|Scene Title||Shared Solitude|
|Synopsis||The two new lovers spend a few moments walking during their free period. Siobhan takes Severus to see the thestral herd.|
|Date||Jan 26, 1996|
|Watch For||Foreshadowing and snowflakes.|
Friday rolls around again, a blessed frame of relief during the tedious school year. It's the quiet time of late afternoon when the miscrea - er, children are still in classes, but some of the staff have an open hour. Dressed for cold weather in denims and a heavy wool peacoat, Siobhan leans against the rail of the covered bridge, lost in thought as she watches the sun set over the lake and river. The wind is blessedly still - for now - and the only sounds are her soft breathing and the moaning of the ancient wood-and-stone construction around her.
Severus wears his teaching robes and a thick overcoat of — you guessed it — black. He does accede to color slightly by wearing a bog-standard Slytherin muffler. He, too has an open hour this class period, so he glides near-silently along beside her, not speaking for the moment. It is enough to be present.
Siobhan's a fairly observant individual, but of late it seems that sense has been heightened and attuned; very specifically attuned. She knows Severus is coming before he even sets first foot on the bridge. She doesn't know how she knows, only that she does, so when he draws even with her, she smiles at him over her shoulder and straightens. Bare hands brush the snow from her coat and she falls into step fairly easily - considering the differences in their strides. The day itself is quiet and when he seems inclined to share in that silence, Siobhan doesn't interrupt him. If there is something to be said, he'll say it in his own time. She knows how to wait.
There is nothing specific. Which is an entirely new sensation in and of itself. There is no pressing issue, no need to commune, but Severus wants to speak to her anyway. "Has your day been well?" He glances around, watching for eyes, then reaches up to wipe the snow off the part of her coat she just can't reach. "Longbottom managed to melt Weasley's cauldron instead of his own." He snorts. "If there were a need for a demolitions expert for mass destruction, perhaps we could point him in the direction of the enemy and step back." Wayyy back.
Siobhan can't quite suppress the upward twitch to the corner of her mouth. She almost answers him, but the brush of snow from her coat makes her shiver. It's not the riling magic from nearly a week ago, but more like … if her sunshine was a cat that just had its favorite person run a hand down its back. It's the only way to quantify the sensation, though it sounds silly even in her own head. Longbottom's misfortunes make her laugh outright, though. "Watch what he puts in next time. We'll seal it in bags and lob it at their windows," she teases lightly, lightly bumping her shoulder against his upper arm. "You know he wouldn't be nearly so destructive if he wasn't afraid of you." No, she doesn't expect a change, but she'll tease him about his infamous nature. Her boots make soft crunching noises with each step on snow-laden grass. "I had to rescue York from his own spellbook and Rockwell will be spending his weekend re-assembling the dragon skeleton by hand, but that's the extent of it." It's a mild day by any professor's standards. She's better at conversations without a pressing need, especially when in the company of someone she enjoys. "Left here. It's a little early in the day for the whole herd, but I can introduce you to Thanatos, at least."
Touching her, even in this light, public way, is still very new to him. It feeds something in him: something deep, proprietary, and male. Her shiver makes Severus smirk even more. "That may actually be an idea…" His mind begins, for just the briefest moment to spin out to things that explode. Maybe she's got a point. Longbottom may have a use in potions class after all. However, her presence draws his attention again. "And if they did not fear me a little bit, I would have even more explosions." That's the party line, and he's sticking to it. Not forcefully, more like an old argument that's fought just to have something to say. "What did he do to the spellbook?" Several scenarios come to mind immediately, from simple animation to transfiguration. When she guides him left, he nods briskly and steps easily into the directed path. "Hagrid's name, or your own?"
"I'm sorry, have you forgotten already that it was me who taught Remi that very lesson?" she asks with mock archness, though laughing as she says it probably ruins the effect. "It wasn't him, it was Thorald. She tried to transfigure it into a terrier, but the thing only got the bite of one." A low chuckle makes clouds of her breath in the air between them. "It had him by the ear and was not going to let go." A few paces more sees them in the forest's edge; the undergrowth is richer here because there are fewer trees to block out the sun. She adjusts their course west just a little, so that they're walking along the edge of the treeline, hidden by the branches and the undergrowth. "Hah! Hagrid's a dear soul, but you do remember this is the same man who named his hippogryff 'Beaky'?" So, yeah, Thanatos is hers.
"I had not forgotten," Severus replies, smirk widening just a little at her laugh. It wouldn't do for him to be seen actually smiling, now would it? That'd give the whole game away before it was played. He shakes his head, snow falling from his hair as he does. "She is an intelligent child, but sometimes she is more creative than is wise." That's as far as he'll go in disparaging a little snake, especially one who actually is a fairly decent student. "I had wondered. It did sound like something that would come from your mind as opposed to his." He flashes her a quicksilver smile, then returns to smirking again. "The Cerberus. He named it — Fluffy." He rolls his eyes. "How often do you escape out here?" It's just a curious question, just wanting to know more about her.
Siobhan takes a moment - just an instant - out of this conversation to just quietly be a girl and lock that flash of a smile in the deepest part of her mind. It makes her insides do funny things when he smiles like that and it happens all too rarely. Right! Back to the regularly-scheduled programming. "You used to say the same thing about me, as I recall." Especially after her stunt with Malfoy and a certain Grim friend of hers. She opens her mouth to say something else, but the information about the great canine's name makes her choke out a laugh. "Fluffy? You must be joking!" Even though this really isn't his style of humor, that name is just too rich. But that last question has all mirth falling from her face, shadows ringing her eyes as she walks in silence. "Most evenings before this week," she admits quietly and then is silent, as if that's the whole of the answer. Pausing by a great pine trunk, though, she continues. "Nights when I couldn't go back to sleep." After dreams she wishes weren't real. "And most every full moon." When the restlessness causes her not only to suffer through insomnia, but also drives her to move.
Taking advantage of their distance from the castle and the thickness of the foliage, Severus slides his arm around her, drawing her close for a moment, needing to reassure himself as much as comfort her. He's grateful for any little bit of truth she gives him while they're still in this new-new phase of their relationship, but he hates that his question caused her pain. "I have had nights like that." Too many. And he understands fear at the full moon as well. For a different reason, but the shaking fear, the worry for himself and those around him, yeah, he knows that. "Perhaps we can assist each other in that manner." He speaks, and then lowers his head, realizing the implications. "In the obvious and less obvious ways."
Siobhan feels that familiar arm come around her and turns into his chest. It lets her return the embrace for as long as she dares before stepping away. She looks up into his face, mouthing a silent 'thank you' before turning further into the forest. She is amused by his unintentional allusion and is smiling softly when she looks over her shoulder at him. "You already have been." It's a quiet admission, but true. She's had a blissfully restful week, despite his frequent ups and downs to deal with children, maniacs and annoying Headmasters. She stands very still, listening for something. "Mind your head," she advises, but doesn't explain further before raising her fingers to her mouth and whistling a long, drawn out sequence of three notes - almost like she's going down the minor scale by three half-steps. For just a heartbeat, there is silence. Wingbeats from the south break it, moments before an equine body dives through the thin canopy to land at a canter nearby. It's a gait that he continues in the circles he makes of them. Snape's presence makes him nervous, but after Siobhan forces him away several times, he settles down, drops his head and ambles in closer until his muzzle is at her back. Only then does she turn around and rub at the itchy places he can't reach. "He'll behave, now." Just had to have a little reminder of who's in charge here, is all.
Of course, Severus can see the animal. And he does find him intriguing to look at. Where others would only feel fear or disgust, Severus feels the power, the intrigue and the sheer majesty of the creature. "I am grateful for the reassurance," he jibes lightly when she promises the thestral will behave. As to the other issue, he holds the admission close, letting it warm him like her crazy sunshine. Severus reaches out a little, holding his hand open, palm up for the animal to smell if he wishes. He does know a little. "Have you plans this weekend?" Other than spending the bulk of it in his bed, that is
Thanatos is a young stallion, full of the sass and energy that comes with it. He extends his neck over Siobhan's shoulder to whuff and blow at the outstretched hand. Whatever he smells makes him sneeze - in a very dignified equine way, of course - but afterwards he seems convinced that Severus is no threat… And promptly starts nosing about for fruit that might be hidden in pockets. Siobhan rolls her eyes at the antics of equines and looks over Thanatos' neck toward the man being summarily searched. "I need to go in to London tonight. I've got some flowers in Greenhouse Two that are starting to sprout. My usual shop in Nocturn has the lambs' blood I need for them." These are not, by any stretch of the imagination, normal flowers. "I'll miss dinner, but it'll leave me the rest of the weekend free." And that admission comes with a shy - almost sheepish - grin. Like she's a little embarrassed that she arranged her time that way. "Why? Is there something that needs done?"
There isn't anything edible for a horse — even such a horse as Thanatos — in Severus' pockets, so he deftly moves a little, avoiding the perusing muzzle. "Other than you, I cannot think of anything specific. I merely wanted to make sure." He tilts his head at the mention of her flowers, intrigued at them. "They are growing well?" He steamrolls on, almost as though he doesn't realize the implications of his words. Having been accepted by Thanatos, he reaches up to brush tentatively at the spot between his eyes. He's seen Hagrid do something similar to a couple in the herd, and it seems to work. The thestral turns, accepting the caress as his due.
His comment, combined with the oh-so-casual way he says it - like it's just a fact - makes Siobhan blush bright pink. Unused to such things, she's equal parts pleased and embarrassed and mortified that she might look like she's pleased, so she buries her face in warm, black shoulder-fur. Thanatos won't mind - he's getting his face rubbed. It somehow seems unreal that he should simply … move on to talk about her flowers - like they'd been discussing something harmless like the weather. "Yeah, they're doing well," she parrots back the question in her answer, voice muffled by bony Thestral. After a moment, she lifts her head, though there's still a flush to her cheeks, and gives a better reply. "This generation is the first that we think will require only blood and magic." It's been a slow progression down from the usual needy varieties. "If we can wean them down to blood alone, they'll be ready to start testing." Maybe in another generation or so.
When she blushes, Severus smirks, pleased and proud of being able to affect her. He continues to scratch at the thestral while they talk of banal things like the plants. "It does sound like it will be useful." He's proud of her as well. "And lamb's blood seems to work more than other kinds?" The plants do intrigue him.
Siobhan catches that smirk and huffs. She's not really mad, just thrown off and trying to keep him from seeing that comments like that actually feel good. "No, they like my blood best, but Pomona thinks that's because it's my magic they were reared on." And truly, the blossoms smell more like her own white-tea and ginger than the fire lilies they were bred from. "But the idea is eventually to wean them down to blood only so that when potions need to be 'keyed' to a specific person, their blood can be fed to the flower for several days and then it can be harvested and used. Lamb's blood will keep them 'blank' until they're needed." Giving Thanatos a pat on the shoulder, she steps around his neck to stand closer to her snow-dusted lover. "Right now they're way too saturated with me to be of use to anyone, but we're getting there."
"Rather like myself, then." Severus jokes, looking down, noting a snowflake on her eyelash and reaching up to gently touch her and melt the tiny sparkling thing. "That will be a great help to many," he nods, looking back up at the sky. "Perhaps we should begin to walk back. I need a few moments to compose myself before dealing with scads of dunderheads again." He lifts her chin and kisses her quickly. "Thank you." For sharing the experience, for the few moments of solitude, for all of it.
This time Siobhan just rolls her eyes, grin a little wicked. "I think I've gotten more of yours than the other way around," she returns the tease. After all, she's the biter. "You always manage to remember to be careful." She doesn't have that kind of control. When he kisses her, Sio can feel her insides twisting and her sunshine waking slowly, as though from a nap. It's far too brief for her liking. She lays her own hand over his on her jaw and smiles. A sudden wind picks up from the north and something in the way it whistles through the leafless branches makes Siobhan's stomach knot most unpleasantly. Dread seeps its fingers into her spine for no good reason and she straightens, angry with herself for being such a child. Nevertheless, she reaches up to tug on the front of his coat and pull him down for a much longer kiss. It's not heated, but instead is slow, deep and full of feeling, rather than passion. Pulling back slowly, she grins up at him softly. "Can you make it back from here? We're already past the wards, so I can leave now and be back all the sooner." Because right now she wants nothing more than for this errand to be done and go curl up in front of his fire, where this stupid sense of unease can't follow.
As she's leaving from here, he draws the long kiss out, wrapping his arms around her for a moment, just reveling in her presence. "I believe I can." He's good at the navigation thing. "Be careful." He feels childish warning her, but it will be the first time they've been apart for a while, other than classes. "I shall see you later this evening." His voice is full of feeling and promise. With a quick-flash smirk, he turns to head back to the castle, leaving her to spend a few more moments with her thestral before she leaves for London and the wide world.