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Automatic Reactions - SnorkackCatcher's Stories
Automatic Reactions
Title: Automatic Reactions
Rating: PG-13
Length: 500 words
Fandom: Harry Potter
Challenge: One prompt, many writers challenge
First posted: 30th March 2013, in melusinahp

Summary: "To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves."― Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding and Yerma

The idea of this challenge (run by melusinahp, any pairing or none) was that everybody participating wrote a ficlet to the same prompt -- the one above -- with a contest afterwards to guess who wrote what. Congratulations to writcraft who made the only correct guess on this one, even though I tried to adopt a different style. :)

It is no more than a brushing of bodies, muted through robes, the sensation more than half projection -- a fleeting impression of her slim form against his as the crowd jostles them together, his heart and mind and body suddenly burning like a cauldron flame, while she moves away unaware.

But it is enough.

It is enough to reawaken the desires he barely acknowledges to himself, and can never reveal to any other. She disappears around the corner, chatting to her friends; the echo in his head is of a joyful laugh and a flick of long red hair, and the longing is suddenly so intense that for a moment he cannot understand why it does not rip him apart.

He retires early that night, pleading a need to study Flitwick's O.W.L. revision notes in peace. But as he lies in the privacy of his own four-poster, his mind is occupied only by her; by thoughts of the touch of soft lips and the fleeting aroma of perfume, thoughts so strong that the sensations of imagination seem physical. They drift seamlessly into dreams -- of himself as a powerful dark wizard, feared and respected by all, of her laughing and loving, always by his side, and in the inconstant logic of dreams he notices no discrepancy.

"... definitely have her, I'm telling you."

"She a seventh-year and seeing a Quidditch player! You'll never get the chance!"

Awareness of his surroundings returns suddenly as his housemates enter the room, loud conversation accompanied by ribald laughter. The sensation is disorienting, and for a moment he cannot process what he is hearing.

"Aim a bit lower, mate. There's a few decent-looking slappers in the other houses. Bound to be one who'll drop them for you."

"How about that Evans bird in Gryffindor? She looks like she'd be up for it."

The reaction to this is a mock-retching sound. "She's a Mudblood! I might get my cock dirty."

"Well yeah, but so what? You can wash it afterwards ..."

The flush he feels as focus returns is partly pounding anger, partly an unreasoning fear that his innermost thoughts will somehow be apparent to all. A brief second or two of quiet, and then a question that hits him like a curse: "Hey, Snape! You used to hang around with Evans, didn't you? Reckon it'd be worth giving her one?"

The words come automatically, curtly, with a convincing sneer. He is profoundly glad that the curtains hide his face. "I wouldn't touch a filthy little Mudblood like her for all the gold in Gringotts."

This sally draws appreciative guffaws from the other fifth-year Slytherins as they settle down for the night. Severus is so practiced in concealment by now that he feels only a twinge of pain at the betrayal of one friendship for another, indeed of something he now understands dimly is much stronger than friendship. But it is, after all, a betrayal its subject will never, ever know of.

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