"No." (A serene lie.)
"Good." (He suspects she is fibbing, but lets it pass.) "I'm too bloody tired to move."
"Shouldn't that be 'too fecking tired to move'?" (A soft, sly tease.)
"No." (Exasperated sigh.)
"You didn't expect I'd be quite so... earthy about this, did you?"
"No." (Silence, while he considers the consequence of seeming ungrateful.) "Not that it's not appreciated." (Deliberately.) "At appropriate moments."
(Delicate, amused snort from her: his reticence about expressing things verbally is in no way consistent with his unrestrained passion in more physical, intimate encounters.) "I think you manage to make that clear."
(Inarticulate grumbles from him: his face is currently buried in the curve of her neck.)
"I said, you don't have to try to shock me any longer. You've got me where you want me."
(Pregnant pause, followed by a disconcertingly lascivious giggle from her: this alarms him as she is not, in general, a giggler.)
"I did not mean that -- this --"
"Of course not. I don't seem to have to try anymore, by the way, it just happens naturally."
(Disbelieving grunt from him.)
"And in the interest of accuracy, let me remind you that you were the one who made the vow in a dead language and then snuck a ring on my finger. While I was asleep, no less...."
(Irritated growl from him, and he begins kissing her neck and slithers downward.)
"Good God, you aren't ready to --"
"No." (Concentrates on the hollow of her throat.) "But it's apparently the only way to shut you up. Reduce you to incoherent monosyllables --"
(Outraged snort, greatly resembling said incoherent monosyllable, from her.)
"-- and in any case, if you can articulate a phrase like 'interest of accuracy,' I've not done my job properly in the first place."
(A muffled laugh from her.)
"That had better not have been agreement." (Darkly from him, a velvety threat.)
"Quite the opposite." (Breathlessly, but truthfully.)
"Good." (Silence while he works toward the goal.) "Ah wood het to thnk --"
"Didn't your mother ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full?"
(He raises his head and glares at her: she merely smiles impertinently.)
"No, she did not. That was the nanny's job."
"Oh, God. You had a nanny?" (Derisive snort.)
(Mildly.) "My proper name will do nicely, you know -- contrary to popular opinion, my ego is not that large." (Returns to the task at hand.)
(Silence, while she ponders the best possible retort and settles on elegant simplicity.) "Yet."
(He freezes momentarily and considers drastic action, but decides the intellectual approach is best.) "You really should try to curb your class consciousness, Lady." (Bends head back to current object of interest.) "It's not appropriate to your new station."
(She moves a hand to his neck and threads gentle fingers through the unruly strands of hair that lie there.) "Whomever's job it was, they didn't do it... particularly...."
(Her voice trails off as the possible implications of his comment sink in. He smiles against her skin; the whirring of her brain is practically audible.)
"What did you call me?"
"Would that be with a capital?" (Slightly strained.)
(Inscrutable.) "The last time I neglected to give you the proper honourific, you tore a strip out of my hide."
"But your grandfather was a younger -- oh, shite."
(She shuts her mouth with an audible snap and does her best to sink through the mattress in embarrassment.)
"That's quite an old copy of Alexander's Guide," (almost apologetically). "My cousin died without issue."
(Incredibly long silence, during which he props his chin on his hands, the better to observe the myriad profanities flitting through her mind.)
(Accusatory.) "Why didn't you tell me before?"
(Dryly.) "No desire to have the shortest marriage in Wizarding history, possibly."
(Silence. Despite having caught her out, he has, oddly, no desire to gloat.)
"I don't use the title, you know. I got it quite late." (Eases his hands down her torso and resumes nuzzling.)
"You might have said before." (Sulky.)
(He sighs, slides his body upward, and takes her face in his hands.)
"Would it really have mattered?"
(Though the response is grumpy, he decides it deserves a reward, and delivers it.)
(Long silence, punctuated at last by a sigh.)
(Breathless.) "I presume it was my comment about Malfoy, nosy wench."
"I suppose I should be flattered. You haven't divorced me despite my less desirable relations, however distant." (Snarky) "Or the title." (Stops her mouth before she can utter the mischievous 'yet' he sees hovering in the green eyes.)
(He works his way back down her neck, and her next comment is slightly strangled.) "I stopped at your grandfather, honestly. I wasn't prying about you, per se."
(With almost as much snark as his previous comment.) "How restrained of you."
(Put-upon sigh from her.) "It wouldn't have told me what I wanted to know, anyway."
(He stops, and briefly considers this.) "You are uncommonly curious, for a Capricorn."
(Snort.) "No, I'm just more willing to admit it than most." (She doesn't stop to consider how he has determined this, at the moment.) "You, on the other hand, are Scorpio through and through." (This is a guess, but entirely accurate.) "And that was a very Trelawney-like remark."
(Warning.) "If you intend to resort to insults...."
"It was only an observa-- Ow --"
"Sorry --" (Shifts weight.)
"-- No, don't go -- just remove your elbow from my ovary, please --" (Muttered.) "We might want to use it someday."
(He freezes; another long silence while he considers the emotional ramifications of her statement.) "Really?" (Pause in which she does not volunteer enlightening information.) "I thought perhaps you felt more or less as I do on that."
"In general, yes -- I assume. But specifically they can be quite nice."
"Hmmmph." (All he can manage, at the moment.)
(Dryly.) "I presume this means you're not going to go all 'Lord of the Manor' and insist on the traditional heir and spare."
"The manor, such as it is, is in shambles, and was ruinous to keep up at the best of times. I've no intention to try to revive it." (Darkly.) "And as Draco is a prime example of the hazards of the 'heir and spare' philosophy, I wouldn't subscribe to it in any case."
(Puzzled.) "Who's the spare?"
"There isn't one. Having committed the ultimate stupidity of marrying Lucius, Narcissa's had the sense not to produce one."
"Oh." (Pause.) "Poor Draco...."
(His head shoots up: this is the least likely statement to have issued from her mouth.)
"To have the entirety of the family hopes and expectations solely on his back, I mean. It can't be easy, and it explains a lot." (Thoughfully caresses his shoulders, and he shudders slightly at the tickle of her fingers on old scars.)
"But not all." (Warning.)
(Sighs.) "As fascinating as this topic may be from a genealogical standpoint, it's not doing much for my desire...."
"Sorry. You now have my undivided attention. Distract away."
(Silence, broken by the occasional shuddering breath from her.)
(Mumbled against her belly.) "I'm in no hurry to share you with anyone else for a while, at any rate." (Tempers this decisive statement with an exploration of her navel, and a possessive grip on her right hip-bone.)
"Nor am I. But we hadn't discussed it, and I have to take what opportunities I have to get you to talk, Sphinx --"
(He snorts against her belly.)
"-- and this appears to be a good one, while the blood flow to your brain is reduced."
(He growls in rebuttal, but an involuntary, aggressive thrust of his hips against her leg confirms the rightness of the observation; he moves further down her body and distracts her from further jibes.)
(Silence, followed by sharp intake of her breath and a muttered expletive in Irish, followed swiftly by an endearment in the same language; he smiles, having surreptitiously consulted her dictionary and knowing the translation. This woman is not capable of using words like that casually any more than he is, and he feels a pang of remorse that she has been telling him this with some frequency, while he's been reticent, still cautious of his motives -- though not his feelings, not any longer. Not enough remorse, however, to resist the temptation to irk her just a little.)
"Do you really feel that way?" (In a lazy drawl.)
"I could hardly -- oh." (Realises he means that kind of feeling. Glares.) "You've been at my bookshelves." (Her face is burning with embarrassment, though it's hard to tell through the aroused flush.)
"It only seemed fair -- you've raided mine enough in the past year."
"You could have been generous enough to ask, so I could gloat."
(Smugly, as he pulls his body back up along hers.) "I am not... a generous... man."
"I refute the assertion. Particularly in the current circumstance...."
(He displays a smirk reflecting typical male pride of prowess, and gratification at her generosity in the admission.)
"I confess I only looked up the one, and that was bloody difficult to decipher. I think it's time you educated me further." (Teases her with another thrust of the hips, and as an inducement -- apparently he is ready, after all.)
"Bloody hell, you've got 'A rún,' now, that's the most important one --" (In a disgusted murmur.)
"Teach me." (Tempers the command by shifting his hips and slipping infinitessimally into her, with the ease of fairly frequent and determined practise.)
(He realises, with some regret, that she has been pushed into incoherent monosyllables rather sooner than he would like at the moment, and stills. She resents the implied blackmail and manages another glare, though it's largely ineffective due to the physical provocation.)
(Amused and arrogant.) "Go ahead, be angry with me all you like -- you won't keep it up."
(She knows there's another good, disconcerting jab in there somewhere, but can't manage to articulate it, so settles for a threat.)
(He punctuates the operative word in the next statement with a deeper thrust.) "You won't... stay angry." (The desired effect is somewhat spoiled by his own hiss of pleasure that follows.)
"On second thought," (said though several heavy, ineffectual calming breaths,) "forget the language lesson. For now."
"Severus." (Gently prods him in the ribs.)
(Grunt, followed grumpily by) "What?"
"I take it there's a family crest?"
(Silence, followed by a soft but exceedingly irritated expletive.) "Yes."
"Well, what's on it?"
(Long-suffering sigh, and a shift in the bed to face the Inquisitor; he knows the sooner he answers, the sooner he can get back to sleep.)
"Out of a ducal coronet sable, a plume of three feathers vert. Supporters, two ravens proper. Do you require the motto as well?"
(Appalled silence.) "Oh, cripes."
"You don't think the bird was I, do you?"
"Wha-- ? Oh, the letter about Black? I didn't put it past you, but no, that's not it."
"Because it wasn't, I'm not an Animagus. That was Lenore. I prefer ravens to owls -- strictly for their greater intelligence, although I like the conceit as well."
(Heavy on the snark.) "Are you going to enlighten me, or shall I lie awake until morning trying to guess?"
(Shocked.) "I thought you knew. I didn't see it myself, but Neville said..." (very small voice) "... my second Patronus was a raven."
(Silence, followed by a suspicious shaking on one side of the bed and a muffled snort.)
(Irritated.) "You needn't enjoy it as much as all that." (Sulky.) "I take it it is significant, then."
"Gods, yes." (Outright chuckles, a little rusty; and he feels a vague gratitude that her curiosity leads her to abandon her pride for such admissions, as it gives him much-needed amusement and pleasure.)
"It means, dear Fool," (he draws her closer, and pulls her head onto his shoulder,) "that before you or I were even aware of it, you'd been marked for me. That is," (hastily, knowing her feminist leanings,) "it put you under its' protection and presumably on my behalf, as I'm the eldest living male -- only living one, in fact -- and the title-bearer." (Senses her confusion.) "Although it's called a charm -- as if you control the calling and nature of it -- it really isn't. The Patroni are like Native American spirit guides -- they choose you, not the other way around. It's not unusual for the family mascot to be ones' Patronus, though it isn't necessarily."
"Oh." (Very sleepily.) "The Sorting Hat knew as well -- it threatened to tell Minerva I'd be dealing with Slytherin in future."
"I wish I'd known that before." (Uncharacteristically whimsical.) "It would have saved me six months' plotting. I'd simply have thrown you over my shoulder and Apparated you to Queer Ditch for a quick...."
(His animated conversation trails off as he realises, with consternation, that he's holding it with himself: the arm thrown across his chest has gone limp and boneless, and a delicate snore sends a whuff of air across his collarbone. And worst of all, he is now absolutely, incontrovertibly awake.)
"Oh, bugger and blast."
(The vehemence of the statement is belied by the gentle fingers stroking her hair, and his determination to tell her sooner rather than later, and despite his own fear and reticence, precisely what he feels.)
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There will be no points awarded for spotting the literary
ripoffs references in this sucker, because they're too damned obvious.
Yes, I've bought into the idea of a Wizarding World aristocracy above and beyond pureblood status. I think the muggle and wizarding societies mirror each other, to some extent -- and I have yet to see a society which has a truly egalitarian structure, not matter what it claims. There's almost always a hierarchy, even if it's not codified and stratified with titles.
'A rún': pronounced "uh ROON." "Oh love." Used as a general endearment, but inflection and feeling adds to the intimacy.
In this universe, Queer Ditch -- yes, that's where Quidditch originated -- is the Wizarding equivalent of Gretna Green (i.e., elopements and quickie marriages).
The Snape crest, in translation, would basically be a black coronet (a small crown) with green plumes rising from the center, and two "proper" (i.e., black and lifelike) ravens facing it to either side. Don't think of the shield-like thing -- this isn't it. That's as far as I'm willing to commit for the time being -- Heraldry is incredibly complex.