Before Snape could find a way to make
Jessica open her eyes again, the new year had begun. The snow melted, and then
spring arrived. In fact, summer was just around the corner. While the students
of Hogwarts spoke of the summer with profound anticipation and excitement,
their loathsome Potions Master still lurked around his damp, dark dungeons with
his back bent over the most rare of Dark Arts spell books known to wizards.
He rubbed his eyes repeatedly, until
they were swollen red in irritation. He’d spent many nights up until the early
hours of the morning – some in his office, and some by Jessica’s side. More
times than he could count, Snape would awake to find himself curled securely
around her body. It had started out as an accident. He’d go up to her quarters
to see her or to speak to her and would just close his eyes for a moment.
After several weeks of sleepless
nights, Snape found comfort in retiring to her rooms at the end of the day. At
least when he was next to her he slept soundly. Sometimes he even fell asleep
as soon as he put his arms around her and closed his eyes.
Once in a while he dreamed that Jessica
would hug him back and kiss his cheek goodnight. It was that simple image that
kept him sane. If it hadn’t been for those dreams where he saw her looking at
him, smiling at him and speaking to him, Snape knew he’d have given up hope
It was June now, and little did he know
how much time he had left to break the curse… before someone else did.
* * *
The Great Hall was packed to all four corners of the
expansive room. Every single student and teacher in the castle had congregated
together for the evening feast. The aroma of freshly baked vegetables and
potatoes and hot, juicy turkey filled the air. The staff and students sat in
their glory as they devoured the scrumptious meal.
All except Severus Snape.
He sat miserably between Madam Hooch (who went on
and on about how delicious the brusselsprouts were that evening) and a wary
Professor Quirrell who had consumed his entire meal in a matter of minutes.
Snape glanced over at Quirrell as he picked up his
napkin and began hesitantly dabbing at the corners of his mouth. His hands
shook considerably and before dropping the dirty napkin back onto the table,
Quirrell noticed Snape eyeing him curiously and hesitantly turned his head in
A quiver of a laugh escaped from Quirrell’s mouth as
he caught the disapproving eye of the Potions Master. “Aha ha, s-so many
blasted c-crumbs, Severus. They’re everywhere!”
Snape narrowed his eyes derisively. “Perhaps it
would have been prudent to take the necessary time to properly fork your
food into your mouth rather than wolfing it down like an imbecile.” The silly
grin on Quirrell’s face quickly disappeared and was replaced with utter
embarrassment. “What is your hurry anyway, Quirrell?” he asked, both his
eyebrows arching in exceptional curiosity. “I haven’t seen you eat like that
When Snape looked sharply over at Quirrell again, he
made no attempt to hide the irony in his voice. He made his suspicion evident
and kept his eye on Quirrell until he received an answer.
“Ah, w-well… you know, busy t-time of year it is.
M-must p-p-prepare for exams.” Snape couldn’t imagine how he’d done it, but
Quirrell managed to trip as he stepped out of his chair and hobbled out through
the back door.
Snape watched as Quirrell’s plate and goblet
disappeared from the table. After glancing over at the Headmaster – who was
talking delightedly to the Charms professor – he decided it would be best to
personally see what Quirrell’s rush was. Perhaps he’d again catch him nearing
the third floor corridor.
The fool, Snape thought to himself, this
time I will quite enjoy watching his limbs as they are torn from his body.
While the Potions Master slithered by the Defence
Against the Dark Arts classroom and on towards the third floor, several floors
away a glow of light appeared in Jessica’s bedroom.
As her door opened, the spread of light illuminated
the room, and a dark figure slowly crept in and stepped towards her bed. With
his wand outstretched in front of him illuminating the bedroom, he slowly sat
himself down next to Jessica and lit the candle sitting on her bedside table.
Quirrell set his wand on the tabletop next to the
wax candle and smiled down at his peaceful hostage. His hand quivered as he
neared it to her face and gently began stroking her cheek with the back of his
fingers. “It won’t be much longer my pretty, little darling. We’ll be together
soon. You and I will leave this place together.” He turned his hand around and
pressed his fingers gently to her forehead and brought them down over her face,
pausing at her lips. “We’ll take with us all the happiness in the world. I
promise.” Quirrell bent himself down and pressed his lips against Jessica’s. He
held himself still for a moment and closed his eyes as he kissed her.
When he lifted his head, Quirrell smiled down at
Jessica in satisfaction and cupped his hand around the side of her face before
standing up. “I’ll be back soon my dear. Very soon.”
Quirrell picked up his wand and began stepping back
to the bedroom door. Quietly reaching out for the doorknob, Quirrell jumped as
the little, brass knob began to move on its own. He took a step back and wrapped
his arms protectively around his chest as the bedroom door swung open and a
tall, dark figure swooped in.
One foul, malicious look was all it took to drive
terror into the tiny, stuttering professor. Quirrell nearly dropped his wand as
he saw the Potions Master’s eyebrows merge in sheer anger and his teeth grind
together behind the meanest set of lips he’d ever seen. A low, rumbling growl
sounded from the back of Snape’s throat as he reached his hands out for
Quirrell and grasped him around the collar.
Quirrell barely managed a yelp before Snape picked
him up off his feet and pulled him out of Jessica’s bedroom, dragging him
across the sitting room and tossing him out her door into the empty corridor.
As his back slammed against the opposite wall, two of the hanging portraits
nearly fell from their hooks.
Snape quickly – and rather noisily – closed
Jessica’s door behind him and strode up to Quirrell, his hands reaching out for
his throat again.
“WHAT…” Snape began as he placed a tight grip around
the collar of Quirrell’s robes, “…WERE YOU DOING IN THERE?” His furious,
black eyes burned holes into the timid professor. His nose was no more than an
inch away from touching Quirrell’s forehead, as he was a few inches taller than
the other professor. “ANSWER ME!” he roared.
“P-please, S-Severus,” Quirrell held his hands up in
front of him and tried to push Snape away without actually touching him. He
could feel Snape breathing hard against him and knew that this was going to be
a tough corner to escape. “You must understand,” he began.
Snape tightened his grip around Quirrell’s neck,
making it even more difficult for the terrified professor to speak. “I
understand perfectly,” Snape assured in a low, velvety voice. “You are up to
something again, Quirrell. Tell me, how do you think you can possibly
incorporate your exams with Miss Van Eden? You have no business being in
“I – I was only t-t-trying to h-help,” Quirrell made
up and took a deep breath before Snape lifted him up off his feet for a moment.
“I’m the D-defence Against the D-dark Arts t-t-teacher, remember? W-what good
am I if – if I can’t break this evil sp-p-pell?” Quirrell tried to giggle once
he felt Snape loosening his grip and properly placing his feet back on the
Snape backed up a little ways and narrowed his eyes
before speaking in a faint, eerie whisper. “Now Quirrell, do you really
want me to answer that?” Despite the horrified look on Quirrell’s face, Snape
pulled him from against the wall and shoved him down the corridor, nearly causing
him trip over his own feet. “I don’t ever want to see you near here again. Is
As Quirrell struggled to regain his balance, he
turned to look at Snape and hurried along as the Potions Master trailed after
him with long, gliding steps. His wand was in his right hand pointing straight
at Quirrell’s head.
“Get out of here,” Snape ordered in a threatening
whisper. “If I catch you near these chambers again, I will not hesitate to
blast you into oblivion.” He lifted his wand even higher, emphasizing the
seriousness of his threat.
Quirrell, securing his hands around his head, looked
seriously at Snape and then ran off down the corridor without looking back.
Snape watched him run and then started walking back. He stood alone outside of
Jessica’s door for a little while to let his temper cool before re-entering.
The candle Quirrell had lit was still burning beside
her on the bedside table. Trickles of melted wax dribbled down along the sides
of the thin, round stub and pooled around its base. Snape looked at the
wrinkles in the quilts where Quirrell had been sitting and felt a touch of his
“How dare you, Quirrell,” he said aloud in a soft,
irritated whisper as he realized how close the treacherous professor had gotten
to Jessica. He examined the quilts and Jessica as well to be certain that
Quirrell had not tried to harm her. He tilted her head by her chin and turned
her each way to check for any sign of a coarse touch. His fingers brushed down
along her throat and down to her breastbone before declaring her unscathed.
Snape pressed his hands along the quilts and straightened it before sitting
himself down next to her.
He began massaging her by combing his hand along the
side of her head. Her soft, brunette hair slipped through his fingers like
silk. Even though she hadn’t moved from her bed in nearly six months, Snape
could still smell the aroma of exotic flowers in her hair. He then rubbed her
arms and shoulders with his hands as if to soothe her and make up for whatever
way Quirrell may have touched her. The simple thought of seeing Quirrell touch
her made Snape’s stomach churn and his fury unleash itself within. If he’d
walked in a moment earlier to see Quirrell touching his lips to Jessica’s, it’d
probably have been the last thing Quirrell ever did.
It’d be difficult to explain to the Headmaster why
his Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher had been reduced to a pile of scathed
bones and fed to three hungry, drooling mouths for an appetizer – but Snape was
sure he wouldn’t regret it. Dumbledore knew how protective Snape was about his
personal belongings, and regardless of her feeble state, Jessica was no
He looked down at her closed eyes and soothingly ran
his thumbs up and down her throat. His dark eyes softened as he tried to
remember the last time he’d seen those emerald green eyes looking back at him.
Tears had flood from her eyes and she’d pleaded for
him to understand the danger that threatened her. He’d called her a whore and
ordered her to leave him alone.
“Damn,” Snape whispered to himself. She sure had
left him alone. In six months she never once returned to his quarters, stopped
by his office, called his name or told him that she loved him. Oh Merlin, to
hear those words dance off her tongue again would be a magic all its own.
“I haven’t been the same without you
these last few months,” he quietly admitted. “I’ve been exceptionally
miserable, irritable and on top of it all I haven’t found one damned thing that
can help you. Your uncle is probably beginning to lose faith in me,” Snape told
her. He shrugged his shoulders helplessly and swept his fingers over her lips.
“In fact, I’m beginning to lose faith in myself.”
Instead of sitting beside Jessica with
his back bent over her, Snape kicked off his boots and crawled over her and
stretched himself out on the bed beside her. He propped his head up on his left
arm and used his right hand to continue massaging her. “I’ve hardly spoken a
word to the Headmaster in the last few weeks. I can’t bear looking at him
knowing that what’s happened to you is entirely my fault. You tried so very
hard to warn me, and I threw it all back in your face. The sorrow I can see in
the Headmaster’s eyes reminds me of my foolish behaviour every time I look at
him. He gave me what was most precious to him knowing full well that I was
capable of protecting you. I greedily took you, wanting only the fruits of
pleasure. Although I did intend to protect you in some fashion,” he guaranteed.
“I was determined to protect you from the hungry gaze and lustrous desire of
every other wizard who ever set eyes on you. Perhaps to begin with you both
knew that my need for you was purely physical, and perhaps you also knew that
one day I’d come around and begin to l-” he stopped. Snape looked hard at
Jessica and tried to force the word out of his mouth. His tongue struggled to
produce the four-letter word but failed unquestionably.
Snape sighed in frustration and closed
his eyes as he turned his head away for a moment. “Damn it, Jessica,” he
whispered under his breath and turned back to look at her with an immeasurable
amount of pain and regret in his eyes. “Come back to me. Please.” He squeezed
locks of her hair in his hands and bent his forehead down to touch hers. His
lips brushed against her cheek and he began to compulsively dot her with
kisses. As soon as he felt the tug of his mouth release a kiss, his lips
hungrily sought after a new patch of skin to kiss. “I miss you so much,” he
whispered without breaking his lips away from her flesh. “If I can never take you
as my lover, I still promise to cherish and protect you as long as I live, so
help me Merlin. Just come back to me, Jessica! I beg you.”
A moment later, Severus Snape was fast
asleep. His hands curled around Jessica’s body, and his head lay on the pillow
just beside hers. After a long, deep breath, his mouth opened and in his
unconsciousness his lips uttered in a soft whisper… “I love you.”
* * *
From the open window, the afternoon sun
was beating down on his face when Snape awoke. He squeezed his eyes shut and
moaned irritably as he rubbed his thumb and fingers over his eyelids. After
sitting up and throwing his legs over the edge of the bed, Snape settled his
elbows on his thighs and reluctantly opened his eyes. He had a sneaking
suspicion he’d slept in far later than he’d intended to. Something about being
so close to Jessica all night let him sleep with a peace he didn’t think was
possible before he’d met her.
Snape turned and looked at Jessica. Her
eyes were still closed and her hands remained folded at her waist. He leaned
over and gave her one kiss on the cheek before standing up. He walked around
over to her side of the bed and knelt down to pick up his boots. He sat down on
the edge, and one at a time, slipped his boots back on his feet. “I meant what
I said last night,” he casually said to her, not noticing the elderly wizard
who’d stepped into the bedroom while Snape had his back turned to the door. “I
plan to spend the rest of my life with you… protecting you, honouring you and
cherishing you. But I am giving up hope, Jessica. Sometimes I think you may be
like this forever and I will never see your eyes open again. The thought of
never being able to hold you again… breaks my heart.” He pushed his heel down
into the floor to fit his foot properly and then picked up her hand.
Dumbledore quietly took one more step
closer to the pair and watched carefully as Snape picked Jessica’s hand up and
pressed her palm against the left side of his chest. “Not so long ago this
never really existed.” He patted his hand over hers a couple of times and
managed to curve half of his mouth up into a smile. “Because of you, I can feel
it now. It hurts like hell and I’ll be damned if I have to live the rest of my
life with infernal chest pain because of you.”
Dumbledore did his best to mute a
chuckle. His lips spread into a smile and he nodded his head, saluting Snape.
Still going unnoticed by the intuitive Potions Master, he waited patiently for
Snape to finish his words with Jessica. Dumbledore knew Snape would be furious
when he found out the Headmaster had overheard his sentimental words.
“Anyway,” Snape continued, “why don’t
you just do me a favour and open those beautiful eyes of yours. It’s rather
lonely out here and I’ve been making plenty of plans for the two of us. I know
you’re probably anxious to see me wear those Muggle clothes you gave me for
Christmas. Well, I’m just as anxious to return the favour and buy you something
fashionably Muggle in London… or Paris… or Rome… or wherever you would like to
go. I will take you anywhere, but you have got to wake up. Perhaps that will
serve as a bit of incentive.” Snape brushed his hand across her forehead a
couple of times, and Dumbledore leaned his body up against the doorframe. “I
don’t quite fancy the idea of embarking on a romantic adventure and having to
drag your flaccid body along behind me,” Snape continued. Dumbledore contained
another fit of laughter as he pictured Snape hauling Jessica’s inert body
behind him down the streets of Muggle London. “No, that just wouldn’t be any
fun. I would rather walk with your hand in mine, hear your voice whispering
into my ear and feel your arms wrap around me as you fall asleep next to me. I
wouldn’t dare spend a second away from you. As irritating and derisive as you
are, no one else has ever made me feel the way you do. You have brought me a
sort of happiness I’ve never experienced, the sort I’ve never allowed myself to
experience before. I just hope that I will be able to make up for the way I
treated you at Christmas and show you how much I – how much I…” Severus trailed
off again as the very same word he tried to voice last night still refused to
sound from his lips.
Dumbledore watched as his Potions
Master struggled to make the rest of his sentence come out. Snape pressed his
palm to the flat of his forehead and closed his eyes. Even if he did find it in
himself to admit his passionate feelings for Jessica, Dumbledore knew he’d not
want to do it in front of the Headmaster – especially when he was within
hearing proximity. Dumbledore quickly stepped forward.
“Severus,” he said and watched as Snape
flinched at the sound of his name coming from behind him. Immediately Snape
released Jessica’s hand and stood facing him.
“Headmaster,” Snape answered, sounding
quite surprised. “I didn’t hear you come in.” Dumbledore could hear the
irritation in his voice.
“I’ve just arrived,” he fibbed. “Have
you been here long?” he asked.
“Since yesterday evening, Headmaster,”
Snape told him, deciding to be honest. It was hardly worth keeping a secret
from Albus Dumbledore. He probably already knew that Snape spent most of his
nights at Jessica’s side. It had been weeks since he’d slept in his own bed.
“My, my,” the Headmaster waved his
hand. “Severus, you must be famished. Why don’t you go get yourself some
breakfast? There’s a matter I’d like to discuss with my grandniece.”
Snape nodded in agreement and began
heading towards the door. Just as he passed the Headmaster, Dumbledore reached
his hand out and grasp him around the elbow. He immediately released Snape once
he stopped and looked at him, waiting for him to speak.
“I’ve been summoned to the Ministry of
Magic and will be leaving immediately after I’ve had a moment with Jessica,” he
told him. “I’ll not be returning before night. I want to leave Hogwarts and all
who are loyal to me in safe hands. I fear that in my absence, a dark plot may
arouse within these walls.”
Snape stared at his Headmaster for a
moment before nodding confidently, assuring his loyalty to the safety of
Hogwarts. “I will be on my guard.”
Once Snape adjourned to the Great Hall,
Dumbledore approached Jessica’s bedside and smiled down at her. He clapped his
hand over hers and then squeezed her fingers. “He truly does love you, my
dear.” He reached into an inside pocket within his robes. “It’s going to be up
to you to make sure you hear him say so – at his own accord, mind you.” With
that, he slipped a small vial into the inner pocket of her robe and then
secured his hands around her fingers. “You’re far stronger than you believe, Jessica.
Both Severus and I will need you to be strong tonight.”
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