Autumn 1983; post-Godric’s Hollow, pre-Philosopher’s Stone
Warning: explicit sexual content, NC-17
If you do not want to access sexually explicit material,
- welcome to read the PG-13
- return to the contents page.
“The Gryphon Centre of Reproductive Health”, read the small brass sign on the green-painted door of the large, elegant old villa. The black-clad young man approached it on a tiled path across a meticulously groomed lawn.
The lion’s head in the middle of the door enounced clearly, in spite of the brass knocker between its jaws: “Good afternoon, Sir. Whom did you wish to see?”
“I have an appointment with Mistress Achrya.”
After a brief moment, the lion’s head said: “Yes, Sir. Please come in.”
The door opened on a small entrance hall containing a Regency desk serving as a reception counter, an Oriental rug, a combined coat hanger and umbrella stand in brass, and little else: visitors were obviously not kept waiting, at least not in each other’s sight.
The reception desk was empty.
The man walked without hesitation to the stairs on the opposite side of the hall, and up two flights. He knocked on a door lettered “Sir Alexander Hughes, M.H.”
“Come in, Severus,” said a woman’s voice, and the door opened.
He walked through an elegantly furnished office through another door, into a spacious, meticulously neat Healer’s surgery.
The stocky short-haired woman in pale blue Mediwitch robes welcomed him with a casual nod that he returned.
“You look fit. So, how’s our experiment going?”
“You ought to know, Catrin – you’ve taken the potion yourself.”
“No adverse effects so far. And you, no dizziness, nausea, headache?”
“Not since yesterday noon.”
“Sounds good.” She opened another door with a mock curtsey. “Please proceed into the lab and do your business.”
He replied with a somewhat tentative grin: “And you?”
“Well, I won’t keep you company,” she snorted in mock indignation. “My samples are ready,” she added in earnest. “I’ll be with you in a moment, we’ll start the analyses now and have the results ready after dinner.”
The analysis spells that they had activated around the blood and urine samples were stabilized and contained by a glass cover, and there was nothing to do but wait.
“Sir Alex must be happy with his intern, to give you free run of his private lab after working hours,” remarked the black-haired young man.
“In fact, yes, he may take me on as his apprentice for my specialisation.”
“Catrin, you’re joking. Would you become an andrologist?!”
“Severus, I couldn’t be more serious. Wizards’ reproductive health is fascinating. There’s so much still to learn about the interaction of hormonal activity and magical powers. And it relates directly to the mind-body problem.”
“Well, yes, there’s the research. But the clinical practice? Would you really want to poke people’s cocks and balls for a living?”
The vulgarity from his lips sounded innocently naughty as he purposefully imitated her usual relaxed attitude. Catrin decided to tease a little further.
“Not to mention sticking fingers up their arses,” she said, with barely contained mirth at his shocked and baffled face.
“The regular procedure for examining the prostate. – You do remember some anatomy, I presume?” she said in her best ‘exacting professor’ voice.
“I remember that much, thank you.”
“I’ve been doing it for eight months now, including the full-time summer internship, so any disgust on my part would have manifested itself by now.”
“I was just wondering... You obviously don’t mind, but how about the patients?”
“Considering how many male gynaecologists there are, why should the other way around be a problem?” she inquired, seeing him blush. “Anyway, you’d be surprised. People know I’m gay, so men tend to consider me safe.”
“I’m not another male, so there’s no feeling of competition, and I’m not a potential sex partner, so they have no appearances to keep up.”
“That makes sense, really, once you look at it that way,” Severus said.
“Well, that’s it for now, I suppose,” he added after a moment.
“Yes, I’ll be back in a couple of hours to record the results, and we’ll evaluate them in the morning.”
Still, Severus paced the floor, seemingly reluctant to leave.
Catrin knew his moods well. She let him collect his thoughts for several minutes before giving him a verbal nudge.
“Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yes. Well, no... there’s something... someone... I need to talk to you.”
“Do you want to talk here, or would you rather go somewhere and have a drink?”
“If I relied on bottled courage for this one, I’d have to drink so much I wouldn’t be able to talk at all. Let’s stay here.”
He resumed pacing the floor. Catrin knew better than to push. He stopped, looking out of the window, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Merlin, I don’t know how to say it,” he murmured as if to himself.
Suddenly he swivelled to face her: “Catrin, would you examine me?”
She opted for a bit of shock treatment.
“Of course,” she said, waving breezily towards the examination couch. “Take off your clothes and lie down.”
His hands reached the top button of his robes before the shock registered on his face and he went completely stiff.
“Please,” he managed to bring out, “it's no joke.”
She crossed the room in three strides and clasped his hands in hers.
“I’m sorry, Severus,” she said. “We’re friends. You know I’ll do everything within reason for you. I just don’t see why you’d want to ask for this particular thing. You’re young and healthy, there is no reason for you to have this kind of check-up.”
His eyes met hers, then looked away, then fixed on her face again.
“I need to know if I am normal,” he said, haltingly, in a very low voice.
“How? And why? And what is ‘normal’?”
“Physically. I have to know if I’ll make a woman laugh, or make her sick from disgust.”
“You’ve met someone, Severus! That’s wonderful!”
“She’s here in graduate school. Second year. She understands that ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t apply to me, and, incredibly, she accepts it. She will return home to a dynastic marriage after graduation, and she wants us to be together as long as we’re here.”
“Congratulations! What’s keeping you? You should be having dinner with her tonight.”
she wants to take me to bed. Not just yet, but soon.”
There was panic in his voice and in his face.
“Don’t you want to? Anyone has the right to say ‘no’, man or woman.”
Catrin directed him to a pair of comfortable chairs in front of another window, and they sat down.
“You don’t understand. I want it so much! But I don’t know... anything. Oh, I’ve read up on sex, I know the anatomy, the mechanics, the protective charms and potions, the cognitive and emotional implications, but it’s never really been about me.”
His silence was not an unwillingness to speak, but a pause to gather his thoughts. Catrin simply nodded and waited.
Shortly, Severus continued: “I’ve done a lot of reading, but I’ve never had anyone give me ‘the talk’, to me, personally. I’ve had no giggling sisters, no gutter-mouthed brothers, no changing-room talk with my mates; I’ve always avoided or been made to avoid the common showers.”
“Yes, you’ve told me you were bullied at school.”
“And then I studied. I learned about potions, about herbs, about the mind and the body, about the foundations of magic, what it is that turns it dark, and how to fight that. It’s been the only really enjoyable part of my life. I understood that ‘those things’ were not for me, so I simply stopped myself thinking about them.”
“I see,” she said.
“Do you? Catrin, no-one has ever seen my adult body!”
“And comparing yourself to the pictures in the books is not enough.”
“Do you suspect any functional problem?”
“How should I... ” He looked away and said quietly: “No.”
“Still, you think you need an assessment, is that it? A professional opinion?”
He swallowed hard, and replied barely audibly: “Yes.”
“I can do that for you.”
“Would you, really? What do I do, make an appointment?”
“Your appointment is for right now.”
“Look, Severus, this obviously bothers you a lot. So get it over with. You’ll sleep better.”
“You’re right. That’s what I’d say to anyone else,” he almost managed an ironical smile.
“Good,” she replied. “Here’s what I suggest.”
He forced himself to look at her, black eyes wide open.
“There’s a standard procedure,” Catrin went on, “that we use to assess wizards complaining of diffuse potency problems. I know, that isn’t your trouble, but it’s a handy way of checking that the equipment is in good working order, and to put to rest any suspicions of anything really sinister.”
“That’s what I had in mind, I suppose.”
“One thing. If we do this, I want to put you through the whole procedure. Parts of it are unpleasant, but I don’t intend to miss anything important to save you discomfort.”
“Fair enough.” His posture was tense, but his voice almost matter-of-fact.
“Apart from a blood sample, I’ll only use my wand and my hands. No strange implements. And you know I’ll do my best to make it as little uncomfortable as possible.”
“Thank you, Catrin.”
“Don’t thank me yet. You’ll want to say other things before we’re through,” she commented wryly.
“Well, then, thanks for the warning,” he made an attempt at levity.
She stood up, went to the examination couch and pulled up an instrument trolley.
“Come and sit over here. I’ll want a few drops of your blood. Shall I draw the sample, or do you prefer to do it yourself?”
your lancet is the least of my worries right now. Just help yourself.”
He held out his hand to her. His mind seemed to be on other things, and his musing face never shifted, while she deftly pricked his finger and placed several drops of his blood on a glass slide.
“I’ll go put these through the analysis spells in the lab,” Catrin said. “While I do that, why don’t you make yourself as comfortable as you can on the couch. You have to remove all your clothes, but we don’t want you to die of exposure. Here’s a blanket to cover yourself with.”
The blanket was a soft, light but thick cotton weave, moss green in colour. Catrin found Severus stretched out under it when she returned to the couch. Only his head resting on a thin pillow was showing, and his eyes were shut. They snapped open when he heard her come back.
“So far so good,” she said. “The blood analysis says that everything is fine. – Let’s see how to make you a bit less uncomfortable.”
She felt his legs through the blanket, and slipped a rolled-up towel under his knees to help relax his back. Then she pulled up a stool and settled down by his head. She felt the tense muscles in his neck and shoulders and, instead of massaging them vigorously, she warmed them with her hands and nudged them here and there to suggest a more relaxed position. The lines around his mouth grew less deep, and his eyes closed again, lightly.
Unobtrusively she moved her hands to probe gently below his jaw and in front of his ears. Her touch was steady, matter-of-fact, professional, not cold or unkind, but without tenderness. Severus sensed it and realised that he found it deeply reassuring.
“You know as well as I do what I’m about, palpating your lymph nodes,” she commented, standing up and moving to his side. “Those loci and conduits of thaumic energy are central to what distinguishes your physiology from that of a Muggle. - Well, let me fold down the blanket a bit.”
She did so, uncovering his chest with a scattering of curly black hairs. He shivered a little, but let her move his arms slightly away from his body to feel his armpits. She was careful to touch him firmly enough not to tickle.
“All right,” she continued, picking up her wand. “Normally you wouldn’t feel anything when I scan you with my wand. But you have used this one together with me, so it is partly attuned to you. That means that you may feel a tingle of energy while I scan you, and some stronger twinges at the major magical nodes. It’s normal if you do, but nothing is wrong if you don’t. Just a natural variation in sensitivity.”
She directed the wand slowly along the contours of his head and chest down to his waist. Then she swept the flat of it, not quite touching the skin, in a few lines across his face. She touched the tip to several points on his head and throat; the first touch made him flinch, but then he lay perfectly still. Another series of broad sideways sweeps across his chest concluded the scan.
“Next, I’m going to palpate your abdomen. I have to move the blanket a little more for that.”
She uncovered his flat, firm abdomen with a line of black hair extending from his navel and growing wider and thicker to where it disappeared under the blanket covering his groin. Quietly she rested her hands left and right from it.
“You have excellent muscles here. I need you to focus on relaxing them, otherwise I won’t be able to feel much.”
He gave a shuddering sigh.
“Very good,” she said. “None of this should hurt, so don’t play the hero. Let me know at once if it’s painful.”
Slowly, thoroughly, her hands travelled down his abdomen from the waist to the hip bones, pressing here and there. Again, he held himself perfectly still, until her fingers slipped underneath the blanket to where the abdomen met the thighs. He flinched then, and his muscles tensed.
“Inguinal nodes tender?” she asked.
“No, not at all. It’s...” he fell silent, breathing raggedly.
“Strange and uncomfortable? Yes. Just let it happen. It’ll pass.”
Again she followed the procedure with a scan of her wand, sweeping across his abdomen and touching the tip to various points. Then she put down the wand, and he looked at her intently.
“Everything looks and feels fine, so far,” she said, unsmiling, respecting his discomfort. “No sign whatsoever of any physiological problem. But then, we weren’t expecting any, were we?”
Dry-mouthed, unable to speak, Severus moved his head from side to side.
“All right, then, let me have a proper look at you,” Catrin said, reaching for the blanket.
“No!” he gasped and reached out as if to grab the blanket that she was folding back.
He did not complete the movement, though, and she draped the blanket across his feet and the end of the couch.
When she turned to face him again, he lay shivering, his eyes squeezed shut, his lips tight, both his hands clutching at his genitals.
“Severus,” she touched his shoulder lightly.
“Hmm.” The noise in his throat showed that he heard her.
“You have asked me to examine you. I won’t force you. Tell me if you have changed your mind and want to stop now. It’s all right. But if not, you must show yourself to me.”
“I know. I’m... It’s... Please go on. Please.” His voice was almost a sob.
“All right,” she said in a calm, matter-of-fact voice. “Let me see you. Place your arms along your body. Do it now.”
With a jerk his hands left his groin, and he placed his arms at his sides with a determined effort, the muscles tense, the fists clenched.
“Good,” she went on calmly. “I’m looking at you. I see that your penis is whole, normal and healthy-looking. It is very well proportioned to your body, and there’s no reason for anyone to find it strange or ridiculous. As penises come, yours looks quite appealing.”
Tears were leaking out of the corners of Severus’ eyes and he was close to hyperventilating.
Catrin placed a hand on his chest and the other one on his abdomen.
“Easy. Don’t overdo it. Find your normal breathing and focus on it.”
His ragged breath calmed somewhat.
Catrin continued: “That’s right, focus on your breathing. In a moment I’m going to touch you. You may react to my touch, or you may not. There is no right or wrong. Again, none of this should hurt, so please, let me know if it does.”
Gently she gathered up his flaccid penis in her cupped hand. A moan escaped him, both his hands flew up to cover his face, his torso arched and his legs contracted.
“Sssh,” she soothed him. “Relax. Your arms along your sides. Focus on your breathing.”
She kept still while he complied and calmed down. Then she felt his penis with her other hand, from root to head, kneading very gently. It was semi-erect when she ended by manipulating the foreskin. She moved her hands to his testicles and palpated them, gently and thoroughly.
“Now the wand scan,” she said, picking up the instrument. “I notice that you are very, very sensitive, and that’s a good thing, but it may be quite unpleasant now. I’m going to scan your groin, penis, testicles and perineum. Ready, or would you like to wait and rest for a while?”
“Go ahead,” he said quietly and clearly.
The wand ran along the jointure of his thigh and abdomen, first left, then right. He held still, without a sound, watching her face from under his lowered eyelids. Then the flat of the wand swept along his penis, root to head, then on to where the penis joined the testicles. The wand rested there, releasing a jolt of energy. Severus flinched only very slightly.
The wand moved on over his testicles, around them in a few sweeps. Her left hand cupped his testicles, the right slipped in between his legs to direct the wand at the perineum. The surge of energy connected with the powerful magical node deep inside his pelvis. The impact was strong, and by reflex Severus tried to twist away. Catrin held him steady.
“That’s a bad one, yes,” she murmured, changing the angle of the wand. “Just a little longer.”
A deep groan escaped him. He threw his arm across his face and set his teeth in it.
“Almost done.” She moved the wand again slightly.
“Count down from five.”
He released his arm, but let it rest across his face. He counted slowly and deliberately:
“Five. Four. Three. Two. One.”
Catrin put down the wand and touched his arm. His hand grabbed hers and clutched it hard while he recovered from the pain. His head rolled to the side and his chest heaved with the heavy breaths. Gradually his breathing calmed, he released Catrin’s hand and looked at her.
“There,” she said. “You’ve made it. The painful bit is over.”
“Isn’t it finished yet?”
“Almost. There’s one more part, not painful, but uncomfortable.”
“You don’t mean...” he whispered, exhausted, embarrassed, fearful.
“Yes. I’m going to ask you to trust me very much. I have to feel inside you.”
Once again he grew silent, as if enclosed in a shell.
“I won’t use the wand on you at all,” Catrin went on, “only my hands. The wand is just for me.”
She picked up her wand and applied the protective and lubricating charms.
“Bend your knees,” she directed, “and place your feet on the surface of the couch.”
His eyes stared at her, his face was pale and framed in droplets of sweat, but he complied.
“It’s not as bad as you think,” she commented. “Some people even find the touch pleasurable. Those parts are very sensitive. That’s why it will feel uncomfortable to you, but sensitivity cuts both ways. It all depends on the circumstances.”
Her clinical manner calmed him somewhat.
She nudged his legs a little wider apart, laid her left palm on his abdomen and reached down to touch his perineum with the fingers of her right hand. Again, he flinched.
“You’ll be able to help this time. You know that my finger has to get past your sphincter muscle. The less tense you are, the easier will it be.”
He nodded and made a noise in his throat to show that he followed her.
“Your mental discipline is excellent, so we’re going to use that. I want you to show me how deeply you can relax while I touch you like this.”
The task helped to take his mind off the discomfort, the embarrassment and the unusual sensations. His hands were the first part of him to relax.
“Should I be quiet,” Catrin asked softly, “or do you want me to help talk you down?”
“Please, help me,” he murmured.
“Breathe normally and find your focus...” Her voice deepened a little, her enunciation quiet but clear. “You can feel the air filling you and streaming out... You breathe deeper and deeper... You can feel the breath in your chest... behind your clavicles... around your shoulder blades... behind your lower ribs...”
Gently, imperceptibly, her fingers began to move, massaging his perineum in little circles.
“Yes,” she went on, “excellent. You are focusing on your breathing. You can sense it in your abdomen... inside your pelvis... in your groin...”
The pattern that her fingers were tracing expanded little by little into a line towards his anus.
When she reached the sphincter and began massaging that instead, his breath caught, but calmed again as he re-focused on his task.
“You are quite relaxed,” she droned on, “and you can go deeper still.”
Her fingers circled his tight opening, around and around, her left palm lay soothing on his abdomen, rising and falling in time with his breath.
“Now you will let my finger enter you. Take a very deep breath. Sense how the air fills your entire torso. Hold it and feel the tension... And let it out.”
There was a gasp and a shudder as he felt her fingertip slip past the circular muscle.
“Good. Find your focus again,” she continued. “Relax and breathe. Breathe and relax. That’s it. Go on.”
Her finger penetrated a little deeper, deeper still, and she felt for the gland inside him.
As she found it and brushed against it, his deep relaxation cracked.
He groaned loudly, deep in his throat. His head rolled jerkily from side to side and his arched torso attempted to drag his pelvis away from her hand. She steadied him with her palm and with her voice.
“Yes, it’s very, very much now, a lot of strange sensations. Try to relax if you can; we’re almost there. I just have to apply a little more pressure for a few moments.”
Her eyes closed; focusing on the tactile sensations from her finger, she probed thoroughly and purposefully, barely hearing his gasps. Then her hand stilled and the palm on his abdomen was almost a caress. Slowly, gently, she withdrew her finger, and rubbed the sphincter muscle lightly before simply letting her hand rest between the man’s legs for a moment.
She withdrew both her hands and banished the protective charm from her skin.
“There,” she murmured. “Make yourself as comfortable as you can, and rest for a while.”
She spread the blanket from his chest over his abdomen and his now stretched-out legs, taking care to cover his feet well, tucking folds of the blanket between his body and his arms.
He opened his eyes: there was fear in them, a query.
“Everything is perfectly all right,” she said gently. “You have a fine body, in good working order. There’s nothing about your body to frighten a woman or make her laugh at you. I’ll give you all the details you want anytime you like, but, to put it simply, you’re ready to go.”
She finished with a smile that he returned, tired, overwhelmed with new sensations, but relieved.
Catrin took the time to wash her hands very thoroughly in the laboratory, mainly to give Severus a chance to remedy his state of undress. But when she returned into the surgery, she found him still lying on the couch, curled up on his side with his back to the room, clutching the blanket under his chin. He was shivering.
She propped herself up against the edge of the couch and laid a calming hand on his shoulder.
“It’s all right, Severus,” she said. “You’ll be fine. You’re just reacting to a strong and very uncomfortable experience. Take your time. I’ll stay with you.”
“I’m afraid,” he whimpered. “I’m so terribly afraid.”
“What is there to be afraid of? Who wants to hurt you?”
She reached across him and found his hand with hers. He clung to it.
“I’m afraid of myself,” he said more clearly. “I may hurt someone.”
“Why’s that? Do you want to?”
“No. But it’s what I know. What I’ve seen of sex. Rape. Torture. I was quite young myself, so I didn’t have to… do things… but I was there. And did nothing to stop it.”
With an effort, Catrin kept her voice clinically detached:
“You don’t have to force yourself to talk about it, but you might tell me a little more, if you can. I may be able to help you. This place is safe. The rooms are warded, and I’m under a strong geas not to disclose what patients tell me. If it’s told in confidence, not even Sir Alex has the right to question me.”
“It’s my life. My past, my memories. How could you help?”
“It’s your life, yes. But sometimes a different view can make things easier to handle. And if it doesn’t work, well, what do you have to lose?”
He visibly decided to take the plunge.
“What do you want to know? Where should I start?”
“Was that some sort of gang that you joined?”
”Call it that. Yes. To get back at people. To feel powerful. Dangerous.”
”You wanted to get back at your bullies. And did you?”
”No. Yes. Not the way I thought,” his voice rasped. “It was terrible. I tried to save her, but they killed her!”
“Was that someone you cared about?”
“Loved her,” he murmured into the pillow under his head.
“And the gang abused her?”
Severus rolled onto his back to face her.
“No, no, no, thank Merlin, no. They did that to others. But she died. The leader murdered her in cold blood.”
“And then? Where is the gang now? The leader?”
“They’re in prison, mostly. And people say he’s dead. I don’t believe it. He’ll be back someday. I intend to fight him.”
“And for that you have to stand alone, so as not make yourself vulnerable. That’s a very difficult path to follow.”
“He’s killed her already. So that can’t happen again.”
“And earlier, were you and … she… together?”
“In my dreams. In real life I was a horrible person. I destroyed it all. In the end I called her a horrible name. She never spoke to me again. Married … someone else. Had his child. And then she was dead. She is dead. Dead. Dead.”
Catrin paused and left him to his grief for a moment.
Then she continued, in a clinical tone:
“You have no good mental images of sex at all. Only what you experienced with the gang. No affection, no pleasure, no joy, only destruction and suffering. Is that so?”
Severus only nodded.
Catrin went on: “You know how the mind works. You understand that you need good experiences to compensate for that. Otherwise you’ll always be afraid of yourself, of how you may react in an intimate situation. “
“So the lady in second year may be just the right cure for you,” Catrin concluded.
Severus turned onto his side again, away from her. “Perhaps,” he said. “But… “
The rest of his words was mumbled into the pillow.
“I’m sorry, Severus – I can’t hear you,” Catrin said softly.
“It can’t happen. So there’s no point talking about it,” he objected.
“Yes, there is. Put a name to your wishes as well as your fears. It makes them more manageable.“
“Catrin, if I say it, you may think... it could... I don’t want to harm… us.”
“You won’t harm us, Severus. You have my word on it. We are friends. Let me be the judge if this thing is so terrible. If it is, I promise to remove the memory and return it to you.”
Severus curled up harder on his side, clutched the blanket and, with his eyes screwed shut, brought out between gritted teeth: “I. Wish. You. Could. Be. My. First.”
Catrin bit her lips and seemed to be working towards a decision. Then she said gently, stroking his hair: “Is that a daydream, a fantasy, or something you’d really accept if you could have it?”
“For real. You wouldn’t laugh at me. You wouldn’t be afraid. You wouldn’t let me hurt you. The first time. If I lose control. You’re strong and you know me.”
“Look at me, Severus.“
He relaxed a little and turned his head towards her.
“Would you feel better about wooing your new lady friend after the experience?”
“Yes, very much better. But I’ve no right to ask you. I know you aren’t… interested in men.”
gays experiment with the opposite sex,” Catrin explained. “I’m not
inexperienced. And in fact it’s what
Severus had stretched out on his back again and listened intently.
Now he sat up abruptly and swept the blanket about him with a yank.
“Well, that includes me out, anyway,” he growled.
“Drop it, Severus,” she said sharply. “Self-hatred is very unbecoming. Especially vacuous self-hatred.”
“Catrin, don’t coddle me. I’m ugly and I know it. I’ve learned to live with it.”
“Do you know the saying about the eye of the beholder?”
“Yes. I can face myself without a baby soother, thank you,” he answered coldly.
“Hmm.” Catrin paused to think.
“Let’s put it this way: you’ve asked me to go to bed with you.“
Blushing, Severus whispered: “Yes.”
“What does that mean: that you find me attractive, or not? Or am I just someone to help you deal with an annoying obstacle? An experienced prostitute would fit that bill.“
“Please don’t speak like that. You’re very, very attractive. I asked you because… because it’s you.”
“Well, you’ll never see me on the cover of ‘Playwizard’. I’m ugly by their standards. My tits are too small, my butt is too big, my hair is too short, my grooming is deficient, and, besides, I’m too old. So what does that tell you?”
“Hmm… that it’s my mind that finds you attractive?”
Lightening the mood, Catrin put on her best schoolteacher demeanour: “Very good, ten bonus points to Mister Snape, sit down.”
Then she cocked her eyebrow at Severus: “And kindly grant my mind the same privilege.”
He could not suppress a grin: “If you insist.”
“I do. – So, what are we looking at: one night, no strings, no kiss-and-tell, and we’re friends?”
“You sound very business-like. But, yes, that covers it. Do you think it’s possible?”
“I, for one, intend to give it my best shot. And I’m sorry if I sound callous. I just don’t want you to get hurt if we don’t talk clearly.”
“Thank you,” he smiled. “I never imagined a woman could think that way.”
“So, did you have anything planned for the next twenty-four hours?”
“Arithmantic Logic lecture at nine.”
“If I say screw the lecture, we’ll catch up on our own?” suggested Catrin with a cat-got-the-cream grin.
“I say nothing else planned.”
”Well… Your flat or mine? Personally I’d suggest neutral ground.”
“What’s neutral ground?”
“I’ll tell you in a while. Put your clothes on; I have to make a Muggle phone call in the outer office.“
– Warren House, Elisabeth Drew speaking. How can I help you?
– Elisabeth? This is Catrin Achrya. The Mediwitch from last summer, when the young lady with the film crew needed help.
– Catrin! How are you? What can I do for you?
– Well, well! I take it the summer’s events ended to everyone’s satisfaction?
– You can say that again. It seems the starlet’s attacks didn’t come back, so she’s told the tabloids that the whirlpool at our Freesia Suite has healing powers.
– Not too bad for business, then. Well, do you still think that you owe me?
– I owe you. Anything I can do for you.
– To the tune of twenty-four hours in the Cedar Suite? Starting just about now?
– With all the trimmings, fully warded, your own house elf, and all you’d care to eat and drink. Are you sure you don’t want anything more romantic than the Cedars?
– I have a queer reputation to uphold, so don’t tell anyone, but I’m bringing a man. He doesn’t do roses and curlicues.
– I’ll take up the iced champagne personally. Welcome to Apparate in whenever you’re ready.
“We have our neutral ground,” Catrin said to Severus, who was buttoning up the collar of his black robes.
“Will you let me surprise you?” she asked. “I know you don’t like surprises, and I’ve just put you through almost an hour of torture, but I promise this one is a good surprise.”
“Well... if that’s all you’ll tell me, I just have to trust you.”
“Trust me, Master Severus Snape. You are about to get laid in grand style.”
She snickered at his sheepish, blushing face.
“By the way,” she added, “aren’t we forgetting something?”
His face went blank and she could almost hear him think.
She opened a desk drawer and took out a small blue vial.
“Here,” she said, handing it to him: “You’re the potions master.”
He opened the vial and smelled the contents, poured out a small drop on his fingertip, rubbed it between his fingers and tasted it.
“Oh, he said. “The Capotus potion. Contraceptive, prevents infections. Did you brew it?”
“With my own not-so-milk-white hands,” she laughed.
“Somehow I’d imagined you to prefer charms.”
“You seem to have given the matter a lot of thought,” she teased. “No, seriously, charms are too easy to forget or go wrong with. The Capotus is effective for at least twenty-four hours, so you can take it well before matters become too… um… hectic. – Speaking of which, I’m thinking about your young lady. You do know how to brew this stuff, don’t you?”
“Oh, yes, no problem. Except…”
“It takes almost two weeks to complete and mature.”
“In a hurry, are we?” she teased again, feeling very pleased with his progress. “Half an hour ago you were gibbering with panic at the mention of sex. Oh, the resilience of youth!”
He shrugged his shoulders with another sheepish look on his face.
“The normal dose is three drops, so this should last you and your lady friend a while, even if we do use some of it now.”
She brought two small cups of water and motioned to him to add the potion. He did, but handed the vial back to her.
“Catrin, I couldn’t accept. Just the ingredients are awfully expensive, and then there’s the time you spent brewing it.”
“Oh, stop it, you dolt. Of course you can accept it. Take it as my way of wishing you good luck with your sex life. – Well, here’s looking at you, as they say.”
She toasted him with the cup of potion-laced water and drank it down in one gulp. He followed suit.
Catrin changed from her pale blue work robes to the graduate student’s brown and, automatically, picked up her Mediwitch bag. Then she stood next to Severus.
“Let’s move on to neutral ground, then,” she said. “Put your arm around my shoulders and I’ll take us there.”
He complied. She put her free arm around his waist, and they Disapparated.
--- --- ---
“Oh,” was all he could say when he looked around the room.
“Your Lordship approves, I take it,” she said with mock noblesse.
“What is this – a palace?”
“It used to be. A country house, anyway. Now it’s a hotel, of the really nice kind. Both Muggle and discrete wizarding clientele. Flashy spells get you banned for life.”
“We can’t afford this!”
“No, we couldn’t if we had to pay for it. The proprietor owed me a favour. This is what you might call a really classy love nest, and it’s ours until tomorrow lunchtime.”
The suite had a sitting room and a bedroom, both sparsely furnished in a reddish wood that matched the wide, polished planks of the floor. The walls were ivory in colour, with a Chinese ink painting decorating each room. The furniture had straight lines, right angles, and was upholstered in a subdued moss green. The modern Tibetan rugs on the floor picked up the green, and the dark brownish red of the wood. The bed was a four-poster, but built out of straight, smooth, thick boards with no other decoration than their natural lines and knots, the frame a perfect seven-foot cube. Its drapes of thick, loosely woven raw silk replicated the moss green of the upholstery.
As promised, on the coffee table a closely contained
cooling charm surrounded a bottle of Bollinger Grande Annee, swept
in a white linen napkin. Between the two champagne goblets next to it there was
a note on thick ivory paper:
‘Welcome, Mistress Catrin and guest. Your house elf’s name is Ceddie.
Enjoy your stay at Warren House.
“Well.” Severus stood in the middle of the room, looking rather lost. “I’ll admit I’m completely out of my depth now.”
“You could start by doing the honours,” Catrin said, gesturing towards the champagne bottle. “Alcohol is a relaxant, as you know.”
“I know that much. I just don’t know how…” and he gripped the neck of the bottle.
“The bottle is under pressure,” she explained. “That’s why the cork has all the metal on it. You start by removing that.”
She showed him how to untwist the wire and remove the metal cap. The bare cork remained.
“This is what the cloth napkin is for,” she went on. “You use it to get a steady grip on the bottle and the cork. Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t pop the cork and shoot it into the air – that’s vulgar, and a waste of good drink. You ease the cork out gently, so that all the wine stays in the bottle.”
His slender, strong hands, used to the meticulous potions work, had no trouble dealing with the cork. He filled the two goblets and handed one to Catrin. The rims of the goblets touched with a gentle ‘clink’. Catrin took a few sips, savouring the wine that was far, far out of her usual more affordable class. Severus sipped first, then emptied his goblet in a single gulp.
“Traditionally,” Catrin advised, “the next move would be a passionate kiss.”
“My mother kissed my forehead when I was leaving for Hogwarts,” Severus stated dryly: “That doesn’t qualify as passionate by any standards.”
Catrin looked at his mouth and licked her own lips.
“Your lips look extremely tasty,” she said.
“Um…” he swallowed hard. “So do yours.”
“Well, then, come here and do something about it,” she cocked her eyebrow provocatively.
He stood facing her indecisively. She reached out, buried her fingers in his hair and pulled his head down to hers. Their lips met; hers parted, inviting him to explore further. He turned out to be a very quick learner.
When they came up for air, she removed her eyeglasses.
“Another one, please,” she said with a radiant smile. She took some more champagne in her mouth, inviting him to share it. When they broke apart, his eyes were slightly glazed and there were droplets of sweat on his forehead.
“All right?” she asked.
“All right?” he repeated. “That’s the understatement of the year. Pinch me so I know I’m awake.”
Barely able to keep a straight face, she reached around and pinched his bottom. He blushed crimson and hid his face against her shoulder. She tilted her head, offering the side of her neck to him, and he needed no further encouragement to explore it with his lips. She gave a murmur of approval, and he made another try, this time with his teeth. She threw her head back. “Yes,” she moaned deep in her throat.
He stopped, confused, and kissed the spot that he had bitten.
“Did I hurt you?”
“Yes,” she smiled, “exquisitely. I felt it all the way you-know-where.”
“More?” he offered.
“Please,” she tilted her head to the other side.
“If you bite down and suck quite hard, you’ll leave a mark,” she suggested: “Would you like that?”
He ceased his exploration long enough to ask: “May I? Isn’t it painful?”
“Go ahead. You’ll find out.”
He marked her neck firmly, hearing her approving moans and feeling her move intriguingly against his body.
Then she said: “Payback time!”
She pushed him backward to sit on the sofa, and straddled his lap. She explored his mouth thoroughly in a hungry kiss, and undid the top few buttons of his robes. She nuzzled his neck gently, enjoying his shivers and moans. Then she touched her teeth lightly to his skin and heard him cry out a little. She bit down. Another cry, somewhat stronger. She sucked, lightly at first, then harder.
“Please,” he cried hoarsely, “yes, please, please, oh, please…” The words were lost in a gasp.
She released him slowly, twisted around and sat down next to him. He grabbed her hand and clutched it hard. She brought their joined hands to her lips, kissed his hand and darted her tongue provocatively between his fingers. Then she refilled their glasses and handed him his. This time he did not toss it down, but savoured it slowly.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he said. “I’ll probably need something in a while, but not yet.”
“Then I suggest a bath. This place is famous for its bathrooms.”
“Come and see for yourself.”
The bathroom was the size of a regular hotel bedroom. It had a separate large shower stall, and in the middle of the sienna-tiled floor there was, instead of a bathtub, a small round pool. Bubbles and jets erupted from the bottom and the sides when Catrin dipped her hand in the water.
“Make yourself at home,” she said to Severus, and pointed to two dolphin designs in the tiles on the side of the pool. “Touch the red one for warmer, the blue one for cooler. The green mussel stops the jets. Toilet’s over there, by the way,” she indicated a corner shielded by an opaque glass partition.
Severus, overwhelmed by all the new sensations, was grateful for some moments of privacy. He folded his clothes on a stool by the wall, used the toilet, and slipped into the pleasantly warm water. Sitting on the wide tile bench that surrounded the inside of the pool, he leaned the back of his head on the edge, closed his eyes and just drifted.
After a while he heard barefoot steps.
“That looks wonderful,” Catrin said. “Mind if I join you?”
She was completely nude, poised as if she was fully dressed, carrying the wine and the glasses. Severus sat up straight, his eyes fixed on the blue dolphin.
“Yes… no…” he mumbled, “I mean… feel free.”
“It’s all right to look,” she said. “After all, I’ve seen you ‘au naturel’, and we’ll share a bed before this day is over.”
He smiled gratefully and devoured her with his eyes. They held not only a man’s lust, but also the interest of the observant scientist.
She submerged herself in the water and took a few moments to relax.
“Mmm… lovely,” she murmured lazily and closed her eyes. Then she opened them long enough to find her wine glass, took a few sips and rested again.
As an afterthought she noticed Severus, who was still sitting ramrod straight.
“I didn’t mean to spoil your bath. Come on, stretch out, put your feet in my lap,” she invited him.
He complied shyly, but adapted quickly to the situation and relaxed. She clasped his feet between her hands and began massaging them. She traced the outlines of the soles, explored the arches, nudged the small muscles between the bones of the foot into repose, kneaded the toes, one at a time.
“If I was a cat, I’d be purring my heart out just about now,” Severus murmured contentedly.
“Good,” Catrin remarked. “That’s how I’d like this to be. It should be about you and for you.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Yes, it is. Different people have different needs. To me, pleasuring someone I really like is one of the greatest pleasures there is.”
“Catrin, are you quite sure you’re real?”
“Absolutely certain. – On your part, think about giving and receiving. Nothing comes from nothing. You want to make your new lady friend happy, to give her something good. So, how can you be expected to give, if you’ve never received? If you don’t know how that feels?”
“But… Is there nothing I can do for you?”
“You’re doing it already. I’m enjoying myself immensely.”
He shook his head musingly.
They relaxed in silence, the murmur and bubble of the water the only sound in the room. Catrin propped up her feet on the submerged bench next to Severus. After a while, he reached for them and imitated her massage.
She sighed and lowered her eyelids, not quite closing
“You have very talented hands,” she murmured.
He glanced up at her and she responded with an equivocal grin.
After the bath the house elf brought them a light meal, but they ended up just picking at the food, the tension almost palpable in the room.
“Let’s leave this for later,” she said, tossing a cooling and preserving charm at the food. “I hate having sex on a full stomach anyway.”
They were wearing the hotel’s royal blue bathrobes, long, thick and soft, with nothing underneath. Catrin took Severus by the hand and led him into the bedroom. He followed haltingly, almost reluctantly.
She ventured a joke: “Worried about the moment of truth?”
He merely nodded.
“Remember,” she went on gently, “this is about you and for you, Severus. I won’t hit you with more than you can handle. You can always stop me if you feel too uncomfortable. I won’t get offended or frustrated. Please feel free to ask questions, or ask for things to try. The worst that can happen is that I’ll say ‘no’, and explain why. Don’t forget we’re scientists. There is nothing we can’t talk about.”
He nodded again, biting his lip.
“Catrin,” he said, “I’m so ignorant. You must tell me if there’s anything I should do. If there’s anything I can do for you.”
She cupped his face between her hands and pulled him down into a deep kiss.
“There is something,” she said. “A beautiful gift that is yours to give.”
“What is it?”
“Let me look at you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let me take off your robe, stretch out on the bed, and let me see you.”
“Of course, but what’s so special about it? At the clinic…”
“I’ll explain.” She waved at the lights to dim them with a spell.
“Here, let me take this off.” She untied the belt of his robe, opened it and ran her palms over the smooth planes of his chest. She reached up to his shoulders and peeled the bathrobe off with a long, slow caress.
“What about you?” he asked. “Aren’t you a little overdressed?”
“Possibly,” she said. “Try this way: you’re taller than I am.”
She turned her back and leaned into him. “Put your arms around me,” she suggested.
“That feels very comfortable, protected. And if you’re feeling naughty, it’s a good moment to show the lady how interested you are.” She ground her bottom against him and felt his reaction through the soft cloth. He understood and shifted his weight a little forward to share the sensation. “Ohhh,” he sighed.
He needed no urging to caress the robe off her and drop it on the floor next to his.
She took his hand again and led him to the bed.
“Please, lie down,” she said, her tone very different from the matter-of-fact Mediwitch earlier that afternoon. He stretched out on the ivory silk sheets, still rather confused.
“Thank you, Severus,” she said and knelt by his side on the bed.
“I want to see you, look at you carnally, touch you with my looks. Now I don’t have to maintain clinical detachment. I’m allowed to notice and tell you what a beautiful body you have. I imagine my hands, my mouth, exploring your body and making you sense, respond, enjoy. I see you with my entire body, and it’s incredibly erotic.”
Her voice shook with emotion and the sentence ended with a gasp.
He looked aside, the blush spreading all the way to his collarbones. “Please, Catrin… the things you say…”
“You feel embarrassed, but you don’t try to cover yourself up,” she said quietly. “That’s good. You can’t suddenly change the way you feel, but you can learn to accept a compliment.”
“What’s the good in that? Most compliments are false anyway.”
“Did my compliment sound false to you?”
“No… not really. But I don’t understand. I’ve always known that I’m… that I look…”
“You are a gifted Legilimens. Even when you aren’t performing the spell, you’re good at sensing people’s intentions.”
“When a compliment is genuine, accept it. Enjoy it. Otherwise you’re demeaning the other person’s judgement, telling them that their view of you is wrong.”
“Thank you, then, Catrin. Thank you for your lovely words, for the anticipation. I can feel it too.”
“Hmm… I see,” she said, looking pointedly at his erection and making him blush again.
“Ready to graduate from looks to touches.”
She stretched out on her side next to him and he turned to face her. She embraced him, taking care to make as much skin contact as possible, her arms stroking his back, her hands gently kneading his buttocks, the entire length of their bodies touching, legs intertwined. Another long kiss followed, teeth colliding, tongues duelling, voices moaning. Catrin pushed Severus onto his back again and propped herself up on her elbow over him. She smoothed back his hair and caressed his face.
“Focus on feeling, sensing, receiving. It’s fine to move and to touch me if you want to, but you don’t need to do a thing. In fact, try to do as little as possible.”
“I don’t want you to worry about doing something wrong, or about having to be in charge. You should have a chance to simply experience these feelings and reactions yourself, before trying to cause them in someone else.”
Her fingers were gently toying with the shell of his ear, and his low gasp showed that he was unable to speak. She leaned down to the ear closest to her and nibbled it with her lips, then her teeth, then her tongue circled its inner edges and folds. Severus made vague but approving noises that drove her own arousal higher.
She let go of him completely, their bodies close but not touching.
Severus’ low “Please” sounded plaintive.
Back on her knees, she ran her hands over his chest in big, smooth, gentle circles, carefully avoiding the nipples. She caressed his shoulders, then his chest again. And stopped.
Severus shivered in anticipation of something unknown.
“Feel this one single touch,” she said, touching one of his nipples.
She rubbed it in little circles, his tiny moans
running shivers through her entire body.
“All the sensations of your whole body are focused on the spots that I’m touching,” she murmured. She was teasing both his nipples with her fingers and thumbs, his responsiveness bringing her close to tears. She went on stimulating one nipple with her hand as she touched the other one with her tongue, her lips, then her teeth, biting and sucking gently. Severus gave a deep, low groan, and from the corner of her eye she could discern his hand scrabbling at the sheets in an effort to keep himself still. She gave a few slow, teasing licks to his nipples and went on to exploring his entire chest with her lips and tongue, and an occasional touch of her teeth. Severus’ breathing grew more and more ragged, and he let out another plaintive sound when she, once again, broke all contact.
“Catrin, what are you doing to me?” he moaned.
“It’s about anticipation. Delaying the fulfilment. Is it too much for you?”
“Yes. But don’t change. Do what you like. I constantly feel that I’m going to explode, but there’s always more. Please go on. Please.”
“Thank you, Severus. You’ve no idea how beautiful it is. How beautiful you are.”
She moved down to his legs and swept her hands along them, knees to feet and back again. Then she nudged his legs apart a little and caressed the insides of his thighs. He shivered as she stroked them with her palms and fingers; he moaned as she ran her fingernails over them, lightly, then harder. When her hand reached higher, where his thighs and testicles met, he flinched.
“Sssssh...” she reassured him. “I won’t touch you there.”
“Yes,” he moaned, “behind... the... balls... please... not the other one...”
Gently, her fingers sought his perineum, stroked, rubbed, massaged slightly firmer. He was gasping with the effort to remain still, his hands twitching; now and then an appreciative moan escaped his throat.
She moved to kneel over him, supporting herself on her hands. Before he could protest at the loss of her touch, her mouth was on his thighs, her head nudging them further apart. She touched the sensitive skin on their insides with her lips, kissing, nibbling, teeth nipping lightly, tongue laving in long sweeps.
“Catrin, I can’t anymore,” he moaned urgently. “I need… need it… need… so badly…”
Her hands and mouth were on his testicles, kissing, caressing, the tenderness mounting inside her so that she, as well, was on the verge of exploding. There was his erect penis, straining, leaking, pulsating, to the keening noise that escaped his throat.
“Yes,” she breathed.
She broke all other contact, poised her mouth over his penis and licked in one long caressing stroke from the root to the tip. She touched the hot, smooth, leaking head with the tip of her tongue, licked, tasted, and began teasing it with her lips.
“No, please,” he croaked, “I won’t last.”
Caressing his penis with her hand, she released her mouth long enough to explain: “No need. You’ll recover soon. We have time.”
In one sweep she took him in her mouth, as deep as she could, and was rewarded with a deep rumbling moan of appreciation. The moans grew louder and even more urgent as she licked, sucked, swirled her tongue.
Suddenly his hands grabbed her head and tried to pull it away from his penis. She resisted.
“Catrin, I can’t…” he keened, “I’m… Have to…”
She twisted her head to make him release it, and freed her mouth briefly: “Yes. Come!”
The urgent syllables sent him over the edge. He splayed his fingers about her short-cropped hair and, with an immense screaming moan, his entire body spasmed as he released himself into her mouth, her throat swallowing, her tongue licking, laving, her lips nibbling, her own satisfied gasps and moans a counterpoint to his.
She stretched out her body along his leg, running her hand tenderly, appreciatively, over his thighs and abdomen, caressing his testicles and penis gently.
His hand tugged at her, inviting her to join him on the pillow. Complying, she crawled higher. He lifted his head for a kiss, but she shook her head:
“Mmm-mmm. Clean up.”
“No,” he protested and pulled her into his arms. “I want to taste.”
“Scientific curiosity?” she smirked, but let him hold her close and explore her mouth thoroughly with his tongue.
“Hmmm… not entirely,” he smiled, licking his lips, when the kiss ended.
His entire face registering relief, pleasure, joy, he looked at her tenderly but with a glitter of pride at his new-found naughtiness.
Catrin felt her arm beginning to tingle, so she scrambled across Severus to stretch out on his other side. He rolled over to face her.
“That was amazing,” he said in a low voice, caressing her cheek with the backs of his curled fingers.
“Not too overrated?”
“Absolutely not! – But I still think it’s unfair.”
“You’ve given me so much, and I haven’t even touched you.”
“That’s where you’re mistaken, Severus.”
She was careful to speak clearly in spite of her low, tender tone.
“What do you mean?”
“You have touched me. You do touch me. With your looks, your murmurs, sighs and moans, with the shudders of your breath and the shivers in your belly when my mouth meets your skin. You touch me with the way your lips curve before we kiss, with every single droplet of sweat along your hairline, with the sight of the sweet shell of your ear and its memory on my lips. And you touch me, oh, how you touch me, when you take my rules and make them yours and put your mental powers into enforcing them in yourself, for nothing other than our mutual pleasure.
Your touch has so much tenderness and strength, apprehension and courage, it is soft and smooth and determined and completely overwhelming and oh, so sweetly, painfully erotic.
It sweeps through my whole body, caresses my breasts, swirls and coils in my belly, makes my cave weep in anticipation of receiving you.”
“Catrin, the way you speak,” he moaned, “it’s too much… for the one-shot lover, or not enough for the scientist,” he concluded as an afterthought, in a more controlled voice.
“Will you show me?” he added.
She cocked her eyebrow, scrutinizing his face.
“For a moment, yes,” she agreed. “It’s very private and very intense. I want us not to touch at all, so you know for certain where the sensations come from.”
They moved apart a little, and Catrin closed her eyes. Severus felt a tendril of her thought, and suddenly he sensed everything she had said and more, an overwhelming flood of tenderness, arousal, need, pleasure, fulfilment, expectation, joy, all focused on him, caused by him, intended for him. The tears that had been brimming in his eyes broke free and flooded his face. His hand groped for Catrin.
She released the mental rapport gently and pulled him closer, gathering him into her arms, rocking him, murmuring to him. His breathing calmed gradually, his sobs ceased, he looked at her with a small, musing, amazed smile. She disentangled her limbs from his, but stayed close to him, stroking his hair. In a few moments he fell asleep.
Severus woke up slowly, gradually remembering where he was and what had happened. Even before opening his eyes he reached out – and found an empty expanse of silk sheet.
His eyes flew open as he sat up with a shout:
“I’m here, Severus!”
She stood, smiling, as naked as before, in the doorway to the bathroom.
“Sorry – I had to pee. Did you think I would sneak off and leave you?”
“I… didn’t know. I wasn’t quite awake; I panicked.”
He rolled out of bed in one smooth movement, and stole a quick kiss as he passed her in the doorway.
When he came back from the bathroom, he found her stretched out on the bed, smiling at him.
“Are you hungry? Thirsty?”
“No,” he answered, and added in a mock poetic tone, “my heart’s desire is here in this bed.”
“Not to mention your cock’s desire,” she quipped with a sideways look at his semi-erect penis.
“Please!” he affected offended grand manners. “How crude!”
He lay down on his stomach, mock-ignoring her.
She leaned over and began stroking his back.
“Are you comfortable like this on your stomach?”
“Perfectly,” he murmured.
Catrin worked over the muscles of his back, from his hips up along his spine to his shoulders and neck, gently, but with no overtly seductive gestures. Then she slid her hands along his thighs, down and up several times, and began caressing and kneading his buttocks. She ran the edge of her hand between them, again and again, causing him to moan. Once more she ceased all contact, letting the tension mount. And then her palm nudged the small of his back, stroking just the tiny hairs covering it, but not the skin itself. His entire body shuddered.
“More,” he moaned.
In a low voice she asked: “May I straddle you, or would you feel trapped?”
“You’re welcome to trap me,” he murmured.
She placed a knee on each side of his waist and, securely supported by her strong legs, lowered herself gently onto the small of his back. Another shudder told her that he was aware of the touch of her intimate parts.
She resumed stroking his back, more tenderly this time, occasionally bending down and adding her mouth to the ministrations. Finally her teeth locked on the large muscle between his shoulder and neck, and she bit and sucked to mark him once again. She could feel his deep, shuddering “Aaaaahhhh!” resonate through his whole torso. She moaned in response, savouring the feel of skin against skin, and her belly contracted, rubbing her sex against the small of his back.
“I want to see your face,” he whispered urgently.
She straightened and rose up on her knees, still straddling him.
“Turn around, then.”
While he scrambled about, she adjusted her position so that her soft pubic hair and her damp entrance touched the shaft of his erect penis when she leaned over him next.
“See, I told you that you’d recover,” she said with a tender half-smirk.
“Please...” he pleaded.
“Please?” she repeated with a smile.
She leaned forward, raised his arms to place his hands by his head, and pinned them down.
“Please what?” she teased.
He could only whimper.
She claimed his mouth in a deep, raw, demanding kiss that went on and on. He was twisting and moaning helplessly as she straightened up somewhat to position her opening over the tip of his penis. She let the head touch her, but no more, no matter how desperate his moans and his attempts at thrusts.
Again she kissed him, focusing their attention completely on their mouths, and worked her hips down very slightly, allowing his penis to penetrate her barely an inch before withdrawing just as slightly. Then she straightened up to give herself better control. It was all he could do to breathe, as she continued the teasing, irregular, unpredictable, murmuring nonsensical endearments. Sometimes letting herself deeper down, sometimes less, suddenly her opening was encircling the root of his penis as he was completely buried inside her.
A sob escaped him; opening his eyes seemed to cost him an effort. His breath came raggedly as he whispered in amazement: “I’m inside you...”
She held still for yet another moment, then circled her hips a few times in a grinding movement to confirm his sensations. Supported by her strong, firm thighs, she found a steady rhythm, gliding up and down, flexing and releasing her inner muscles. Her lips trembling in a tender smile, she drank hungrily in every moan, every contraction, every shudder of the beautiful, sleek, sensitive body moving beneath her. She rode him steadily, securely, tenderly, driving him further, higher, savouring his mounting arousal, her own pleasure coiling harder in her belly.
Once more she rose on her knees, sliding almost but not quite off him. With an inarticulate cry he grabbed for her hips desperately, in an effort to pull her down again. Her legs were stronger, though.
“Ssssssh,” she reassured him. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
As she teased just the glans with the muscles of her opening, he was past moaning; his mouth open in a silent scream, his head tossing from side to side.
Catrin herself was aroused to the point of dizziness, her own breathing reduced to shallow gasps, her throat burning with an unreleased scream. She steered his hands back to her hips and lowered herself on him all the way, encouraging him to set his own rhythm.
He was tossing, thrusting, moaning nonsensical syllables, clutching her hips hard enough to bruise; the wave of his arousal lifted her and she arched her back; they climaxed together with one single huge scream from the two throats of their joined bodies.
Catrin folded herself over him, his penis still inside her. She felt it, not yet quite flaccid, as she contracted her belly and circled her hips. She growled deep in her throat.
“Yes, take me, take your pleasure from me,” Severus murmured, holding her close in his arms. Moving slowly and intensely against him, she let his penis stroke her to a second climax.
After a moment of rest she rolled off him and they lay side by side, two panting, sated animals, slowly gathering their wits as their breathing returned to normal.
“Congratulations, Severus,” Catrin said with a contented smile, “you have been truly and properly deflowered. How does it feel?”
“I can’t begin to tell you,” he answered quietly. “It feels... so much. I never imagined...”
“You don’t have to – I was teasing a bit.”
“Catrin, I may I ask you something? Please don’t be offended...”
“Ask away. If it’s none of your business, I’ll simply tell you that, no offence.”
“After... what just happened...” he began haltingly.
“How can you say that you are... you know, not attracted to men?”
“But I’m not. I’m not attracted to a gender. It’s about persons.”
everyone is capable of understanding that, or even wiling to try, but to me gender
“Don’t call me that!”
“Yes, I will call you beautiful, and you will listen to me. You’ve chosen a difficult path in life: you will be forced to hide your best sides from almost everyone. You must remember that they exist, that they are real, no matter how deep you’re forced to bury them. And I intend to remember it with you and for you.”
Her kiss prevented him from answering back. Once more she claimed his mouth fiercely, violently, gradually reducing the onslaught and ending in gentle, tender nibbles of lips on lips.
Severus’ stomach growled, and he blushed.
“Sorry. How mundane of me,” he grinned.
“No worries, I’m absolutely starving. Good sex tends to do that to people.”
“The classics say that every animal is sad after intercourse. Personally, I get exhilarated, but hungry enough to eat a hippogryph.”
“Is that usual in women?”
“Usual enough for you to plan for in your future conquests,” she advised, and went on:
“Do you like shellfish?”
“It wasn’t really standard fare at Hogwarts, so I’m not sure.”
“Care to try?”
“Order of the day, isn’t it. Yes, why not.”
Catrin summoned the house elf, and a short while later she and Severus were sitting at a table in the outer room, jointly attacking a large seafood platter.
Accompanied by more of the excellent champagne, the seafood was a success. Severus’ dexterous hands were soon shelling shrimps, dismembering a lobster and picking out meat from its claws at a speed that matched Catrin’s.
Eventually only shells, a few toast crumbs and a smear of aioli remained.
Severus sat leaning both his elbows on the table, nibbling musingly at his third slice of "piel de sapo" melon. Catrin tossed a piece of melon rind onto her plate, grabbed another slice, devoured it in two bites and leaned back in her chair.
“I’m sticky,” she licked her fingers. “And I smell like a fishwife. – Shower?”
“I’ll race you,” he said, rising and peeling off his bathrobe.
Their urgent desires appeased, the shower was a pleasant, companionable affair. They explored the planes and curves of each other’s bodies with hands slippery with soap, tasted kisses diluted with water, played with the shampoo foam in each other’s hair, and finally Severus dared Catrin to shower as cold as he did.
She took on the dare, and emerged spitting, shivering and swearing.
“Wh…wh… what the hell are you, a damned polar bear?” her teeth chattered.
Severus stood ready with a huge, soft bath towel. He embraced her with it and began rubbing her.
“Just my natural sneakiness,” he grinned. “A pretext to hold you close and warm you.”
“As if you needed one, you sneaky sneak,” she grinned back, and leaned into the caress.
Clean and dry, they discovered that the silk sheets on the bed had been changed. They lay down, naked, sharing a single big, light, eiderdown duvet. Severus turned the lights out with a sweep of his hand, and they fell asleep, touching casually, with smiles on their faces.
Catrin slipped out of bed and padded into the bathroom sometime in the very early dawn. She returned to bed, next to Severus. He lay on his back, fast asleep, his breathing occasionally turning into light snores. In the dim, grey light she could discern his profile, the distinctive nose, the shapely lips slightly open in relaxation. Deep inside her she felt a warmth that had nothing to do with the luxurious eiderdown covering them.
Some time later she heard Severus visit the bathroom and return. He leaned over her and touched her cheek and the corner of her mouth with his lips.
“Ouch,” she mock-yelped. “Get out of here. You scratch.”
He snuggled under the duvet, on his back, eyes closed.
“Don’t want to go. You Figaro me.”
“Should I spell your beard? Are you serious?”
“I’d have to use my wand.”
Considering his latest experience with her wand, she expected him to show reluctance.
“Go ahead and use it. I won’t spend the rest of my life cringing from your wand.”
“All right,” she Accioed her wand. “Keep still, so I don’t give you a spotty stubble.”
Propped up on her elbow, she ran the wand smoothly over his cheeks and chin, murmuring the shaving spell.
“Mmmm, nice,” he murmured. Then he tipped his chin up to give her access to his throat. His trust almost stopped her breath.
She finished the shaving spell, put away the wand and took advantage of his exposed position to kiss and nibble his throat. He murmured approvingly, then tilted his head down to her for a proper kiss. She obliged, thoroughly.
“Good morning,” she commented. “Now you’re fit for female company.”
“It makes sense for you not to like beards,” he quipped.
“Prejudice, prejudice. I do like proper beards. Long soft ones. What I don’t like is prickles. I’m queer, not a hedgehog.”
“You’re the queerest queer I know.”
“And your experience in the matter would be… extensive? – Anyway, being flexible has its rewards. It doubles my chances,” she gave him a mockingly lewd grin.
She sat up cross-legged next to him.
“I really do want my tea now,” she said. “How about you?”
“Tea would be nice.”
“I drink Chinese. And you? Indian, or English?”
“Isn’t it still my day for trying new things? I’ll join you.”
“Black, red, oolong, flower, green?”
“Not a clue, I don’t know what those mean. Pick whatever suits you.”
Catrin summoned the house elf and had a brief discussion with her. In the end she chose a mild but distinctive oolong with a grassy tang, as far removed as she dared from English tea habits.
They only had time to exchange a few kisses before the house elf re-appeared with the tea tray. Catrin spoke a spell to hold the tray steady in the middle of the bed, and they sat down cross-legged on each side of it.
Catrin surveyed the equipment approvingly, Severus questioningly. In a small, round, cast-iron kettle, a spell aided to keep the water hot. The jug for surplus water was plain brown ceramics, glazed only on the inside. An unadorned jar in greenish glass held large, tightly rolled pieces of tea leaves. The tea set proper was made of translucently thin white china, its outside hand-painted with a design of bamboo and crickets that complemented the painted scrolls on the walls of the suite. The set consisted of a bowl resting on a saucer and covered with a lid, and two small earless cups.
Severus watched with keen interest as Catrin began preparing the tea. She poured some hot water into the lidded bowl, swirled it about and poured it out into the brown ceramic jug. Then she opened the glass jar and tipped a little of the tea leaves into the white bowl. Severus reached out for the glass jar.
Catrin handed the jar to him with a smile. He smelled the contents, shook a piece of the dried leaf onto his palm, felt it, crushed it between his fingers and thumb, and smelled it once more. His face remained neutral, but interested.
Catrin poured a little water over the tea leaves, put the lid on the bowl and swirled it again. Then she divided the water into the two small cups, rinsed them with it, and discarded the water. She poured more hot water over the leaves, covered them with the lid and waited. After only a short while she cupped her hand over the bowl, tilted the lid to one side, held it down with her index finger and filled the two cups, the lid separating the leaves from the pale yellow liquid. When she put the bowl down, Severus lifted the lid to look at the tea leaves. They were large, very close to their size and shape when fresh. After just this brief time in hot water, they filled half the bowl.
Catrin raised her cup as if to toast Severus with it. He picked up his own cup and returned the greeting, then smelled the contents with a puzzled frown. The liquid was rather hot. Catrin took a few small sips and set her cup down to cool. Severus followed suit.
“Good Chinese tea is supposed to be steeped more than once – up to four or five times, depending on the quality. The first cup is said to be the most fragrant one, the second the most flavourful,” she explained.
She felt, smelled and tasted her tea again, and emptied the cup quickly.
Severus did the same, and his smile changed from puzzled to pleased.
“Fairly subtle, isn’t it?” he said.
“Yes, you’re the only Brit I’ve ever dared offer it to.”
“It isn’t exactly Earl Grey,” he grinned. “Milk and sugar would murder it. – Are we about ready for the next cup?”
“Do I see you acquire exotic tastes?” she mused as she poured more water into the bowl.
“Your tea has a lot more complex aroma than the usual English brew,” he explained.
“I think so, but it takes a potions master to discern it. You have the skill and the focus.”
Gravely, he bowed from the waist, thanking her for the compliment.
Then they looked at each other, two naked people maintaining a semblance of modesty by means of silk sheets, pontificating over a cup of tea. All gravity was gone. They smiled, snickered, burst into a spell of loud, liberating laughter. The tea tray kept its balance only thanks to the efficient spell.
“Why don’t you pour the second cup,” Catrin suggested when they had calmed down. She showed Severus how to handle the bowl and its lid with one hand, and he took to it as if it were a new potions implement. Not a fraction of a leaf escaped into the cups.
The colour of the brew was deeper now, a golden yellow, and its aroma more focused in the liquid than in the scented steam. They sipped in silence, savouring the drink, their eyes meeting over the rims of the cups from time to time.
The looks became longer, more urgent. Catrin’s lips curved in an equivocal smile; Severus replied in kind. With a quick wandless spell he transferred the tea tray in perfect balance from the bed to the floor. He pulled Catrin down on the bed and stretched out next to her. They kissed, the whole length of their bodies touching, legs intertwined, arms caressing.
“You’ve said that you’d like to do things for me – or would it be ‘to’ me?”
“Yes, you’ve given me so much pleasure, it doesn’t feel fair.”
“So, what did you have in mind?” she asked with mock slyness.
“Hm… I don’t know,” he almost whispered.
She laid herself out on her back, offering herself to him.
“There’s less difference than you think, apart from the obvious ones, between men and women,” she murmured. “The responsive zones are much the same – it’s mostly about what a specific person enjoys. About being sensitive to your partner.”
Severus lay propped up on his elbow, looking at her. He reached out and, gently, gently, ran his hand from the top of her head over her cheek, neck, chest, waist, hip, thigh. Her movement followed his hand as the various parts of her body sought out the caress and leaned into it. Severus smiled at the delight of a newly-found pleasure.
“See anything you like?” she offered. “Or anything that intrigues you? Touch it and find out what happens.”
Still infinitely gently, he touched one nipple, watched it rise and pucker.
“A little harder?” Catrin suggested.
“I don’t dare,” he whispered. “I wish I knew…”
“How it feels. How you feel.”
“You’d like to know, really know?” she asked.
His palm was caressing her breast, her breathing becoming somewhat ragged.
She looked at him intently.
“I don’t normally use mind magic in bed, it’s quite intense enough without, but…”
He felt a touch of her mind on his, then an impulse of sensation that made him cup his hand about her breast and knead it, then gasp with the reaction.
He recovered quickly and explored the double awareness. Soon he was on his knees, caressing her breasts, kneading them, pinching and twirling the nipples, his hands wandering off across the skin of her chest to stroke the shoulders, the sides; his mouth on her breasts, kissing, sucking, licking, nibbling.
Then he broke all contact, leaned over her and ran his fingernails backwards over the thin skin of her inner arms. His gasps echoed hers.
She grabbed his head and pulled his mouth to the juncture of her shoulder and neck.
“Bite,” she gasped, and he complied, nuzzling, biting, sucking.
She had been right, the pain was exquisite; the reaction resonated in his lower belly, and their gasps and moans mingled again.
He returned to exploring her torso with his hands and mouth: the hollow of her throat, the breasts, sides, waist, abdomen. He sought out spots, tested touches, varied their strength, duration and urgency. His hair, trailing along where his mouth passed, drove her to distraction.
Severus’ ministrations reached Catrin’s lower abdomen, and he stopped himself suddenly, panting and shivering. She could sense his arousal, excitement and confusion, mingled with apprehension.
She moved enough to be able to reach his penis with her hand. Stroking his erection, she slipped out of the mental rapport, leaving him to his own sensations. He said nothing, but there was relief on his face.
He touched her pubic hair, stroking it like the fur of a small animal. He looked into her eyes, then away, biting his lip.
“Catrin, may I...” he began.
“May I look at you... there?” he said, close to a whisper.
She hesitated. The idea of being a biological exhibit was not particularly appealing.
“If you promise...” she said slowly, “to touch, as well.”
His blush told her that he understood.
Severus knelt on the rug by the foot of the bed. Catrin moved closer, bent her knees and planted her feet on the sheet with her legs apart. He had an unobstructed view of her sex, and she could not help feeling somewhat uncomfortable, reduced to a sample under a mental microscope.
She raised her head to tug a pillow into place. And she noticed his face. It held, not so much desire, as delight and admiration, bordering on awe. Then and there the memory of his tale hit home. Severus’ childhood and youth. The constant, utter loneliness, deeper than she could ever imagine. His belief that he would never know a woman’s body unless he bought or forced it. Being so convinced of it that he had begun training himself to eliminate any such thoughts. Her own discomfort forgotten, she basked in his emotion, relief and joy.
Then he touched her.
Infinitely gently, but with no trace of tremor in his hands, he touched, stroked, explored. Pleasure burned in her belly, rose, grew, coiled, twisted, and she could not suppress a shudder and a moan.
“Hurt?” he asked.
“No. The opposite. Can’t keep still.”
With a sly grin he withdrew completely for a moment, leaving her gasping and shivering with anticipation. He moved closer... and his lips met her inner thigh. His kisses, nibbles and nips elicited deep, approving but urgent moans from her.
He grabbed hold of her hips to prevent her from moving as he, very lightly, kissed her sex. She could only moan out: “More!” in a voice that rasped at her throat.
He complied thoroughly. His lips and tongue explored where his hands had been before, and Catrin’s hands clutched at the sheets, her torso arching, head tossing. She tried to thrust against his mouth, the effort bringing out sweat on her face, but he held her steady.
“Please,” she keened, “please...”
He broke all contact.
Perfectly aware of the answer, he asked: “Please
what? What do you want me to do?”
He enounced it quietly, slowly, his voice reaching the very core of her pleasure.
She scrambled up in the bed to make room for him.
“Please give it to me. Please do it. Please take me. Please fuck me. Please...”
Her belly contracted, the pelvis tilting in invitation.
Instantly he was over her, on his knees and elbows, ready to enter her. She directed his penis lightly with her hand, and her hips rose to meet him as he lowered himself into her.
“Aaah!” he exhaled with a sob, and they remained still for a moment, savouring the contact. Then, instinctively, he began to move.
She did nothing but follow, matching his pace, his rhythm.
Severus moved as if in a trance, sometimes slowly, languidly, sometimes urgently, taking in her reactions with all his senses, letting them drive him on and multiply his pleasure.
He felt safe, confident, fully trusting his senses and his partner’s responses.
Catrin sensed her own pleasure in their mutual pleasure mount quickly, irresistibly, her climax approaching. She let herself go and screamed out her ecstasy, her fingers clawing at his shoulders. He followed with complete abandon, releasing himself, screaming, moaning, in an orgasm that never seemed to end. Catrin’s climax abated somewhat, but she needed only to clench her inner muscles about his penis to peak once more.
Severus collapsed on top of her, unable to move. She wriggled out partly from under him, and they lay in a scrambled heap, panting, sweating, exhilarated.
Severus swept a cleaning spell over both of them. Then
he touched Catrin’s
“Is the animal hungry?”
“Hmmrrraarrr,” she growled and gave his finger a light bite. “Ravenous. The degree of my ensuing hunger seems to be directly proportional to the quality of the intercourse.”
He acknowledged the compliment by a contented grin.
“What would you like for brunch?” she asked.
“Oh... something not too strange, if you don’t mind. Apart from that, I’m an omnivore.”
When the house elf had left to fill their brunch order, Catrin noticed that Severus lay quite still on the bed, his face blank, his eyes distant.
“Brooding?” she asked, sitting cross-legged next to him.
“Well... it’s finished now, isn’t it,” he replied reluctantly.
She stretched out on her side and propped herself up on her elbow. She began stroking his hair gently.
“Not like that, Severus, not like that,” she said. “It will never leave you, not unless you want it to. The experience is a part of you now. A part of your mind, of your body’s memory. Of your soul, if you want to call it that.”
“I never want to forget,” he pleaded. “I know what a hostile Legilimens can do, or a Dementor: invade the mind, rip out memories...”
“Encapsulate it,” she suggested. “Create an object in your mind and enclose the memory in it. Only your mind can access it there, only your free will can release and share it. An intruder, however strong, will only perceive the object.”
She thought for a moment.
“In fact, let’s do it together, if you like. In rapport.”
“Are you willing, Catrin? The connection would be very deep.”
she said. “Like
an old, old rock on the bottom of the deepest pool.”
“Yes,” she added, “I should like that very much. – Come here.”
She motioned him to turn onto his side and rest his head on her shoulder. Her embrace enclosed him, grounded him. Her mind reached out to him, and there was the shared awareness, familiar and safe by now.
‘What should it be: a rock, a jewel?’ she suggested mentally.
‘Something living,’ he objected. ‘I know: amber. It’s a gem that has been alive.’
She created the image of a lump of Baltic amber, irregular, about an inch big, clear, polished, pale gold in colour.
He reached in and changed the colour, making it somewhat darker, like dark, reddish honey. She added little star-shaped golden enclosures throughout the whole gem, and sensed his approval.
Together, they duplicated the amber image. And, still joined in their minds, they each poured their memory of the past day and night into the gem. The silvery threads entered the amber, made it flare up once with an inner fire, and disappeared. Only the amber’s own glow remained.
The spell was complete.
--- --- ---
The throng of graduate students jostled through the exit of the lecture hall. Only very few of them were discussing the recent lecture; the most minds, stomachs and words were focused on lunch.
Severus and Catrin made their way down the stairs, in the direction of the canteen.
“Severus,” a woman’s clear voice said.
His face lit up in a smile.
“Lucia, good to see you,” he answered, and turned towards Catrin. “Catrin, meet Lucia Salvi. Lucia, this is Catrin Achrya.”
The two women shook hands.
Lucia was as tall as Catrin, but much more feminine in build: not even the bulky academic robes could disguise her round breasts. Her hair fell like spun honey down to the middle of her back; her skin had a slight golden tan. Her friendly, intelligent eyes were a deep sapphire, her eyebrows startlingly black over an aristocratic nose. With shapely lips and a perfectly oval face, she resembled a Venetian Renaissance painting.
“I’m very pleased to meet you, Catrin. I have heard much about you.”
Catrin mock-glared at Severus: “Do I want to know what?”
And to Lucia she said: “I’m happy to meet you too, Lucia. Severus has been mentioning you a lot lately. – You specialise in Arithmancy Theory, don’t you?”
“Yes, I’m looking into applications of higher-order magic squares in the classical Agrippan method.”
“That’s a handful. I have a lot of respect for Arithmancy, but not the patience.”
“I understand that you are a Healer,” Lucia said.
“Mediwitch,” Catrin corrected. “I hope to qualify as a Healer after my thesis and special training.”
“What is your speciality?”
“Wizards’ reproductive health. Their sex life, if you prefer. My thesis will be on the interaction of magical and hormonal activity in males. Severus is helping me to develop some potions to make the interaction less erratic and more predictable.”
“I am impressed,” Lucia replied. “For myself, I’m not even sure that I can pass my compulsory Basic Healing.”
“You have to be joking. I’ve never heard of anyone failing that.”
“You don’t know how impossible I am with anything biological. Give me a scroll full of formulas, and if there’s any sense to it, I’ll find it. But I can barely heal a paper cut,” Lucia explained with a sheepish grin.
Catrin changed the subject.
“Oh – are you and Severus having lunch?”
“Yes,” said Severus, and “No,” said Lucia, simultaneously.
“I simply have to review Healing,” Lucia explained, seeing Severus’ disappointed face.
“Tell you what,” Catrin suggested. “Severus and I have to run some tests at the Gryphon clinic later this afternoon. Why don’t you two have lunch, and, Lucia, you come along to the lab. We’ll let the man do the dirty work, and you’ll tell me where you’re stuck in Healing. I may be able to help you along.”
“That would be wonderful – but I can’t impose on you.”
“Lucia,” Severus interrupted, “there’s one thing you should remember about Catrin. She doesn’t do ‘polite’. If she offers something, she means it. And you couldn’t have a better teacher.”
“Listen to the expert,” Catrin said with a hint of irony.
“So that’s settled,” she went on. “Go off to your lunch. I have some patients this afternoon, and the surgery closes at three-thirty. I’ll see you two then.”
She turned with a wave of her hand and left, her brown robes billowing after her.
Severus put his arms about Lucia and kissed her gently on the lips.
She looked at him musingly.
“Your sister can be rather formidable,” she said. “A good thing that she approves of us. Or does she?”
“My sister?” Severus asked, momentarily confused. He found his bearings quickly.
“Oh, yes, Catrin approves,” he assured Lucia. “She approves thoroughly.”
If you want to move on fourteen years,
and learn how Severus spent some of his time after Dumbledore’s death,
read the next story.