The next morning, all staff members were required to attend breakfast. Usually during the summer holidays, they ate at their leisure, but with the introduction of the group, the Headmaster decided that they should all be acquainted.

Snape was in a foul mood. He usually just had a cup of coffee while he was working over a caldron in the morning. Now, not only did he have to attend breakfast with the staff, but he also had to sit at the same table as the muggles. His meeting with Carly and Derek did not help to ease that sense of irritation. Derek was more outspoken than Draco Malfoy. . .and that's saying something.

The guests were all seated at the staff table, and would be so during the year unless they decide to sit with their houses. They separated into two groups of four at either end of the table to maintain the symmetry. When he walked in, Snape noticed that he was seated beside Mark from Gryffindor. 'Great!' He thought. 'What next? Will I be sitting with the boy-who- lived-to-take-stupid-risks-and-get-himself-killed?' The scowl deepened when he saw that the other Gryffindor was seated right next to Mark.

He swept himself up to the staff table, sensing the amusement the Headmaster had, and sat at his seat.

"Good morning, Professor!" Mark chimed up, a bit too perky for morning. When Snape didn't reply right away, Mark leaned in a bit closer. "Good morning-"

"I heard you the first time, Mr Borkitis!" Snape snapped back. "No need to be redundant!"

"Well, at least you're more of a morning person than Krista is." Mark replied, ignoring the impatient sigh the potions master let off. "I knocked on her door, and she didn't answer. I knocked again, and still no answer. Finally the third time, I heard some rustling that sounded like she was getting out of bed, she opened the door, and threw cold water on me!" At that, Chritom and Avis started to chuckle as they remembered the scene between the two Gryffindors that morning.

"And if you do not desist in irritating me this morning, I shall be forced to provide you with an encore." Snape said.

"Ah, Severus. Cheerful as always." The Headmaster noted. "I have asked the staff to gather here this morning so that our guests could get acquainted with them. To break the ice, I suggest a bit of a game. Each of us will stand up, say our names, ages, occupations, and a bit about themselves that everyone should know." At this, Snape snorted, clearly not a willing participant of this 'game'. The Headmaster continued. "I'll begin than. My name is Albus Dumbledore. I am 147 years old. Current headmaster of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and you should all know that I have a mild sweet tooth," at this, almost all the staff smirked, "and I love getting warm socks for Christmas!"

The staff and guests continued on with the game. By the end of it, most were chatting excitedly. Snape, or course, did not speak to anyone, and simply ate his breakfast in some sense of peace. Mark was very loud, and made sure to encourage participation from both Snape and Krista. Krista did not appear to be care for the conversation, so it continued over her head to Avis and Christom. As soon as he possibly could, Snape got up and left the Great Hall for the privacy and peace of his dungeons, and thanking Merlin that the rest of his week would go on uninterrupted.

~@~

Derek and Krista were in the library at Hogwarts looking up some of the information that they could get during their stay and during any classes that they could attend. Derek was looking over some Herbology notes that Professor Sprout gave him, and Krista was pouring over a potions text.

"Give it up, Krista. I'm in his house and I doubt he would allow me to attend one of his lectures." Derek said.

"Well, maybe if you didn't piss him off so much, Derek." Krista replied.

"Come on. You can't possibly tell me that it wasn't amusing at least." Derek said between chuckles. That earned him an evil grin from the Gryffindor next to him.

"No. You're right. I can't. But still, if you didn't piss him off, what makes you think he wouldn't allow either of us to attend?" Krista asked.

"Besides the fact that he seems like he's absolutely disgusted with us and that he shows that he will only tolerate us slightly?"

"Yes."

"Well-" Derek started, but was interrupted when the library doors flew open, and Natalie, Avis, Christom, and Mark ran over to their table.

"Come on guys. It's a beautiful summer day and you're spending it in the library? No way." Mark grabbed Derek's arm, while Avis grabbed Krista's. "Melanie and Carly are setting up with Hagrid. Lets go!!!"

They continued to pull the pair to the outdoors. "Setting what up?" They both asked repeatedly, only to get either no answer, or a riddle of sorts. When they reached the front doors and walked through them, they saw that Hagrid was helping to set up a ramp.

"What's that for?" Derek asked.

"Well, you see, Mark and I came to the school on our dirt bikes with our trunks being pulled behind, and the other's wanted to ride them and see us do our thang!" Avis replied excitedly.

"What 'thang'?" Krista asked.

"You'll see." Mark said.

A few minutes later, Mark and Avis had their bikes set up while the remaining six plus Hagrid sat on the steps to watch them. Mark sped up first, going up the ramp at full speed, turning the bike slightly, and landed perpendicular to the angle he began at. Avis followed suit with a 360 in mid air, and landed beside Mark. They did a few more stunts, much to the amazement of the spectators, before taking a short break. Both men were sweaty and muddy from the rising dirt when they landed on the ground.

"What'd you guys think?" Avis said, excitedly.

"Impressive." Melanie declared.

While the rest of the group gave their criticisms, Snape had snuck by them and headed for the forbidden forest to collect some ingredients. Nobody noticed.

After some more oogling over the two daredevils, they set up for another ride. Doing a few more tricks, they also did not notice Snape coming back. Snape did not notice what the group was doing, only that they were otherwise preoccupied.

Avis revved his bike up a few times before going full speed towards the ramp. A few moments before he was to go up it, Krista looked up and spotted Snape walking near the landing site. Briefly remembering some of the physics that proved that Avis wouldn't be able to stop in time, she jumped up from her seat, and ran full throttle towards the landing site. No one knew what she was doing, and thought she was crazy. She was going to get herself hit.

Avis hit the ramp, and began to make his descent, he noticed Krista too late, but did not notice Snape at all. Krista continued to run towards Snape to push him out of the way. She was about 10 feet away, and the bike was closing in on him fast. She found a bit of adrenaline to push faster, Snape still not noticing the danger he was in.

Snape turned when he heard the screams, and saw Krista bolting towards him. Not having any idea why, he stood there in shock a moment. That was when Krista leapt towards him in a final desperate attempt to get Snape out of the way of the oncoming bike. Her shoulder connected with Snape's abdomen, and both were launched to the ground before Avis' bike hit Snape. Unfortunately, Krista was not so lucky, and the bike landed with all its weight and speed on her ankle. She cried out in pain, and the bike was immediately moved. Avis jumped off, not caring about the damage the bike may have as a result of him dropping it, and ran towards Snape and Krista.

Snape found his voice after a few moments. "What do you think you are doing?!?" He said quietly, punctuating every word. He threw her off him, got up, and collected the supplies he dropped. Without looking back, he went back to the castle, and made his way to the dungeons.

~@~

"There you are, dear. Now, it's going to be sore for a few days. Just take it easy." Madam Pomfrey said as she finished tending to Krista's ankle. The impact of the bike had nearly crushed it.

"I am so sorry, Krista." She heard Avis say.

"Don't worry about it." Krista replied. "Remember, it's all fun and games until someone loses and eye. Than it's a sport." She said smiling.

Avis smiled back at her. "Still, I wished I'd hit Snape instead of you. I mean, you saved his ass, and he practically scolded you." He said angrily.

"He probably didn't realize what was happening. It didn't look like he noticed the bike." She replied.

"Well, he damn well will know." Avis said, getting up. He was stopped by Krista's hand on his arm.

"Don't worry about it, Avis. I don't think you yelling at him will help the situation any." She remembered what Professor McGonagall said about Snape and the way he feels about Gryffindors. "Besides, if you get on his bad side, you may have more difficulty in getting him to let you sit in on his classes."

That got him to sit. Avis wanted more than anything to attend those classes. "I won't do anything. But it doesn't mean I have to like it."

Krista nodded. "Well, if you want to relieve some of that guilt, mind helping me to the library?"

Avis smiled, and both he and Derek helped Krista get up off the hospital bed. Even though she could limp on her own, the men wouldn't have any of it. As soon as she was standing on her good leg, Mark bent over and lifted her.

"I don't think that is necessary, Mark." Krista said. She didn't like the idea of being carried around.

"I don't care if it's necessary. You shouldn't be on that foot at all for awhile." And with that, the group left the hospital wing for the library leaving a smiling mediwitch.

'It's so nice to see the houses get along so well together.' She thought as she began to clean up the space.

~@~

Snape was mad. After retrieving the supplies from the ground, he went to his dungeons only to find that some of the supplies could not be used. They were damaged in the fall.

"Bloody Gryffindors." He spat. He prepared the supplies that could still be used, and set off again to recollect some of what could not be salvaged. As he approached the top of the stairs, he heard one of the female voices whine. "Please guys, put me down. It's really not necessary!"

When he got to the top, he saw the group of them walking in the direction of the library, Mark holding Krista cradled in his arms. He waited in the dark corner until they all left. When he could no longer hear their voices, he went back out the front doors and to the Forbidden Forest.

~@~

"Severus. I thought I'd find you here." He heard the mediwitch say as he reentered his lab to prepare the rest of the supplies that he'd collected.

"Remarkable deduction, Poppy. How did you figure out that I'd be in the one place I have practically never left all summer? Must have hurt yourself thinking about it." Snape sneered at her. "What do you want?"

"I thought I'd check up on you since your tumble with Miss Grist." Poppy said. "I've already fixed her up. I was told that you were involved."

"Unfortunately yes. The stupid girl lunged at me for some reason." Snape replied.

"Methinks, Severus, I should check your eye sight while I'm down here. I think this dark and danky atmosphere has damaged it somewhat. Maybe your hearing as well." The mediwitch replied as she approached the potions master for a quick checkup.

"What are you talking about, woman."

"Severus Sebastian Snape!" Oh, here we go. Middle names. "You know better than to call me woman. You remember the last time you did that."

Snape cringed at that thought. He called her woman, and she returned the favour, in front of Lucius when they were still in school. That month had been hell. Many of his Slytherin peers had taken to offering him to go through the doorways first, holding doors for him, suggesting that he go with the girls to 'freshen up'. It wasn't until he threatened to hex the whole lot of them that they finally stopped. To take on a thoroughly pissed off Snape was a very bad idea.

"Fine. What are you talking about, Poppy?"

"That girl saved you from getting your head taken off with a dirt bike. The bike landed on her ankle and crushed it. The rider apparently didn't notice you on the landing site, and she jumped in just in time." Poppy said as she examined him.

"What does she want? A medal? Typical insufferable Gryffindors." He mumbled.

"Actually, she stopped the guys from coming down here and screaming at you." She replied.

"Screaming at me for what?"

"I was told you threw her off of you after. Her bones were already crushed. Do you think that helped matters any?"

"It's not my fault if she decides to jump in to save the day and gets hurt." Snape replied.

Poppy finished up her check up, and left Snape alone. There wasn't any point in trying to change his outlook. The man was too stubborn.



A/N:

Severus seems to be losing his observational touch. Or is it the lack of Longbottom that he's relaxed his guard in the school for some reason?

Whatcha think?