Title: Someone Else’s Buttons
Characters: Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Dolores Umbridge
Notes: Hope you like it.
Severus Snape remained motionless in his chair. He had been sitting across the desk from Dolores Umbridge for what seemed hours. She had a nasty habit of doing that, he thought. Demanding that you appear promptly in her office and then ignoring you until she was ready to speak. It unnerved many of the staff but Snape was determined not to allow her to do it to him.
Umbridge shuffled some papers she had been signing. Snape mused that they were probably death warrants for some of the students. He could hear the scratching of her quill as she pushed it across the parchment, leaving behind her childish scribble. Snape glanced to his right to see Minerva McGonagall standing uncomfortably by the bookcase, nervously pulling at the brooch at her neck. He returned his attention to Umbridge, who had uttered what might have been a sigh of relief or a bodily release.
“There,” she said pushing the last of her work to one side of her desk. “Finished, finally. So sorry to have kept you waiting, professor.”
Snape nodded silently at her but did not accept her attempt at an apology as anything but insincere.
“There has been a growing concern here at Hogwarts,” Umbridge continued. “A large amount of contraband has been lifted from the students' possession. Unbelievable what we have found. Illegal magical devices, banned spell books, brooms with hyper-drive. Where they manage to get these items and how they get them into school is beyond comprehension.”
“And for my part I have continued the practice,” Snape replied in a monotone. “It has been your policy and I and the rest of the staff have enforced this rule to the utmost.”
“What has disturbed me, “ Umbridge said as she folded her hands in front of her on the desk, “is that this contraband issue seems to have made its way into the staff as well.”
Minerva let out a gasp but Snape remained silent. Umbridge looked at both of them and smirked. She leaned slightly to one side and opened one of the desk drawers.
“I was disturbed and shocked, Professor Snape,” she said slowly, “to find this in your Potions classroom just a few days ago.”
With great flourish and a flick of her wrist the offending article was thrown onto the desk. Umbridge rose from her seat and folded her arms in front of her. She tilted her head upward and put on an air of superiority.
“Do you want to explain yourself, sir?” Umbridge demanded.
Snape raised an eyebrow on the inspection.
“I believe it is some sort of ladies'...uh.. knickers,” he answered.
“Indeed,” Umbridge said raising her hand in the air. “And not just knickers, oh no. A very frilly, very sexy, full garter vanity set in black with lace insets. I have seen these advertised in some ladies' magazines. Very expensive. And where do you think I found them?”
“The second drawer of my desk in the Potions classroom,” Snape answered impassively.
Umbridge raised her arm again but this time caught herself dumb. Snape sneered at her confusion. Obviously she did not expect a full confession this quickly.
“Would you want to explain to me how the Potions master of the highly esteemed educational facility of Hogwarts came to have this in his desk? As a role model to children, as a guardian of the future I find this an aberration of the position and all that is set as a standard for us.”
“Simple,” Snape said leaning back in his chair. “I confiscated it from one of the students.”
“You confiscated it. Do you honestly expect me to believe this, sir?”
“Believe what you will, madam,” Snape hissed, becoming perturbed at her insinuations. “One of the sixth-year students dropped it from her knapsack. I took it away from her. It is neither clothing that the school condones nor that I think her parents would want her to have. A clear indication that there may be something less than savory going on between her and another student.”
Umbridge grew quiet as she mulled over Snape’s explanation of the events.
“Why was I not notified of this infraction?” she asked.
“I felt there was no need to further embarrass the family, with whom I have a meeting very soon. I am sure they will want to keep things as discreet as possible to maintain whatever reputation their daughter has left. I am in full control here.”
“Well, I think I should be involved,” Umbridge huffed. “I am the head of the school and I should be participating in these matters.”
“Pardon me,” Minerva said as she left the security of the bookcase to enter the confrontation. “But if you did attend this meeting with the parents it might be viewed as a complete lack of structure by you and this new administration of yours at Hogwarts. I mean, not knowing how the students are using their free time and such. I would not think it would be a good reflection on you at all.”
Little beads of sweat began to form around Umbridge’s hairline and forehead as the grave state of the situation began to become apparent to her. Sensing her shock, Snape cocked his head to one side and began to tap one finger intently on the desk.
“On what occasion did you find it necessary to enter my classroom and violate my privacy by inspecting my desk and its drawers, madam?” he asked in a low and menacing voice.
“Umh,” Umbridge began to stutter. “I was looking for you a few days ago. I walked into the classroom, quite innocently, and found one of these hanging out of one of the drawers.” She held one of the garters up to show what she was speaking about.
“I find it morally reprehensible that you would find it necessary to muck about in my desk, let alone insinuate that perhaps I may have some personal connection to these undergarments. What did you really think, that I had had some tryst with one of the students?”
“Of course not, professor,” Umbridge stammered, choosing to sit down at Snape’s accusations.
“”Did you think there was some sort of hanky-panky going on between myself and another staff member?” Snape asked, his voice rising in volume.
“Never, never crossed my mind, “ Umbridge said, feeling herself backed into a corner.
“Great Merlin,” Snape cried, aghast, “you did not think these were my garments, did you?”
Umbridge’s face turned a deep shade of red and she became mute. The only thing she seemed to be able to move were her hands, which were flailing wildly in front of her.
Snape snatched the lace lingerie off the desk, rage seething through him.
“In the future, Miss Umbridge, I hope you will keep your dirty, filthy thoughts to yourself and not defile others with them. If there is nothing else required of me, I am needed elsewhere.” Snape violently shoved the lingerie into his pocket and headed for the door.
“Of course,” Umbridge was finally able to squeak out. “I thank you for coming today and clearing this up. Minerva, please, I need those updated lesson plans by tomorrow. I need to submit them to the Ministry for approval.”
“They will be on your desk, “ Minerva answered as she followed Snape through the door.
Minerva was barely able to keep up with Snape as he walked. Their footsteps echoed in the empty hallway. Out of breath, she stopped and leaned against the wall. Snape halted his march and came to her side.
“You were a brave man back there,” Minerva said as she panted for breath. “Most would have caved in but you didn’t.”
“And you are a forgetful woman,” he whispered with noticeable aggravation. “You need to remember where you leave things.”
He reached into his pocket and handed her the lingerie. A quick bit of pink flashed on Minerva’s cheeks and she hurriedly tucked the item into her robes.
“I think the Potions classrooms will be off limits for a while,” Snape said as he came closer to her. “We will have to find more traditional settings for our...meetings.”
“I agree,” Minerva replied as she regained some composure. “Although it was rather enjoyable, it would be prudent to meet elsewhere.”
Snape adjusted his frock coat and straightened himself. He smiled at Minerva.
“I do need to attend to some lesson planning and some papers need to be graded,” he said. “We shall see each other later.”
Minerva nodded her head and Snape gave her a small bow as he turned to walk away from her.
“Severus,” she said just as he had turned his back.
“You know, it is a rather interesting idea,” she said with a slight smile spreading across her face.
“What idea is that, my dear Minerva?”
She shyly pulled the black lace vanity from her robes and dangled them in front of her.
“It might be fun if you wore them once instead of me,” she said coyly
Snape slowly walked back to Minerva until his face was just inches from hers.
“Only if you wear the frock coat,” he purred. “It might be interesting to undo someone else’s buttons for once.”
Never taking his eyes off of her, Snape walked back a few feet holding on to one of the garters. When the garter was at full tension he released it causing a huge “snap” that startled Minerva.
“Think about it,” he smirked as he walked away.