|Scene Title||Pastel Peacocks and Promises|
|Synopsis||After school one day, Severus and Sio talk. Sio is stressed, and Severus tries to cheer her up.|
|Location||Hogwarts: Snape's Quarters|
|Date||Mar 14, 1996|
|Watch For||Sin-gle syl-la-ble words.|
Thursday night is unusually quiet for the castle. Even her one detention this evening had been uneventful. Siobhan blames the quiet for the knot in the pit of her stomach and for the ones twisting in her neck and shoulders. After a long, hot shower, she spent a little while leisurely oiling and braiding her long hair into a single plait falling almost to the small of her back. Probably time to get that cut. For now, however, she is dressed in too-big hunter green sleep pants - the garment just barely clinging to her hips - and a pair of plain black and grey tank tops, layered for the purposes of modesty. Her usual conjured sofa sits by the fire, allowing her to curl up in warmth and comfort. In one hand is a glass of white wine, while the other slowly flips through the pages of a rather heavy document braced against her lap. Despite the wine and comfort, the lines of her face are tense. This relaxing thing is harder than it appears to be.
Severus, however, has had a long day. Because of the black eye, chattering in his class was definitely increased. He'd put bruise balm on it, but it takes some time for it to work, so in the meantime, he must punish the miscreants who chitter about his injury in his class. He strides into his room, dropping a pile of parchments on the table and warding the door. It only takes a moment for him to sit in his chair, unbutton a couple of the top buttons of his teaching robe, and close his eyes. Only after he's centered himself for a moment and allowed the annoyances of the day to slide off like the water in his magic does he look over, smiling at Siobhan. "Bright One." Severus gazes at his mate, observing her state. He knows what the file in her hands is, and sends a pulse of greeting magic toward her, in a silent hello. "As there were many witnesses, including several Aurors, I believe the outcome will be to our favor."
That wash of cool ocean-spray magic does more to relax Siobhan than the hot shower and glass of wine put together. She still can't shake all of the tension, but at least she can force a wan smile for her mate. Watching him go through his usual evening ritual is reassuring in an entirely different way, one that twists her gut a little more. She's become remarkably accustomed to this life in a very short time. "If you honestly believe that the Ministry operates on any kind of rule that makes sense, Sev, you're sorely mistaken." The arm holding the glass of wine extends out to the side, keeping the beverage from spilling while she arches her back and bends her neck back over the arm of the couch to try and ease the tightness. "They never do anything unless there's benefit in it and there are enough people who'd like to take my father down a rung or two that I can't just go on faith." Faith is not, in general, her strong suit. "But the rules and ceremony surrounding these kinds of hearings and their decision is absolutely ridiculous, you know? I hate people who make things needlessly confusing."
"It is a moment for men and women to posture and preen and present themselves — and their agendas — to their peers without the protocol so demanded during the official proceedings." Severus completely understands why they do it, but she's right. It's annoying. "I am …" He's trying to be optimistic, or at least sound so, for her sake. "Perhaps, lightning will strike," he deadpans, reaching down to undo the laces on his boots. It's another part of his ritual. Kicking them off, he flicks his hand, sending them to their spot in the closet. "I learned to hope from you," he admits, his tone at least a little more fond. "It is a challenge most of the time, but it seems an easier task to undertake for another." He can hope for her more easily than for himself.
That makes Siobhan laugh, her infectious smile half-hidden behind her glass. "Worse than Mum's whole flock of peacocks." She takes a sip and shifts her weight to a slightly more comfortable position, lifting a huge chunk of paperwork and letting the pages slip rapidly through her fingers to fall back against her lap. "I'm not a huge fan of lightning. Too much energy without direction." In a world as chaotic as this, is it any wonder she's becoming a little bit of a control freak? It's a lot of weight to carry at eighteen. Nevertheless, she is grateful for his efforts to be comforting. "You and I do happen to be poster-children for impossible odds." She knows it's not his strength, so she puts up a good front of being comforted. "Just a lot to lose, now." And judging by the way she looks at him, she's not talking about the war at large. "Higher stakes."
Severus smirks at the thought of the old members of the Wizengamot hearing that they were compared to peacocks. "Were they albino like Lucius'?" He chuckles at the pretentious things some of the people do. For a moment, Severus looks directly at her, a flicker of surprise in his eyes. When they meet hers, his thoughts seem to slide across the space between them fairly quickly. I thought you were a fan of the loss of control. He is aware that is a totally different situation than the one she's referring to, but the thought might cheer her up. "I have more to act for as well." This time, the naked affection is clear. Were any of his naysayers to see his expression, they may be shocked, but Siobhan's probably gotten a little more used to it. He loves her. It's obvious.
"They were, actually. I think Mum got the chicks from Lady Narcissa when Pete was little." At least if memory serves. "Only by the time I came along, someone'd charmed them into all kinds of hideous pastels." Probably Edana, all things considered. "Mum has a terrible weakness for pastels." She catches the edge of his thoughts and looks away for a moment. When she has herself in hand again, she lifts her eyes once more - this time with a rueful smile for her mate. Haven't you figured it out, yet? It's only ever with him that she relishes it, and even then? Only when she's certain she won't be a burden. It's the reason for the last gap between them - one she doesn't know how to cross because for once it's a gap crafted by her own hand. The raw affection in his voice and face are almost overpowering. "More promises, Sev?" she teases lightly, drawing attention away from herself for a moment, hopefully.
"I am uncertain whether to wince or to laugh at the thought of pastel peacocks," Severus comments, enjoying watching her react to his thoughts and expressions. When she focuses on him again, he replies. I will say no, regardless of my understanding… His upper layer of thought cuts off there, though there is a deeper layer — one that seems to come through a little more every time they connect so deeply — continues the thought. For if I accede my understanding, you may change your manner of … teaching me. He understands a part of it, because it is his own feeling. There is only one person he feels safe enough to even demonstrate his evening ritual to, let alone give complete control of his body and soul to. The gap to him is almost negligible because he has given her everything. He doesn't see the distance as she does. To him, it's something she chooses to give, in her own way and her own time. "I promise," he begins, his tone light, "that I have not made any new promises since our own." It is to those they both refer, though lightly at the moment.
"No one knows whether to laugh or cry at those poor birds." Siobhan - while not a fan of their unnaturally-tinted plumage - enjoys the birds themselves. "Nicest birds you'll meet, though, all things considered." Birds are usually pretty nasty pieces of work, but these will eat right from the palm. She doesn't know how to take the levels of thought she can feel on the edges of her consciousness, but his last remark makes her chuckle softly. "That sounds like a recovering alcoholic - you know the ones who do the Muggle programs?" The idea of being addicted to the constraints of promises made is amusing, but also scarily plausible. She can see the attraction. It's not your fault, being a certain way, you made a promise. Some of the best teachers I ever had kept me on my toes. Breaking eye-contact to set the heavy document on the floor next to her sofa, Siobhan takes a long sip of her wine before looking to him again. What method is it that works so well you'd have me endlessly repeat it?
"Perhaps they are a mark of their owners. Lucius' tend to be more flighty." Whether from random 'curse practice' from Draco or for some other reason. Perhaps the birds sense the tension among their family members of late. The mention of recovering alcoholics has a strange effect on Severus. His face flashes once, a dark, hidden pain, then he schools it back into a smirk. Reaching to undo a couple more of the buttons on his robe, his smirk widens when he responds to her mind. It is another pose entirely in which I prefer to be kept. At least with her. He chuckles softly, and opens the link even more, letting her feel how the very touch of her skin has begun to let him lose more control than he had ever done before their bond. The practial, hands-on method seems to work best in this case, professor. And you are an expert at that method. He layers his compliment around and through his innuendo, keeping the tone teasing and light.
Siobhan's grin turns wicked at that, the timbre of her thoughts shifting from searching and curious to playful and teasing. Another pose entirely… Just the one? The sense of 'tsk tsk' is light, but present. But there are so many… But that flash of dark pain does not escape her notice. Tossing back the last swallow of wine, she banishes the glass with half a thought and spins to her feet. It's not even a stride and a half to place herself behind his chair. Her skin smells like an intoxicating combination of her usual white tea and ginger oils with the added sweetness of the lemongrass cream for her hands. Taking advantage of the open buttons, she wraps both hands around the back of his neck and slowly works her fingers from the base of the skull down to the tender, exposed tendons behind the ears and on to the cords of tight muscle where the shoulders take shape. A few minutes into her attention, she bends down just enough to rest her temple against the side of his head for a moment, whispering a simple "Sorry," before continuing with her non-verbal apology. If she can't be free of tension, at least one of them should be.
When she moves behind him, he loses the opportunity for eye contact. So, he has to vocalize his words. "There are many, but most of them involve a horizontal surface." He leans into her touch, his own sandalwood scent only somewhat obscured by the stains and splashes on his robes. "I appreciate the apology," he admits, enjoying her attentions, "but I do not see its necessity. Perhaps I should return the favor since you are the one who has the more on her mind." He falls silent, not needing to speak any more as she continues to massage him.
Somehow, hearing the deliciously wicked things he says come from his mouth instead of his mind makes it all the sweeter. Secure in her relative 'safety' behind him this way, Siobhan pushes a little of her sunny heat through her palms into the muscles of first one shoulder, then the other. "Horizontal?" she murmurs in his ear. "Hmm, guess I'm alone in seeing the appeal of being shagged up against a doorway or a shower wall." She's so matter-of-fact about it, though she keeps her voice low enough to escape any protrait-ears should they suddenly return. "Just hush and enjoy it, hmm? It's necessary because I have my brother's bad habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, on occasion." And oddly enough, caring for him this way is soothing all on its own.
Severus is shutting up and enjoying it. He does make a low noise, but at the moment, enjoying it means his words fail him almost entirely. "Feels good," he comments, wanting her to know that much. "Thank you." He can speak single syllable words! The thought of pressing her against a wall of some sort makes him shudder just a bit. "Said most of them." He closes his eyes, falling silent again, content.
One syllable words! Almost ten of them! Siobhan can't resist a wide grin and a quiet chuckle. Finally, she's worked out how to do it. The combination of nimble fingers and warm magic means that it doesn't take long at all to work through the muscles she can reach from this angle - from the base of the skull down to upper arms all touched by sunshine and affection. She can feel that shudder, though, and bends over the back of the chair, reaching one hand to turn his chin just enough that she can kiss him softly. "You can't speak in my defense on Saturday," she whispers, perhaps hoping that delivering that information now will lessen the fight over their truth. "Those vultures will take any excuse they can grasp at to put you under Veritaserum." She's protective of her mate - very much so.
So very relaxed, Severus hears her words, and accepts them as the bitter truth they are. "I am aware," he concedes, slipping from his single-syllable stupor. "However, it doesn't change the wish that I could." Well, he's still speaking more plainly than usual. He leans in, kissing her again. Severus is as protective of her as she is of him. The best way he can protect her now, however, is to hide in the shadows and keep their connection a secret. "Would you like me to demonstrate one of those non-vertical positions?" If it will help her, he'll tease her until she flies apart and comes back together. Hopefully minus at least a little of the stress she carries.
There are times when Siobhan wants to fling away all the trappings of adulthood and simply scream and rail at an unfair universe. The urge is strongest at moments like these, where the wish for a simple life with her love clashes with the harsh and complex reality in which they live. Burying her face in the side of his neck for a moment, Siobhan gathers strength from the contact and pulls back into herself - away from that cliff's edge once again, but also away from the one source of true comfort she knows. "If anyone can make my head stop spinning, it'd be you." She keeps her voice light, but she can't disguise the edge of raw hope that slips out of her control. Offering him a hand up, she turns toward the bedroom door. If no peace can be had tonight, at least with him near she'll be able to sleep.