woman in her pyjamas.”
In her new form, Jessica sat with her
body curled up around in circles and her head resting on top of the coil. Her
small beady black eyes looked straight into his inquisitive gaze and her tongue
slipped in and out of her mouth with the sound of a tiny hiss.
“The Fierce Snake is believed to have
the most toxic venom known to man,” Severus told her knowledgeably as he began
to smooth the back of his fingers up along her glossy black scales and then
down the cream coloured underside. “It is a beautiful, magnificent creature,
however, as much as I trust you I don’t fancy the idea of kissing a
As quickly as she had turned into a
snake, Jessica transformed back into her human self. The palms of her hands
went back to where they had been before and kept Severus trapped between her
arms. With her elbows locked firmly, Jessica smiled down at the professor and
“Is there anything else you’d like to
tell me about yourself?” Severus asked inquisitively. “I suppose you’re a
“So I’ve been told.”
As a child Jessica used her imagination
to talk to animals and pretended she could hear them speaking back to her. It
was a common childhood fantasy until one day while on a walk through the trees
she came across a small snake. It frightened her at first, but only until it
asked her not to be afraid. Since then she’d lost her fear of snakes and
discovered her ability to become one. The breed of snake she was able to
transform into was no accident. The deadly venom the Fierce Snake possessed was
one of the weapons her father intended for Jessica to have.
“I didn’t know it until I was sixteen
or seventeen,” Jessica continued. “I was visiting some of my uncle’s friends
with my mother and they had a Death Adder there that they were extracting venom
from to make an antidote of some sort.” Jessica shook her head quickly and
rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I was just saying ‘Hello, mate’ when I heard my
mother gasp in horror. I was hearing myself speak English, but that’s not what
anyone else in the room had heard. I haven’t spoken a word to a snake since
“Being a Parselmouth isn’t a curse you
know,” Severus assured her. “It’s a scarce gift, but certainly not one to be
“I know.” The words escaped her lips so
softly Severus could barely hear her. “But the less people know about me the
better. I’ve gotten a lot of funny looks from people in my years.”
“Nobody likes to be judged by their
differences,” Severus said. “I’ve got my differences, but frankly I don’t give
a damn what people think about them. Personal opinions aren’t going to change
who I am. I don’t want to change who I am.”
“Well I can’t change who I am,”
Jessica admitted. “I’m my father’s illegitimate daughter and my mother didn’t
want me. I was conceived by rape. How do you think it feels to have a mother
who had to look at me every day and constantly be reminded of his touch? It
wasn’t even sex he wanted, it was these stupid abilities!”
“They’re not stupid,” Severus assured.
“You can’t tell me that you’ve ever heard anyone call your capabilities
stupid.” His hands sailed down over the
silk material of her pyjama shirt and then smoothed back up against her skin.
Severus stopped just above her hips and let his fingers caress her sides.
“I’ve been called a freak,” Jessica
admitted. She was about to mention how often she’d been called names as a child
when Severus interrupted her thoughts.
“Every training witch and wizard raised
in a Muggle vicinity is called a freak now and then. To them we are
“You know I haven’t spent one day
learning magic,” Jessica reminded. “I’ve only been taught how to live with the
burden of being omnipotent. The thought of being trained to use a wand and
become even more powerful terrifies me. The more I learn the more I put my
father at an advantage if he ever does get his hands on me again.”
“The stronger you become the stronger
you’ll be when it comes to fight him for your life,” Severus said. “Last night
you may have only fought him off with will power, but that may not work
forever. There are plenty of people here who are willing to put all of their
training to use in order to keep you safe.”
“My mother died trying to protect me.”
Severus put his hands around Jessica’s
wrists and pulled her arms up from under her. She fell on top of him just as
Severus was turning onto his side. Her body rolled off of his and then she
found herself lying on her back with him looking down at her.
Severus ran his fingers along Jessica’s
jawbone and then gently squeezed her chin between his thumb and finger. “Your
mother loved you,” he said. “She may not have been prepared to bring you into
this world, but she did because she knew she could love you for who you are. It
didn’t matter to her that you came with all of these abilities. She died to
protect you because she believed that you are strong enough to fight against
people like your father. You’re a human being, not a box of magic tricks and if
you don’t believe that, then your mother died for no reason. You don’t want her
sacrifice to be in vane, do you?”
His effortless ability to drive
intimidation into her shone very clearly in his dark captivating eyes. He
stared so far into her eyes Jessica could hardly make out his pupils.
“No, I don’t,” she finally said.
“Good,” he said with a small nod. The
corner of his mouth turned up into a smile and his free hand glided down the
side of her face and fisted in her hair. He kissed her once on her forehead and
then once more on her cheek. Jessica could feel the tug of his lips spread
throughout her entire body. It warmed her in a way she’d never felt before.
His lips beckoned for her to kiss him
back and the eager groan sounding from the back of his throat drew her to him.
Jessica lifted her head up and kissed him as he desired. She closed her eyes
and planted her hands firmly against the bare skin of his chest. Slowly,
Jessica began to graze her hands up through the meadow of shiny black hair
until she had his shoulders cupped in her palms.
Her fingers slithered along his shoulder blades and
then began massaging the nape of his neck. A small part of his neck felt
uneven. Jessica rubbed her fingers over the scar he had on the left side of him
and then drew herself away from their kiss to look at what her fingers had
found. Her fingernails gently ran along the outer edge of the scar and she
stared curiously at the strange mark.
“Severus,” Jessica began. She quietly gasped in fear
as a hand swiftly seized her by the wrist and drove her hand away. “What is
it?” she questioned after feeling a surge of anger and discomfort twist her
“It’s nothing,” he said before sitting up on the
bed. “Only a little scar from an accident years ago.” Severus stood up and
walked over to his closet. He made fists as he walked and Jessica could see the
muscles in his back and arms tensing up with each squeeze of his palms.
He began taking some clothes out when Jessica sat up
and eyed him curiously. She thought to ask him more about the accident, but her
little discovery had ripened his mood. More questions would only aggravate him
“Put your robe on,” he instructed as he began
buttoning up a clean white dress shirt. “We’ll leave for your quarters in a few
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