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Friendships//Fancies

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I: Eliza’s Teases

           In 1991, you get the job as Hogwarts’ drama and ancient runes teacher. Professor Babbling had retired and had gladly left the class in your care. It’s the perfect gift for your 23rd birthday.  You graduated as a Hufflepuff, and naturally, you’re thrilled to be back at the Alma Mater you were so loyal to, and this time, you’re employed with them. You had kept your striped black and yellow scarf all those years, and even though it is worn and has been patched up in places by your graceless hand, you wear it with pride.

           You are beyond excited but also very nervous for the year to start because it’ll be the very first time you are teaching a class on your own. You’d been employed with the Ministry for four years, but then had decided you wanted to be a teacher instead. You spent a year training as an apprentice, but then Dumbledore thought you were ready to be on your own.

Over the summer, you had poured over countless notes and guides and books to make sure you structure your lessons properly. When you weren’t working vigorously to perfect your lessons or reading all the books and plays you could manage in your library, you were in the music hall, playing the piano. You’d drum effortlessly at the keys, and the beautiful music would echo through the halls. You are good friends with Professor Flitwick, who you have always viewed as a mentor figure, and Hagrid, who you enjoy having tea with on Sundays, and you look forward to the days when you help him care for his garden and his magical creatures he isn’t really supposed to have.

You have a way of getting along with the other professors. They’re proud of how much they’ve seen you grow, and they’re thrilled you’re working with them. You like McGonagall too, but you find her to be just the slightest bit intimidating. And of course, you can’t forget Professor Sprout, who you think is the most adorable woman in existence. Professor Quirrell is okay too, and you find him to be very cute with his stutter and anxious demeanor, but something about him seems…off… Still, he’s nice, so you don’t really question it much. And you can’t forget Dumbledore, of course. He’s a funny old man, and you have a deep respect for him. You look up to him. He’s wise and for the most part, you think, kind-hearted. However, sometimes you feel he favorites Gryffindor and you don’t like that. You love Gryffindor's house, you do, you just don’t appreciate Dumbledore’s painfully obvious favoritism. It really isn’t fair.

In fact, you love all the houses. While you have great pride in your former house, you are not of the competitive type, so you don’t find one house better than another. They’re each wonderful in their own ways. But above all, something draws you to Slytherin. Some of your closest friends had been Slytherins. While most seemed otherwise wary of them, you weren’t. You admired their strong-willed ambition, but you could live without some of their arrogance though. And you saw them as protective. You liked the idea of being protected by those brooding and complex individuals. Well, more specifically, you were drawn to one brooding and complex individual of Slytherin variety. And that was the Head of House: the moody, reclusive potions master, Severus Snape.

There was not a Slytherin more intimidating than him. When you were 17, he was 25 and he had been your biggest and only crush during year seven. Your Slytherin friends, Eliza and Cas, had teased you about it, and had dared you to send him valentines, but never once did you dare to send any. You didn’t think he’d appreciate them. Especially if they were from one of his students. He thought you as much of a dunderhead as the rest of them, you were sure of it.

One time, one of your friends tried to push you into him during the Yule Ball, to get you to dance with him. But there was no way you’d be caught dead doing that. A student dancing with a teacher? He’d refuse you, number one. And number two, people would talk. And not in a good way.  Still, on your way to the refreshments table, in your flustered and nervous frenzy to rush passed him, you’d tripped over your shoes and nearly knocked his drink from his hand. You were so embarrassed. And you were one of the only people there aside from him that didn’t dance because you didn’t have a date. You stood across the room by the dessert table and stuffed your face with chocolate cake, while admiring him from across the room. The sugar had begun to take an effect on you, so that same night, you ended up going over to him to ask for clarification on an assignment just to have an excuse to talk to him. As usual, he responded to you with his sarcasm, his condescendence, and his unmistakable monotone that you found to be…dare you say, sensuous.

 

Upon reflecting this, you turn your head down as you feel the blood rush to your cheeks, and you tighten the grip on your books as you continue down the hall briskly toward your unfinished office, cloak swishing behind you and the heels of your shoes going clap-clap across the corridor. As you continue down the long, winding hallway, you become aware that you are very much alone. It was a week until the start of the term and you and all the other teachers were busy, busy, busy. Very busy. So, because you wanted to get your mind off other pressing and embarrassing subject of your massive and disgustingly cringe-worthy gaga-ogling crush on Professor Snape, you decided to dance and sing across the halls. Of course, when you immerse yourself in any theatrical act of the sort, everything vanishes around you, and you become lost in your own fictional world. So, here you go again, singing a solo acapella of your favorite Queen song and using your wand to levitate your books and make them part of your performance while you frolic across the corridors towards your office like an idiot.

 

The world becomes invisible around you, and you plunge into your performance without watching where you’re going. You aren’t aware of how loud you’re singing, but you know the portraits and the ghosts can hear you and are watching you, but it’s easy to distance them from your shyness. You’re quite familiar with them by now, and they are enjoying the show.

 

You’re dancing now, but your dancing and singing is abruptly cut short by a familiar voice.

 

“Enjoying yourself, Oakley?”

 

You let out a startled cry and jump. Your face turns bright red. You stop, nearly falling, and all your books crash to the floor, echoing loudly through the corridor. You look up to see the tall, intimidating form all in black, with black hair and alabaster skin. Snape is standing in front of you, fighting the smirk that threatens to crack across his lips.

 

You immediately begin to stutter, “Umm…umm…I’m sorry…I thought I was alone…” You’re on your knees trying to gather up all your books in shaking hands, “Did I disturb you? Who am I kidding of course I did…” You feel as though you’re shrinking under his dark-eyed gaze. Kit, you IDIOT! Your mind hisses, oh…blimey I’m so embarrassed…

 

A wave of relief shudders through you as you finish stacking your books. You barely look Severus in the eye when you quickly spew out, “Well, I’ll be going now…to my office…lots to do, bye!”

 

You’re halfway to your office door when Snape’s voice sounds behind you, “Oakley.” he says in his usual stern monotone. You shudder. You stop and turn. He’s holding a small book in his hand. With another instance of red-hot embarrassment, you realize that the book you’ve nearly left behind is your diary…full of scratchy sketches and cringey love poems and one-shots.       

   

“You’re forgetting one.”

 

“Right…” you scramble over and pluck it from his hand. By now you’re pretty sure you’re redder than a luscious strawberry, “Really, Professor. Thank you.”

 

“Perhaps, next time, you shouldn’t levitate your personal journals,” he says, “You never know what sort of curious types are lingering around—Those who lack decency and would read and expose your secrets to the whole school in the matter of a heartbeat. And also, as well, dancing and leaping about the halls like an overexcited fool isn’t exactly professional. You’re an instructor now.” he scolds.

 

“Right…of course…” you dip your head, ashamed, “Thank you for the…advice…I’ll…erm…see you at the staff meeting…” And with that you turn and walk briskly to your waiting office door.  

 

That rude, sarcastic, smart-arse, no good, pain in the—   You think, flustered and still red-faced. He still talks to me like I’m some mischievous student! An audible huff escapes your mouth as you push your office door open.

 

“You look flustered.” says a voice. You jump a mile and harden your gaze with frustration. Second time today! You turn to perceive the owner of the voice. You’re met with the face of a familiar woman in business-like clothing, with short, light brown hair tipped with green wearing dark lipstick. She idly taps her wand against your untidy desk.

 

“Eliza!?” You’re both delighted and exasperated. You run over to embrace her. She squeezes you tight.

 

“Kit, darling!” she drawls, “I’m so happy to see you!” After a long, tight, and wonderful hug, you two pull away.

 

“What are you doing here?” you ask.

 

“I don’t work for the Ministry on weekends, silly, so I came to visit because I missed you…obviously.” she said, “I was bored, so I figured I may as well stop and say hello, and help you organize your new office.”

 

Aww. Your heart flutters at her thoughtfulness. A smile cracks over your lips. “That means a lot, Liza, thanks.”

 

“So?” she hopped off the desk, “Let’s get started, yeah?”

 

“Sure.” you nod and hang your cloak on the back of your door. The two of you get busy cleaning and organizing, all the while making small talk and catching up.

-xXx-

           “So how is it at the Ministry without me?”

 

           “Being an auror is a lot of work but investigating is intriguing. But when I’m around other aurors or ministry employees that aren’t our friends, well, let’s just say you can feel the skepticism.”

 

           Anger bristles in your core. It wasn’t fair that Slytherins were discriminated against, just because of a few bad apples—even if the house had produced one of the evilest wizards of all time. You shudder at the mere thought of him. But still! Everyone was different and you hadn’t met a single Slytherin you thought was “bad”.

 

           “It’s so stupid!” you say, “That Slytherins are discriminated against all the time!”

 

           Eliza shrugs, “It is what it is. I’ve learned to ignore it.”

 

           “Well, I for one, love my Slytherin friends and I support them!” you declare, “And I don’t care what anyone else says about them! Hmmph!” Eliza chuckles.

 

           “We know that.” she replies. The two of you trail off.

 

           “So, how’s Renee?” you ask, curious about your mutual friend.

 

           “She’s good. Busy, though.”

 

           “Mmm.” you hum.

 

           “And Eugene and the others, they’re all super busy. The Ministry of Magic is kicking our arses.” she huffed. 

 

           “And Stella?”

 

           “No one’s seen that wild Ravenclaw for months. Though I’ve heard it through the grapevine that she’s off in Romania or something, studying dragons.”

 

           You sigh sadly. You missed your best friend very dearly. She had a habit of disappearing to go and do crazy nonsense…and also, forgetting about you and your eight other friends quite frequently. The two of you trail off in silence.

 

-xXx-

           After two hours of work, you and Eliza take a break with snacks and refreshments.

 

           “So…” She leans over the desk and rests her face upon the pile of books, looking up at you with mischievous blue eyes, “Now that you’re a teacher, you gonna get with Snape or not?”

 

           You flush red, “Eliza!” you gape, “No, I most certainly will not! He’s rude! And condescending! And a smart arse! You know what he did today?”

 

           “I was dancing about the hall, as you do, with my books, headed to my office- I was levitating my books mind you -  and he comes up all of the sudden and with his voice painfully enveloped with sarcasm he goes, “Enjoying yourself, Oakley?” you do your best impression of him, and Eliza sniggers, “AND THEN! He stands there and watches me with that scowl of his while I’m picking up my books. Just stands there, makes no movement to help me like a good gentleman should, and stares at me with those eyes that make me shudder! I was shaking! It was terrifying! And then I left because I was embarrassed, but he stops me because apparently I left my journal…” you’re out of breath by the time you finish telling the story of what happened in the hall, “Oh! And then he proceeds to LECTURE me about not levitating my journal and…”

 

“Well, he was our teacher. Old habits die hard. Also, it sounds to me like you’re just flustered and embarrassed because he caught you in the middle of your “dance routine” and almost read one of your diaries.”

 

“Well…yeah…I was really embarrassed…you know how shy I can be.” Your cheeks dust pink again, “Also, that’s my bloody diary! There is some deeply personal confessionals in there that are totally private!”  you exclaim.

 

“I gotta ask, though, which diary was it?”

 

“That diary.”

 

That diary? As in the one with all those old stories and love poems?”  

 

“Yes, that diary!” you exclaim. Eliza smirks.

 

“My favorite poem is still…”

 

You stiffen. She adjusts herself. You cast a warning glare, “Don’t you say it, Eliza…” you warn.

 

She says it anyway,

Hair as black as darkest, star-filled night,

Skin as milky pale as harvest moonlight,

Oh! My dearest Snapey-poo!

You are my childish dream come true.

And thus, I love, love, LOVE you!”   

 

“ELIZA! THAT WAS YEARS AGO! I WAS DRUNK FROM BEING TIRED, AND IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SATIRE. A SATIRE , okay? Okay.”

 

“A satire? But it was written by our wonderful lovesick Kitty-Kit.” She tuts, “During the peak of the Snape crush.”

 

You bristle, face red-hot with blush. You are mere moments from kicking her out due to your sheer annoyance.  

 

She senses your irritation and waves a nonchalant hand. She chuckles, “I’m just playing with you, darling.” she says.

 

You “hmph” and toss your hair. Then you say, “…Also, he was my teacher, that’d be pretty weird if we went for a date.”

 

           “You’re gonna be working with him for the rest of your life so you may as well try to get familiar.” She replies, matter-a-factly.

 

           “That was a school crush. It’s faded by now.” you reply, “It’s not really professional either…it would make working with him so much more complicated. It’s already complicated enough with how intimidating he is.”

 

           “He’s a real bloody arse until you get to know ‘im a little better. You gotta get passed those walls of his. He has them built to the stars.”

 

           “I know…” you trail off, losing what you might have said after that, “You were a prefect, so you probably got to see a side of him that most people didn’t really get to…” you sigh, “I want to be friends. Really. And he’s like the only professor here I’m not friendly with.”

 

           “Well. If he can soften up a little to me and other Slytherins who are way more of a handful than you, I think he has room in that stone heart of his for a sweet little Hufflepuff.” she flirts. You know she’s not really interested in you, but she is irrevocably in love with you in the platonic way that only a close friend can be. You smile.

 

“You gotta staff meeting coming up soon, don’t you?” Eliza asks. You perk up and nod your head.

 

“Yeah,” you reply.

 

“Why don’t you sit next to him, then?”

 

“We’ll see, Eliza, we’ll see.”       

-xXx-

The next morning, you shy out of sitting next to him. So now, here you are, sitting, instead, next to Professor Sprout. You are across from Snape, though. And you’re close enough to cast sidelong glances you hope weren’t flooded with longing. You’re also close enough to Professor Quirrell to catch whiffs of the strange smell coming from his turban. In front of you, he and Severus exchange glances, murmuring quietly. While you loathe to admit it, you feel the growth of green envy festering and burning—weaving its thorny vines inside your core. Snape catches you staring at them. He and Quirrell stop talking. They meet your eyes. Snape’s dark eyes narrow. You turn away with your face hot again.

To avoid further embarrassment, you let the aroma of the room envelope you. It smells strongly of cocoa and coffee, with a hint of the herbal scent of Professor Sprout’s custom blended tea. The warmth of delicious fall baked goods wafts about you, too. On your plate, there’s a spoonful of scrambled eggs, a pumpkin scone, and a slice of pumpkin bread. You listen to the clinking of silver on plates as the staff members stuff their faces and murmur quietly amongst themselves.

 

You dart your gaze ‘round the table. At the head, there’s Dumbledore, with McGonagall on his right and Hagrid on his left. Next to McGonagall, is Snape, and then Quirrell. Next Quirrell, is the eccentric Professor Trelawney. On the other side, (the left), next to Hagrid, Professor Flitwick is sitting on a pile of stacked cushions. Then there’s Professor Sprout and then you. Beside you, is a male professor. You know he teaches Muggle Studies, but you’ve long forgotten his name. Further down you recognize Madame Hooch and Professor Binns, Madame Pomphrey and Professor Sinistra. The rest of the teachers sitting at the long table are teachers for other various subjects whom you have also forgotten the names of. On the opposite end of the table is Filch and Mrs. Norris. When your eyes wander there, you shrink under his cold gaze when he catches them. You shuffle uncomfortably and focus your attention back on your breakfast plate.

 

Being in a room surrounded by staff members, you feel as though you’ve gone and done something awful. Not because of tension, or unwelcomeness per se, just because you’re surrounded by stern-faced teachers. You’re easily among the youngest there, and you feel unnecessarily out of place. A warm hand is placed upon your shoulder. You turn to meet Professor Sprout’s dirt-stained, gentle face. 

 

“Don’t worry, love.” she says, “You’ll be alright. The rest of us were Hogwarts graduates too. And we all know how much of a wonderful, hard-working student you were. We’re happy to have you.”

 

Sure, you know that’s true, but even so, you’re the newest staff member, and it makes you feel like a lost first year on the first day trying to decipher the changing staircase. In an almost anxious desperation, you raise your mug to your lips and sip your morning beverage. It burns the roof of your mouth and you end up slamming the cup down and rapidly fanning your mouth. Everyone looks at you.

 

“Ye alright there, Kit?” Hagrid asks.

 

You nod, “Yeah. I just forgot my drink was still hot and burned the roof of my mouth, it’s not a big problem, I’m fine.” You catch Snape’s eyes again and uncomfortably ruffle your hair. His expression is stoic and unreadable, but if you had to make an educated guess, you’d say he’s probably thinking you a dunderhead. Once more, you avoid his gaze, and instead break off a piece of your pumpkin scone and shovel it into your mouth.

 

Someone’s spoon clinks against their glass. “Attention, please!” the stern voice of the deputy headmistress fills the room and shuts everyone up. All eyes turn to her. She indicates Dumbledore, and so he stands and begins speaking. It’s the usual. The promises and plans for a great year, yada, yada, yada. He tells you all to mind the three-headed dog on the forbidden third floor. 

“This year, as you know, we’re going to have an exciting addition to our curriculum, as well as changes to the staff. We now have a Drama class, and it will be taught by the newest addition to our staff, our former student, Mx. Kit Oakley.” His wrinkled hand indicates you, beckoning you to stand up. So, you stand and smile through your anxiety as claps echo through the room.

 

Once the applause has died down, Dumbledore clears his throat and continues, “In addition, Professor Oakley will also be taking over the Study of Ancient Runes, since Professor Babbling decided to retire early.”

 

Your heart soars with a newfound joy. You quite like the sound of “Professor Oakley”. It makes all of this, which to you feels like a lucid dream, official. Real. And more than anything you cannot wait for the term to start next week. You are a bit nervous though since you are not sure how well the turnout will be for the Drama classes. You’ve gotten the rosters, so you know people are interested, you just hope they don’t drop out.  

 

Dumbledore says a few more words before you resume eating, and then the meeting slowly adjourns, and you and the rest of the professors return to your offices.

 

Chapter Text

II: Wandering//Wondering

You take the time to organize your books, polish your décor, put up some yellow curtains over the windows. You are particularly meticulous about polishing your senior class photo, your framed diploma, and the graduation photo of you and all your friends. All of you in your graduation robes, sashes and fabric in the respective house colors. Your black robes are swirling at your feet, and your sash and cords are yellow and black. There you are, in the middle, holding a massive bouquet of sunflowers.

 

Everyone is laughing and smiling. The captured moment shows everyone in the group running and wriggling, fidgeting to get into place. Eliza Forrester loops her arm around you from the left, Stella French stumbles over her feet on the right, wearing a gigantic grin. Renee Blanc is next to Eliza, and then Cassian Johnson is next to Renee. Cas, and then Mauve Coleman, finishing off with Jeremy Jones. Next to Stella is Damocoles Smith, and then Orion Hart, final ending with Eugene Hall, who is slightly away from the rest of the group, forcing a fake smile through his clear scowl at the fact that he has been forced to take a picture.

 

A sad smile crosses your lips. You miss your friends terribly, but you knew you’d see them all during the Christmas holiday, and both Eliza and Stella had the tendency to pop in at random sometimes. And there was always Eugene’s letters to look forward to, despite how snarky and sarcastic they could be.

 

After you’ve straightened up thrice, you sit down at your untidy desk and spend some time pouring over cold reads you’ve selected and refining your translation skills. The hours slowly tick by.  

 

A rapping on your window makes you jump. You turn to face it. Your barn owl is flapping around vigorously at the glass, begging to be let inside. You let him in and he flies a lap around the office before landing on his perch. You walk over to stroke him on the back. He nips at you affectionately and then blinks at you with his mismatched eyes. One is normal, the other is damaged and cloudy.


  You recall, then, the day you got him in Diagon Alley. He was one of the smallest owls there, overshadowed by the magnificent snowies and tawnies and horned owls and grey owls. People shuffled right passed him, only stopping to stare and make comments about his damaged eye, while he sat in his lonely cage, gazing at them with wide, sad eyes, and eliciting small, pitiful hoots. No one wanted a pet that was going to require special care. But that didn’t matter to you. You loved animals and having to spend a little extra on eyedrops wasn’t such a big deal to you. Your owl just needed a little extra care, and that was a blessing. Your Grandpa hadn’t minded one bit either. He knew you were a caring person, so the fact that you wanted a special needs owl didn’t surprise him in the slightest. The clerk seemed thrilled you wanted him to. You warmed some hearts that day.

“Funny little owl, that one,” she’d said, “He’s been in here for a couple of years, no one wanted him until you came along.”

You pet the owl’s head through the cage. “I’ll take the best care of him, I promise.” your eleven-year-old self said then. And you had. Oh, you most certainly had.


 You sit down in your chair and spin in it before you study him. When you begin speaking, he studies you intensely, immersing himself in everything you’re saying, almost as if he can understand human speech. “What do you think, Jareth?” you ask, “Should I try to be friends with Professor Snape?” The brooding, moody professor has crossed your mind yet again. Well, he’s been there all day, but now he’s at the forefront. Jareth coos in response. He seems to agree with the statement.

“You think so? How should I even go about it? I don’t know where to start, especially considering the fact I just turn into a stuttering mess when I try to talk to him.” you shudder, “I shrink under that cold gaze of his every time…”

 

Jareth studies your eyes deeply and hoots in response to you, chattering as if he’s trying to explain to you. Then he lets out a shriek and pecks your hand.

 

“Ow!” you exclaim, “Jareth, what was that for!?” He continues to hoot, and flap his wings, and then he fluffs up his feathers and puffs out his white chest, a determined gaze flashing in his eyes.  

 

“You’re telling me to be brave, aren’t you?” you ask. He nods his head. You smile softly and stroke his back, “Thanks, but that’s easier said than done.” He lifts a talon and points a nail at his other opposite leg.

 

“Send a note? But the mail only comes in the morning. I don’t want teachers starting to speculate, you know? They might talk if they see a note dropped by my owl at Snape’s place…and also him reading it while he’s next to me? That’s not gonna work! I’d die of embarrassment. Plus, if people start spreading rumors…and you know how nosy Dumbledore is!” you reply, “…Although I suppose I could leave notes in his office…that would save us both the embarrassment and interrogations.” Suddenly, you’re hit with a wave of excitement. A smile breaks your lips, “Wait…that’s…brilliant! It could work…it’ll be like secret admirer letters and…” your face flushes red, “Just until I’m ready to talk to him.” Suddenly, though, you think of something else, “Wait, but won’t he RECOGNIZE my handwriting!? Aggh!” you sink into your desk chair and ruffle your hair in frustration, “But it’s such a cute idea though! And…I bet he’s never gotten admirer letters before…but what if he thinks it’s a joke and then…” Your anxieties swirl around in your head, “I mean…I could get someone else to write my notes for me…then he wouldn’t be able to figure out it was me…but then again, does he really remember my handwriting? He’s had hundreds of students and I graduated from here like six years ago. Would he really remember handwriting from six years ago?”

 

Jareth cocks his head, blinking. “I don’t know Jareth…I need to think about it. Ask some advice…but who to ask? I don’t wanna ask Eliza or Cas, they’ll tease me, say “I told you so…” You feel the beginnings of a stress headache starting to form. Then suddenly, you’re aware of the stuffy darkness of the room, especially as beads of sweat on your forehead and disgusting perspiration in your hands and under your arms. Your mind is all cloudy. You need air.

 

“I need a break.” you say flatly. You grab your wallet from your drawer, your cloak from your coat hook, along with your black derby hat, and then you close your window, douse your lamps. You take Jareth up to your room to cage him up for a midday nap and leave campus. You’ve decided to go grab a cuppa coffee in Hogsmeade.

 

When you get to the popular café that’s always a-hustle and a-bustle, you’re pleased to see someone you know working behind the counter. Your face lights up at the sight of the familiar figure of a tall, lanky young man with a crop of shaggy hair in a dusty purple-pink color.   

 

“Mauve!” you exclaim. He smiles softly as you approach the counter.

 

“Hello~” he says in his usual airy tone. You embrace him over the cash register, before placing the order of your favorite drink. Knowing that his friend is present, after making you your drink, the manager lets Mauve take his break.

 

You spend some time catching up before you tell him what’s on your mind. “So, I have this idea that might be completely mad.” you say.

 

“Oh?” his expression piques with interest.

 

“You know…I’m starting my first term teaching at Hogwarts on the 1 st ?”

 

“Mmm hmm.”

 

You take a sip of coffee.

 

 “Well…you know how our senior year I fancied Snape? Like…a lot a lot?” blood rushes to your cheeks again.

 

“Yes.” He draws out the vowel sound and a smirk tugs at the corner of his lips.

 

“Okay…well I’m not quite sure if I still like him or not…actually, no, forget I said that! I don’t like him! Not at all, not like that! But…I want to be friends with him. Since we’re going to be co-workers now and all. But he’s intimidating as all hell!” Your blush intensifies. A voice in the back of your head nags, Really though? Are you sure you don’t?

 

“Yeah, for sure.” Mauve says.

 

“So, I thought…what if I started with leaving nice notes in his office…with like little gifts and things? Just until I’m ready to talk to him…”

 

“Like a secret admirer type thing? That’s adorable.”

 

“I know and I really want to but I’m like really scared because…” You reiterate all the anxieties and doubts you were having earlier, and you finish by taking a long swig of coffee.

 

“I mean, if you want to, I’d say go for it, mate.” Mauve replies, leaning back in his chair after you’ve finished your anxious rant, “But I can completely understand why you’re anxious. I’d be anxious. Making new friends is very anxiety-inducing.”

 

“You see…” You trail off, “And I don’t know if I should start now or wait until term or wait until Valentine’s day even!”

 

“I wouldn’t procrastinate if I were you. It’ll just make you even more and more uncertain and stressed out.”

 

You groan.

 

“I mean, I’m not exactly the best person to ask. If you really wanted, you could ask Eliza, Cas, or Renee. I would say go to Stella, since she gives good advice, but no one knows where she is—though she’s probably off studying dragons somewhere. So, contacting her might be difficult, especially if you want a fast response, and knowing you, I know you do.”

 

“Thanks Mauve, that’s helpful, I’ll do that.”

 

“No worries.” he says. He checks the time on his personally modified pocket watch, “I have to go now, break’s up. But it was great to see you. Let me know how everything goes with Snape.”

 

“I will, thanks.” The two of you stand and he gives you a warm hug, before he puts back on his apron and walks behind the counter again, disappearing into the back. You sit alone, finish the rest of your coffee. And then you decide to apparate to Diagon Alley.


The streets are bustling with incoming and returning students, buzzing about to the various shops to buy their school supplies. The air is lively with cheerful conversation as you observe the market around you. Families are busy with excited children. Mothers fuss over them, fathers laugh. Old friends run into each other and make it known to the world that they’re having a good time. There is music too. It is faint, drowned out by the buzzing murmur of conversation as witches and wizards and students and parents move about. You take the time to do some window shopping, admiring the meticulous displays and stopping for a moment to glance at the display of the new Nimbus 2000. But soon, you are again pushed along by the heavy crowds, drowned again by the sea of people, vanishing into insignificance, turned invisible by the various groups creating the mass of people. As you’re crossing the street, you swear you see the familiar black-wearing figure of Professor Snape appearing for a second and then disappearing. He’s on the other side of the street, going the opposite way. He doesn’t take any notice of you.

 

The little bell on the door of the shop selling magical creatures chimes as you push it open. It was a good thing you decided to go to Diagon Alley today, because you remembered you needed to buy Jareth’s medicine and special food. It wasn’t that he followed a strict diet for his health. It was more like…you kind of spoiled him. As far as you were concerned, he was your precious son. You didn’t need or want children since you had him.

 

The clerk recognizes you the moment you step inside and smiles, “Ahh! Mx. Oakley!” she exclaims.

 

“Hullo!” you greet, returning the gesture, “Excuse me…sorry…pardon me…my apologies…” You try to politely push your way through the crowds of excited children to approach the counter.

 

“You’re here for the usual, I presume?” she figures.

 

“Yes. As always. I also need to pick up Jareth’s medication too.”

 

“Just a moment, dear. I’ll be right back.” She turns and shuffles to the back, returning with the bag of food she always saves for you. She also brings out the medication as well. You thank her and pay her, which ends up being about 1/3 of the money on your person, before you set off again.

 

Later, you find yourself wandering into the clothing stores in hopes of buying a couple more sets of robes. While you admire a set in a lovely shade of dusty pink, you decide first to venture into the secondhand shop, since you can basically get two sets for the price of one there. You have two sets of robes back at Hogwarts, but they’re old, and in dull colors of gray and charcoal. If you’re going to be teaching theatre, you ought to have more fun with your uniform.

 

Twenty minutes later, you’re walking out of the secondhand shop with three new sets- one in lilac, one in sky blue, and one in pale yellow. You had nearly ended up with a set of robes in hot pink, but you decided against it, considering that that choice may have been just a little bit too bold (despite that hot pink would look oh so lovely next to Snape wearing his usual black.)       

 

And again, as you think of Snape, your face grows hot again. You shake him out of your mind. You continue down the street, scanning your gaze around, looking at all the sights, listening to all the sounds, smelling the various smells. You envelope yourself in the familiar nostalgia, and seeing children and students of all ages buying their supplies, you see reflections of yourself when you were their age, as you skipped down the street with Grandpa trailing behind you.

 

Again, you’re not really paying attention. You head over to a street vendor to get a snack. You aren’t big on eating giant meals except for breakfast and dinner, so instead of lunch, you snack lightly. A glass of water and something salty-sweet was perfect right now.

 

You’re skipping along jovially, before you accidentally bump into someone. Your cup of water splashes onto them, and you nearly lose your snack.

 

“Oh, my goodness! I’m so, so sorry, let me just—” you cut off when you look up to meet the gaze of the taller person. There’s Snape again, with his face and front soaked in cold water. He rolls his eyes, expression hardening to a glare. He draws in a breath and wipes his eyes with a sleeve.

 

“Professor!” you yelp. Oh, your entire face is bright, bright red now, “Oh dear—I’m so, so sorry…I didn’t…I have a handkerchief in here somewhere...” You rummage through your pockets with shaking hands. While you’re rummaging, you feel him yank you off the sidewalk and off to the side. You refuse to look at him, but you can tell he’s glaring. Your heart is thumping rapidly, and you feel the sweat again.  

 

“Second time in the past two days, Oakley?” he says, unamused, “You really ought to watch where you’re going.”

 

“I know, I’m a dunderhead, I’m sorry.” you steal the term you guess he would use on you.  You violently tug out the kerchief and thrust it into his hand. Your fingertips brush is his skin as you pull away. He studies it and then looks back at you.

 

You take a deep breath, “You can keep it.” you say, before you turn back into the sea of people and briskly walk away, inwardly cursing at yourself for being such a dumbass.

-xXx-

You spend the rest of the day avoiding Snape and going where the crowds are, so you don’t have to face him again. As the sun begins to vanish over the horizon and the air grows cold, you find your way to the Leaky Cauldron. You push open the door and go inside. The cloudy air accompanied with the reek of smoke and the sour scent of alcohol fills your senses. Drunken laughter echoes in the air, and you duck into the crowds, trying to avoid the gazes of other patrons. You go to the bar and order soda water and a plate of food. You find a table close to the corner one, where a figure in black is reading from The Daily Prophet with a drink on the table next to them . The newspaper covers their face, so their identity is unknown. You turn back to your food and drink. You sip at your soda water, and quietly eat your food, trying not to look around too much at people who’ve become scandals due to their drinking. Even so, you observe a group of friends around your age at a nearby table, and the pang of loneliness stings your chest.

 

You get up to wander over to the bar for a refill. On your way, someone stumbles passed you, bumping into you.

 

“Watch it!” hisses the elderly wizard, spitting booze-scented breath. He mutters a curse as he shuffles passed you. Uncomfortable and taken aback, you continue to the bar. You order a refill.

 

Then there’s a voice behind you, “By yourself? Attractive thing like ye’ sh’dn’t be alone.”  With a jolt, you force yourself to turn. An intoxicated, possibly drunk patron is coming towards you, smiling. A shoulder brushes your side.  

 

“Howsabout I buy ya’ a drink?” The older figure’s breath reeks of booze and cigarette smoke, so potent you want to gag. It is also accompanied by the sour scent of sweat.

 

“Ah…no thank you…” You try to step off to the side. But the other blocks you. Again, you try to, but you’re met with the same unwanted block.

 

“Ahh! C’mon! Don’t be a spoilsport.” The patron leans heavy against you. Your body stiffens.

 

“I don’t drink.” You say.

 

“Don’t drink? What’ya doin’ in a bar then?” the drunken guest drawls.

 

“Please let me go…” you push passed, but a clammy hand grabs the sleeve of your jumper. You heart starts to pound with anxiety again, echoing in your ears.

 

“Jus’ one. Don’t be a bore~one drink. Ta loosen ya up. I could show ya a real good time~” You have to force yourself not to vomit. The statement makes you sick to your stomach.

 

“No thank you.” you say, this time a little bit harshly. The grip around your wrist tightens and you’re about to be tugged toward the bar, through the see of people.

 

“Please let go!” you plead.

 

“I’m tryna’ be nice, here!”

 

No, you’re trying to get me to sleep with you… Your panicked mind screams. You tug back.

 

“Let go!” You yell. Just then, another hand grips the drunken pervert’s free wrist. The patron freezes. So do you. It’s hard to see who it is through the cloudy, dim light, but you hear a familiar voice.

 

“They said “No.”” the voice is low and threatening. You can make out Snape’s enraged face through the smoky room.

 

“Let go a’ me, ya bastard!” growls the other. Snape’s grip tightens.

 

“Get away.” He says through gritted teeth, “Or I’ll have you kicked out.” The grip on your arm loosens and you wrench free. Once you’ve been released, you’re at the professor’s side. You watch as Snape’s glare hardens further and he lets go, shoving the other away. The patron curses and whisks off into the drunken crowd. When the scoundrel is gone, the two of you exchange glances. Snape’s gaze is unreadable again.

 

“We’re leaving.” he says lowly.

 

You nod slowly, “…I…need to grab my things first.” you say.

 

“Then go get them.” he orders, “And come right back here to me.”

 

“R-right!” you whisk away and bolt to your table, picking up your basket. You glance at the corner table. The newspaper has been left, and the drink sits abandoned on the wooden surface. You rejoin Snape at his side. He grabs your hand and the two of you apparate back to Hogwarts castle, ending up at the front gate. He mutters insults at the drunken patron in bitter hatred. He doesn’t look at you. You want to say something, but you can’t think of anything to say. You feel ashamed, stupid, and weak.

 

After a while, you weakly mutter something.

 

“What?” his voice makes you stiffen. You meet his gaze.

 

“Thank you.” you say, “For helping me out back there…”

 

“Next time call for help or tell the bartender. What would you have done if I hadn’t been there?” he demands, “...Dunderhead.”

 

You bristle. Why are you angry with me!? It wasn’t my fault I panicked!  He’s probably still mad I spilled water on him earlier…

 

“I…I…when things like that happen, I panic!” your voice rises in volume, with emotion, “I can’t help that!” He steps back slightly, something passing over his gaze that is a mixture of shock and frustration.

 

And then it occurs to you that you’ve raised your voice at him, and you hang your head in shame. “I’m sorry…I…”

 

“Learn to be more careful.” he finishes, “Goodnight.” and then with that he whisks off, cloak billowing about as he heads down the aisle between tables and yanks open the doors, vanishing down the corridor. You glare after him and clench your fists, fighting the sting behind your eyes.

 

What an arse! You think bitterly. And then you storm out of the great hall and back to your dorm room. You vigorously scribble a note to Eliza, complaining about how much of a prick Snape is being, and then you roll it up and tie it to Jareth’s leg, sending him off into the night. You’re putting off your “Secret Admirer” letters for now, because you’re mad at him. With these thoughts in mind, you take a quick shower, put on your pyjamas, and go to bed.    

 

Chapter Text

III. Kissing a Fool

The opening ceremonies on the night of September 1 st have commenced. The sorting has been held, and now you know that the Boy Who Lived is among the first years and has been sorted into Gryffindor. Dumbledore has given his speech and has introduced you as the newest staff member. Now the feast has begun, and the excited chatter of students fills the Great Hall, along with the delicious smell of food.

 

The ghosts have all appeared to join in the festivities. You wave at the cheerful Fat Friar. The room is much colder now, but the excitement has grown considerably. From the High Table, you observe the excited students. It feels odd, being up here, looking down upon them. You’re hit again with another wave of nostalgia. It feels as though just yesterday you were sitting in that very hall, chatting with Renee, Mauve, and Jeremy at your house table, before the three of you got up to join your friend group in the back. The more you look, the more your memory is fueled. You can almost see you and them laughing and standing off in the corner, taking the form of outlines of transparent ghosts. There’s you, Mauve, Renee, and Jeremy getting up from the Hufflepuff table, going to the corner. Stella, Eugene, and Damocoles get up from the Ravenclaw table, Eliza and Cas from the Slytherin table, and finally Orion leaves his friends at the Gryffindor table to join up with the rest of you—his best friends. You stand in the back with your drinks, laughing and conversing, because you all haven’t seen each other in a while. But there’s no one in the back corner right now. It’s empty. You turn back to your food and poke at it. You have a portion that is way too much for you.

 

You shuffle. You’re right next to Snape, but he’s not saying anything to you. He’s too busy talking to Professor Quirrell. The two of you hadn’t been talking since the Leaky Cauldron incident. But somehow, Dumbledore seems to have suspected your interest in him, because he made sure that you were given a spot next to him. Which proves to be awful. You feel the awkward tension thick as winter fog, and it doesn’t help that you’re left-handed, so you’re holding your arm in an awkward way to avoid bumping his. You keep casting sidelong glances at him, but when he looks your way, you’ll look back out at the hall to smile softly, twirling a strand of hair between your fingers or rubbing the back of your neck.

 

Maybe it was the party talking, but you find that you keep looking at him because he looks unusually handsome today. His dark hair isn’t plastered straight with gel, instead it falls about his pale face in fluffy waves, just above his shoulders. He’s dressed in a set of his finest black robes, and he sits up tall, stoic, and beautiful.  

 

He stops talking to Quirrell and shifts his gaze back towards you. You look away again, clearing your throat, before taking a forkful of food.

 

 You look back out at the crowded hall. You see Harry Potter and Ron Weasley looking at you looking at Snape, before they turn and murmur amongst themselves. You clench your other fist under the table. You also bounce your leg beneath it too. Eventually, you start to feel the gazes of the other teachers on you.

 

“Oakley, you’re shaking the table.” Snape comments dryly. You bristle. That snarky jerk! “Is there a reason why you keep staring at me?” he continues.

 

“Umm…” you trail off and feel embarrassment in your cheeks again, “I just…ahem. No. Your hair’s a little messy, that’s all.” Hmmph. You narrow your eyes and toss your own hair. He looks at you with furrowed brows, before he runs his hand through it and brushes behind his ear. You watch him from the corner of your eyes. Then you suddenly remember that muggles have this thing they watch called Anime. There is this thing you know as well that’s from an anime where there’s sparkles and chimes and a girl going “WOOOW!”. And that’s what you think of when you see Snape running his hand through his hair.

 

You shake your head, blushing. Stop thinking that! You’re supposed to be irritated at him! He’s mean! He’s a…a…DUNDERHEAD!

 

You’re relieved when the feast is over and you can go back to your dorm, but you can’t stop thinking about Snape and anime sparkles. Thinking yourself ridiculous, you decide a shower is in order. You need to wash away all of these ogling thoughts of yours. You have classes to teach tomorrow. You go into your bathroom and glance beneath your sink. There’s no towels. So realize you’ve left all your clean towels in the teacher’s community laundry room. You huff and then head out of your quarters. You go down to the dark and empty room and gather your towels, underwear and basket.

On your way back you pass another dorm room, inside you hear the roar of the shower, and over it, a baritone voice, singing. You stop to listen, pressing your body against the wall. The voice is unmistakable…and quite chilling and sensuous at the same time. Snape!? Singing in the shower!? Out of all the things you least expected from him, this was near the top of the least expected list. Oh, he sounded so lovely. Your skin crawls with goosebumps as you listen to the hauntingly sorrowful voice. You close your eyes and let it embrace you, enveloping you like a warmly seductive blanket. You fight the urge to sing along to the tune you know.

 

Then the shower shuts off. Oh crap! You jump, then you take off flying down the hall to your own dorm on the other end of the corridor to vanish. You nearly trip on a lump in the carpet. You open the bathroom door and slam it shut. You spend a few moments catching your breath, before you command the lights to turn on. You set your basket down on your couch. You’re folding your stuff neatly before you realize with a jolt that during your retreat your underwear was dropped on the ground.

 

F**k! Bloody hell! Your face turns hot again. You draw in a deep breath and open the door. You peak out the door frame. There’s your underwear, in a painfully obvious heap on the floor. Just sitting there. In plain sight. Oh dear, oh dear… You slap your forehead in desperation. You’re five seconds from rushing across the corridor to pick them up, when the Snape’s dorm room opens. You pull your head back inside your own, before you peak out again. There’s Snape, coming out of the bathroom with a towel around his neck and hair plastered to his face, with a full hamper in his arms, making his way toward the laundry room. 

 

Shit!

 

He’s wearing a sweeping dark gray dressing gown, tied at the waist, but making a V on top, exposing his pale collar and part of his chest. You pull your head back into the bathroom and close the door, trying not to get all hot and bothered. You wait a few moments and listen to his fading footfalls, before slowly creaking open your door. You peak around the corner again. The hallway is empty. You rush across to grab your unmentionables before closing yourself in your dorm for good, hoping to whatever higher power there was that he didn’t see them. You take a scalding shower so the heat and steam will wash away your embarrassment and hot and bothered thoughts.

-xXx-

The shower clears your head, and you feel relaxed and less flustered now. You can think clearly again. And this time, you embrace the feeling of newfound admiration of Snape’s baritone singing. So, that night, before you go to bed, you write your first letter of admiration. You dip your quill in ink, briefly consider what you want to write, and then go.

 


                                Dear Severus

                               I was walking down the hall last night on my way to the laundry room, and I happened to hear you singing in the shower. I know upon reading this, you’re probably angry and embarrassed at the same time…but I want you to know I think your singing is as lovely as your potion-making…or lovelier, even. Please don’t ever give up on it.

With Love,




You ponder over what name to put at the bottom of the little letter. You need a code name. You scan your gaze around your room, trying to find something that might give you inspiration. You catch a glimpse of the sunflowers upon your dresser. And it hits you. You pen it in and reread it:

“With Love, from a Sunflower

 

The next morning, you have breakfast in the Great Hall with the other teachers before the groggy students arrive. For breakfast: Eggs, bread, and fruit, along with morning beverages— something nice, savory and filling to build up your energy for the long day ahead of you. You had six classes today. Five theatre classes, and one Study of Ancient Runes class. Then, you had office hours to finish off your day. Once you’d finished breakfast, you were energized and ready to go.


Dearest Severus,

           If you’re open to it, I’d love it if we could be friends. I’m quite shy, so I find it easier to write to you instead of speaking to you.  Maybe we could get coffee in Hogsmeade sometime?

With love, from a Sunflower

 


8:50 AM. Theatre. Hogwarts Castle.

SCENE 1

[PROFESSOR KIT OAKLEY paces around the stage. Waiting for students to arrive. OAKLEY is shown wearing their robes of lilac. OAKLEY’S BARN OWL, JARETH, is on his perch. He is the professor’s assistant today. He’s shredding a copy of the syllabus in his beak, going unnoticed by OAKLEY, who seems nervous.]

[Slowly, students begin to file in. One by one, they begin to sit in the old cushioned chairs, talking quietly amongst themselves.]

9 AM.

[OAKLEY checks the time on a pocket watch. It’s nine o’clock now, so OAKLEY turns to address the class]

OAKLEY [smiling]: Good morning, darlings~

STUDENTS [the chorus]: Good morning, Professor!

OAKLEY: I’m so pleased you’ve all decided to take THEATRE 1! We’re going to have quite a bit of fun this year, and as theatre classes are, you’ll become wonderful friends by the end!

[An uncertain murmur fills the PROSCENIUM STAGE. The students are from all four houses, and they’re 1 st and 2 nd years.]

2 ND PERSON NARRATOR, REGARDING OAKLEY: Looking around, you can already sense a bit of tension. You know with the house cup there’s a competition between houses which create the conflict. Even so, you’re pleased to see them mixed without division. You hope that since they’re young, their impressionable enough that no rivalries have started to fester between them yet. You try to keep an optimistic attitude. This will work. You turn again to address your students once more. 

OAKLEY: My name is Professor Kit Oakley. You may call me Mx. Oakley, Professor, Professor Oakley, or Professor Kit, if you’d like. This is my assistant, Jareth . [OAKLEY indicates the owl on his perch, who is still shredding a copy of the syllabus.]

[THE CHORUS laughs]

OAKELY [shrilly]: Jareth! Jareth, you rotten thing! [OAKLEY yanks the papers from the owl’s beak] That is NOT for eating! [OAKLEY balls up the syllabus and tosses it aside.] No manners, that one. Anyway! We’re going to have fun in this class today. I’ll start by taking role-call, then I’ll hand out the syllabus, go over it—briefly, and then I’ll have everyone introduce themselves! After that, we’ll play a couple of improvisation games so that all of you can get more comfortable. [OAKLEY hands a stack of parchments to JARETH.]

OAKLEY: Give these to the students [Then, pointing a finger] And DON’T eat them!

 [JARETH takes the syllabi in his beak and drops them in the lap of the first person in the first row of seats. A THUMP fills the air as the heavy stack lands.]

OAKLEY [brightly]: Take one, pass it down. I trust you all know how the system works.

[Once the papers our evenly distributed, OAKLEY begins will the roll call, which is too tedious and pointless to utter here because there really isn’t any notable characters in this class.]     

 OAKLEY: And myself, makes thirty-five. Now then! I’ve arranged a brief welcome speech before getting started. My names is Kit Oakley. I graduated from this school about six years ago. I was in Hufflepuff house.

[HUFFLEPUFFS clap.]

 OAKLEY [cont.]: …I worked for the Ministry of Magic for four years, and then spent a year as an apprentice before Dumbledore decided to give me a full-time job! So here I am now! This class only has one rule: You will respect one another as equals and treat each other with kindness. We’re all friends here and no house is better than another. All of you, regardless of your house, are all hard-working and wonderful in your own ways. I consider myself to be a nice, approachable teacher. I will not tolerate disrespect, bullying, insults, hate speech, or cursing in this class. If I hear anything of the sort, I will give you detention. I don’t like to hand out punishments, but I will if I must. With that said, I want to have fun together. I want this to be a class that people enjoy coming to, and I hope to build up confidence in every single one of you. NOW! Let’s go ahead and go over the syllabus shall we?

[OAKLEY clears throat, takes a sip of water]

OAKLEY: In a nutshell. This class covers the basics of theatre. The history, background, and characteristics of performance through the ages, and the fundamentals of acting. You’ll have two major assignments- one for fall, and one for spring. The first one is a report on any subject you choose, and the second one is a scene you will perform with a group of your choosing. Each day will be structured thus: A lecture, and then a practical/applicative activity. For example, if I spend a day discussing Shakespeare, we might perform a scene from Romeo and Juliet. We’ll also be reading some short plays just to get you familiar with drama and script form. Dumbledore has also allowed me to direct two plays which will be put on- one right before the Christmas holiday, and one at the end of the year. You’ll be able to audition to be part of the cast, and you’ll get the chance to use the skills you’ve learned.”

[Excited cheers and joyful murmurs elicit from the group of students. The proscenium fills with chatter.]

OAKLEY: Alright, alright. I’m glad you’re excited. But settle down, settle down!

[The noise slowly fades.]

OAKLEY: Now. The only lesson you’re getting today is that you aren’t ever supposed to say the word “Macbeth” before a show or a performance unless of course, that’s the work being performed. 

[A student raises their hand]

OAKLEY: Yes dear?

STUDENT: Excuse me Professor, but why can’t we say “Macbeth”?

OAKLEY: The old superstition goes that if you say it before a performance, bad luck or disaster is bound to strike during the performance.

[A few gasps echo in the crowd]

OAKLEY: Don’t let it scare you. Just practice not saying and there’s no need to worry. Think of it as another curse word you wouldn’t say in class. Does everyone understand?

STUDENTS: Yes Professor!

OAKLEY: Wonderful! Now then! Let us continue, shall we?   

 

-xXx-

Later.

OAKLEY: Right then! Since I can see that there are no questions, we’re going to play a couple of improv games to get us warmed up! This game is called “Family Portrait”. I’m going to give you a situation, and you have thirty seconds to form a portrait based on the title. You have to tell a story, even though you’re going to be frozen in place. Remember to think about the types of characters involved in the story and talk to each other so that there are no repeat characters.

[OAKLEY calls up the first group onto the stage]

OAKLEY: Alright, so here’s your scenario: You wake up one morning and find you’ve all been turned into different animals and/or magical creatures. Figure out which animals you’re going to be, and act in the way you think they would act. A scene is only interesting if there’s some kind of conflict. So, make sure that the animals you’re going to pretend to be. Ready? Thirty seconds. And go! Thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven…

 

-xXx-

OAKLEY: One, STOP! [OAKLEY flicks a wand and the students are frozen in place. The scene reveals thus: A frog in mid-leap, a fish flapping on its side, a cat chasing a rat, and two stags having a head-to-head battle. There’s also an owl trying to go after the rat as well.]

[The STUDENTS splutter with laughter at the sight of their classmates in ridiculous poses making ridiculous facial expressions, and OAKLEY claps.]

OAKLEY: Excellent! Excellent first go! Who’s next?

[THEY play a few more rounds, until the OAKLEY dismisses them to second period. The students leave the room and lively chatter and the next class shuffles in.]

END SCENE


Lunch comes quicker than you expected, and soon you’re leaving your classroom, and joining the processional advancing towards the great hall. Your last class got out a little bit late, so you’re among the last to the High Table, but the empty chair next to Snape has been left for you.

 

Professor Flitwick sits on your other side, “There you are Kit.” he says, “How did your first round of theater classes go?”

 

“I think they went wonderfully, honestly! Besides, of course, for Jareth trying to make a meal out of the syllabi I spent so much time working on.” you say.

 

Professor Flitwick chuckles.

 

You continue, “The students seem to be very interested in it so far. I had them doing improvisation games to start off, because it helps wear off the discomfort of being in a new class.”

 

“That’s good. I’m glad to hear it.”

 

“How did your classes go?” you ask him, sipping your glass of water.

 

“They went just fine.” he replies, “I have to ask, though, why isn’t Jareth in the owlery?”

 

“Well, since I’ve been living on my own for about six years, it’s just been me and Jareth. Truth is, I don’t like being without him, if I can avoid it. He brings me comfort and reassures me—since I don’t really have my friends or family around.”

 

“I see.” Just then, the owl in question flies into the hall and lands on your shoulder, wings causing a draft of air to pass between you and Snape as he catches his balance. He nibbles your ear and you chuckle, scratching him under his chin. From beside you, Snape scowls at the feathered creature invading his personal space. You glance apologetically at the other, before gently pushing Jareth towards your opposite shoulder. He doesn’t like it, so he jumps onto the table and eats off your plate.

 

“JARETH!” you snap, “Excuse me, that’s mine! How rude!” you push him, “Shoo! Shoo! Back to your perch!” He shrieks with disapproval and flies away.

 

“Blasted thing.” you mutter, “He was supposed to be napping in my office. I must have left the door open by mistake and he smelled the food and came in here.”   

 

“If you’re going to keep him out of the Owlery and uncaged,” Snape scoffs, “Then you should consider putting him on a leash. He could have eaten my lunch instead of yours.”

 

Ahh! Excuse me? How RUDE! That’s ALL you’re concerned about!?   

 

“If he would have…” you begin, trying to think of something snarky or smart-arse to say, but instead what comes out is, “…Th-then I would have happily walked back to the kitchens to get you a new plate!” You blush, and “Hmph” again, turning away from him and tossing your hair. An airy, quiet sound escapes his mouth. Was it a chuckle? How dare he! He was laughing at you. Is that supposed to be threatening or sarcastic? You were positive that’s what he was thinking.

 

  You peer at him from the corner of your eye. He’s fighting the smirk at the corner of his mouth again. Then you feel stupid. Because your way of trying to be sarcastic had failed…miserably. Instead of sounding snarky or dismissive, you ended up sounding willing and apologetic, more than happy to do him a service. Which wasn’t your intention, especially after he was rude to your owl.   

 

“Well of course you would have. Since it was your doing, letting him at the table with you.” he scoffs, sneering. You feel your face turn red and your eye twitch with irritation.

 

You excuse yourself and go back to your office. Jareth is sitting on his perch, looking at you.

 

“I hope you’re proud of yourself, you tosser.” you scold him, “You embarrassed me in front of Snape!” Your anger fades into hurt, “You’re usually so well behaved, why did you have to go and steal my food in front of him?” He nudges your hand, cooing apologetically.

 

“It’s so frustrating. Every time I’m around him it’s like I lose control of myself. I-I-I end up stuttering and stumbling like a fool. I want to be his friend, I want to carry out a conversation, but I just end up embarrassing myself and getting flustered. He probably thinks I’m a bumbling idiot. Why would he want to be friends with a bumbling idiot?” Jareth cocks his head from side to side, before pointing at your desk with a talon. You turn face it.

 

Of course. Jareth is trying to tell you to write him another letter.

 

“No thanks. Not right now.” you say, despite how wonderful it sounds to write to him again. But… you discourage yourself. You rather doubt he’s read your first letter, anyway. Why would he? You sigh and make up an excuse, “…And anyway! I’m supposed to be annoyed with him right now!”

 

Instead, you walk to one of your bookshelves and rummage through the shelf of vinyl records. Some music ought to cheer you up before your next class. At long last your fingers find the one you’re looking for and you tug it out of the shelf and read the record. The smooth jazz and the gentle, airy voice of the Muggle musician, George Michael, would soon grace your ears. You put the vinyl on the record player and click it on. It begins to spin. You put the needle down. The gentle music fills your office and Kissing a Fool begins. You love Muggle music more than any other music, and you are quite impressed by how talented some of the artists were. After listening for a while, your irritation dwindles.

 

Halfway through the song you decide to get up and twirl about your office. You stick out an arm and Jareth lands on it. He sticks one of his wings out and you carefully grip the delicate feather tips with your fingers, and then you began to spin slowly around. You look ridiculous. And you’ve forgotten you’ve left your door partially open.

 

And what you don’t know, is that Snape has stopped to watch you on his way down to his office. You never noticed him either. You were too busy dancing with your owl, the only partner you needed right now. You also never noticed he closed it for you.   

 

People…

Will always make the lover feel a fool

But you knew I loved you.

We could have shown them all

 

We should have seen love through…

 

‘Round and ‘round in circles you go. By the time you finish, lunch is over. The bell to mark the end of mealtime sounds, and you have ten minutes to rush to your next class.

 

...I guess you were kissin’ a fool…    

 


That night at dinner, Snape decides to start a conversation to you.

 

“You left your office door open.” he comments smartly.

 

“I…what?” you play dumb, but you know what’s coming.

 

“During lunch hour, you left your office door open. I’d check to make sure it’s closed next time, before you put on a record and dance with your owl.”

 

Your face goes hot again, “You… saw that!?” you exclaim, in embarrassed disbelief.

 

“My office isn’t very far from yours.” he replies idly. He trails off.

 

Your core bubbles with frustration. You avoid making eye contact.  

 

“…No one else saw that, or it’d be the talk of the school.” he continues, “You’re welcome for closing your door.” He adds, with a scoff.   

 

“Uhh, well…thank you, I suppose…” Smart arse.  You suppose you’re even now, though. You caught him once in an embarrassing situation, and now he’s caught you in one. You don’t know why you suddenly felt this occurrence made you “even” but it did.   

 

“Better you deal with my sarcastic comments rather than suffer more humiliation.” he finishes, in what you feel is a condescending manner. Needless to say, you’re very annoyed. But then you finally decide to meet his gaze again. When he says “Humiliation”, something flashes in his eyes. It isn’t bitterness or anger…it’s something you dare to call…empathy? It was almost like he understood how horrible humiliation could be but…but how was that possible? 

 

…Just because he appears to be empathetic doesn’t make you want to punch his arm any less, though.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

IV. Letters of Admiration

 

The so-called empathy in his eyes seems to have resonated with you. So, you pen another letter. 


Dearest Severus,

Do you know you have lovely eyes? When writers create poems, or novels, or love notes— when they describe one’s soul-windows, they seem to forget that dark eyes exist. They talk about the swirling sorrow of bright azure pools, or how light sky eyes are ice shards set in stone faces. They write about these pointed edges, only to reveal later that they mirror the silent tears they cried from the cold of their world. Authors will write about the springy youthfulness of big green eyes. Warm fern depths. Or manic emeralds that glint with cruelty. They highlight how grey eyes are stormy and ethereal. How fiery red eyes are evil and instill fear in the hearts of people. But dark eyes? Dark eyes are underappreciated, forgotten, insulted. They’re associated with evil, and described as beady, empty, soulless. It doesn’t make sense. How can eyes be soulless if the eyes are the window to the soul? Perhaps it’s because when people see deep eyes, all they see is the darkness and nothing more—a void. Their superficial understanding makes them see an emptiness. But... I see a gentleness. Dark eyes remind me of animal eyes—the eyes of creatures with worlds of their own and hearts all their own. Feelings of their own. Living creatures of a certain innocence who give a love unconditionally. Dark eyes to me are misty and full of sorrow, night-sky galaxies, and mystery. They’re a fascinating world— not a void—of stories to tell. That’s why I love your eyes. When I look at them, if I look beyond the cold exterior you resort them to, beyond the glare you give to the students you call dunderheads, I’m intrigued. I want to learn the mystery hidden behind your galaxy eyes. I want to learn about you. I want to be your friend, and for you to be mine. 

 

With Love, from a Sunflower


You read through it. Lovely. You wait for the ink to dry, before you roll it up and tie it with a ribbon. You fasten it to Jareth’s leg, and then send him off to Snape’s office again. You lay back in your chair and sigh. For a moment, you feel satisfied and calm, before you find yourself silently hoping that you didn’t overdo it with that poetic prose about dark-colored eyes.


  Dearest Severus,

           I thought your hair looked nice today. Very fluffy.

With Love, from a Sunflower


Dearest Severus,

           I liked the way you gave that speech at the assembly today. I find your voice too be charismatic, and truth be told I’m a bit envious of how well you can keep your students under control. I’m pretty sure mine think me a bit of a pushover.

With Love, from a Sunflower


Dearest Severus,

           A student came to me today and told me that the elixir mentioned in the poem we analyzed was incorrect in its formula. They said you gave them a different formula for that same thing, and that if the character would have used a different amount of the same ingredients, and combined them in a slightly different way, then the whole disaster in the plot wouldn’t have happened. I just thought you’d like to know students are applying the knowledge from your class into other subjects. I know that would make me feel good if I heard that about one of my classes.

With Love, from a Sunflower


 

Dearest Severus,

           It just occurred to me that making potions is just like cooking! The moment I pictured myself making potions instead of cooking, my cooking wasn’t a disaster! How funny is that?

With love, from a Sunflower  


You keep sending letters. Simple, little things, short little notes. You always have something nice to say about everyone, and even when he was being a particularly sarcastic bastard, you still had something nice to say. He’s slowly started to talk to you a little more recently, but you’re still too self-conscious to start a conversation. You find it much easier to compliment him when he’s not sitting next to you and being a sarcastic little bitch. You do notice, though, that he’s acting much less like an insolent prick than usual. You hope it’s because of your letters.


  Dearest Severus

           Do you know you have a lovely voice? It’s full of sneering contempt, but it’s so deep and beautiful that it makes my skin crawl. In music, they call it “baritone”. I love how clearly you enunciate snarky or stern words. How they grace from your sharp tongue, slow and clear. Your voice is deep, and resonant. When you speak, you take in the air of your surroundings, eliciting guttural tones in a cold, silken purr. It vibrates in my ears, sending a goose-flesh-rising shudder through my skin. It could make anyone terrified of you, but to me, it’s the voice of a content cat in repose. And I like cats.   

With love, from a Sunflower


You reread it and smile. A shudder passes through your body as you’re left thinking of his voice. And, satisfied, and proud, you consider- to think you were able to turn calling Snape a “f**king cat!” out of contempt earlier, into something so poetic and beautiful… 


 

  Dearest Severus,

You remind me of a cat you know. You’re quiet and reclusive, but also malicious sometimes. You don’t take kindly to people being up in your personal business, and you silently judge others when you study them with your lovely dark eyes. You observe them with an upturned nose. You’ll snap at them when you aren’t in the mood to deal with their codswallop. You’re the strong, quiet type, observing with wise eyes, prowling back and forth between rows of students to see which one you want to criticize and reprimand next. You have a harsh exterior, but I noticed that when you’re interacting with people that you feel are worth your time, that you actually like, I can see a softness, even affection in you that I quite enjoy. I hope that someday soon we can be friends, so I’ll get to experience that affection too.  

 

With love, from a Sunflower


Dearest Severus

           You know, I’ve always admired your dedication to the art of Potion making. You’re so meticulous and detail-oriented, taking the time to develop and decide the perfect mixture of the ingredients. I see such a pure interest and a steady passion, a determination to make the perfect elixir. I’ve always been the big-picture type, so seeing someone with such perfectionist tendencies and detail orientation- that’s something I can really appreciate, something I can look up to.

With love, from a Sunflower


Dearest Severus

           I’d love to see you smile instead of sneer. I know you have a lovely smile. Because it’s a rare smile. Rare smiles are the most wonderful of their kind. Rare smiles shine the most radiantly. I love rare smiles, because they’re gentle, pure, and sincere. If you smile all the time, your smiles become fake and meaningless. They become routine. They become exhausting. But your smile? You use it sparingly, you reserve it only for those you genuinely care about. The day I see it crack across your sharply-drawn lips, which are usually tightened into a permanent frown, I’ll know you care about me. I’ll know you’re being sincere. 

With love, from a Sunflower


  Dearest Severus,

           I admire your straightforward honesty, to be concise. Because I am incapable of being honest without a stutter or without beating around the bush. Your bluntness projects a certain air of confidence which I find to be inspiring. Sometimes, I wish I could be more concise and less poetic. But rhythm and meter are some of my strong suits. Rhythm here meaning the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a given form. The meter is the type of pattern that’s being used. Did you know that the most common rhythmic meter in English is Iambic Pentameter? That’s the one that Shakespeare uses, and it's characterized by the alternating, up and down movement of unstressed and stressed syllables. By enunciation and melody. It’s a special formula just like you would use to make potions, only, it’s through language. I really enjoy listening to you speak because your Iambic Pentameter takes the form of such concise, pretty prose. You have a way with words.

With Love, from a Sunflower


So far, you haven’t gotten any responses from Snape yet. He hardly ever lets Quirrell out of his sight, unless they were going to teach their separate classes. He trailed him constantly- at lunch and during breaks—at night. He kept a weather eye during staff meetings, when in the staff room. What was it with Snape and Quirrell? What was going on between them? You couldn’t help but wonder. It was annoying! Why couldn’t Snape be spending time with you instead of him!?

 

Jealousy? No. You push that thought away.

 

To quell your thoughts, you decide to pen another letter. You sit at your desk and dip your quill in ink.


Dearest Severus…

 


 You ponder over what to say about him that’s nice or poetic. But alas, it seems you’ve got nothing to write to him. You sit there drumming your fingers on the wood. A couple giant ink blots drip onto the parchment, bleeding in veins along the surface as it spreads. You ball the paper up and chuck it in the waste bin. Then, you decide to go make a cup of hot cocoa. Maybe something sweet and warm will inspire you.  So, thus, you find yourself throwing on your dressing gown and heading down to the staff room to make yourself a cuppa cocoa.

-xXx-

When you get down to the teacher’s lounge, you discover that you aren’t alone. Snape is sitting in an old armchair in the corner, with a steaming cup of something on the table in front of him, along with a book in his hand, which he periodically scribbles notes into. You’re about to back out of the staff room when he looks up at you.

 

“Good evening.” he says, in the usual slow purr.

 

“Evening. S-sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you—” he studies you quizzically. You shake your head and then immediately walk across the room to the table where the mini barista station is sitting. You reach for one of the neatly stacked mugs, and then the milk in the icebox. You also pull the cocoa powder towards you.

 

“I wouldn’t drink that if I were you.” Snape drawls from behind. You stop and turn.

 

“Why, is it expired?” you ask worriedly, looking on the container for the expiration date.

 

“No. But chocolate has caffeine. Drink that now and you won’t sleep.” he replies.

 

“I’m sorry…but why do you care if I sleep or not?” you ask.

 

“Because less sleep results in less competency.” he scoffs, “We can’t have that.”  

 

Rude bitch. You inwardly growl, although you don’t say anything. But you realize you probably shouldn’t have asked if you didn’t want an asshole’s response. 

 

“Then…what would you recommend I drink? I came down here for something sweet and warm.” You say.

 

With blood rushing to your cheeks, you try to form a witty response, “…I-if you’re so savvy in the drink department—you with your…pompous potions—Th-then… Then why don’t you make me a drink, Potions Master.”   

 

“Fine.” He closes his book and gets up from the chair, whisking across the room towards you, then he brushes past you, “Move aside.” he says dryly. You don’t know whether to be appalled by his rudeness or appalled by the fact he actually took your request. Though you decide it’s his way of wanting to show off. You sit down and the chair and observe. He rolls up his sleeves just slightly. He takes out various ingredients, and the metal measuring spoons. He fills your mug with milk and then steams it. Then he begins to add the ingredients. You watch his intense eyes meticulously measure out precise amounts of everything—cinnamon first, several drops of vanilla. He mixes it slowly with a spoon.

 

He opens the jar of honey and pulls the honey dipper from the groove that holds it to the container. He spreads it evenly, swirling it around the surface of the liquid in the mug. You watch as the honey slowly slides off the utensil. He stirs again. He pulls some vials from his cloak. You watch the flick of his pale, bony wrist as he adds a pinch of this and that.

 

He’s meticulous in deliberate, just as he is when he speaks. He stirs, stops to look at it, and stirs again.  He does this several times. You watch steam rise from the mug. He looks over his turned-up nose into it, and then he blows cold air from his thin, pinkish lips delicately over the rim. He mutters a spell. He dusts his hands. Then he grips the handle of the mug with one hand and places the other on the bottom. He carries it over to you and leans over your shoulder, swiping his things aside and setting the mug in front of you.

 

The steam wafts up from the liquid and into your nose, and you inhale the sweet scent of whatever it is he made. It smells divine. The strong kick of Cinnamon and lavender, accompanied with smooth, sweet vanilla, and the sappy honey and maple fills your nose with something lovely. The top of the cream-colored drink is garnished with lavender.  

 

He stands aside and observes you looking at it. You inhale the smell first, which envelopes in calm, before taking the drink into your hands. It’s not scalding hot. You carefully raise the cup to your lips and take a drink. Your hit with the sweet, spicy, and milky taste that blends together perfectly. And you think that it might now be at the top of the list of your favorite sleepy time drinks, alongside Stella’s peppermint hot chocolate and Renee’s milk tea.

 

“This is lovely.” you say, and mean it. You look up to smile softly at his stoic face, “I’m going to want this every night now.”

 

“And you can have it, then.” he replies. You think you catch a gentleness in his tone. Your heart soars, fluttering with joy and giddy butterflies.

 

He opens his mouth to speak again: “…You can learn to make it yourself.” he finishes. The butterflies in your stomach are burned to crisps by your irritation, and your expression drops to a deep frown. He walks behind your chair and gathers his things.

 

“Goodnight Oakley.” he drawls. With a flurry of the black fabric of his swishing cloak, he’s gone from the room. For a moment, you’re so mad that you’re half tempted to walk over to the nearest sink and pour the drink he made for you down the drain. But subconsciously you take another sip, and it’s so delicious and pretty you can’t bring yourself to do so.


Dearest Severus,

 You’re a F**KING cunt!

With love, from an irritated Sunflower.

 

You felt very liberated after writing this one, but after lying in bed and calming down, you felt bad for calling him a slur for female genitalia. So, you went back in and added a postscript:


 

P.S.: I’m sorry for cursing at you but you were being very rude. Thank you for the drink, I really loved it!

 

[You never sent this letter. You gave it to Jareth to shred it in his beak.] That made you feel better about yourself, so you were able to go to bed after.


 He doesn’t get a letter the next day. But you do. You find a note on your office door. You carefully tug it off and investigate. Upon further inspection, you realize that he’s written out the recipe for the Cinnamon-Lavender Milk. You briefly clasp it against your heart. Then, you set it neatly inside your diary and secure it in the desk drawer of your dorm room. That way, next time you want it, it’ll be easy to get to. 

Chapter Text

V: So, it would Seem.

It’s Halloween before you know it. The feast and festivities are wonderful. The best part, though, is that Quirrell isn’t here right now. There’s an empty seat where he usually is, which means you get Snape to yourself. It wasn’t as if you didn’t like Professor Quirrell. He was fine. You were just a wee bit jealous.


“No owl to eat off our plates this time?” Snape chaffs casually.

 

“No. He won’t be bothering us. I let him out for night flying with the rest of the owls.” you reply. You take a sip of your warm drink. It tastes like a liquid cinnamon roll. Casually looking over, you see that Snape is drinking the same thing.

 

Hmm. He never struck you as someone who liked sweet things. He struck you more as someone who liked things that were either bitter or bland. Like his personality?  Asks a sarcastic voice in your head that sounds like Eliza.

 

Rude. You say to the voice. It vanishes. You scan your gaze around the lively hall. There’s a group of students practicing their lines for your play. You watch with pride, beaming with pride about how much they’ve improved just from only about two months of classes. It’s a group of older students, performing for the younger ones, who listen and then clap. You smile.

 

“I’m so pleased with their progress.” You say, to no one in particular. Snape takes the opportunity to make another smart-ass comment.

 

“What, that you’ve turned them more dramatic and brash?” he asks.

 

“I’m the DRAMA teacher!” you huff, “And it’s about building confidence. It takes a lot of confidence to face hard-arse teachers like you. ” you add bluntly.

 

He stares at you, slightly taken aback. You feel a knot at the pit of your stomach. Oops. Your expression drops, reading Oh shit!  

 

“…I-I’m sorry. That was mean. I’m not criticizing you’re teaching I’m just making comments about it. I was in your Potions class after all so I would know from first-hand experience.”

 

“Yes. I know.” he says, “And you should know that if you go easy on your students, they’ll become lazy and think you a pushover. Be too friendly with them they lose their sense of respect.”

 

Respect goes two ways, Tall, Dark, and Moody.           

 

“By the by, I found you less insufferable than others. You weren’t as much of a bumbling dunderhead as the rest of your classmates.” he says.

 

A compliment!? From SEVERUS SNAPE!? But wait. Wait, wait, wait—that would mean he thought that your friends were dunderheads! That prick!   And why the hell is he being so nice to you all of the sudden!? Who was he and what has he done with Severus!?

 

“But of course, to say I “liked” you, would have been an overstatement…” He continues.

 

Ahh! The real Professor Snape has returned.

 

There’s a clink of silver as the two of you set your utensils down and lift your glasses of sparkling apple cider, drinking unintentionally at the same time. You put down the glass and draw in a breath.

 

“Severus—” At the sound of his first name, his intense eyes shift toward you, peering over the rim of his cup as he looks to acknowledge you.

 

The doors to the great hall suddenly burst open and a terrified Professor Quirrell comes flying in.

 

“TROLL! TROLL! TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!” He faints from the terror and thumps to the ground. Halloween dinner plunges into chaos. You watch Snape’s eyes narrow, and he looks down over the high table at your unconscious colleague.



 Over the alarmed cries Dumbledore yells “SILENCE!”

 


If one thing was for certain, you’d never forget that Halloween.


 From that day forward, the two of you started to become friends. And thus, you, him, and Quirrell became a trio. Because, for some reason, Snape still insisted on tagging along with him...constantly. He wouldn’t tell you why, but you had a feeling, prior to your previous conception, it wasn’t because he liked him.

 

During that time, you also begin to notice that Quirrell is acting even stranger and jumpier than usual. One time you overhear him talking to himself in his office. It sends an unsettling shiver down your spine. But, you try to give him the benefit of the doubt. You try to think it’s because the troll incident on Halloween had left the poor man shaken. But Snape seems to disagree with you.

 


7 PM. HOGWARTS THEATRE.

SCENE 2

[OAKLEY is conducting rehearsal for The Importance of Being Earnest , watching from the audience at the students moving around. JARETH is on the professor’s shoulder, being fed treats. The scene on stage is in its midst, but it’s going poorly. The first day off- book is always a bit rough.] 

PLAYER 1: Yes.  But why does your aunt call you her uncle?  ‘From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.’  There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt…[THE PLAYER trails off] …But why an aunt…but why an aunt…[Huffs with irritation and turns to OAKLEY]. Line.

OAKLEY [reading the script]: …but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be…

PLAYER 1: …but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can’t quite make out.  Besides, your name isn’t Jack at all; it is Ernest…

[The SCENE continues.]

PLAYER 1: Well, that is exactly what dentists always do.  Now, go on! Tell me the whole thing. I may mention that I have always suspected you of being a confirmed and secret Bunburyist; and I am quite sure of it now.

PLAYER 2:  Bunburyist? What on earth do you mean by a Bunburyist?

[OAKLEY stands and cuts off the scene]

OAKLEY: Try to enunciate a bit clearer, darling. Try it this way: Bun buryist!? What on earth do you mean by a “Bunburyist”!?

PLAYER 2: Alright. [PLAYER 2 pauses and stops to think for a moment, before repeating the line]

OAKLEY [face lighting up]: Much better, darling! [PLAYER 2 responds with a smile and gratitude]

OAKLEY: Continue.

 

Later.

OAKLEY: Alright, darlings~ go ahead and take five and then we’ll continue into act two.

 

EVEN Later.

OAKLEY [addressing the Slytherin playing Gwendolen]: Make sure you really emphasize the smug “holier than thou” attitude she has, working in shoulder movements and smug facial expressions. [OAKLEY demonstrates. The PLAYER mimics.]

OAKLEY: Good, good! Once more, just to be sure. [This is about the 10 th or 15 th time and clearly, getting exasperated the PLAYER huffs audibly.]

OAKLEY [with patience]: I know it can get frustrating, but repetition is how you’re going to get it. The more you repeat it, the more you’ll be able to cultivate that character into something real.

 

PLAYER 4, LADY BRACKNELL:  …To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.  And I presume you know…And I presume you know…And I presume you know…UGGH! I can never remember that line…[HE draws in a deep breath and pauses for a moment. The rest of the cast waits in silence, staring and flitting their eyes around the dimly lit room.]

…A-and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality…i-in which the handbag was…handbag was FOUND… [He trails off to silence again, shifting uncomfortably on his feet. He shakes his head and furrows his brow, letting out more frustration. His hands are clammy and shaking, and the sweat on his brow is visible.] I’m SORRY…

OAKLEY: That’s alright, sweetheart. It’s only the first day off book. No one is going to be perfect. [Seeing that this doesn’t make him despair any less, OAKLEY continues.] Would you like to take a break? We can go over another part while you look over your script again.

PLAYER 4: Y-yes Professor.

OAKLEY: Go ahead, no one is judging you.

-xXx-

[The players have regrouped. The scene is continuing, and the Lady Bracknell’s player seems to be getting the lines quite well, although it is plainly obvious in his voice he is down.]

{ Lady Bracknell.  The line is immaterial.  Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me.  To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.  And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality in which the hand-bag was found, a cloak-room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion—has probably, indeed, been used for that purpose before now—but it could hardly be regarded as an assured basis for a recognised position in good society.

Jack.  May I ask you then what you would advise me to do?  I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to ensure Gwendolen’s happiness.

Lady Bracknell.  I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.

Jack.  Well, I don’t see how I could possibly manage to do that.  I can produce the hand-bag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home.  I really think that should satisfy you, Lady Bracknell.

Lady Bracknell.  Me, sir! What has it to do with me?  You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter—a girl brought up with the utmost care—to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?  Good morning, Mr. Worthing!

[Lady Bracknell sweeps out in majestic indignation.] }

 

OAKLEY: Well done, darlings~ We’ll call it a night. We made a lot of progress! Remember to keep going over your scripts and practicing those lines! I’ll see you all on Monday!

[Like a heard of excited creatures, the students stampede and filter out, full of laughter and excitement]

 

END SCENE


As you’re gathering your things to retreat to your office, you’re stopped by the fellow Hufflepuff you casted as Lady Bracknell. He is upset and despairing, his brows furrowed and his face solemn.

 

“Professor,” he says, “I’m sorry I did so horribly today.” You smile sadly and set a hand on his shoulder. You’re used to seeing him bright and full of life but right now he’s spent.

 

“But sweetheart, you didn’t. You improved just like everyone else.”

 

He shakes his head, “Are you sure you made the right decision, you know, casting me? Lately I’ve been feeling like I can’t pull off the role. When we were looking at scripts, and I was reading lines, I felt I was doing excellent…but now, I’m not so sure. The moment I get up on stage with no script to hide my face…I just…lose it.” He hangs his head.

 

“This is your first play, right?”

 

“Yes Professor.”

 

“It’s a bit of stage fright. It will get easier in time. The more you’re on stage, the more comfortable and confident you’ll get. I had the same problem, and you know, sometimes I still do. What I find helps me is to be prepared. Actors always have their scripts with them, and they’re constantly going over them, even when they’ve got it all memorized. If you practice and keep practicing if you review your script again before a rehearsal or a show, then you’ll know that you’re well-prepared, and that should help boost your confidence. Remember, you are your only limit,” you briefly run a hand through your hair, “And if you’re nervous, deep breathing exercises can help calm you. Another important thing to note is that no one is going to laugh at you or judge you. Your fellow cast and your audience will always support you. We want you to succeed.”

 

He nods.

 

“As for cultivating the role. You’re doing an excellent job of it. Though I think you can work on perfecting that condescending attitude the character has. Enunciation, turning up your nose, putting yourself in her mindset will help you. Also, finding a way to relate her to yourself is another important thing to do. Think, is there a person in real life that reminds you of Lady Bracknell?”

 

He answers almost immediately, “Professor Snape”. You feel blush crawl up your cheeks, and you laugh nervously.

 

“Good. Now, pay close attention to him, watch his movements, listen to his voice. That will help create this character. Use your observations to help you but remember that Lady Bracknell is still Lady Bracknell, and you have the freedom to interpret her how you want. Don’t be afraid to take risks.”

 

This time, a smile spreads across the teenager’s wary face. He is listening to you intently, nodding to everything you say and jotting notes on a notepad.

 

“Thank you, that helps loads, Professor.”

 

You smile radiantly, “The pleasure is all mine, love.”

 

And with that, he says, “Goodnight” and starts to the door. 

 

“Hon?” you call after him. He stops and then turns back to face you, “If you come up with any more questions/concerns/ what have you, my office door is open.”

     

“Sure thing. Thank you again, Professor.” he turns and heads out the door, closing it behind him. You’re left alone in the silence.

 

Then, there’s a steady, light flapping of wings and Jareth lands on your arm again. You scratch him under the neck. You reflect upon everything you had just said, and while your heart soars with happiness, because you were able to help a student, there’s a slight feeling of nerves in your core. “You are your only limit”, “Don’t be afraid to take risks”, “Deep breathing exercises can calm your nerves”, and “It’ll get easier…”   

 

Echoes of Snape’s name swirl in your head among your wise-worded advice. Stagnant visions- phantoms which appear as his stature, his face, and his ‘smile’. From the bitterness to solemn singing, the sound of enunciated words in his throaty purr draw you in. The hot feeling of blood rushes into your cheeks and butterflies flutter in your core. The ache to be near him stings in your chest. You’re sort of, kind of friends now. And you wish these feelings related to that. But somehow, you doubted it. You knew what affection for friends felt like more than anyone. And it isn’t this.

 

“Perhaps,” you say to Jareth, “I need to take my own advice.” He coos in agreement.


   It’s November, and it’s nearly time for your play’s opening day. You’ve spent weeks refining the programming, before finally sending them off to be printed. And now tech week was kicking your ass. Though you expected nothing less. You’d basically given up sleep for a week, rehearsing for hours during the week, and then all-day last weekend and this one. It was showing in your placid grading, dwindled work ethic, your stress sickness and forgetfulness, shadowed eyes and eye bags, and sickeningly pallor skin. The other teachers are getting concerned. But you simply shrug it off, smile it away, and down another cup of caffeine, trying to ignore your pounding headache.  

 

“You look like a wrung-out corpse.” Snape says dryly.

 

“Thanks, when’s the last time you washed your greasy hair?” you reply, in no mood to put up with his sarcastic crap.

 

He rolls his eyes, “You haven’t even brushed yours.” He scoffs.

 

You bristle. He continues talking.

 

 “…And you know that insult doesn’t affect me anymore.” he says, “You’ve worn it out.”

 

“I’m too exhausted to come up with new ones.” you reply, exasperated.

 

He huffs, “If you got more sleep, you wouldn’t be complaining.”

 

“You’re one to talk…” you mutter weakly.

 

“I’m tired of hearing you mewl, Kit. I’m going to make you sleep tonic.” he says.  

 

“You don’t have to.” you reply, suddenly not wanting to inconvenience him. Inside, though, your heart is pounding with joy. He’s being soft, don’t discourage him.  

 

You fan yourself with your hand. Suddenly you feel very hot, and light-headedness engulfs you. The room spins. You untie your robes and shrug out of the sleeves, tying them at your waist, revealing a cotton bottom up. You’re cooler, but the wooziness is still going strong. Your eyes are heavy. Nausea curls your stomach. You reach for your water glass with tingling fingers. You raise it to tingling lips take a weak sip. You draw in shaky breaths, wipe some sweat off your brow.

 

Snape observes you with a furrowed brow and concerned eyes. The world is spinning.

 

“Kit?” this is the first time ever that his gentleness is unquestionable. Your body is heavy, and with a thump, it gives way, and you fall face first into your breakfast, the world going black around you. 


When you come to, you’re in the infirmary, lying in one of the beds. Madame Pomphrey is at your bedside, fluttering around you. You still have a headache, but you’re feeling better. She shoves a glass of water in your hand. “Drink this.” she says. You take it without question.

 

“What happened?” you ask.

 

“You fainted at breakfast this morning.” she replies, “Because of exhaustion and dehydration. Dumbledore brought you in.”

 

“How long have I been out?”

 

“You’ve been in and out for several minutes now.”

 

Suddenly, you’re hit with a jerking realization, “Wait! What time is it!?” you exclaim, heart thumping wildly at the thought of running late to your own classes.

 

“It’s after 9, but you will not be teaching class and rehearsal tonight is cancelled.”

 

“What? Madame Pomphrey, you can’t—”

 

“I can . Your health is more important than your classes. Today, you have been ordered to rest by Dumbledore, myself, and Professor Snape.”

 

Snape? He actually—aww…that must mean he cares about me. But still, the thought of missing a day is absolutely dreadful to you. It is the middle of the week, the worst time for a break. You have a rehearsal to conduct, classes to teach, papers to grade…

 

“The students can go one day without class and without rehearsal.” says Madame Pomphrey.

 

“But it’s tech week—”

 

“You have a full weekend of practice ahead of you, you are to rest for today.” she repeats sternly, “Nurses orders. Headmaster’s orders. Snape’s orders. And if that isn’t enough, your friends from the Ministry of Magic were informed.”

 

Uh oh.

 

“And we’re all requiring you to take a rest day.”  As annoying as it is, you are still touched by the overwhelming display of concern, and it is enough for you to relent. You sigh and lean back onto your pillow.

 

Madame Pomphrey sets a pile of neatly folded clothes onto the bed. “You are to change into your pyjamas and come back in here. When you come back in here, you’re going to sleep.” she says authoritatively.

 

“Yes Madame.” you nod and do as she says.

 -xXx-

Once you’ve returned to the infirmary bed, you discover a bottle with a note attached on the side table. Madame, Pomphrey, who is making the bed across from you turns and says, “Professor Snape left that for you.”

 

“Oh…” a smile spreads over your face and soft blush crawls up your cheeks. You knew exactly what it was. You lean back against the pillows and read the note first:

“Kit Laurel Oakley, you’re a dunderhead.”

 

As you read, you can clearly hear his voice in your head. It’s low, scolding, and monotone as usual. You continue through it.  


 “…This is what happens when you overwork yourself. You suffer the consequences and cause an uproar of worry. Don’t make a habit of it, idiot.  Now rest up. Here’s your sleep tonic. Don’t waste it.

-S. Snape”


You blush and another smile spreads across your face. You read it over twice, and then fold it up and put it in the pocket of your robes, which are hanging from the bedpost. You lift the goblet and take a drink of the potion. There’s a strange kick to the warm liquid as it slides down your throat, but other than that, it tastes like cinnamon, lavender, honey, and vanilla.

 

 With a satisfied hum, you feel your eyelids getting droopy. You lay back down and nestle yourself among the blankets and pillows, falling into pleasant dreams.

 -xXx-

When you wake again, it is lunch hour. Renee and Eliza show up to scold you for forgetting to take care of yourself, bringing you a light lunch from London, and a cup of your favorite tea. Because they’re there, Madame Pomphrey agrees to let you walk around outside a bit, so as long as they keep an eye on you. So, the three of you go out into the courtyard, wrapping your coats taut around your body to stop the frigid air, and you sit down in a patch of gentle sunlight. They’re talking to you, but you’re only half-listening. You’re looking around for Snape, you wish to thank him. But alas, he isn’t anywhere to be found. And you don’t find him. The end of lunch bell rings, and Renee and Eliza take you up to your dorm, where Jareth is snoozing peacefully on his perch. When he hears the three of you enter, he blinks his mismatched eyes to look up at you, before curling under his wing again to go back to sleep.

 

Renee goes down to the kitchens to make some milk tea, and then brings three steaming cups back up. The three of you lounge around the dorm, laughing and chatting like old times. They tell you they’re going come to opening night, and it makes you very happy.

 

They stay with you until the end of their own lunch hour, before duty calls them back to the office.

 

“See ya later, idiot,” Eliza says, “And take care of yourself, God dammit!” She points sternly at you and then envelopes you in a hug. Renee follows suit.

 

“You too.” you reply.

 

“Bye. Take care, drink lots of water.” Renee adds, airy softness in her voice she always shows when she’s being motherly affectionate like this. Then, the two of them entwine their fingers and apparate out of the room, leaving you alone to rest and read for the rest of the day. Apparently, Jareth knows you’ve been ordered to rest as well, because he’s fully awake and has sat himself beside you, and every time you try to grade papers, his sharp beak snaps at your hand.


Even with your day off, your production of Importance of Being Earnest is still a smashing success. Wizards from all over the U.K. came to Hogwarts to see it, and the suffocating support from your friends fills you with joy. What makes you even happier, is that you’ve caught Severus’s eye from the back of the audience more than once.

 

During work, he never says anything about it, no “good job” or flurries of praise like the rest of professors and wizards you encounter do. Until one day. He says one thing to you.

 

“Somehow you’ve managed to stay humble despite the fact that your production of this dry-humored comedy has made you mildly famous.” He sneers.

 

“Of course, I have. I’m here to share the experience, bring joy to peoples’ lives. See the shining faces of proud young adolescents when they face their fears, succeed, and make themselves feel like they’ve achieved something wonderful. I’d never be in it for the fame or recognition, I don’t care about all of that. All I care about is making others happy.” When you speak to him upon this, he leans in to listen. His eyes study you, drinking in every word. While nothing except a frown perpetuates on his stoic face, you know he is listening. When you finish, he leans back into his chair, and then says:

 

“As I expected…from a Hufflepuff.”

 

“We always stay humble and kind!” you proclaim. 

 

“So, it would seem.”

 

Chapter Text

VI. Stay Warm

It’s Christmas time before you know it. And you’re freaking out. You have far too many gifts to buy and not enough time. You know what you’re getting your friends and family. Well, mostly. You’ve kept up with your “Letters of Admiration” generously, but now that it’s the holidays, you want to send Severus a gift. (Even though he hasn’t responded to any of your letters). You can’t help but wonder “has he actually read them?”.

 

You pour over endless possibilities, as you sit in your office and drum your fingers upon the smooth mahogany top of the wooden desk. Your hunched over a piece of parchment, which has, in messy scrawl, a list of people you need to buy gifts for. Next to their name is the gift you intend to buy for them. But next to Snape, the space is blank. What could a straight-laced, bitter, and sarcastic hard-arse like himself enjoy getting as a gift?

 

Your brain immediately gravitates to getting him something that appeals to his interests. What are his interests, you ask yourself? You answer: Potions, patronizing students, and being a grouchy arse. The only one you could think which could lend you any help at all picking presents would be the potions thing. Perhaps a lovely set of potion bottles? That would be a good starting point.

A trip to Diagon Alley leads you to the shop which sells potion-related things. But a nice set of multi-colored glass storage bottles is way more than you can afford. You don’t bother going to the recipe books. You aren’t going to sift through all of them because you don’t want to buy Severus a copy of one that he already has.

With your shoulders heavy with disappointment, you leave the shop in low spirits. When you push open the door, you’re met with a frigid blast of cold air and light snow. It crunches beneath your boots as you head down the sidewalk. You stop at a café for a cuppa.

Idly, you do some Christmas shopping while you’re out before you’re back in your office grading midterms with carols singing from your record player, hoping that drowning yourself in work will distract you from the pressing matters of buying Christmas gifts.   

 

It’s early evening and without rehearsals or shows, you’ve got more free time than you know what to do with. In your boredom, you decide to go down and get some hot cocoa. On your way, your feet lead you down the corridor to the dungeons and passed Snape’s office. His door is cracked open. Your feet move before you can think, and now you’re at his door. You stomach swirls and tightens, before loosening and letting butterflies. You draw in a deep breath and rap on the door with your fist. You hear movement inside. You step back. The door opens and he’s standing in the doorway, straight and stiff as usual. But something, however, is unusual. His coat is gone. There he stands in his black waistcoat and starched white button up, with armbands tightened below his shoulder. The sleeves are rolled up to the crook of his pallor arms, one of which is wrapped tightly with bandages. The crisp top fits him perfectly, with scarcely a wrinkle or idle fold in sight. The waistcoat is tight enough that it hugs him in all the right places. His top half of clothing is tailored to highlight the curves and edges of his slender frame. His hair, although slightly tousled, falls perfectly in wavy strands framing his long face, brushing just above shoulders. To you, his sharp edges look sharper, and while his expression is stagnant, the brightness of his shirt against his hair and eyes make him appear younger and less pale-looking somehow.

 

You’re taken slightly aback by his “state of undress”, and for a moment your words leave you and you forget what you were planning to say, if you had thought of what to say at all.

 

“Yes Kit? Can I help you?” he asks. You can’t help that your eyes travel to his bandaged arm. He follows your gaze and says,

 

“I knocked over a pot of hot potion mix, and burnt my arm.” he says dryly, rolling down his sleeve to cover the bandages on his forearm.

 

“Do you need some aloe vera? I think I have some.”

 

He rolls his eyes, “No. It’s not necessary. Why are you here? Clearly you needed something from me if you came. Now what is it? I’m grading papers.”

 

You gulp. You didn’t know why you decided to stop by. You just did. Without reasoning. You were wasting his time. I just wanted to stop by and say “Hullo”… You want so desperately to say that, but you don’t think it would go over well.

 

“I was going down to make some cocoa and I…I was wondering if I could bring you some?” You make the question up on the spot and tug nervously on the hem of your jumper, pulling the sweater material down since it has ridden up to discomfort, and then suddenly, your heartbeat picks up its pace and your stomach turns, and you speak before you think, “…Please say yes. You’ve made me drinks twice now, it’s time I returned the favor.”

 

“Fine.” he replies.

 

Your face lights up. There’s a silence between you.

 

“Will that be all you need?” he asks.

 

“Oh! Y-yes! Of course! Righto! I’ll be off now! Back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!” And with that you start off briskly down the hall, tripping on your feet as you make your way.

 

Inside you’re inwardly screaming. Two shakes of a lamb’s tail!? What the hell does that mean!?

-xXx- 

You make cocoa vigorously and messily, inwardly cursing yourself out of sheer embarrassment. You set the steaming mugs on the tray and make your way back to his office, with the dark liquid sloshing dangerously in the cups.

 

His door is closed when you get there, so you knock again.

 

“Is that you, Kit?” he asks.

 

“Yeah~” you answer.

 

“The door is unlocked. You may enter.” You carefully slip one hand beneath the tray as if you were waiting on customers at a restaurant and you use the other hand to open the door. You step inside.

 

You shiver when a draft of frigid air passes about the room, harsh over the steam from the warm mug. You step forward with the tray and lifted the mug of cocoa from it. You set it on the desk with soft “clink”.        

 

“Thank you.” he says. He takes the mug in his hand and mutters a spell, blowing the steam of the cup into nothing. He takes a quick sip and puts it down, before going back to his grading.

 

You step back from the table, towards the fireplace, which has been lit for once, to combat the frigid air, and the heat from the flames warms your back. Invested in his task, it appears as though he has forgotten that you’re there.

 

Until he glances up briefly and says, “If you’re going to stand there, tend that fire.”

 

“O-okay.” you poke at in with the tools and then add some more scented wood, and it continues to burn on, filling the room with the earthy smell of smoke and cinnamon-scented pinecones.  

 

“Do you mind if I stay in here?” you ask shyly, “J-just for a bit.”

 

“I suppose it’s fine. But don’t expect me to carry on much of a conversation,” he replies.

 

“That’s fine.” You sit down in the armchair beside it and curl your legs into your chest. Even by the fire, it’s still freezing down here. No wonder why Severus layers up all the time. And then suddenly, you’re hit with an idea for the perfect gift you can get him. Something to keep him warm since he basically lives in the dungeons. You sip your hot cocoa, and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, despite the fact that you’re cold right now.

 

You try not to stare at Severus too much. Instead, you scan your gaze around the room and take in everything around you. The clutter, the windows. The office is a spacious, yet gloomy room and has a dome-shaped ceiling. The area is dimly lit by candelabras. There are two skinny windows behind his aged leather chair, which he is seated in, bending over a composition book and aggressively making marks with his quill. He’s surrounded by shelves stacked with potion bottles and beakers of various sizes. On the shelves were also several glass jars, filled with what the students described as “slimy, revolting things” floating in various colored potions. The table, acting as his desk in front of him, is round and untidy, stacked with parchment, paper stacks, smaller potion racks, and some additional beakers. You also notice that there’s a little box next to him. It’s a wooden box, that looks like a treasure chest. There were some mismatched chairs, and in one corner, a cupboard which contained his private stock of potions ingredients. Stacks of books are propped up against the shelves of potions. Beneath the smell of the smoke, is the familiar musty odor of the dungeons. The room is quiet except for the sound of the quill scraping against fibers, and the rustle of paper when he closes a notebook, and stacks it in the finished pile, and the occasional popping and cracking of the licking orange flames.

 

           You watch him in the quiet. You observe how his eyes are slightly hidden by the swoop of his hair strands hanging down around his face, whisping towards the notebook and desk surface from his forward-bent head, while he sits hunched over the pile. However, you can still see the downward tug of his frown, and the focused furrow of his brows while he works.

 

He dips his quill in ink, tapping off the excess. The pretty, but the piercing sound of the clinking of the glass bottle infiltrates the quiet air, before it scrape, scrape, scrapes against the papers again. Occasionally, he’ll mutter an insult or make snarky commentary under his breath regarding whatever assignment he’s looking at.

 

“I swear, I give Miss Granger a page limit and word count requirements and she’s at least a yard over...”

 

A smile tugs at the corner of your mouth and you sip your warm drink. You shift your body out of boredom, and then realize you have a tiny sketchbook and a pencil in your pocket. A wave of inspiration hits you, so you pull it out and open to a blank page. You look up to observe Snape once more, before you look back down and start idly sketching. It’s a very rough sketch, but it gets the point across. You’re able to capture basic details, like the slight bend of his back, the swoop of his hair, the quill in his hand, the bend of his elbow and rolled up sleeves. The hooked nose. As a final touch you decide to add cat ears to his head as your own creative detail.      

 

You finish sketching and some shading, and you’ve drained your cup. You hear the rustle of papers, much louder. You look up and discover he is tidying up his desk. As he’s doing so, his elbow bumps the little treasure box, and it clatters to the floor, the thump and the slap of a stack of papers filling the air. He curses under his breath, before he picks up the box, leaving it open on the desk, and then begins to restack its contents inside.

 

Immediately, you rush over to help him. But he puts out a hand, which lightly taps your front, to stop you.

          

“I’ve got it.” he says sternly, “If you insist on helping, straighten that pile of composition books.” He is not looking at you, he is turned away, but in the dim light you see pink blush spread across cheeks and nose of a flustered face. You began to straighten the pile, but in your peripheral vision, you can see the contents of the box which had been spilled. Letters, in your familiar scrawl, that had been opened and clearly read. You know they’ve been read because there’s annotations all over them.  

 

And your heart soars.


           The next morning, when classes are over for the day, you skip merrily into town, with a newfound confidence. You buy materials to make a purple knit scarf, and you borrow a book on beginner’s knitting from the library. How hard can it be? Apparently very.

 

Especially when Jareth thinks that the yarn ball is an intriguing new toy that his parent bought for him to play with. Besides for getting him to take a bath, there was nothing harder than trying to untangle an unhappy, snapping, and screaming owl who was aggressively flailing his feathers, from a yard of purple yarn. Instead of helping, it tangles him up more. You want to avoid casting a spell on him to stop him from moving, so you endure the nips and scrape of his talons.

 

“It’s okay Jareth,” you soothe, “Calm down, I’m trying to help you. Hold still.” He’s not listening. There’s another flap of his wings.  Then, you get an idea. You go over to your desk drawer and pull out the tin of Owl biscuits. At the sight and sound of them, Jareth freezes and tries to hop over to you, since the yarn has been tightly tangled around his legs and body. You stand your full height and hold the treat above his head. His eyes go puppy-dog wide and he tries to hop to reach it.  

 

“Ah, ah. You can’t have this. Not until you hold still and let me help you. If you hold still, I’ll give it to you.” Evidently, this is enough. He takes the treat from your hand and let’s you hoist him onto the desk. You find the end of the yarn, which has already been knitted into the beginnings of a scarf and begin to untangle it, starting at his head and then continuing down his body until you undo his tightly bound legs.        

 

Midterms come to an end, and the students are released for the Christmas holiday. Currently, you’re busying yourself with the packing. You’ll be staying with your parents for the half break, because there’s a lot of Christmas festivities planned. Renee is also hosting the group’s annual Christmas party, as she always does. You’ll only be gone next week, and you’ll be back at Hogwarts the week following.

           You sit on your made bed and put the last stack of belongings into your suitcase. It will be strange to be back in the muggle world, since you’ve been living at Hogwarts since August. You’re going to miss your humble dorm room and the independence of living on your own. But, nonetheless, it’ll be nice to see your parents and sisters again.

 

  Once you’re done packing, you walk over to your desk and neatly refold the freshly completed knit scarf. It’s by no means perfect, but you’re proud of it, nonetheless. It is a dusty greyish-purple, something to add a bit of color to Snape’s wardrobe but not be too overpowering. You set it in a box next to a container of sealed hot cocoa powder flavored peppermint dark, along with a tiny book titled “A Pocketful of Potions” that you’d found at a gift shop in Hogsmeade which was the equivalent of Muggle’s Hallmark. It was so cute and tiny, and would fit so perfectly in the box, you just couldn’t leave the shop without it. You write the note to go with it, along with a handmade greeting card.


          Dearest Severus,

                          Happy Christmas! I hope you have a nice holiday. I won’t be around to spend it with you, regretfully, but I still want to send you a gift. In the box I’ve enclosed a few small things to keep you warm and cozy:

  •       A tin of my favorite hot cocoa, Peppermint Dark Chocolate
  •       A miniature book of potion recipes that I found to be so adorable I couldn’t leave the shop without it
  •       A scarf that I knitted myself

I hope that you, at the very least, find my gifts somewhat useful. I tried to consider practicality since you’re so pragmatic.

Stay warm!

With Love, from a Sunflower


             

           A smile spreads across a rosy face and you fold the greeting card and slip it into an envelope, which you shut with a wax seal. You write, “Read me first, please!” on the seamless front of the envelope. You tie the box with a pretty ribbon and attach the envelope to it. Then, you hand it to Jareth.

 

           “Jareth, be careful when you take this to Severus’s office, okay? Handle with care.” The bird listens to you, carefully taking the package in his talons, and flying out of your room.

 

           You close your suitcase and put on your coat and Hufflepuff scarf. You apparate back to the Muggle world. Now, you’re standing in front of the driveway, where Dad’s car is parked idle. It’s snowing outside, and the weather is frigid, making your cheeks rosy and your lips and exposed hands dry. You draw in a breath and head up the walkway of the quaint Victorian-style two-story at the edge of the city. You ring the doorbell three times. A dog barks on the other end.

           You hear movement inside. The door opens. There’s your sister, a tastefully curvy girl, age seventeen, standing there with shining eyes and long hair up in a messy bun. Her face lights up when she sees you.

 

           “Kit!” she shrills.

 

           “Rosemond!” you cry, pulling her in for a tight embrace, “Hey! It’s been ages! How are you?”

 

           “Existing. High school’s kicking my arse though. Glad to be on break. I’m so happy you’re gonna be home for a week!” Then, the dog, a large, curly, white and red-patched thing, barks up at you to make himself known, and runs around your legs, putting your paws upon your legs. From his cage, Jareth squawks at him.

 

           “Koda! Hello, hello, darling!” you pitch up your voice, getting him even more excited. You curl your fingers into his ringlets. He jumps up and licks your face. Again, Jareth shrieks.

 

           “Hey, be nice.” you scold him. You step inside the house you grew up in, and immediately the delicious smell of sugar cookies and apple cinnamon fills your nose. The house is meticulously decorated, both inside, and out. There’s a large, fluffy Christmas tree in the living room, and the sharp scent of pine is overpowering. You see that there’s already presents underneath, and the bushy green tree is wrapped with lights and garland, decorated beautifully by ornaments that you know was your sister’s doing. Your mum is busy in the kitchen. But when she hears you she looks up.

 

           You smile softly, “Hey Mum.” you say.

 

           “Kit.” she dries her hands with a dish towel and pulls you into an embrace. When you break away, she asks,

 

           “So how are things going at Hogwarts?”

 

           “Well! Really well. My first production was a smashing hit.” You reply.  

 

           “That’s wonderful.” Another smile breaks across her rosy, round face. She had gone to Hogwarts herself, and she had also been a Hufflepuff, although she had never committed herself to a wizard profession, especially after marrying a muggle, who wasn’t exactly the most fond of magic. Funny enough, you were the only one who had inherited the wizard thing. Your mother and her brother were half-bloods, which made you quarter-blood? Or so. You had a small enough amount of wizard blood to be considered muggle-born. Neither of your sisters had been born with magic. You had always been the black sheep of your family.

 

           “How’s things here?” you ask.

 

           “Ahh, they’re going, you know how it is. Nicolette is due any day now, so that’s been the talk of the family. She and her husband are coming for dinner tonight.”

 

           “That’s right. I’ve been so busy, I’ve nearly forgotten, I haven’t heard from her in a while.” you reply. Your sister, Nicolette, was twenty and already married. She and her husband were expecting their first child at the end of the month.  

          

           “And…” you’re almost afraid to say, “…What about Dad?”

 

           “He’ll be home soon. You can ask him yourself.”

 

           “Right…”  you trail off.

 

           “Why don’t you go and put your things in your room, Kit? Then you can help Rose decorate these sugar cookies I worked so hard on.”  

          

           “Sure thing!” You lift Jareth’s cage from where you had set it on the mantle. With Jareth in one hand, and your suitcase in the other, you start up the staircase. You walk down the corridor and open your room door. You click on the light. The room is just how you left it six years ago, cluttered and not a single inch of empty wall. There’s the twin bed in the corner, piled with stuffed animals, against built in shelves stacked with artifacts, records, and books. The autographed posters of Queen and David Bowie, (with concert ticket stubs stapled on them) and other muggle musicians (although you were sure David Bowie had to be a half-blood at least), were collaged across the walls, along with a copy of Starry Night, one or two of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. There are also moving photos of your friends, various pictures and various posters from films and theatre shows you liked, from Star Wars to Phantom of the Opera, to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and Rocky Horror. There’s also a corner of Hogwarts memorabilia above the desk by the window. One wall has various newspaper clippings, all from the Muggle world, minus the one or two of the Daily Prophet. When you glance at the newspaper collage, you perceive it with a hint of sorrow. You see that out of thought, your mother had stuck up the headline about Freddie Mercury’s death a month ago. You walk over and take it down, putting it in the desk drawer beneath the pile of filled sketchbooks, because you can’t bear to look at it. You set Jareth’s cage on the nightstand and open the cage door for him. Then, you set your trunk down. He flies out and settles himself on the perch. You glance down at the chain attached to the base. You gaze apologetically at the bird.

 

           “I’m sorry Jareth, but you know the rules if you want to stay out of your cage.” you say. You walk over and attach the chain to his ankle, which he doesn’t protest, and flank your hand down his back, and give him a treat. You put your suitcase on your bed and unzip it, opening it to begin unpacking. As your doing so, you hear the door open, followed by a jangling of collar tags. Then, there’s a dog on your bed, deciding to park himself on your pile of clean clothes inside your suitcase.

 

           You smile softly and scratch him behind the ears, “Umm, pardon me, you old geezer, but you aren’t helping like this.” you try to shoo him off, pushing his flank and tugging your luggage away so you can access it. He grunts but moves begrudgingly, curling up on pillows instead for a midday nap. You pick a record at random and put it on while you unpack the bag. Once you’ve finished, you go into the kitchen. You mother has hot apple cider for you and Rosemond on the table, along with everything you need to decorate the cookies. The two of you get started.

 

           “It’s super quiet around here without you and Nicolette to keep me company.” Rose says, “All I’ve got is Koda and Mum most of the time.”

 

           “I bet it is.” you reply.

 

           “Do ya miss us?” she asks.              

   

           You spread frosting over the Christmas tree shape, and then look up. “Sometimes. But I’m so busy that I don’t really stop to think too hard.”

 

           “Of course.”

 

           “We really miss you. The least you could do is write to us, ya know?” she says, with a slight accusing bitterness.

          

           “Or, you could write to me.”

 

           “You know we can’t. We don’t have Owl Post anymore. Since Edgar passed away, Mum hasn’t gotten to Diagon Alley…Dad won’t let her since he doesn’t like magic stuff.”

 

           “I know, it’s unfortunate…” Edgar had been Mum’s screech owl. He was scrawny and frail the last time you had seen him, and he’d finally kicked the bucket a year ago.

 

           “…But, if you sent Jareth every once in a while, we might be able to write back, ya know?”

 

           “I’ll think about it.” You reply, “I’m usually pretty busy, though.”

          

           “Heck, you could even get a phone. It’d be much easier to contact us.” says Rose, taking a sip of cider.  

 

           “The phone thing wouldn’t work. Magic and technology can’t work together. Magic can stop technology from working properly, too.” You set the cookie on the plate and take the next one, which is an ornament shape. 

          

           “Payphones exist.”

 

           You huff. You always got lectured about not keeping contact enough, from your whole family. While you missed them sometimes, a part of you didn’t really want to stay in contact all too much.

 

           “Fine, I’ll make more of an effort.” you say, exasperated.

 

           “Thanks. And you could, you know, come visit every once in awhile, not just for Holidays, since, you know, you are a teacher, which means you don’t constantly have to stay on school campus, right?”

 

           “I suppose.” you answer, “Anyway. What’s going on with you besides for school kicking your butt? Any boyfriends?”

 

           “Ha. No.” you smile, “I have enough friends to keep me company. I don’t need a bloke.” She says, “it wouldn’t make sense, anyway. Since we just will have to break up when we go to college.”

 

           “That’s what I like to hear.” You say, “How’s the job?” you ask, knowing that she worked at an interior design shop.

 

           “It’s going great, I love it. I going to pursue interior design. And theatre.” she tells you, “I’ll find out in March if I get accepted to the unis I applied to.” 

 

           “Wonderful!” you exclaim, “I’m so happy. You’ve always loved that. I hope it works out for you. Still in choir?”

 

           “Aren’t I always?” she snorts.

 

           “Of course, I knew that.” You sip your cider. Rosemond sets three perfectly decorated cookies onto the platter. Yours look horrible compared to hers.

 

“We’re doing a musical next semester. And I’m soloing in a recital.”

 

           “Again!? That’s great!” you say, “Tell me when it is, and I’ll make a point to come see you.”

 

           “You always say that. But you didn’t come to my Christmas one.” she replies, sadly.

          

           “I’m sorry, I had a show. You know I would have. Hopefully the one next term doesn’t overlap so I can make it.”

 

           “You schedule the shows yourself, don’t you?” 

 

           “Yeah.”

 

           “Then how about next time scheduling it around mine?”

 

           You smile, “I’ll do my best.”

 

           “You know, I’d love to become a professional singer, like your celebrity boyfriend, David Bowie.”

          

           You blush brightly, “I’ve told you before!” you exclaim, “I don’t have a crush on him. I admire him. He’s an inspiration. My idol. A protective figure. There’s a difference.”

 

           She nudges your arm, “I find it funny that a wizard looks up to a muggle.”

 

           “Shh. Also. I think he’s got some wizard blood in him. But that’s not the point. I do not fancy that man. He is handsome, sure, but I don’t like him like that.” You reply, flustered and defensive.

 

“I’m teasing. Goodness. Anyway. Me being a singer. That would be a dream come true. But…”

 

           “You’re your only limit.” you tell her.

 

           “…Yeah, of course…” She trails off and then puts sprinkles on her cookie. But then, a mysterious glint, followed by a mischievous smirk appears on her face.

 

           Uh oh. You think. Here it comes…   

 

           “While we’re discussing people you fancy~ got a partner yet?”

 

           You blush even redder than before and scoff, “No.” you say gruffly.

 

           “Oh. You’re bad at lying. I can see right through it, Kit. There’s someone. You can’t fool me.” She says, “So…” she leans back in the chair, “Spill the beans, love. Who is it? Is it Eugene? Mauve? Or Eliza? Or Stella? I know that the two of you had a passing fancy way back when.”

 

           “Yeah, when we were 15!” you exclaim.

 

           “And then there was that one Slytherin for almost a year…”

 

           Your heart sinks, likewise your face falls. Immediately she realizes what she said and apologizes, “Sorry. I didn’t know you were still sensitive about that.”

 

           “It’s fine. It’s whatever. It isn’t anyone in my friend group.” you immediately reply.

 

           Her face lights up again and she leans forward, “Oh, so there is someone then?”

 

           “No! I mean…” your face is burning hot. Judging by her face, she’s not buying any of it, “Alright. Fine. I give up. There may be someone.”

 

           “Either there is or there isn’t. Which is it?”

 

           “That’s the thing…I’m not sure if I like him or not…I…I mean. I liked him senior year but that was a school crush so I…” you look down and start frosting another cookie.

 

           “Wait a tick…No! Don’t tell me? It’s your old teacher, the potions one…what was his name? Snape. Severus Snape.”

 

           Your as red as a beat, “Errm…”

 

           “Awww! You’re blushing! You fancy him!” you flash your gaze up.

 

           “Shut it, Rose!” you exclaim, flustered.

 

           “The only time anyone turns that red is when they are absolutely head over heals, weak in the knees.”

 

           “I…I’ve been sending him letters…” you say quietly.

 

           “You’re joking, right?” she replies, voice dropping, and unamused, “You’re sending him secret admirer letters!? He’s known you for like ever. Just ask him face-to-face if he’d like to grab a coffee or something.”

 

           “You don’t understand. That’s much easier said than done. For one, he’s a sarcastic asshole. For two, he’s intimidating as all hell, and thirdly, he’s very cold and bitter…I…I mean we’re friends but there’s no way he…I’m sure I still annoy him and he still thinks I’m a clumsy dunderhead. I spilled water on him one time accidentally.”

 

           “Oh goodness.” Rose clicks her tongue and face-palms, “Wow, you’re still as much of a mess as you’ve always been.”

 

           “Hey!”

 

           “Has he responded to the letters?”

 

           “No, but he’s read them…and I suppose he’s nicer with me than he is with other people…b-but that’s because we’re friends! Right now! Awkward friends, that’s it! And it’s a little bit odd because he’s…well…he was my old teacher.”

 

           “That doesn’t matter! He’s only like what, seven or eight years older than you, right?”

 

“He’s 31. I’m 23. So…like eight years?” you reply, “But age…when you’re an adult, is just a number and nothing more…”

 

“Isn’t this the same teacher you and your friends used to describe and being ‘coldly sarcastic’?”

 

“Yeah. Eliza used to complain about him a lot.”

 

“Hmm. Interesting. Okay. But you said he’s a little nicer to you…so? Why not ask him out for coffee.”

 

“No way! He would refuse, are you kidding me!? I’m perfectly satisfied sending him letters for now and interacting with him casually during work.”

 

“Pfft.” She blows a strand of hair out of irritation, “You’re so boring, Kit. You gotta do it before someone else gets to him first.”

 

That sparks a feeling of anger and jealousy inside you, but it’s quickly taken over by rationality.

 

“That won’t happen. He’s an asshole to everyone. No one else likes him.”

 

“But he’s softer with you. So that’s gotta mean something!”

 

“I’m not taking advice from a 17-year-old.” you say, dismissively.

 

“Alright, suit yourself, but you’re being a tosser.” She says, “I think you should go for it. Also, what do your friends think?”

 

“Eliza, Renee, and Mauve are the only ones that know. Mauve thinks it’s cute and Eliza just keeps teasing me about it. Renee hasn’t really said much regarding the subject.” You say, “I’m trying to keep this under wraps for the time being. Especially since I’m not exactly sure what my feelings are quite yet.”

 

“You’re hopelessly in love and hopelessly oblivious.” she scoffs.  

 

“I’m not!” you snip, flustered, “I don’t know what I feel!”

 

“You write him letters.” She says, “What kind of letters?”

 

“Letters of admiration.” you say, “About his teaching methods...his voice…his dedication to potion making…possibly his eyes…and…hair…little things that make me think of him…”

 

She groans into the table, “Can you be more oblivious? His eyes and voice? When you think of him? You’re kidding me! Only someone who likes someone else would say that.”

 

“I like Bowie’s eyes, hair, and voice and I don’t fancy him!” you retort.

 

“Sure. A lot of folks do. But you don’t write letters about that to him.”

 

“No way! I’d never have the gall to send fan letters!” you snap, “As much as he’d appreciate them…”  

 

“That’s basically what you’re doing with Snape.” she says, “But I hardly think they’re mere fan letters. How’d you describe those things you mentioned, anyway?”

 

“Not your business.”

 

“Fine. Did ya get him a Christmas present?”

 

“What’s it to you?” you demand.

 

She rears back and puts her hands in front of her, “Jeez, just asking.”

 

You sigh, “I’m sorry.” you apologize, “I just don’t really know what these feelings are…so I can’t be certain if I like him or not. Truth is that having feelings like that, if that’s what these are, scares me to death. He’s…really closed off…and he gets defensive if you get too close. I don’t want to pry or get coldly rejected…even in friendship status.”

 

“Oh. Sorry. You should have said that. I wouldn’t have teased you so much.”

 

You shrug.

 

“I mean…if you want that kind of advice, maybe ask Niki. She’s married. She’s credible. Or it might be better just to consult your friends.”

 

“Maybe.”


  Family dinner made you forget all about it. It proved to be nice to catch up with everyone. But there was an underlying tension between you and your dad that may have been masked but never truly went away, so by the time dinner had ended, you’d gone straight to your room, exhausted, and feeling like your presence ruined dinner. You were relieved the next day, when you attended Renee’s holiday party.


 

   “Alright!” Renee stands up and addresses the group eating at the long table, “We’re gonna do our holiday toast!” she raises her glass of wine, “To Kit! For landing a dream job as a Hogwarts professor!” the toast continues down the table.  

 

“To Kit!” the group echoes. Your heart flutters.

 

“To all of you.” continues Eliza.

 

“To all of us!” echoes the group.

 

“To surviving.” Eugene inputs. A few around the table chuckle.

 

The murmur of merged voices: “Surviving!”  

 

“And Orion’s engagement!” Damocoles exclaims loudly. From across the table, you see Orion blush, adjust his glasses, and lightly touch his fiance’s hand. You smile softly.

 

“Congratulations!” you all exclaim.

 

“To family.” Orion continues, “And Quidditch.”

 

“Family! And Qidditch!”  

 

The next person at the table is Mauve. “To muggle technology.”

 

Everyone laughs, and repeats.

 

Cas continues with the light-hearted jokes, “To good wine!” they say.

 

“To friends.” furthers Jeremy Jones, “And warmth.”

 

“Friends and warmth!”  

 

“…And to another year of happy memories and dragons!” adds Stella.

 

“And to another year of happy memories and dragons!”  

 

At long last, it’s your turn to give your portion of the toast.

 

“Well, Kit?” Eliza presses, “What are you gonna toast for?”

 

You think for a moment, and as light blush crawls up your cheeks, you raise your glass and say, “To Love.”

 

This elicits an “Aww” across the table, Eliza’s voice being the most piercing. She casts a knowing glance with twinkling eyes.   

 

“To love!” you all finish (though Eugene rolls his eyes), “CHEERS!” And with that, a chorus of clinking glasses fills the air, before you all sip and eat the magnificent Christmas feast and excited murmur of group conversation.

 

The holidays are over before you know it, and soon, after a bittersweet goodbye, you’re back at Hogwarts with your gifts: new jumpers, a scarf and hat from Mum, notebooks, sketchbooks, a new quill, an unnecessary amount of tea, a  brand new set of Bowie’s records…

 

It’s still quiet and empty when you get back. Now that Christmas is over, New Years is just around the corner.


New Years’ Eve. After you have organized your new things and set Jareth loose for night flying, you decide to roam the quiet corridors, enjoying the serenity and tranquil dark. You let your legs guide you, without putting much thought into where you’re going. You end up in a room with a giant mirror. And the mirror, you know, is enchanted.

 

Perfect. You were looking for it. You needed answers. You hope the mirror will give them to you. You draw in a breath and step before it. And you peer through the looking glass.  

 

You stand before the massive Mirror of Erised. You glance to see your reflection, but that isn’t what you see. Instead, you see Snape standing and pacing, as he does, with his seemingly permanent scowl. He's going around in a circle, walking from one end to the other, cloak swishing about his legs, prowling in almost a predatorial sense. And then he catches something in the corner of his dark eyes. He stops to look. You watch as his face lights up, and a smile breaks his scowl.

 

Another figure enters the looking glass. It's you. You run up, hiking up your lilac robes slightly so the hem doesn't catch in your heels. You're running at him with your arms outstretched wide, to go in for an embrace. You jump into his arms, straddling his hips.

 

He holds you with his hands under your thighs and spins you around once, twice. And then, he kisses you, once twice, thrice.

 

Your heart thumps wildly in your ears, but you’re blushing deeply, so you turn away from the reflection and you whisk out of the room. You couldn't deny it anymore. You know well what Dumbledore said about the images in that mirror. They were the images depicting what you wanted most. And what- more specifically, who, you wanted most. Who you wanted most was Severus Snape.

 

And your appetite is gone, but you find your way to the Great Hall anyhow. You’re late to the high table as usual. And you get there midway through supper. You finish quickly so you can be on time for dessert. Everyone who is in there- the few students- Ron and Harry in their matching knit sweaters, among others, the professors at your left and right. Snape by your side, glaring and stoic as always.

 

Together, everyone watches the minute hand tick-a-tick on the clock. Counting down from ten…nine…eight…seven…

 

You keep glancing at Snape, with each look, your heart pounding faster and louder in your ears. Your hands sweating profusely.

 

Six…five…four…three…

 

New Year’s kiss, New Year’s kiss… screams the passionate side of your heart.

 

Two…one…

 

You meet his eyes again, but blushing, look away. You swear he’s blushing too…if just slightly because he turns his face away too.

 

Confetti pops, and horns sound and everyone exclaims, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

 

And you don’t go in for the New Years’ Kiss.

 

You raise your glass instead, and as you do, another glass clinks against yours. You meet eyes with Snape again. He’s sipping from his cup, as if nothing happened, but he’s giving you a side glance. It irritates you. The color in your cheeks deepen and you sip at sparkling cider. When you set the glass down, you turn back to face him.

 

“Happy New Year.” you say to him.

 

“A toast.” he replies, “To another year.”    

 

That’s all that happens. And you go back and forth between hating yourself for not giving him a New Year’s kiss and being thankful you didn’t. You rationalize: it was probably for the best anyway, at least for now.  

 

Chapter Text

VII. Unfair Play

When the term starts up again, one day, you notice that Snape appears to be in pain. He’s limping down the corridors, and stands with one foot on the toe, as if he doesn’t want to put weight on it. The two of you walk side by side. While he’s usually trailing Quirrell, the turban-wearing professor is nowhere to be found. He’s pale and sweat dots his forehead. His brows are furrowed, his usual scowl is twisted in a wince.

 

“Severus, are you okay?” you ask, “You’re limping.”

 

“As much as I hate to admit this, I need your help.” he says.

 

“You…what?” you reply, unable to believe what you’ve heard.

 

“The staffroom! Quickly.” he walks briskly, and his words take the form of an order. You follow him without a word. Once inside, he tugs the door shut and pulls a chair. He sits down in it. He hisses in pain. He flips his cloak, revealing his pant leg. It is torn and mangled, and when he rolls it up, you cover your mouth and force down burning bile. A chunk is missing from his right leg, as if a giant creature has taken a bite out of it.

 

“What happened?” you ask.

 

“That three-headed behemoth of a mutt attacked me.” he replies.

 

“Fluffy? Hagrid’s dog? The one that guards the third floor?” you ask.

 

“What other three-headed mutt is there?” Severus snips.

 

“Right…of course...I’m sorry…” you trail off.

 

“You have some first-aid knowledge, do you not?” he studies you with his intense gaze.  

 

“Yes. I do.”

 

“Clearly, this needs to be fixed.” he said, “So fix it, why don’t you?”

 

“Okay, okay!” You reply. You rush to the cabinet and take out the first aid and supplies you’ll need. You return to him with the materials and he begins to complain about the dog.

 

“Blasted thing. How are you supposed to keep your eyes on three heads at once?” he was saying. Suddenly, both of you hear the creak of the door. Both sets of eyes turn to the door to see Harry Potter’s bespectacled and curious gaze peering in. Snape stiffens. 

 

“POTTER!” he snaps.

 

“Ahh…I was wondering if I could get my book back—”

 

“GET OUT! OUT! ” You wince at the sound of Snape’s raised voice. Harry swiftly slams the door closed.

 

“Nosy dunderhead.” Snape growls. He seems very bothered and flustered, but you dare not ask why. You wonder quietly to yourself why Fluffy had attacked him.

 

“Severus…why did Fluffy attack you?” You ask as you set to work cleaning up the injury.

 

“What, now you suspect me of being up to no good just like the children do?” he asks icily. He was in the foulest of moods. 

 

“No! No, it’s not that! I know you wouldn’t…”

 

“If I tell you, you are not allowed to speak of this to anyone.” A secret!? You think excitedly, Between Severus and me? How EXCITING!

 

“If you tell anyone about this, you will regret it.” he warns, threateningly.

 

“Cross my heart and hope to die, I will not say a word.” you say sincerely, meaning every single word which graces off your tongue.

 

“I caught Professor Quirrell trying to break in and steal the philosopher’s stone.”

 

Well, now it all made sense.

 

“That’s not good at all,” you say, “Shouldn’t we tell Dumbledore? Or something?”

 

“No!” he replies harshly, “We just keep an eye on him. We don’t need to draw extra attention. We’d be putting the dunderheads in more danger that way.”

 

Wha—!? This was the first time you had ever heard Snape openly say anything which implied he cared about the students.

 

“Are you asking me to help you?” you question, eyes lighting up, “I mean…you said “we”, so…” You blush.

 

He huffs, “If you have to, consider it a favor for a friend. “ 

 

Your heart soars.

 

“And also. Having two sets of watchful eyes are better than one. That’s basic logic. You should be clever enough to realize that.”

 

Obviously! You think, with slight bitterness.

 

 “I mean it. Not a word to anyone.”  he looks you dead in the eyes and takes the time to enunciate his words and slow down his second sentence to ensure you wrap your head around it. It annoys you.

 

“Of course. I promise. You can count on me.”

 

He doesn’t respond. He rolls his pant leg back down.

 

“I can mend that if you’d like.” you offer.

 

“It’s not necessary.” He pulls his wand out and waves it, “Occulus repairo.” he says. The pants mend themselves. He puts his wand away.

 

“Oh.” of course you stupidly hadn’t thought of doing that the easy way. He gets up from the chair and starts out the door, “Come on.” You follow his limping form out the door to head to the Great Hall. From then on this “Keeping an eye on Quirrell” thing was something special between the two of you.

.

It was now a game of good cop, bad cop. And speaking of games, the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin was coming up. And you were excited.


It’s the day you were looking forward to. The Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Currently, you’re standing before your own mirror and examining yourself from head to toe. You find yourself rather plain looking, but then again who doesn’t? You look better than usual though. You’ve put on a little makeup to accentuate your features. You button up your purple wool coat, and scarf, jeans, and boots. You add the hat and gloves you got from Mum for Christmas. You brush your hair until it’s smooth as it can be. It has a mind of its own most of the time, swooping and curling and sticking out in every direction. You look at the time:

10:40.

Shit! Bloody hell! You leave your dorm with a flourish, slamming your door and speeding quickly through the halls towards the Quidditch field. You’re going to be late!

 

You burst out into the frigid air and race to the field. You clamor through the gate and race up the bleachers, forgetting that the steps are slippery from melted snow. Before you can stop yourself, you slip on a puddle of water and fell face first towards the metal seats. You curse and brace yourself for a face full of steal and a bloody nose. But you fall instead, into the scratchy wool fabric, and you’re met with slightly rough hands. You mutter thank you into the fabric before pulling yourself away and looking up to see your rescuer. There’s Snape, looking at you with a stoic and unamused face.

 

“Really, Kit. You ought to watch where you’re going,” he scoffs, “Next time I won’t catch you. You’ll have to pay the price for your carelessness.”

 

You immediately try to prepare a defensive retort, but it dries in your throat when you notice the scarf he’s wearing. It’s the one you made for him.  

 

“Thanks for breaking my fall,” you say meekly, settling into the spot next to him.

 

“Don’t get used to it.” He says, “I merely did it to prevent a butterfly effect.”

 

“Say what you will,” you reply, feeling too happy to be angry, “…I like your scarf.” you add.  

 

“Yes, you aren’t as incompetent as I thought you were.”  

 

You’re a strawberry again. But before you can say anything to respond to him, Madame Hooch comes out to start the match.

-xXx- 

Partway through the match, you notice that Harry Potter, Gryffindor’s new Seeker, is getting tossed around on an out-of-control broom. Something isn’t right and you rapidly scan your gaze around to find who’s causing this to happen. And then you see Professor Quirrell muttering the curse under his breath, and you’re met with a surge of anger you never knew was in you.

 

You nudge Snape’s shoulder. He tears his gaze away from the match with a glare. You point out what Quirrell’s doing.

 

“Look! He’s trying to kill Potter!” you growl lowly. You start to move to go and break his concentration. Evidently, Snape can sense what you’re doing, so he grabs your arm to stop you, shaking his head. Then he turns and begins to mutter a counter-curse.          

 

But that counter-curse is short-lived. Because you suddenly feel an earthly heat behind you and someone shouts, “Severus, you’re on FIRE!”

 

What!? Oh, you’re livid now. You turn sharply. The hem of his cloak has started to burn up, and a few idiots try to fight it off by stomping on it. And in your peripheral vision, you see Miss Hermione Granger sink her curly brown head back beneath the bleachers. Swearing to punish her later, you take your cup of water and splash it on the cloak the douse it.

 

The match resumes. Gryffindor wins. And Snape is left irritated. You don’t bring up Hermione.

 

The next day of classes, you catch Hermione in the hall with Harry and Ronald Weasley.

 

“Congratulations on winning the match, Potter! It was wonderful!” you say.

 

The eleven-year-old boy beams. “Thanks, Professor Oakley.”

 

“Miss Granger?” you turn to her and begin.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Can I speak to you in my office for a moment?”

 

Her gaze falls to immediate guilt and she clears her throat, “Yes.” And she follows you. You take her inside and close the door, and invite her to sit in your chair.

 

You offer her tea and biscuits, which she takes with a weak “Thanks.” She was clever, and you knew she knew why you called her in.

 

“Miss Granger,” you start, “I saw you light Professor Snape’s cloak on fire.”

 

She averts her gaze and gulps, “I did…” she says, but then looks up, “But in my defense, he was trying to sabotage Harry’s game! I saw him mouthing a curse that was making the Nimbus 2000 go mad!”

 

You shake your head, “He wasn’t. He was muttering a counter-curse. Someone else tried to kill Mr. Potter.” You say. Her brown eyes go wide and her expression reads, Shit!

 

“Look. Using magic against teachers is incredibly disrespectful and in violation of school rules. That is NOT okay to jump to conclusions and take a brash action like that. You should be ashamed of yourself!” you fight your bristling anger. She hangs her head even further in shame.

 

“However. I recognize that it was an act of courage and of protection for your friend. I can’t get angry with you for that.”

 

And Snape is a prick, so he deserves it. Nags a voice in the back of your head. But you don’t say anything to that effect.

 

“I probably would have done the same thing. In this case, the ends justify the means. So, I won’t take away any of Gryffindor’s points. But you’ll still be serving detention with me. You’re going to help me sort and grade papers and clean my office from top to bottom during lunch hour.”

 

(By this point, it was a cluttered disaster.)

 

“We’ll listen to music, but you are not allowed to use magic. Is that clear?”   

 

“Yes Professor,” she replies, unhappy, but also relieved.

 

“Be thankful it was me who caught you and not any other professor because I guarantee anyone else would have given you a worse punishment.”  You pull a slip of paper from your notebook and writer her an excused tardy note and send her to her next class.


You find out in the end that Quirrell was actually working for Lord Voldemort the whole time, but Harry Potter managed to defeat him down in the chamber housing the philosopher’s stone, which has been destroyed in accordance between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flammel. And then it’s the end of the term before you know it.

After closing ceremonies, you’re headed back to your office, only to be stopped by a familiar stern voice. 

 

“Kit.” You turn. Snape is standing behind you. There’s a note in his hand and a Jareth on his arm. You gulp and turn into a strawberry for the millionth time.

 

“I found your owl trying to deliver a letter to my office.” He raises his arm and shoos the creature, who squawks in annoyance before landing on your shoulder. 

 

“Umm…” you’re at a loss of words.

 

His gaze is icy. And you’re very embarrassed. Your heart is pounding rapidly.

 

“Of course, I should have known it was you.” You feel your breathing begin to pick up. 

 

You speak before fully formulating your thoughts, “Did you—” you trail off. No way you were going to get an answer if you asked the question you were about to ask, “Just so you know, I’m being sincere in them. It wasn’t meant as a joke or…I just…”

 

“Yes, your sincerity is painfully obvious.” he says, “Considering that somehow you read so deeply into my eyes. And how “sensuous” you described my voice to be.”

 

“Oh…” is all you can say.

 

“We’re “friends”, I suppose. Just do me a favor and never read so deeply into any other part of my body ever again. It’s an invasion of privacy.”  You feel the heavy sinking feeling of disappointment. There’s a newfound weight on your shoulders. You’d worked so hard on that letter. And he didn’t like it. Though you suppose, for a recluse like him, you can understand why. You hadn’t meant to make him uncomfortable.

 

“I…wasn’t trying to make you uncomfortable, Severus.” you splutter, heart pounding in your ears, “I just—” He walks over to you and pulls a letter from his cloak.

 

“Next time be frank with me, instead of being so shy. It’s annoying.” He thrusts it into your clammy hand. Your fingers brush before he turns and vanishes down the corridor. You turn the letter over and read the front.  




“To a painfully obvious Sunflower.”

 


You carefully peel away the wax seal and take out the slip of paper. You read the note:




 

Enough with this codswallop, Kit Oakley. Since you won’t say it. I will: Let’s have coffee over the summer, but only if you agree to stop writing poetic erotica about my eyes and voice and speak to me face-to-face instead.”

With Annoyance, From a Prick


You smile despite yourself. And then you see at the bottom of the note there’s a question for you to answer. It’s simple:


“Check “Yes” or “No”