This was #3 of 3 entries to the 2015 Bill Ficathon Fic (bill-ficathon . livejournal . com) entry. Due to illness, I ran out of time and couldn't finish it for the fest. I finally got it done, though, so here it is for you. This fanfic is a one-shot. The maximum allowable word length was 500 words (drabble-length), but I separated it into a series of 4 drabbles.
My prompt for the fest was:
Prompt: Bill starts the tradition of Severus Snape disliking Weasleys in his class.
Squicks: Push-over Bill.
Anything else: I want to see Bill give back as good as he gets from Snape. He doesn't take Severus' bullying. Doesn't have to be sexual unless you want.
To "greyeyesbluetoo": I know this wasn't slash (it's actually gen), but I hope it works for you anyway. Happy New Year!
Thank you again to the fest's awesome Mod, "knowmefirst", for hosting this fest & all her hard work in making sure Bill got a fantastic birthday!
DISCLAIMER:"Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This fanfiction was written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.
TIMELINE: Pre-Hogwarts era (June, 1989)
CHARACTERS FEATURED (alphabetical order, last name): Severus Snape, Bill Weasley
SUMMARY: Severus considers Bill's career path and wonders why the boy chose curse breaking rather than an apprenticeship as a potioneer…
He was Severus' best student, perhaps the cleverest and most talented wizard of this generation, and yet William Weasley had declined a highly-respected and much sought-after Potioneer apprenticeship under him to instead take up an internship at Gringotts with those insufferable goblins.
An internship, not even a paid position, as the apprenticeship would be—and it wasn't even an entry-level management position, but working as a lowly Curse Breaker, for the dead Dark Lord's sake!
It had to be for the adventure, Severus thought, or for the groupies. Either way, only a dimwitted Gryffindor would elect a career mucking through unpleasant terrain with a team of greedy-faced investors, facing imminent death at nearly every turn simply for the glory and the bragging rights.
A senseless waste, that's what it had all been, really. Seven years of pushing, of prodding, of mentoring and favouring young Weasley had all been for naught. The Head Boy had picked fame and fortune over academics. He'd picked hazard and glory over intellectual pursuit. Such a lack of fundamental understanding about what was important in life from one so bright was, honestly, maddening, not to mention disappointing.
Then again, the boy still didn't realise that being a member of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, blood-traitor or not, opened doors that the rest of wizarding society could only gaze upon from afar. He didn't comprehend the power that was available to him, if he'd only reach for it.
In truth, Severus would have done anything to have been so easily accepted by the elite in their society at William's age…
His left forearm began throbbing, a phantom burn abruptly reminding him of past mistakes.
On second thought, perhaps it would be better if Weasley continued the path he was on. Better an adrenaline junkie than a dark wizard.
In a swirl of black fabric, he turned to find the young man in question standing beside his desk, having crept up on him as Severus had been lost in thought.
Disconcerted, but well-trained by now not to react to surprising events, Severus assumed the level of stoicism he usually donned for students and greeted his prized student, allowing a measure of his displeasure at the Head Boy's choices to leak through his eyes and into his tone. "Mister Weasley. I believe my office hours are posted outside the door, are they not?"
"Yes, sir," William politely responded, but gave no excuse for having appeared outside the proscribed time frame.
"And yet here you are anyway," Severus pointed out.
A corner of William's mouth turned up in amusement. "Yes, sir."
Severus repressed a sigh of frustration. Bloody, cheeky Gryffindors.
"Why are you bothering me?" he asked the Head Boy, feeling an itch of irritability at William Weasley's unflappable style. Today was not a good day to test Severus' humour, especially after being so let down by this young man's recent decision.
William held his hand out to shake. "You left right after the graduation ceremony earlier, so I didn't get a chance to thank you."
He stared at the young man's extended offer, but didn't move to take it. "Thank me for what, precisely? For the offer of apprenticeship?" He snorted and waved a dismissive hand. "An opportunity arose in the budget for an assistant position among the staff. I thought you might wish to fill it, given your potential. There was nothing more to it."
…Which was a lie, of course. As soon as Albus had mentioned the possibility of being able to budget a single apprentice beginning the next school year, Severus had signed up for the slot, believing Weasley a perfect candidate. Not only had he hoped to train the young man into becoming a great Potioneer that would someday revolutionize the study and make a name for them both in the doing, but he'd also hoped Weasley would eventually take his place so he, Severus, could move into the Defence Against the Dark Arts professorship. Two birds, one stone.
Alas, even the best laid plans sometimes failed, it seemed.
The Head Boy was undaunted by the blatant rejection of his offer to shake, and left his hand out there in the wind, patient and assured it would be taken eventually. "Not for that, but for being the toughest S.O.B. in the school."
For the first time in a long time, Severus felt his mask slipping. Of all the blatant disrespect! And especially from one he'd never suspected of being so ill-mannered!
"You watch your tongue, you impudent‒"
"‒And the best teacher to walk these halls for it," Weasley finished, smirking. "If not for how hard you pushed me, I'd probably have just been an average student, instead of having graduated top of the class in points and becoming Head Boy." His blue eyes twinkled with a dark, inner merriment. "I owe you for setting me straight starting first year. You taught me that in order to get what I wanted I needed to think outside the box."
That took Severus aback. Best teacher? No one had dared say such a thing to him since he'd begun teaching seven years prior…
"Is that so?" he asked, angered and feeling prickly from being mocked and being rejected, especially by the son of a blood-traitor. "The best teacher, you say? Then perhaps you might tell me the use for Cocklebur fruit, if you've indeed learned anything from me–"
"PepperUp, to treat sinus congestion," Weasley quickly replied. "You pulp it and add it to the potion after the first hour over flame, then strain out the residuals once the potion's ready."
Elementary-level, second year standard. He'd have to get more creative, it seemed.
"Adder's Fork," he challenged the boy again.
Weasley didn't miss a beat. "Pain-numbing potions. Chopped once length-wise, and then again width-wise and boiled down for four hours to reduce the lethality of the neurotoxins."
Excellent, Severus thought.
"Terpene of blister beetle?"
Weasley had actually been the only one to get the answer to that one correct on his N.E.W.T., and he did as much again now. "Various uses. Resin and glue displacement, primarily," he said with a confident smirk, knowing he'd passed the test. "It's also in healing expectorants and used to cure ailments such as bronchitis. And it works greats on wart and mole removal, too, according to my Great Aunt Muriel."
"Clearly, you excel in Potions, Mister Weasley," Severus was forced to admit again. "One wonders, then, why you've chosen the path of a Curse Breaker."
"Oh, that's an easy one, professor."
Quicker than he could move to counter, William grabbed hold of Severus' left forearm and pressed his fingers into the spot where the Dark Mark subsisted as a red, angry-looking tribal tattoo under his shirt. The feel of someone other than himself touching the spot was acutely uncomfortable; Severus' stomach flipped, making him quite queasy. Severus cried out in pain and clutched at the young man's powerful grip.
"Because some curses should never exist," Weasley told him in a low growl. "They're an abomination to nature and to everything that magic stands for…and they make some men foolishly believe they're better than others."
He let go just as fast as he'd latched on, having made his point, leaving Severus shaky and nauseated. He stared at Weasley with an emotion he hadn't felt in years: fear.
"Get out!" Severus hissed, rising his hand and pointing his wand at the boy's too-perceptive face. "Never return!"
William stepped back several careful steps, hands up in a warding gesture. His expression had returned to its usual light-hearted, handsome, carefree one, but for the first time, Severus saw the truth lurking behind those too bright, too blue eyes and that rakish smile: William Weasley wasn't a man to be trifled with. There was an animal's desire for violence behind his too calm demeanour, pacing and waiting its chance.
"You know, my uncles, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, they were my favourites. They taught me how to cast my first spell," he said, and Severus suddenly understood why William Weasley had been his most attentive student, why the boy's Ravenclaw-like ambition in his studies had belied his Gryffindor nature. He was looking for revenge.
"I did not kill them," Severus sneered.
"I know. I also know who did." Weasley shrugged, as if that were a matter to be managed later. "For my uncles, someday, I'll find a counter for every dark curse ever invented, including the Killing Curse." He smiled, and it didn't quite reach his eyes as he glanced back up. "So, thanks…for motivating me in that direction, professor. 'Appreciate it."
With that, he turned and walked away.
Severus' hand shook and his knees felt like jelly as he collapsed back into his chair and stared with regret at the closed door as it quietly closed behind the Weasley heir.
Such ambition! A shame, he knew, that he would never be able to tame that burning hunger for his own secret plans.
No, William Weasley was just too wild and unpredictable to be anyone's tool. He was, in fact, a dark wizard in the making...a wolf in sheep's clothing.
AUTHOR'S FINAL NOTES:
This prompt was a serious challenge to me. First, I had to come up with an excuse for these two to interact - something plausible, as I don't recall Snape and Bill ever actually exchanging a single word in the novel canon (please correct me if I'm wrong). Then, I had to have an excuse for Bill to be antagonistic towards Snape, without him breaking Weasley character. That was a bit easier, as we don't know THAT MUCH about him in canon (not like we know Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny). Also, seeing as how he successfully seduces a girl who is part-Veela (and very temperamental) later in his life and generally dresses like a punk rocker (he's got a pirate-like earring in his ear...in a household lorded over a mum that huffs over a boy having long hair), it made sense to me to give him a bit of a darker aspect (besides, its not as if Fred & George are always nice, is it? They've got a bit of built-in sadism going on. And Percy's a right prat who sides with a Ministry gone dark. And Ron and Ginny both have tempers like their mother. Clearly, the Weasley children aren't all rainbows and puppies). Finally, Snape is hard to write. At least, he is for me. There's a certain restrained nuance to his actions and words that's hard to mimic.
Still, I thought it wasn't that bad a piece, overall. I hope you'll let me know what you thought! Please read and review, if you would be so kind! :)