|Scene Title||Fait Accompli|
|Synopsis||Siobhan shows Severus a letter confirming what they already knew.|
|Location||Hogwarts: Observatory (atop the Astronomy Tower)|
|Date||May 18, 19996|
|Watch For||Severus being silly. Discussion of old Sluggy. Cheesy lines.|
Late Saturday evening finds Siobhan wrapped in an obscenely luxurious fur curled up in the Observatory, back to the wall and face tipped back to stare at a seemingly-endless spread of stars. There are lines of tension and fatigue in her face and shoulders that weren't there a year ago or even six months ago, but they're mitigated slightly by the peaceful expression her current pastime brings. In one hand she clutches a piece of parchment, well-read and folded many times over so that lines criss-cross almost the entire surface. In her other hand is a mug of half-full tea, steaming just a bit in the late chill - early May is still cool in Scotland, after all.
Unable to sleep and wandering the hallways, Severus heads to the Astronomy Tower, rousting out a couple pairs of amorous teens as he goes. Cool though it may be, young wizards and witches who fancy themselves in love have a tendency to find a place to consort. He knows all those places. Including up in the Observatory. He pushes the door open slowly, at first to avoid scaring any couples apart. However, when a familiar wash of magic slips over him, he relaxes, moving into the room to gaze at Siobhan. "Hello, my dear." He takes in her stance, and instead of immediately moving to her, he stands still, simply present, making her aware of his presence and support silently. For now.
That wash of familiar cool-blue magic makes the corners of Siobhan's mouth turn up before she even realizes why on a conscious level. It's nice to have that little warning system; it means her husband doesn't trip her hair-trigger startle reflex the way some more unfortunate members of their acquaintance tend to. "Evenin'," she slurs, her voice scratchy with sleepy disuse. Obviously she's been sitting here in silence for some time. "How many did you get tonight, then?" Yes, she knows exactly what he's doing this far up above their serpents' nest.
"Four." He replies to her comment. Severus watches the recognition wash over her. "Four pair. One of them, I am certain, will end up going through the marriage rites as soon as they are afield. Seventh years." The pair has been together for a while. "Were you … discovered by any nocturnal wanderers?" He asks, a slight amusement in his voice. "I know it has been passed around as a common place to invade." He looks directly at the parchment in her hand. "Is that something that requires communication?" He'll offer, but not demand.
Siobhan shakes her head, the motion dislodging hair tucked behind her ear so that it falls over her shoulder. "It's a neat trick and I still don't know how it works, properly," which shouldn't come as a surprise, given her mental capacity for doing as opposed to thinking, "but if I really don't want to be disturbed, no one ever shows up." She tilts her head down enough to offer him that soft, melted-heart kind of smile she only ever wears around him. "Only it never seems to work on you." As with most of her magic, it appears he can break this at will, too. His gaze falling to the parchment in her hand leads hers to do the same, though the sight of it causes all the warmth to fall out of her smile. "It does. Isis brought it at dinner." Isis being Cissa's owl. "I shouldn't be surprised, all told, but I am." She holds out the parchment to him, the wax infused with her friend's jungle-river magic weighing one end down more than the other. "The official notice will come to you later, but it's as good as done." He - and by extension, she - are now well and truly chained to this castle, despite the release of her mate by one of his masters who had the good grace to die.
"It is a function of your wish, perhaps," Severus moves to find a part of the wall to lean against, letting his frame relax a little as he talks with his wife. "Your magic recognizes me as belonging to you, or a part of you, and the 'do not approach' signal does not apply." He smirks. "For that I am extremely grateful." When she mentions the letter, he slumps a little, in a strange mixture of visible relief and a little annoyance. "I am pleased that it has been completed. I suppose that means I must attend another tea and explain it to her so that it does not come as a complete surprise." He takes the parchment, reading through it. "He intends to have the ceremony before the end of the year." There are several layers of thought running through his head. Some of which include how he would change things, some his revulsion with the extra workload and removal from the part of teaching he likes, and some on how it will affect Sio, McGonagall and others. Including his new young charge — or charges, as the case may be. "We may also need to give Julian at least a modicum of warning." He strokes his chin in thought, then looks back up to her, handing the parchment back, should she want to keep it. "Are there any … Do you need anything in particular to occur before the actual change?"
Siobhan watches him go through the entire change, shadows growing behind her eyes as she sees that slump and the hint of revulsion. "More chains to bind you," she breathes, the observation more a thought let slip than anything she means for him to pick up. "I'm sorry, mo chridhe." That she says loud enough to easily hear, soft sincerity in every syllable. She watches him process the next steps, those that will need to be told and measures to be taken. It makes her smile again, though this time the expression is so sad. Sad because it occurs to her that Severus wouldn't have nearly so many chains if he wasn't so good at the work they accompany. "You ever wonder what our life would be like if we weren't so stubborn?" she muses. "If we could simply make ourselves say 'fuck it' and run off to live somewhere else - quiet lives as quiet people?" She knows full well the impossibility of that scenario - for either one of them - and perhaps it is that which makes the idea so deliciously tantalizing. She is, however, surprised when his next train of thought takes him not to what he needs beforehand, but to what she might need. It startles her enough that for a moment she only blinks at him. "Me?" she asks like a dunce. "What would I need to do beforehand?"
Severus, aware of her regard, realizes he has come to appreciate her presence, and her intuition. It's not a new realization, just another layer on one that has been building for a while. "Indeed," he intones, noting that he's caught her whisper. "You have been one of the least binding connections in my life." There is a sense, that even though she is connected to him more intimately than anyone else, she does not demand nor place demands on him. He looks up at her, and gives a small smile. "Perhaps, by taking this one on," this last mantle, "I may indeed near that day, when I can salute the whole mess with a finger or two, and sail away with some incoming tide." He wouldn't mind that a bit. "I have wondered," he continues, shifting a little to make himself more comfortable on the edge of the wall he leans against, "more often since I have more to enjoy in a time of respite." Since they've been together, that is. "I do not know what you would need to do. I am merely asking if you had anything you wished to accomplish," he adds a caveat, "that was able to be accomplished before the actual confirmation." He shrugs a single shoulder. "I may also miss a crucial portion of preparation and if you remember something I do not…" She can remind him. He gazes out across the sky, looking up to see where the different constellations are for the time. For a long moment of silence, he watches the sky, then lifts his hand, "There. Look." Something small and bright streaks across the sky. One single meteor, or a tiny comet, making its way across the black sky.
The mental image of her Severus giving anything the two-fingered salute is enough to make Siobhan giggle quietly. "You'll have to give me enough warning to steal the Creevy boy's camera or no one will believe me." She's teasing, mostly. Half the stories she could tell of this man no one alive would believe - it's part of the reason she keeps them so close to her chest, their rarity makes them all the more precious. His offer makes her thoughtful, chewing her lower lip as she debates whether or not to voice the option that's been lurking in the back of her mind since before they left for Italy. When he lifts his hand, she lifts her gaze; the shooting star brings that soft and genuine smile back to her lips. Her decision is made. "It might be arrogant of me, to think I can offer more than Minerva's ritual, but ever since I was cursed into that damn painting, it's been like…" She falters. They've discussed this before, but each time she fails to find the right words. "I'm a part of this castle and she's a part of me. Like I'm one of her gargoyles or her endless spinning staircases." She's not even a hundred percent sure she can leave long-term and is a little afraid to try in case the answer ends up being 'no'. "The upside is that she knows me - I mean knows me. I don't know how I know, but I know if I asked her to she'd hide me somewhere even you couldn't find." Not that she's threatening, there is a point to this. "I want that protection for you, too. Before you become Hogwarts' headmaster, I want her to recognize you as her own son."
Severus' eyes narrow, and he looks more closely at his wife. This explains much. He remains silent yet, thinking through all the different possibilities and consequences of being a 'favored son' of the castle. "The upside you have mentioned. The drawbacks you have not. Have you found any?" He asks not only for his own merit, but because if something strange like that is affecting her, he really wants to know. "You may steal his camera as long as the film and pictures stay within your possession." He accedes to her frivolous request, though there is a hint of annoyance in his tone. "That miscreant has caused no end of trouble with his contraption. One had hoped that having the first one fried by a humongous magical creature would deter him. But of course, not." He snorts, and looks out at the sky again, waiting for her reply to his question.
Siobhan shrugs. "Not really any that I've noticed, but I haven't exactly had the chance to try and be away for very long." She blows a stray piece of hair back out of her face. "I was fine in Italy and didn't notice any particular longing for it while Shadow played 'Operation', so I know at least a month is alright." The just haven't really had the opportunity yet to test anything longer than that. "It's untested, I know, but I really don't feel like she'd hurt you." Otherwise she'd never even dream of suggesting it. "I don't think I can bind you like I'm bound, anyway. The best I think I can do is more of an 'introduction' of sorts." The rest is up to the castle, herself. "Oh, my poor love…" She laughs in between the words, trying to smother the mirth. "I think it's a fair bit too late for that kind of intervention." She giggles in earnest, then, unable to suppress the mirth. "I know you don't notice, but you've got this kind of … tortured soul thing goin' on. There's quite a few of the snakes and eagles what have 'pensive still life' shots of you pinned in their diaries - girls and blokes alike."
As she replies with the idea of introducing him to the castle, he nods. "I would be pleased for you to make formal introductions between myself and Lady Hogwarts." Every student who passes through here has some sense of 'other' that emanates from the castle. He is one of the more observant ones. "I have felt more at home and at ease in her care than any — before yourself, of course." But Siobhan provides an entirely different type of 'home' and 'care.' When she continues, talking about the pictures in the malcontents' diaries, he freezes, a look of horror crossing his face for a long moment before he can manage to respond. "They do what?" Say it ain't so.
Siobhan waves off his inclusion of her care, she knows what he meant. "S'a magical sort of introduction, but that's the best I can think to describe it." She shoots him an apologetic look. It bothers her that she can't explain things on that level of the esoteric he seems to exude simply by existing. She is not, however, in the least bit apologetic about the revelation regarding the photographs, though she does set her mug on the floor beside her and shrug the fur off her shoulders to stand and pad over to the desk he leans against, pushing herself on tiptoe to press a quick kiss to his horrified face and then hop up on the edge next to him. "There, there, dear. I was only joking when I said you didn't realize… I thought you knew, surely?" Because it's not as if the little brats are subtle about it. "There's nothing a teenage libido loves more than an air of wounded mystery. It suits their angst about their place in the world." Okay, so that comment came out a little more dry than intended, but it's self-deprecating, given her own teenage relationships.
Severus wraps his arms around her, listening to her words, watching out across the parapets. "I had some inkling that they … mooned over me," he admits. "Though I believe I had intentionally forgotten how intense the adolescent mind can be when dealing with such emotions." Yeah. He understands it, but intentional ignorance can be a blissful thing at times. Until it bites you in the arse. "I wonder if the truth of my 'wounded mystery' appears in my presence these days." He lowers his head to fully embrace her, burying his face in her hair. "Considering many of my wounds are now healing." Including many he didn't realize were so obvious. "Do not fret, my dear," he returns the favor. "If I need a more accurate description, she will provide one." He can imagine her showing him books that delineate exactly what's happening. "I am amenable to whatever you feel would be best." He is becoming more able to put his trust in her as time goes on. No 'stupid moment' tonight.
Siobhan finds herself pulled into a warm embrace and can't really complain. It feels nice to melt into strong arms and a solid body. "Most teenagers are far too self-absorbed to notice things like that." She even includes herself in that, for she'd not really noticed the healing so much as the hurts she was adding. "I think one or two of the older, more observant snakes have seen some changes, but even they haven't put the whole picture together." Not yet, anyway.
Severus hums into her hair, silent as he listens to her. Directing his attention to the previous topic, he continues to muse. "I am certain that Minerva has removed much of the clutter which was a staple of the office before now, however, she may have her own 'clutter.' I shall have to find something similar." Something that says 'Headmaster' instead of 'Potions Master.' "Perhaps you can assist me with that/ I do not foresee it being an overwhelming thing. I do not want the room to be decorated in such an eclectic style." He rolls his eyes. "The touch of a lady with immaculate taste would benefit greatly, I believe."
Siobhan laughs into the front of his robes, tilting her face from side to side to enjoy not only the scrachiness of the wool against her skin, but also to inhale some of that deliciously familiar scent. "You realize that if I set it up in warmth and elegance that no one will believe you live there, right?" The image of the 'dungeon-dwelling evil bat' is too well-ingrained in the hearts and minds of wizarding Britain. "Half of them swear you sleep hanging from the ceiling, you know." She understands why he cultivates the image, but that doesn't mean she can't find it all a bit ridiculous. "If you would like, mo chridhe, of course I'll fix it. You know you only have to ask."
"Ahh, but that is easily explainable, especially with the circumstances as they are. Perhaps I have been secretly pining for the seat since I ascended to House Master. We are ever more ambitious, are we not?" It's now Severus' turn to sound self-deprecating. "The truth of the matter is that I considered the idea for a moment here and there until Albus had to attend one of his meetings abroad and encouraged me to assist Minerva with the running of the school." One time was all it took to dissuade him from wanting the post long-term. Too much annoyance. "However, for this situation, I will endure." It is less painful than some of his other burdens. He snorts. "Or perhaps that was a condition of my elevation: that I have a better hand assist me with the appearance and presence. Since I am well-known as a miserly bat, someone like you or Narcissa would be an appropriate choice to showcase my House and the School itself." He's being silly now, or as silly as he gets. He sighs into her hair, enjoying the moment of solitude between them. "I rather enjoyed the vacation, but dealing with your family became somewhat tiresome after a period of time. The noise level alone reminded me of Gryffindor Third Years after their first Honeyduke's run."
That actually makes Siobhan pause, her mind suddenly spinning with unconsidered possibilities. "That reminds me," she begins, twisting her head to lay her cheek flat against his chest and speak softly against his sternum. "Who will you get to fill your posts?" She doesn't have the book-mind for the one nor the seniority for the other, so she can't exactly offer help. When he sighs into her hair, she wraps both arms around his waist, running hands in soothing circles over his lower back. "My family is essentially a bunch of Gryffindor Third Years after their first Honeyduke's run," she reminds him. A wicked grin twists her mouth, hidden from his sight but a clear broadcast of her own intent to be playful now. "But surely coming home to a quiet room and me sunbathing on the balcony made it worthwhile, no?" Since she wasn't comfortable enough to don bikinis like her mother and Maura, she'd decided to ward the hell out of her balcony and sunbathe properly - without any danger of tan lines. It left her with an all-over glow… Literally.
"As I said, extremely enjoyable." Severus steps back, eyes roving over her form. He smirks, eyes telegraphing his enjoyment of that particular time. "It was exceptional." Her agreement with his description makes him smile even more, a quiet chuckle escaping. "Luckily for us, most of your brothers can shed their sugar-induced euphoria more quickly than the real thing." He shakes his head and remembers a specific incident when all it took was for the master of the house to clear his throat to silence the entire table. Severus can respect power like that. After setting aside the discussion of their vacation, he frowns. "I had thought to entice my old potions professor and Head of House back to the position." He sets a hand back on her back, stroking softly with his thumb, his only intent to have that small connection and to think. "Horace Slughorn. He is a passable teacher, though he does have a fond need to collect the intelligent and powerful like shiny baubles. Do not feel strange if he invites you to several functions, the nature of which are to foster networks of well-known people for him to listen to. With your parentage, as well as your growing place in your own right, I can see him wishing you to be a member of his … Slug Club." His tone of voice makes it fairly clear that it's tedious, but worthwhile.
Siobhan soaks up that quiet chuckle like a flower soaks up sunshine. "Da's magic that way." She remembers that incident, too. Fondly. Mention of that replacement, however, makes her groan - and not in a pleasant way. "He recruited Liam, remember?" She shudders, but sighs. "I mean, I recognize the benefits to having him, I do. He's just so … slimy." She accepts the increased distance reluctantly. There is a silver lining, though, and that realization spreads a slow, wicked smile across her face. "You know, he's going to have a bitch of a time getting our snakelets to fall in line."
Severus hums again, continuing to gaze at her. Even in the warmer, thicker clothes, he finds her completely alluring. "Oh, yes. I had forgotten." He sighs at the mention of the eldest Noble child. "He does have an extremely different means by which he keeps control." Chivvying and cajoling instead of a strong, dark, intense presence that just encourages them to behave … or else. "I will inform them that I am still in this school…" He pauses. "Though there may be a median between my expectations as House Master and those of the new Headmaster." He chuckles again. "It could make an effective means of communication between ourselves and him." Especially if their ward is the one delivering the message. He steps closer again, wrapping her up in his embrace. "Mmm. The location and the company make me feel much like a young student myself, my dear." He may not act on the thought, but the dark, clear night with her in his arms is a strong temptation.
"Control?" Siobhan scoffs. "It was under his watch that girl died." Not that she has to remind him, but still. "I suspect Pie'll be well happy, though." Poor ickle Gryffindor - such promise wasted on such a House. "I suspect it would be wise to inform them soon. I can gather them in the Nest tomorrow afternoon if you'd like. It'll give the young ones time to prepare and will give the older ones something to consider when they venture out into the wide world." Because having the ear of the Headmaster is valuable and having eyes and ears outside the school is even more precious still. It's a good bargain. Swept up in strong arms again, the cool night air and enticing sandalwood scent of her lover are enough to make even a line that cheesy pretty effective. Even so, she laughs softly against the base of his neck. "We don't have classes in the morning, mo chridhe. Let's go home and make the best of our Saturday night, shall we?"
Severus hums again, and sighs his contentment. "Then tell them we shall. I believe we ought to tell Julian first, since he is more directly affected. However, we can tell him shortly beforehand and ask him to hold his tongue for a short while." Her comments about the other man's allowing the death of a student get a slow nod of acknowledgment. "I believe that he changed some of his methods after that incident." He knows so, or he would not consider asking him back. With a sharp squeeze, he releases her, then smiles. "I am fully in accord with that plan, my dear. I shall meet you down there." He knows that it is often wiser to leave separately. And since he's supposedly up here ferreting out wayward students, no one will think twice if he's barreling down the stairs at a brisk walk.