Age-Range Category: Five
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Summary: Severus Snape owes Rosmerta for a great many things in his life. She's taking it out on him in trade, having him to pose for her sketches and paintings as she takes up artwork for the first time.
'Take off your clothes, Severus.'
'You said you'd help me.'
'You owe me, Severus Snape.'
And he sighed, glancing about the nearly empty room above the Three Broomsticks. 'Rosmerta, don't know who is running your accounting system, but I highly suspect she's a lunatic lacking basic maths skills.'
Rosmerta sauntered over to where he was seated, her hips swaying with each step. She approached him like a wild beast on the Serengeti, slowly, methodically, until she was just inside the edge of his personal space. 'She operates a highly profitable business, you wanker, and she holds more in personal savings than a certain suicidal Potions professor I can name.'
He swallowed slowly, collecting himself. Rosmerta was quite a woman. Still, he'd been doing her favours all term. 'Owe you? What the fuck could I possibly owe you for that I haven't already paid back through all these portrait sittings?'
She laughed aloud then. 'Shall we do a tally?'
Leaning back in his chair, he crossed his arms in a defensive posture. 'Try me.'
The room itself was one of a few that Rosie let out on occasion to overnight guests. Nothing quite as posh as an inn or bed and breakfast, it had a simple bed in one corner, a chair in front of the fireplace, and an easel facing it all. A few blank canvases were strewn about, and a stool beside the easel was stacked with cups of charcoal pencils, inks, and other tubes with paints and solvents and oils and whatnot.
'I let you look down my blouse when you were a fifth year,' Rosie said. 'My tits were the single greatest thing your young eyes had ever seen.'
She had him there. Gods, but they were the best pair of knockers he'd ever clapped eyes on. She was twenty-two then, or maybe twenty-three, and she usually kept herself all buttoned up when the Hogwarts students descended upon her on the weekends. She'd seen him sulking by himself once after the twat Black had been picking on him, and she unbuttoned the top several buttons and leaned over the table the entire time she took his order. He was sure he'd turn a violent shade of red, but she never said anything… just kissed him on the cheek before he left.
Still, he needed to set the record straight. 'I'd be willing to bet they still are, Rosie, but I paid for that by sitting for your first sketch.'
It was propped up in the corner, a charcoal drawing of his profile. Just a line drawing, really, but it highlighted the size of his least favourite feature. Was it possible his nose was larger now at fifty-three than it had been when he was a teenager? It seemed that this particular situation was only going to worsen as he marched slowly and inevitably towards death.
'I slipped you Firewhisky when you were still underage,' she continued, 'and you know I didn't do that for just anybody.'
She had. It had only happened a few times, but somehow she always seemed to know that he needed it. Moreover, she made a big display of denying that pompous tosser Black whenever he asked for it, and that was almost as good as getting the Firewhisky in the first place.
'Ah, but I sat for your watercolour painting,' he retorted. 'And you made me look like a vainglorious fop.'
'Because I asked you to undo a few buttons?' she asked.
He harrumphed. 'Fop.'
That particular painting was taped to the back of her easel, upside down for Merlin only knew what reason. He'd sat in the chair, one arm propped along the back, and tried not to move for the hour she needed him. Ordinarily he would have wanted something to do during that length of time—a book to read or something of that ilk—but he found the time passed quickly while he watched Rosmerta at work.
Chuckling, she rolled her eyes as she bustled about. 'Would it placate you more easily if I told you that I just wanted to see a little more of your body, or if I told you was working on textures by painting your chest hair?'
And dammit, if he wasn't blushing again like a schoolboy. He could feel it in his skin.
He'd always liked no-nonsense women.
Even if she never meant anything by her saucy words. They'd been friends for decades now, and nothing had ever progressed beyond the occasional kiss on the cheek.
It was time to go on the offensive, though. 'What about that clay sculpture you did, for which you interminably posed me crosslegged on this very chair?'
'I listened you whinge about your students every Friday night for years,' she replied.
'Still I was sore for days afterwards, you cruel woman. Surely that counts for something.'
Gathering her notebooks and pencils, Rosmerta gave him a concerned look. 'Really? Gods, you should have said something, Severus. You needn't be a martyr, idiot man.'
He was delighted that she seemed to feel a twinge of guilt at his ill treatment. Maybe she wouldn't hold him to this business of posing nude after all.
'Now strip!' she cried.
Or not, he thought.
'What is this for, then?' he asked, clutching his buttoned robes to his person. 'What could I have possibly done that merits my utter debasement for your pursuit of artistic mediocrity?'
She looked at him then.
And all the levity drained from her expression.
And he knew he was in trouble.
'You didn't tell me,' she said. She was quiet. 'Friends don't do that to one another. You didn't tell me anything, and you didn't come by the pub once that whole year. You didn't let me help you—not that I probably could have—and you let me believe the worst of you, Severus Snape.'
He sat there, his body still.
They'd never talked about it, really. After he'd been cleared by the Wizengamot and reinstated as the Headmaster of Hogwarts, they went back to the ways things were before the war. He'd pop in on the weekends to eat and drink and chat, and she'd regale him with stories and diversions. She was removed from the stresses of his profession and the only person who didn't want to use him.
'I'm sorry,' he said, standing to face her.
And he was.
'I didn't think…' He trailed off as he tried to explain the sheer terror he felt that whole year. 'I couldn't have…'
She came over then and wrapped her arms around him. 'I know. I'm glad you survived, Severus, and that I learned the truth eventually.'
He withdrew from her embrace and nodded.
'Now take your clothes off,' she demanded, all light and cheer back in her voice. 'Your cock won't sketch itself.'
He grumbled, kicking off his shoes as she began unbuttoning him. 'Fine, but now we're even.'
'Agreed,' she said. 'After this, we're a draw.'