1996-02-23B: Oh, Those Priorities


Siobhan_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif

Scene Title Oh, Those Priorities
Synopsis After Maura leaves, Sio and Sev talk. Then they don't talk much at all. Follows immediately after Chess 101.
Location Hogwarts: Hospital Wing
Date Feb 23, 1996
Watch For Who says what first. Also, Morgan, here's your sock. (Smut warning)
Logger Snape.

WARNING: Explicit language used. R-Rated.

"Each piece's moves are limited. One must consider …." Severus is answering Siobhan's question when Maura smiles at him. He nods a farewell, then turns his focus back to the game. "One must consider all possible moves each may make, and then from there, the moves that move engenders. It is somewhat like having to consider the ramifications of every action two and three steps outward."

Siobhan frowns, her face twisting into a moue of disgust. "Now you sound like Albus, Sev." With all his weird … chess moves. It's only after she says it, however, that it occurs to her that the Headmaster isn't actually around anymore and that puts her comment into an … inappropriate light. "Sorry," she mutters quietly, sliding the pawn in front of her Queenside Rook ahead a square.

A flash of remorse and betrayal crosses Severus' face at the mention of the Headmaster. That is an open wound yet, and he feels it keenly. However, what he knows of the man tells him that he felt it was necessary for some reason. Perhaps because of his connection to Siobhan, or perhaps because he was somehow 'slipping into the dark.' He runs a hand over his face, and sighs. "No, he was an excellent chess player." Layers in that comment. "It is rather part of what I learned from him. He helped transform my nascent planning skills into a much more mature style." Partially through chess. "It is an ancient metaphor and has been used as a teaching tool for that exact purpose for millenia." The old man was not the only one to play chess physically and metaphorically at the same time. He glances around to make sure the Hospital wing remains empty, and then reaches over to stroke her cheek. "Do not feel the need to curb your words. The only thing to change this will be time, and time I now have." At least a little more than he may have before.

Siobhan leans into that gentle touch, rubbing her cheek a little against his palm. Her eyes slide closed and she relaxes, soaking up the affection in the one small gesture. Her own hand she lays against his , holding it against her jaw. "Ward the curtains?" Still recovering and now sans wand, she can't do it on her own or she would. "I don't much feel like putting on a show tonight, anyway." The normally social Siobhan is stressed by people right now, clinging to the dark of her corner 'den' and the familiarity of her mate while her strength is at this low tide. Only once she can feel the reassuring power of his magic flood their small corner of the wing does she continue. "I don't remember much," she admits quietly. "Only being hurt and disoriented. When I saw him take aim I didn't even think, I just - " She couldn't bear the idea of losing her lover. "I'm sorry. Despite all his faults, I know you two were close." She smiles a bit self-deprecatingly. "Hell, he's the one who told me to have faith in you after Hogsmeade." Ironic, no?

It isn't even a thought in Severus' mind to refuse her. He lets his magic flare and leans down, remaining as close as she would like him to be. He leaves his hand where she holds it, willing her health, peace and comfort through the salty drops of ocean that double as tears for the grief he feels. "It is not completely certain what happened; all I know is that he fired a green curse in my direction. I believe he thought I had fallen too far to save." He's not sure exactly what particular straw broke that camel's back, but he knows the man thought him on knife's edge in more ways than one. For some strange reason, he brings up something else. "I spent some time with Gardener. He told me a little about his past." They bonded. "It helps to have someone who understands where I am and how I am feeling. Someone who has been there. You do much for me…" Here, his smirk appears, showing the ways she helps through eyes and expression. "…however, from time to time, one needs a comrade. I had forgotten that."

There is no such thing as too close. Not right now, not when stress and horror and injury and upheaval has shaken Siobhan's worldview. She'd curl up right on top of him - chair and all - if she could. For just the briefest of moments, it looks like she might actually be considering the attempt, but the bone-heavy weariness she can't seem to shake makes her think better of it. "What would make anyone think that?" The outrage on his behalf is plain in her voice, weak and quiet though it sounds. "What have you done in the last five months to make him - or anyone else for that matter - that suspicious?" His seeming non-sequitor makes her smile, the expression hinting at bits of her usual charm and vitality. "Good. Jet's a good man and a good friend. And besides," she adds, teasing. "It's about time you got over being jealous of him." Even in this state, Siobhan Noble really can't resist poking at the metaphorical panther.

Severus growls, partially at the 'jealous' remark, and partially because he's been wracking his mind while he sits at her side, asking himself the same damn thing. "The only two options I can think of is that he feared the power Doctor Brennan mentioned…" The fact that the two of them together are very powerful together could have easily worried him. "…Or that my focus was dangerously lowered because I was spending time with someone of the opposite gender." Another thought strikes him, and he voices it. "Or perhaps, he felt that I was not good enough for you." Or at least wouldn't be in the eyes of her family. He sighs, pushing it all away. "Would you like me to lay down next to you?" Though it is a small bed, there would be room, especially if they were snuggled up close. "I would not want to injure you, however." On the matter of Gardener, he lifts one shoulder a bit in his version of a shrug. "He seems to be quite knowledgeable about some things."

Siobhan doesn't even bother wasting the breath on an answer. Gingerly - she's still got some achy places, especially in her arms - she shifts her weight to the far side of the spartan bed, sliding back down a little ways in the process. It's just enough for her to get comfortable against him rather than against the pillows without laying down completely - she's not quite ready for another long snooze. She'll wait until he's close enough to easily touch before she'll answer anything, running gentle fingers along his face, neck and shoulder in soothing motions. "Can I make an observation?" she ventures quietly, continuing on before he can comment on her slip in grammar. "You are, by nature, a private person, not a solitary one. In a better world you could have grown up sitting by the fire reading while the rest of your pack played a game or worked or talked." An integral but subtle part of the whole unit. "It is nurture, I think, that turned you into the isolationist. It made you very good at doing a job no human being should ever be subjected to, but at a very high price." Running her fingers along his jawline, Siobhan smiles, enjoying the simple luxury of being able to take the time to re-learn the contours and angles of her mate. "There's a reason they take only men with no life or family for the Black Level MCIA operatives." And from her tone, that's about what she equates his work for the Order with. "Being so intimately tied to you is … perfect, but I'm almost happier to see you bonding with others." Not their kind of bond, because feral-wolf is incredibly territorial, but the general idea is there. "Because Albus was just as wrong as he was right. The pack you forge will make you powerful." Though not for the reasons one might think. "But its existence will be the very thing that keeps you from falling off that knife into darkness that will drown you." She shrugs, seemingly a bit embarrassed by her diatribe. "At least, that's how it seems to me, anyway."

Severus, once he is settled and she is observing, closes his eyes, reveling in the touch and letting the words wash over him. "I was perfectly placed to do a necessary task," he agrees. "One may say many things of him, but he was not unintelligent." He exhales, reaching over to gently touch her somewhere where it will not cause pain, if he can find that. "Gardener says that a man in my role for so long can often lose sight of very important things." He opens his eyes again, looking over at his mate. "I am beginning to see that is the case. My bonds with others improve my station, not lower it." He smiles, the tender smile only she sees. "I would very much enjoy that specific scenario." He'd sit by the fire and read, content to watch, monitor and guard, but still be a part of any conversation should he need. Or be a source for information consulted when others fail. That appeals to him. "I have worn this mantle for so long that it is all the wider world knows of me." They do not believe him to be anything other than his job. Teacher, Death Eater, spy. Nothing else of him matters. He carefully cultivated that, but now he sees the drawbacks.

He touches her like she is something fragile and precious and it makes a part of Siobhan light up like the proverbial Christmas Tree. The larger portion, however, just wants as much contact as possible and to that end she gently grabs the wrist of the hand touching her and guides it around her waist so she can be held close. "And now you're perfectly placed to do an incredible amount of good, Sev - and be happy while you do it." It's as simple as that, for her. That tender smile warms her and she returns it easily. Brushing her fingertips up along the side of his face, she changes the motion's direction, gently tucking dark hair behind his ear and caressing the shell of it in the process. "Whatever direction you and I decide to take will be just that - our decision. And we'll keep pushing forward and growing our pack." Because if there's one lesson to be learned by the example of the Noble family, it's that when they all fall in line behind a common goal, it's terrifying how quickly shit gets done. Something about that thought makes her laugh softly. "Think about it this way, love. You've got about a two year headstart on sucking up to my Mum."

It sounds idyllic. It sounds like a dream. Severus hums his agreement, continuing to touch her gently, easy strokes with his thumb. It's nothing more than simple reassurance that she is present and nearby. The bond nearly demands it. "I can see us doing so already. Assigning roles and pulling in people from various stations due to their need and," he pauses and snorts, "their usefulness to us. I do not, however, want to take any more from one person, one pack member, as you say, than they are willing to give. Nor do I wish to resort to any kind of coercion to get them to act 'for their own good.' If we begin to head that way…" He shudders, taking care to try to avoid hurting her. "There is no returning from that point, and we become like them." He lays there, considering all her words, then, yeah, it hits him, and he groans. "Oh, yes. I shall definitely have to effect a few changes before that time." He can see it now.

There is something fiercely proud in Siobhan's expression when he says that, affirming the need for responsible management of assets rather than simply using the assets to their best situational effect. Leaning up on her elbow, she kisses him; slow and soft and sweet. "And that is how I know you haven't fallen, Severus. Anyone who can't see it is blind." Which settles that, thankyouverymuch. His groan makes her laugh again, the soft sound muffled against his chest. "Nah, so long as we get to her first, there's hope. I mean, we only have to overcome 25 years of the stories my brothers all brought home and I still have to figure out how to get Liam to keep his mouth shut because if he decides he knows best then we're all screwed and Da's pretty level-headed but - " Realizing how much she is not helping, Siobhan takes a lesson from an absent sibling and simply shuts her mouth.

Severus is being kissed. His magic and his body sing with the pleasure of it. He knows nothing much can happen; not in this corner room in the infirmary, but his body reacts anyway. He cradles her close, leaning into the kiss. "Thank you." Yeah, maybe for the kiss, but also for the affirmation. Her ramblings elicit a chuckle deep in his chest. "Perhaps we ought to approach your father first. He does seem more the level-headed type. Perhaps he may have some pull on the situation." Here, in the quiet, his arms around his mate, Severus can find it amusing. Later, however, he may realize what all is involved and become more … concerned.

Strained by traumatic and extended separation, it doesn't take much prompting for Siobhan's magic to sink incorporeal claws and fangs into her mate's, grabbing on and strengthening that connection in a way that would have otherwise - under normal, peaceful circumstances - taken months. So it is that when he leans into that kiss it leaves her breathless and a little bit dizzy - all in the most pleasant way possible. "You make it very hard to remember that we're not behind wards and that I'm supposed to be resting." It's an affirmation and acknowledgement of desire, but also an affirmation and acknowledgement of the reasons for suppressing it. Leaning her head against his chest, Siobhan is content for a moment just to listen to his heartbeat. "Da's pretty level-headed, yeah." Although this is his only baby girl we're talking about, here. "Oh, that reminds me. You run into a lady named Shepard, just keep your head down and don't provoke her." The tone to her voice shows just exactly how likely she thinks that is. "She's pretty mad at Da right now, I guess, and he says she'll take it out on you, if you give her an opening. I was meant to tell you once we got back from hols, but I got … distracted." She grins and nuzzles into the base of his neck. "You're kind of distracting." You know, in case he hadn't noticed.

"I have met Madame Shepard." Severus replies, and frowns. "She seemed rather perturbed that I was willing to use less practiced means to reach you and retrieve you. She appears to have a strong sense of justice. I shall be aware." To her words about wards and distractions, he turns, whispering softly in her ear. "Perhaps it will give you incentive to heal swiftly if you remember where you belong, and where you shall remain once you flee this place." He smirks, and lowers his head to kiss her again, keeping it light, but expressing his intense care for her in one of the best ways he knows how. When he pulls back, he smiles again. "Perhaps we may involve Icarus. He seems to understand our position." Oh, yeah, babe. Your brother knows.

Sio winces. "Yeah, she's kinda one of those … throw the book atcha' types." She almost manages a half-way decent mimicry of Jethro's rough American drawl. Almost. "I'd pick her in a firefight, though. I remember being about five or six and watching her string Brian and Mickey up by their ankles when they tried to pull a prank on her. She never even turned around." That singular event had made a very deep impression on young Siobhan. A rule of her own, if you will. Namely - Don't get caught. That whisper literally makes Siobhan squirm, heat that has nothing to do with her inner sun pooling in the pit of her stomach and suffusing her cheeks with color. "Bastard," she whispers back, grinning into that kiss. "What do you think you're going to do, tie me to theeeeee - waitaminnit." Eyes widen almost comically. "My Icarus? As in … Jack?" There's a pause as she processes that. "And he didn't like … chase you off?" Her big brothers tend to be an … overprotective bunch, to say the least.

"Mmm." Severus is considering agreeing about the tying up bit. The part about Jane is heard and digested, though he doesn't have a comment on the woman's actions. It does fit within what he knows of the woman. He is considering what to do, whether to pull back completely, or to press forward, debating body and bond versus wisdom, when she answers the question for him. He smirks. "You know of another?" Jack is a very common name, yes. Icarus, not so much. "He managed to enter the Hogshead just as I, Brennan, Gardener and Morgan were dealing with your communication through the mirror". It chewed his insides up and turned them into mush. "Doctor Brennan is a highly intelligent woman, but she is like a Gryffindor in that she has no filter between her brain and her mouth." Sio may have noticed that. "She mentioned my bondmate — in quiet conversation — and Icarus picked up on it. Being as curious and skilled as he is, it didn't take him but a moment to see your very specific… touch upon me." He snorts. "He asked why Morgan and I had not yet come to blows. We explained the situation, or the bare bones of it, and he congratulated me. He may have been somewhat sarcastic, but at least some of his regard was genuine."

There's the vaguest hint of suspicion in Siobhan's expression in response to that sound. "Ohhhh no, I know that 'Mmm'. No good can come of that 'Mmm'. You're indulging your sadistic streak again." And somehow she has the feeling it'll be her that'll get the brunt of it this time. That … really should not make her grin. Or shiver. Or squirm. Wisdom? What's wisdom? Muttering something under her breath about evil bastards who're too smart for their own good, she does her best not to think about her brother finding out about this. Too late. "Well," she flounders, then exhibits a distinct lack of brain-mouth filters, herself. "He did refer to you as Tall, Dark and Brooding." Jack's tastes are … unique. "And I may have accidentally helped him along to that conclusion." Of which fact, she is particularly embarrassed. "Janet narked on me when I was first staying with you at Spinner's End." After the painting rescue. "I don't remember if I told you, but his face showed up in the Floo the next morning. Scared me off the bloody couch, it did. But, uh, tumbling into view in sleep shorts, not quite awake and wrapped up in your robe? He totally jumped to the wrong conclusion." She disabused him of that notion fairly quickly. Just maybe not quickly enough. "Wouldn't surprise me if he stayed under the wrong impression long enough for it to become the right one." Her brother's just awesome that way.

"I am uncertain," Severus says of her brother's assumptions. "He is skilled as a curse breaker. They often scan base magics and can see traces of magical residue on items. Especially if they have been doing the job for very long at all." It doesn't take long for someone to catch on: pick up on the ambient stuff, or die. It's almost a requirement. "Perhaps that encounter opened his mind to the idea, but he had no concrete foreknowledge of anything else until he looked closely at me, I believe. I could be in error." He shakes his head at the comment. "I believe I heard that. I was rather surprised that a man who idolized…" Them "would have an opinion beyond…" Greasy bat of the dungeon, Snivellus, etc. He focuses on rubbing her skin softly and sighs, choosing then to address her words about his 'sadistic side.' "I thought you quite liked my 'sadistic side', Bright One." He whispers it again, adding just enough vibrations to his voice to elicit a shiver. Yeah, he is a bit sadistic. But in a very good way.

Siobhan considers that. "That's true, and Jack's probably the person most familiar with my magical signature aside from you - " There's a slight hitch in her breathing but she manages to push on through it. "Or maybe Alistaire. He had this scary knack of being able to just find me, so I wouldn't put it past him to have some kind of familiarity with my signatures." So maybe it's a good thing the Auror is avoiding the castle like the plague. Because she's pretty sure he'd have zero compunction to keep his mouth shut. There's a moment where Siobhan considers that she might be scarred by this idea of her brother finding her lover hot enough to take home, but she is thankfully distracted by the soothing touches to her skin. Those vibrations do their job, alright, pulling a shiver that runs from the small of her back up into the base of her skull. "Only as much as you like it when I fight back, mo chridhe," she purrs, turning his own tactic back on him. Unwilling to wrestle with the aggravation of trying to get to skin to rest against skin through his multi-layered robes, Siobhan simply rests her palm against the side of his neck. "Gonna hex all the ends off your robes," she grumbles. That way she can get up under them and rest her arm around warm skin. Good plan, no?

"Phoenix." Now that name, Severus will say with a little contempt. He does not like that man, and knows the feeling is mutual. "Mmmm." It's another hum of agreement, this one that he does agree that Alistaire would definitely tell someone, or perhaps everyone, about the bond. "I shudder to think," Severus teases, except it's kind of true. Just not in the way it might sound. He sighs again, running his hand along the buttons and undoing them. "Is that better, My Light?" He leans in to kiss her again, drawing her against his body. There is still a layer of cloth on each of them, but it makes it easier for her to touch, and that's almost always good. "I do like that, yes," he agrees when he pulls back, drawing a great amount of comfort from merely having her in his arms. It is sweeter for the time apart, but something in him is raw and feral at the thought of her being even inches away right now.

Still a bit cranky with that particular Auror, Siobhan is only too willing to focus on something else - especially when that something else includes watching long fingers unhook an entire row of buttons. It's enough for her to push her arm through and up under the white shirt beneath, allowing her to rub her palm in slow circles against the skin of his back. "Mhmm, much better." Skin-on-skin entirely would be ideal, but since that really does have to wait until she's free to slip behind his wards again, this will do - for now. "I thought you might, yeah." She hums out a soft laugh, leaning in to nip sharply at his collarbone. There's quite a bit in her that's raw and feral when it comes to this man and keeping him close - especially right now - so there's not exactly much she has room to say about his territorial nature.

Severus tilts his head to give her more access, and looks up. "My dear," he speaks, a bit of laughter in his voice. "We have completely forgotten the original purpose of our evening." He snorts, reaching under her pyjama shirt to touch her skin. "We have left our gameboard floating…" He huffs a laugh and lowers the gameboard to the seat, at least for the moment. "I do have my priorities in proper order," he explains the move. This is much more important. He can teach her chess any old day.

Siobhan bites down harder on the fleshy part of the neck where it meets the shoulder, leaning up into the action just as Severus points out the oddity of the floating chess set. Huffing a laugh right along with him, she bites down on the same spot again and then releases it, leaning back before she gets carried away and ends up adding a scar. "Glad to see it." Priorities are important, after all. However, that does bring to mind the thought of 'strip chess' - with each taken piece resulting in the loss of an item of clothing - and with a barely suppressed giggle, she lifts her eyes to his to 'share'. The hand under her tanktop is warm against her back and side and she mewls quietly, leaning into the touch just a little bit. "This another weird magic thing, or - " Or just us? She can't quite bring herself to finish the question she's not sure she wants the answer to, but it's out before she can stop it, so.

Severus groans, his whole body thrumming with the feel of her. Her skin, her teeth on his neck, her breath hot on his skin…. He treasures every single moment of their magics twining. He cannot help but think how things could have gone, how he could have completely lost her… He exhales sharply, turning in toward her, continuing to run his hand along her back. "Bond or not, I would enjoy every moment with you. However, having said that, I believe our long separation makes this connection more intense." Yeah, he's still using the big words. As she 'shares' the concept of strip chess, he groans again. "Woman, you make it extremely difficult to behave." It's a damn good thing he warded those curtains.

Siobhan is exhausted, sore, raw and weaker than a newborn kitten in the wake of their intensity. She also feels joy, devotion, affection, love and a sense of iron-clad right fit the likes of which she doesn't have the experience to find words for - it's all laid bare inside her open mind. What she can find the words for, however, is to reassure her vulnerable mate, to nuzzle his neck gently and wrap weak arms around his neck. "Never, mo chridhe. I would never - could never … " There's a deep breath against the skin below his ear, inhaling deeply his own unique scent to imprint on her mind. "I would sooner leave my own heart." Because in essence, that's what she would be doing.

That sense of rightness goes both ways. Severus lays beneath her, panting from the exertion, and sighs. "You are mine." It's a reassurance of sentiments already shown, but he repeats it again. "I love you, My Light." He cradles her, lets her shift gently on or around him, and begins to doze off. "Sleep, My Own. I will stay here with you. The mediwitch shall have to wait a few hours to enter our domain." She will understand, especially when they explain that they needed to reconnect for Siobhan to heal properly. It was in one of those books he read. She will heal even more quickly with a quick infusion of her mate's magic. This is the deepest way to do that. He holds her close, continuing to whisper sweet nothings to her as they doze off.

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