Word Count: 860
Summary: Severus is troubled by a Slytherin thought.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: This ficlet follows A Thoroughly Inappropriate Thing.
Feeling rather shaken as he left the Hospital Wing, Severus elected to patrol the corridors rather than return to his quarters; he had much to consider, and he was too angry and, he could admit it to himself, aroused, to seek the "safety" of his quarters where he knew he'd have it off with himself while indulging in thoughts of a student.
Yes, a student, he told himself firmly, a child.
No, not quite a child—but Daphne was still far too young for him, and his interest in her had been noticed.
It had been dangerous for him to have noticed Daphne at all—and when had she become "Daphne" rather than "Greengrass" to him? Severus considered. It wasn't when her sister had arrived at Hogwarts. No, he'd first noticed Daphne when she'd returned to school after the Yuletide hols during her Fourth Year. She'd been fifteen at the time and had developed beautifully over the break. He wasn't the only denizen of Hogwarts to have noticed, either, but he was her professor, and professors weren't supposed to find their students attractive.
Bollocks. We're not without feelings. As long as I don't touch, I can look all I like.
He'd done more than that, once, but not before Nymphadora had left Hogwarts, and he'd looked plenty since then. Only this time, again, his "looking" had been noticed. Pomfrey had sharp eyes. Wondering who else might have noticed his interest in Daphne, Severus considered those occasions on which he'd shown her particular regard.
She was still a Fourth Year, and it was spring. The Inter-House Unity Club incident, he thought. And it wouldn't have been worth noting by anyone had I not purposefully waited until she was alone and returned to speak to her.
He'd very much enjoyed learning something of Daphne's family, her gentle treatment of her house-elf, and their discussion of riddles and Anglo-Saxon poetry—no matter how disconcerting he'd found her perfume.
But no one should have found our exchange inappropriate, not even Daphne.
He'd been wearing his robes, after all.
And after what had been for him a spectacular wank that evening, with Daphne's name on his lips as he came, he'd only done one other stupid thing with regard to her: he'd asked the house-elves to prepare an onion tart. It wasn't a dish the elves often sent up during meals, but Severus had wanted to mark the occasion in some way. He'd wanted to thank Daphne for speaking to him without cringing.
And she said she was partial to onions.
He throbbed to remember the expression on her face as she'd turned to look at him at the High Table and deliberately taken a slow bite of tart.
Fuck. I haven't been subtle at all.
It didn't matter that he'd stopped speaking to her outside of class or his office or the Slytherin common room after that; he'd still spent far too much time in her company, he'd still recommended her to Pomfrey as someone she might begin to train towards a Healing career, and especially given what had passed between them this evening, it was clear that Daphne understood that his interest in her wasn't entirely professorial. She was his student, a Fifth Year, only just turned sixteen. His thoughts of her were thoroughly inappropriate.
But we share this birthday month, a treacherous voice within him said.
A rush of bitterness immediately stopped that voice. All he'd received for his birthday was a pair of socks and, not long thereafter, an order to teach Potter Occlumency.
Yes, but at least no one's sending you poisonous care packages, a more reasonable voice within him asserted.
He stopped walking and shook his head.
He would have to deal with Diana without bringing it to the attention of anyone other than Pomfrey or Daphne. That would be difficult, given how closely Umbridge had taken to watching him and how carefully Dumbledore always did, but deal with her, he would.
And then I must forget about Daphne.
There was too much at stake for anyone to gain even the slightest bit of control over him by virtue of his having taken an interest in her. He had a promise to keep for Lily's sake, and no matter the banking of that fire within him, he still loved her far too much to do other than honour her memory by protecting her son. It wouldn't do for Dumbledore to observe him too closely and find something new among his interests; the bastard had leverage enough over him as it was.
No, it's better that he find me as he always has: a lovelorn, self-abnegating fool doing penance for his sins.
The Headmaster would not understand it if he discovered that his chief errand boy had become enamoured of the charms of another witch.
And that's all it is. That's all. She's pretty. That's all.
It was only natural that he notice pretty young women. He was still a man, no matter what or whom he denied himself.
I can look. There's no harm in it.
Resuming his patrol of the corridors, Severus tried to make himself believe it.