Author's Note: Here I offer the usual warning that this is a side fic to "Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus" and thus if you read this not all the characters/mentions of events will be completely familiar. That being said because this is from Snape's point of view this will make a lot of sense even if you haven't read the original fic, so if you want to go ahead and read it you should be fine, so do whatever you want.
At least one day during the week, no matter how he tried to prevent it, he found himself having Eleanor Potter for detention.
And then she would come and sit, after completing whatever menial task he had set for her in an absurd amount of time, and stare, and then say something that no matter what context it was taken in was unnerving.
"You know, no matter how many times you ask me to write things on the board I will never support your fascist regime, Mr. Snape."
And then she would smile cheerfully, but it would never reach her eyes, and she would sit and stare and he could only stare back and respond,
"Sir, Potter, it's sir."
He had never imagined that he would spend so much thought on Eleanor Potter, Potter's brat, Lily's daughter, otherwise referred to as the girl who lived.
Even before she was born he was set on pretending that she would never exist, that Potter couldn't have married Lily. That he couldn't have somehow won with his money, his looks, his lineage, and that obnoxious charm that should have meant nothing to her. If there was a child then it would truly cement the fact that there was no going back, that even if he offered Lily the world on a pedestal he couldn't have her back; not without something of Potter's clinging to her in the form of a child.
That, however, was all before she had existed when he had heard news of Lily and Potter's wedding. That was when she was only a vague idea, a possibility, it wouldn't be until after delivering the prophecy that she would become more than a terrible dream.
He had not thought for a moment that it would be Lily's child, somehow the idea of that happening had not even been conceivable when he had bent his knee and told the partial prophecy to the dark lord, and then it was and he had known that he would be responsible for Lily's death.
Because it didn't seem to matter that the child was a girl, that he had begged Albus to stop it somehow at the risk of his own life, that the Potters had went into hiding, none of the desperate means he had taken to prevent Lily's death seemed to matter at all, the moment Snape had uttered those words to the dark lord he had entered the great tragic machine where the gears wound every forward towards their destruction.
When it was all done, when Lily had been murdered screaming over the cradle of her daughter, when he had walked in feeling empty into the charred remains of Godric's Hollow, he had sworn that he would protect the girl but nothing more.
He would not care for any spawn of Potter's no matter how much of Lily had managed to weave its way into her genes, he would not care for this catalyst of destruction that had ended what little hope for happiness there was in his life, and that was the end of it for him.
Or so he had thought for the next ten years, because in ten years it had been easy to picture her as a thing, to build up models of her in his head and sneer at them in disgust.
She'd look like Potter, although he already knew she'd have Lily's eyes, and she'd walk talk and act just like Potter did being a miniature little heiress with no thought to the true state of the world. She'd be a Gryffindor, just like her parents, she'd be filled with bravery that was really only stupidity just like her father. She'd be malleable and trusting and so terribly naïve just like all chosen ones really were and there would be no reason to consider her further. Keep her alive, use her for the greater good, that was all that was needed.
It had been easy, he had been ready to loathe her, had been aching for it if only he could stop loathing himself for a moment.
The small problem, he had come to realize within the first week alone of her schooling, was that she was nothing like what he or anyone else had imagined.
There were aspects of her parents in her, so that on first seeing her he could recognize her as Eleanor Potter. She looked like Lily but also in some ways like Potter, although her hair was Lily's color it was Potter's in texture, curly and in constant disarray often pulled out of her face in a loose braid that was more a statement of convenience than any style.
Thin, small, and pale as a china doll she should have looked vulnerable, her large green eyes should have elicited pity, have made her somehow the adorable little girl everyone expected but somehow did not. Her large eyes seemed wrong somehow instead of endearing, as if their size forced you to stare into them deeper and just how terribly green they were, even though they were Lily's eyes, because Eleanor Potter's eyes weren't merely green but too green an inhuman color. Her leanness gave her an edge so that she seemed dangerous, like a slim knife, rather than vulnerable. And the paleness only served to make her seem more alien, more out of place, as if she was only playing half-heartedly at being human so long as it suited her.
Her smile, that varied from shark-like (an almost complete facsimile of the dark lord's blood thirsty grin) to childish and cheerful, never failed to be unnerving. It was as if expressions were plastered onto her face, an afterthought, rather than instinctual. The only instinctual expression she seemed to have was a terrible blankness, not confusion, but rather nothingness where her eyes stared at you and took you in piece by piece dissembling you and putting you back together.
Looking for Potter in her, he managed to find him sometimes, but for the most part he seemed to find very little of her parents at all.
Instead, after the first few lectures and detentions with her where she seemed to consider him not as a professor or even an enemy but rather like a pest or vague amusement who passed the time when things got too dull, he began to imagine what the dark lord had been like as a child.
Albus discussed the young Tom Riddle on occasion.
"He was a very intelligent child as he is a very intelligent man." Albus had mused after the dark lord's temporary death by the girl who lived. He had revealed the dark lord's true origins to Severus after he had become the Potions Professor at the school; replacing the retiring Slughorn. It had not been right away, it wasn't particularly relevant, but slowly but surely Albus had begun to reveal the origins of the man who had almost taken Britain.
And what a story it was, that the dark lord, whose name was so terrible it was spoken by no one had once been as powerless and filthy as Severus himself if not even worse. He had been an orphan, son of a squib, a boy who had grown up with nothing but the hope of what he could bring himself in wizarding Britain if even that. He never was certain what to think of that, whether it made the dark lord more lethal or less, knowing that he had crawled out of the dirt to the position of a lord.
At the time Severus had been too disturbed by the word 'is', spoken is such confidence as if there was no doubt that the dark lord had not perished, to comment but he had listened never the less.
Albus smiled briefly, a sad sort of smile for the lost child that the dark lord had once been, and then said, "He was always thinking, always alert, and when he focused he truly focused with an intensity that was almost frightening. There were moments, here and there, where he seemed like a normal school boy but for the most part he was never quite like them."
He didn't know why that description brought Eleanor Potter to mind, because she often seemed distracted, as if she was barely in the room at all but was somewhere else entirely. Never the less it did somehow remind him of her.
Too intelligent, he imagined the young dark lord had been too intelligent as well, perhaps more charming to smooth over that small fact for all professors but Albus but never the less too bright. She had yet to turn in a potion that was not in some way far beyond her peers, as if it had been brewed by someone who had passed their NEWTS rather than a first year student, and from the violence, mayhem, and catastrophe she caused in his class he doubted she was even trying.
A wandless prodigy the other professors labelled her in staff meetings; the most gifted and promising student to enter Hogwarts since the dark lord himself. And yet, Severus thought every time he watched her brew in class with a too calm and amused expression for the chaos she caused, what terrible things could she accomplish if she tried?
"So am I free to leave or do you have some other tedious thing for me to accomplish?" His attention was drawn to the present, sitting in the Potions classroom with the very girl herself, her staring at him with an expression that should have been smug (on any other child would have been smug) but instead was vaguely amused, exasperated, and altogether too accepting of her situation.
As if tedious things were simply another one of those unexplained mysteries of life that she was forced to partake in.
On her head the rabbit, that damned rabbit that she would never leave in the dormitory, twitched slightly peering at Severus with an all too knowing expression for a rabbit.
He could not remember when he first thought it or when he began to believe it but somewhere along the way Severus had realized that he was in an unspoken competition with Eleanor Potter, where the house cup was not only at stake but the reputation and pride of the house of Slytherin, and he had the strangest feeling that within only a few weeks of school he had already lost and that they both were perfectly aware of that fact.
At first he had tried public ridicule, which would have reduced any other child to tears, but had seemed like little more than a vague irritant to her. Then he had tried point loss, hoping that would force her housemates to confront her over her behavior and fix it before he had to intervene, and somehow that had only made things far worse. He then had tried detention, which had been a terrible idea. And now he felt as if he was looking at a chess board and all his pieces had been systematically removed from the board, and there she was, grinning like the Cheshire cat across at him just daring him to lose that final piece.
He was losing in a game of manipulation and strategy to a child, to Potter's progeny, and there was something so terribly shameful and irritating in that.
Because as alien as she was, as wrong and unlike Potter as she was, she was still called Potter and Potter should not be allowed to win.
"Using magic in the hallways is forbidden from that I'm sure you have enough brains to gather that dueling half your own house at the same time in the hallways is expressly forbidden. And until that point has been drilled into your thick head you will stay here." He hissed out through his teeth, and with a wave of his wand used a quick scourgify on the board, "I will respect my betters', by hand this time."
She looked down at the piece of chalk she had initially been handed and frowned at it slightly, she made to move towards the board but then stopped, a complete perfect stillness, a motion no human would ever do naturally. She then turned to Severus with that dissecting expression as if cutting him apart and sewing him back together and watching how he ticked during the process.
"And what, Mr. Snape, is preventing me from simply leaving if I do not wish to stay?"
They stared at each other for a moment, because they both knew without any words having to be said that the answer was nothing, finally she grinned that expression bringing him back more than ten years ago staring up at the dark lord's pale features.
"I see, well then." With that now familiar slight twitch of the fingers the words on the board were replaced, from "I will not seek vengeance on the fools that dare oppose me" to "I will respect the unquestionable authority placed upon me; even if they are aging cultists with questionable hygiene or squirrels."
She placed the piece of chalk back on the board, smiled at the lines written on there, and turned back to Snape placing her hands behind her back looking more like a military commander rather than a little girl in detention. "It seems, Mr. Snape, that you're out of cards."
He had much the same thought, except his was simply an image of the king on the board, and the girl smiling back at him, "Check, Mr. Snape."
"And it's not even Christmas yet, how sad." The girl said staring past him with those too distant eyes, as if she was listening or seeing something else that existed outside of the Potions classroom.
"That's sir, Potter," He said with a grimace before adding, "And you're wrong."
"Oh?" She said her eyebrows lifting slightly, and again he found himself thinking of the dark lord. It wasn't an expression that was often on his face, fatigue, hideous joy, and extreme irritation were more familiar but every once in a while one could catch a hint of the sardonic in his expression, that same lifting of the eyebrows and vaguely questioning glance.
"You forget, Potter, that you can be suspended and beyond that thrown out entirely." He let the words hang in the air, sit for a moment, that threat that he had let go unspoken for so long. And he tried to picture it, her wand being snapped, sent back out into the ether where she came from like she never existed in the first place.
She considered that for a moment, eyeing him speculatively, before giving him that shark like grin, "Good attempt, Mr. Snape, gold star for effort but try to pick a better bluff next time."
She sat on an empty table, placing her head in her hands and going on to explain her reasoning as if they were having any other conversation, "You see, squabbling children will always really be squabbling children. And expulsion from what I can understand is a very large deal, it is death, lose the wand and you lose the wizard isn't that right? So expulsion, wand snapping, all that sort of thing is saved for those pesky more dangerous instances like murder, rape, and all the really nasty stuff. There's also the small fact, even if you wanted to throw me out, send me off to Durmstang for schooling you couldn't let it happen. Because would wizarding Britain let you ship off something that blew up the dark lord as a toddler to Germany?"
And then there were moments where she did remind him of Potter, of a smarter sharper version of Potter, one who stared across at him and liked to watch him suffer and twitch because it was fun to make Severus Snape's life hell. Because that's what Potter did, existed to make Severus suffer, and his spawn was proving very similar.
"You take your celebrity status far too seriously, Potter, remember that not all of Britain is enamored with the girl who lived." He spat out causing her to blink slightly at him, taking in the words in that blank way she always did.
"Celebrity? Mr. Snape I am a messiah figure, I think that goes a bit beyond celebrity. Besides, love her or hate her Eleanor Potter is infamous, liking her really isn't the point."
It wasn't quite third person, but more referring to herself, to Eleanor Potter as a role rather than who she was as if she herself wasn't fully Eleanor Potter or Eleanor Potter wasn't fully her but rather a cheap mask she placed on for effect when needed.
And there was nothing to say to that, though there was so much he wished to say to that, and perhaps the words would come out later that there was no such a thing as a messiah and certainly if there was then she couldn't be it. That it had been a fluke, an accident, her mother's love, but not her who had disposed of the dark lord temporarily. As it was though the words did not come out and he could only stare at her and glare and wonder why he had promised to keep this girl alive above all other things.
"This is getting kind of old though." She commented with a sigh, not so much to him as to herself, and then hopped off the desk and placed her hands into her pockets appearing to decide that they were both done for the evening, "Well, not quite as old as anything else, but it's still a bit like watching the same episode twice. See you next Potions class."
Then with a slight wave she exited the classroom leaving Severus without a word and all he could do was stare after her.
He had imagined having power over her, back when she had been an idea in his head and looked exactly like that bastard Potter, he had imagined how good it would feel to look at her and think that it was Potter suffering.
How was it then, that even as her professor and head of house, she displayed an almost infinite amount of power over him while he was helpless to do anything about it?
Author's Note: For the 300th review of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by tenchifew who asked for a fic where Snape relayed his thoughts and opinions on Lily. So here we are. Thanks to readers and reviews are much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.