Pairing and Characters: Severus/Daphne, others
Word Count: 1650
Summary: Severus is troubled by a Slytherin question.
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 fic follows A Thoroughly Inappropriate Separation. Thank you, arynwy and shiv5468, for beta'ing.
Severus started and opened his eyes. His stomach was growling, his bladder was full, and Daphne was still in his arms. He shifted a bit so that he could see her face.
"Are you awake?" he whispered, ignoring the argument that he could hear taking place outside the door.
"That's the one question to which one can never honestly answer 'yes' if one is sleeping," she murmured crossly, scooting towards him to bury her face in his chest.
Severus snorted. "You can't say 'yes' if you're dead, either."
Daphne raised her head to look at him. "That's horrid, Severus."
"No, it's . . . it's . . . ." Not finding the words to express his feelings, Severus moved to kiss her.
"Wait!" Daphne sat up and reached across him to the table for her wand.
Severus caught her hand. "Don't. We don't know what might happen if—"
"The only thing that will happen is that I'll spell my teeth clean." She blushed. "I don't want to disgust you."
Incredulous, Severus bit back a laugh and wordlessly spelled both of them clean before taking her into his arms. Daphne kissed him back as if they'd been kissing each other for years. That's when the door opened.
"What in Merlin's name do you think you're doing, man?" Waters shouted, his wand drawn.
Daphne jerked herself away from Severus and up onto her feet, slapping the wand out of his hand. "How dare you? How dare you raise your wand to him? Get out!"
"My dear girl, you're obviously not your—"
A swish of her shoulders sent Daphne's nightshirt to the floor. "As you can see, I'm very much myself, and I'm taking myself," she continued, shoving Waters out the door, "back to bed!" She flicked her fingers and sent Waters' wand flying past her, and then the door slammed in the faces of the Healer and a mortified-looking Zabini.
"I did tell you that they were fine," Pince said, her clipped tones filtering through the door above those of Waters.
"D—Daphne?" Severus asked, too astonished to move as he watched her wrap her arms around herself and begin to shake. "Daphne?"
Thinking that she might be hysterical, he rose from the bed and turned her to face him.
"You . . . you're laughing! You shameless . . . don't . . . I could—"
"Could . . . you?" she asked, in between peals of laughter. "B—because . . . so could . . . so could I."
The lowered, sultry sound of Daphne's voice and the brazen way she took hold of him made Severus' mind blank, and then he found himself pushed back down onto the bed, groaning into her mouth.
"You're alive," she said, in between kisses. "Alive. I was . . . so frightened. . . . Thought you'd . . . thought you'd . . . died."
"Daphne, wait, please."
"Oh, say that again."
"Please?" Severus asked, confused.
"No," she replied, biting his chest and eliciting a gasp from him. "Not like that. Say it the way you did before."
He obeyed her at once. "Please."
Daphne rewarded him by straddling his hips and sliding herself up and down his prick. Against his mouth, she whispered, "You're bigger than I thought you were . . . before. Will it hurt?"
Her question snapped Severus back to reality so quickly that it hurt. "Fuck, Daphne—have you never—"
"Well, of course I have, with you, just not—"
"Shh," Severus said, pulling her down on top of himself and holding her still. "Just wait a moment, please."
"I'm glad you remember it, too."
"Our dream?" asked Daphne.
"Yes, but perhaps—"
"No, Severus. I want this to be real. I need it to be real," she said, struggling out of his arms and sitting up. "Don't you want me?"
Severus looked pointedly down at his prick, and Daphne followed his gaze, laughing when he twitched at her.
"Then why did you stop me?"
"Because of course it will hurt, Daphne. You're a virgin—and there are people out there."
"I don't care. You're alive. It worked. I—"
"Somehow," Severus interrupted, flushing, "got hold of my semen. Just how did you do that?"
Daphne's hands flew up to cover her face. "Oh, shit!"
Severus laughed and sat up, pulling her hands away. "Oh, no, you don't get to play the innocent with me. You just exposed your charms to a man you didn't even know, not to mention—"
"All right! That was mad of me, but Severus, don't you understand?" Daphne asked, looking up at him with impossibly wide, hope-filled eyes. "I'm just so happy that it worked. Please . . . please don't be mad at me?" She bit her lower lip.
Growling, Severus sucked it into his mouth.
"You were wrong," Daphne murmured, a long time after the sun had set. "That didn't hurt at all. Well, not much the first time, and not at all, the second."
Severus, glad of the darkness because he couldn't stop grinning, said, "I can't believe there was a third time. You're going to kill me, woman."
There was no mirth in Daphne's tone when she replied, "Don't say things like that. Not ever."
Severus tightened his hold on her. "No, of course I won't."
"I do. I promise."
"G—good, because you're not allowed to d—die, not like Theo did."
And then she was crying.
Fuck. "Daphne, Daphne, I'm sorry," he told her, stroking her hair. "I'm sorry about Mr—about Theo. . . . How did you know?"
"Heard them . . . heard them t—talking. Don't know . . . when. I was so . . . so tired, Severus."
"Why? Why did you risk yourself for me?"
Daphne stilled and didn't answer for so long that Severus thought she might have fallen asleep.
"Because I love you, you idiot. I always have."
"I . . . ." Severus wanted to speak, to respond in kind, but Daphne's distress and unguarded expression of her feelings gave him pause. Fuck. What if I did . . . what if—
"I don't know what you're thinking," Daphne said, interrupting the doubt that was beginning to form in Severus' mind, "but I want you to stop it. I didn't spend weeks waiting in the laundry to find the appropriate sheets for you to deny me now." She sat up and hugged her knees to her chest. "I love you, and I know," she continued, reaching down to poke his chest, "I know."
"Y—yes, yes, you do. I don't deny it. I won't deny you. . . . I just don't understand, Daphne. How can you lo—"
"I saw four creatures," Daphne whispered, "wondrous beings, travelling together. Their tracks were dark, their path deep and black. They coursed swiftly: faster than birds they flew through the air, dove under a wave. He strove without rest, the battling prince—"
Severus gasped at that, but he didn't interrupt her.
"—pointing the way across plated gold to the four creatures. . . . Who were they, Severus? I think you know the identity of the prince."
It occurred to Severus then that if anyone might know his family history, it was a pure-blood witch like Daphne; pure-blood witches seemed born knowing the family histories of everyone. Everyone who matters, anyway, he thought, with a trace of his old bitterness, but he swept the thought from his mind as he considered Daphne's riddle. "The four creatures were the thumb and first two fingers of a hand—my hand—and a quill. Your 'battling prince', well, that was my right arm, wasn't it?"
"You write with an intensity I've never seen before," Daphne answered, looking away from him as if suddenly shy. "I came to see you once about an essay in Third Year, and—"
"'Third Year'?" asked Severus, astounded.
"—and your door was open. You didn't see me, but I saw you." Daphne turned to look at him. "I saw you, Severus, and . . . and I've never been able to see anyone else since that moment."
Severus' mouth worked, but no words issued from it.
"You think I'm silly, don't you?" asked Daphne.
I think you're the most amazing person I've ever known, he thought, unable to speak it. Instead, he replied, "If you break me, I do not stop working." He reached out to caress the side of Daphne's face. "If you touch me, I will be snared." Daphne's hand rose to enfold the one with which he was caressing her. "If you lose me, nothing will matter."
"Oh," whispered Daphne.
"What am I?" Severus asked.
"A heart. Y—your heart."
"My heart," Severus whispered, leaning forward to kiss her forehead, and then her nose, and then her mouth. "My heart, Daphne."
Daphne surprised him then with an unromantic demand that he "Budge over," and soon, they'd rearranged themselves so that they were holding each other under the bedclothes.
"You're silly, too, aren't you?" she asked, her voice full of happiness.
"Not. Even. The. Tiniest. Bit."
Daphne laughed and asked, "An onion, Severus?"
"Oh, God. I do not want to discuss the onion, at least, not now."
"If one has it," Daphne replied, "one wants to share it—or not, as the case may be, but if one does share it, one doesn't have it. What is it?"
Severus sighed in relief. "A secret."
"Yours is safe with me. We'll prove the riddle wrong and share our silliness . . . if . . . if that's all right with you?"
Severus craned his neck so that he could kiss the top of Daphne's head. All manner of possible complications to their relationship quickly rose in his mind, but they were all just as quickly knocked down by the knowledge that Daphne was well, that they were both whole, and that nothing, absolutely nothing, would ever compel him to leave her.
I'm not allowed to die, he thought, remembering the pains that Daphne had taken to see that he would live, and I'm not a coward.
"Is it all right?" Daphne asked, her breath catching.
Ultimately, Severus decided that there really was only one response that he could make to her, and he didn't make her wait to hear it. "My heart, Daphne," he whispered, smiling to hear her breathe deeply again. "My heart."