AN: I own and make nothing. Everything belongs to Queen Jo. Also I apologize for the late update. I've been very overworked. While I am no longer ill, I'm not the same as was before. I'm exhausted quite easily so with work this is going to take longer :/
"It's polite to say 'hello'," said Snape coldly from the corner. Honestly, Victoria had not even noticed he was there until he spoke but that really would not have made much of a difference anyway. She had had another awful day and to make matters worse she was supposed to meet Malfoy for a duel tonight. Malfoy had passed her a note in charms telling her to show up behind the broom shed at around 9 o'clock. She had seen that Ron took notice and was surprised he did not say a word about it. But the look on his face told her exactly what he thought that note meant.
"I said..." Snape repeated a little louder.
"I heard you," Victoria mumbled and tossed her book bag onto the couch in the living room. She wanted to go to her room and hide but she also did not want to seem suspicious. What had she been thinking? Snape was bound to just take one look at her and give her detention. She turned around to declare that she was going to go take a nap when she was suddenly face to face with the man. How did he move so fast and quietly? She gasped and her moody expression was replaced with nervousness as she suddenly found her chin pushed slightly upwards but his fingers, forcing her to look at him.
"I know perfectly well that this is hard for you – yes, but I would appreciate it if you did not take your displeasure with your former house out on me or the rest of the staff for that matter." He sounded cold but not really angry. At least not the way Victoria had always been used to. She nodded. The last thing she wanted was to have him watching her. He released her even if he did not look reassured by her gesture. "I need to prepare some ingredients for tomorrow's NEWT class. If your homework is completed you will assist me."
He didn't even say it like request but as a matter of fact. He turned and walked towards the armchair he had previously occupied while Victoria went through every argument she could in her head. This was practically detention even if Snape had not said the word! "Erh, it's not all done," she tried.
"Then you will complete it in my classroom while I work," Snape replied dismissive.
"But... I would rather work in my room," Victoria argued.
"Perhaps you would. But your grades last year left a lot to be desired. You will work in my presence and when you have completed any start up assignments you may have, I will correct your work."
Victoria could not help but feel a bit miffed. She was not failing any classes so what was it to him? Besides, how did he know what her grades were outside of potions? And even more importantly, how did she get out of this? Desperate for a solution she said the first thing she could think of. "I lied."
That definitely got his attention as he turned back around to face her. He arched an eyebrow at her and did not say a word but even so Victoria squirmed under his gaze. She felt like he was seeing right through her even though she knew that was impossible. "My homework is done. B-but I can't come help tonight. I have... I have to be somewhere."
Snape didn't move a muscle. He just continued to watch her. She almost felt as if he was warning her not to say something she'd regret later on but she was probably projecting that onto him. "And where..." Snape drawled. "Are you supposed to be?"
"With... Erh... In detention," Victoria squeaked with a sheepish shrug. She could not very well say 'with friends' because the man would probably just ask her to cancel that. Still, she had not expected the look in Snape's eyes. His lips were pressed tightly together and his hands were shaking as if he was fighting the urge to strangle her.
"I should..." Snape muttered. "Not even a week in! Explain!" he demanded raising his voice on the last word.
Victoria was now regretting that excuse quite a bit but she was a Gryffindor! She was not a coward and she was going to show Malfoy that! "I... I was late for charms and... uh... I didn't pay attention. I'm supposed to have detention at 8:30," Victoria improvised. Flitwick did not seem like the sort Snape spoke to often. Perhaps, he'd not check her story.
"Don't think I'm unaware of your struggles but they should never interfere with your studies," Snape said sternly. "Don't be late. Go put your books away properly. I never gave you permission to litter my living room!"
"Yes, sir," Victoria replied much too high pitched.
The grass was wet and slippery. If it had rained during the evening Victoria had not noticed. She had been allowed to leave her room at 8:15 and from there she had walked all the way up to the charms classroom (just so she had been seen doing it) and then sneaked down the stairs again. She had briefly considered taking her cloak but where would she stash it so Malfoy did not see it? And if something happened could she risk leaving it somewhere? There were not a lot of people passing through the entrance hall at this hour but she still had to wait until the coast was clear before she dared hurry to the doors. She closed the door behind her and turned around to make her way to the agreed spot in good time when someone spoke. "What are you doing?"
Michael Xiao, the unpleasant boy she had had the misfortune to be seated opposite at meals stood before her. His usually sleek oldfashioned hairstyle was slightly messy and his hands was in his pocket. He followed her gaze to said bulging pockets. "Nothing," she replied. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing," Xiao replied, straightening a little.
"Right," Victoria mumbled and shoved past him.
"Hey! Where are you off too?" the boy continued. When Victoria did not reply he followed her much to her annoyance. "I asked you something!"
Victoria spun around. "What's in your pockets?" she hissed, having no patience for Michael.
"Nothing," he replied defensively.
"Exactly. Now leave me alone," Victoria sneered. Xiao moved to block her path.
"I'll tell," he said threateningly.
Victoria was getting really impatient. "All right. Do that. Let's go right now. We can go see if professor Sprout is there!" It was a shot in the dark but is was evidently the right choice as Xiao seemed to pale. Victoria actually only said it because she most certainly was not going to suggest Snape but also because she had a slight suspicion. Whatever was in his pockets, Michael certainly would not want a professor to know about it and she had a suspicion he might have come from the greenhouses. She didn't care. She cared whether he would leave her alone or not.
"At least tell me if I'm missing something," Xiao relented.
"Why should I?" Victoria said continuing on her path. She might have wander around until he got bored and stopped trailing her.
"All right," said the boy and grabbed her sleeve, causing her to stop. He looked over his shoulder before producing what looked like a blue-greyish onion from inside his pocket. "I'm sending them to... someone. They're worth quite a bit. Now will you tell me what you're doing?"
Victoria didn't comment upon the fact that she had absolutely no idea what those onions were even though Xiao clearly thought she should know. "I'm meeting someone," she said. She didn't like him and she certainly did not trust him but he had admitted to, she assumed, stealing whatever that plant was and she was nothing if not fair. "For a duel. So I'd get going if I was you." But she seemed to have peeked Michael's interest for the boy matched her speed and showed no signs of turning back.
"Really? Like, a real duel? Who're you fighting? Oh, and who's you second? Are you showing up alone?"
Victoria was reminded of the last time she and Malfoy had made this agreement. Then Ron had insisted on being her second and she had known nothing about duels at all. "I guess," she said and tried to sound disinterested. "It's Malfoy, all right? Stay out of it."
He seemed pensive for a moment. "I can be your second if you like. Malfoy is going to bring someone for sure."
Puzzled by why on earth Xiao would offer that Victoria glanced at him. "I'll be fine," she replied.
"Yeah, right," he replied but he didn't leave. The two of them wandered in silence to the broom shed near the Quidditch pitch. There was no one flying this evening – people were probably taking their time getting used to school again. Victoria would not have liked seeing Wood and the rest of the team in the air and knowing she would never play with them again. Victoria was not surprised to find the Draco was not there when she arrived. She half expected him not to show up at all. She camped near the the wall of the shed and Xiao spend the time retrieving a small pile of 'onions' from his pockets before he took of his outer robe and wrapped them in that. She assumed it was so they they did not tumble out of his pockets in front of Malfoy. Victoria was getting a bit antsy as they waited. What if he did the same thing again? Not only would she be in massive trouble with Snape but she would have dragged Xiao and whatever he had going on into it as well. She wished she had thought to bring a watch. Then finally, they heard voices approaching.
"Really, P-Evans? You brought a firstie?" Malfoy said mockingly. He was flanked by both Crabbe and Goyle who stood there puffing themselves up as much as they could.
"Not exactly," Victoria replied. "Are you just going to stand there?"
"There are rules and stuff," Malfoy said and crossed his arms, clearly pleased that he knew more than Victoria. "We have to bow. And then if one of us dies, the seconds take over." He grinned as if kind of hoping for this simply because he wanted one of the gorillas to smash Xiao.
"Okay, let's just do it," said Victoria and stood in front of Draco who immediately gave a theatrical bow. As she bent slightly forward to bow it hit her she had not even considered what spells to use. Last year Hermione had given her some but she did not remember which. It hardly mattered as the moment she bent forward Draco cried a spell, something hit her in the head and her legs immediately collapsed under her. Crabbe and Goyle were grunting merrily in approval of Draco's sneak attack while Xiao muttered something Victoria did not have time to listen to. Struggling to regain control of her legs, she rolled to the side and out of the path of a shover of dirt which Goyle had kicked in her direction. She could her Malfoy hissing at before her left leg finally started to do something. She rather furiously sat up and shot the dancing feet spell right back in Malfoy's smug face.
"Tarantallegra!" she yelled furiously and she was shocked at how high pitched she sounded. It almost made her sound frightened. Malfoy immediately dance off to a side and Victoria raised her wand to hit him again before he regained control. She never got the chance as what felt like a freight train smashed into her. Goyle quite obviously had decided to intervene.
"Hey! That's not fair! The rules..." Xiao shouted in the back while Victoria struggled to get Goyle off of her. She should have known Malfoy would know a lot more jinxes than her and she should have known they would cheat. But the time was no longer for honouring rules and agreements. Victoria kicked her way away from Goyle before noticing that Michael was being pushed against the shed by Crabbe.
"Get off him!" she cried and hit Crabbe's back though he did not look like it hurt and instead just turned his attention to her with an empty look in his eyes.
"Periculum!" Malfoy shouted and sparks flew around Victoria's ears. It was clever enough to get Victoria away from Crabbe but it certainly was not a smart move since that was bound to attract some attention. She ducked down to avoid the sparks which turned out well for her as it meant that Malfoy's second spell hit Crabbe instead who fell to the ground stiff as a board.
"Ay! What are yer doing over there?" A voice called out and Victoria immediately recognised it.
"Damn! Goyle, get up, idiot!" Malfoy hissed. In the next moment Victoria was shoved ground by Goyle before the three boys ran as a fast as they could. It was kind of ridiculous since they were likely to attract attention to themselves this way but Victoria didn't think to much about it.
"Hey! Where are you going? Chickens!" she cried after them as she got back on her feet.
"What in 'devil's name is..." Hagrid muttered as he came closer. "What are you lot up to?"
Victoria was breathing heavily and still very much feeling the adrenalin rush when she turned around to face Hagrid. That's when she noticed that Xiao's nose was bleeding and he looked like he was about to pass out yet resiliently keeping on his feet at the same time. Hagrid was nearing them in a hurry but after noticing Michael, Victoria did not consider that problem being seeing would cause – though she might not usually have given it much thought. She rushed over to Xiao and grabbed his arm.
"Xiao! Are you all right?" she asked.
"Yeah, yeah... I'm... I was just about to get him but... I got distracted by the sparkles and..." Xiao said as he seemed to get a hold of himself and pulled his arm out of Victoria's admittedly not very strong grip. Victoria was tempted to sigh. It seemed this boy did not have a different setting than obnoxious but sadly she could not ignore the nosebleed which Xiao himself had not seemed to notice yet.
"You're bleeding, idiot!" she said pointing at his face, a gesture which caused him to retract.
"You again! What are ye doing... Victoria?" Hagrid said as he came near enough to recognise Xiao and then Victoria. The latter spun around with a wide-eyed expression.
"It was Malfoy! Hagrid, you got to help us!" she replied.
"They did a number on you," Hagrid noted, almost bemused, as he pulled Xiao up in a swift motion. "What are ye doing out here?"
"Well, uhh," Victoria began as she tried to think of how to frame it. She didn't like lying to Hagrid and she had rarely had any reason to at all but she was uneasy about blurting out that Snape couldn't know she was there because she would be in massive trouble in front of Xiao. As far as the first year knew, Snape had only ever ignored her and while being scared of being caught was understandable, the general consensus in Slytherin seemed to be that it was better to be caught by Snape – if at all with such things as he'd not take to think of it, Victoria had no idea whether the Slytherins actually got detention from him when the other teachers were not involved. Last year it had certainly seemed to her that Snape never came down upon the snakes and only ever (unfairly) punished the other houses. But then, last year she had also been convinced Snape was trying to kill her and steal the philosopher's stone. Oh, and that he was a complete monster.
"I'd forgotten my book," Xiao said quickly. "And they jumped us. Erm, Evans had promised to help me look. Please, don't tell anyone. I've already been warned about leaving library books out once." Victoria did not know what to say to that. "But we'd better get in before curfew. Evans, are you coming?"
"Yer haven't found yer book yet," Hagrid said, though he seemed to be more interested in helping Xiao than pointing out that this was a flaw in his explanation.
"We'll have a look tomorrow. It doesn't seem to be out here," Victoria interjected.
"Right, ye hat best get going," Hagrid said kindly. "Eh, H-Victoria. Yer wouldn't have time to come by tomorrow? While yer here?"
"Oh! Of course Hagrid! Sure!" she smiled in return, grabbing Xiao's arm and rushing towards the castle.
"You owe me for this!" Michael hissed as he tried to wipe his nose with painful results and a visibly stained robe sleeve.
"Yeah, yeah. It was you who wouldn't leave, you know!" Victoria snapped as thy neared the gates. Still she was incredibly grateful to him – even if he probably did it for his own sake. Now they just had to casually make their way back to their destinations.
Severus did not know what to make of everything. Once the door closed softly behind the girl he had to fight the urge to punch a wall – but even in this state he knew the broken bones were not worth the satisfaction. Detention? In the first week? Not more than few months ago he would have been delighted to hand out a detention to Harry Potter that early in the term and he would have been just as delighted to hear that the menace had gotten some elsewhere – just as long as the child suffered somewhere. But now? Now it was his daughter. And he found it mattered to him. He wondered what Minerva would think. But he had told them repeatedly that he was no good at this and every time he had they argued against him. Then whenever he actually took any decisions they pitched a fit. 'We believe in your judgements and abilities so long as you do everything exactly like we would have done it.' Yes, that was pretty much the gist of it. What now then? He could not continue just sending her off or leaving himself. He wanted to smack her to the moon and back but for one thing Minerva was bound to skin him alive and for another, he was worried. He had told the girl not to put her faith in him and he had meant it. For her sake.
When he was a child no one would have ever said the Snape boy had a temper. He had always appeared quiet. But they never knew. Severus had not found his temper until he met Lily. When he found something to fight for. First it had been Petunia. Then later the other children at Hogwarts and then, finally, when he became a teenager - his father. And it was an even match. Then they would say he had his father's temper. What if he did? The truth was that he was terrified. But he cared about her, did he not? He had to admit that to himself. Did it change things? His father had not cared whether Severus lived or died – he was absolutely sure of that. Why had she not mentioned this detention earlier? Did she not care? Did she think she could hide it from him? If he had known he could have asked Flitwick to let him take care of it. The old professor would have allowed it. He had previously when Severus had asked to take care of Slytherins so he could move the date and let they play Quidditch matches. But regardless he was torn. He was sure Minerva would say yelling some sense into Victoria would be wrong of him somehow but was he supposed to just stand around while she got detentions left and right, sneered at him and disappeared as it pleased her? With everything that was happening?
One thing he did know: He needed to figure out what was going on with Trelawney. Even if he could not stand being near the woman. Still, that would have to wait as he had too much work to do. And he would like to be here to see that Victoria returned at a proper hour – for entirely school regulation-related reasons of course. In an attempt to distract himself from the matter of the girl and what to do about her, he listed everything he knew about that strange bird in his head. He remembered the day he had first seen her. He breathed deeply as the sting of what it had all lead to returned as it always did. Some wounds would never heal. At first it had been almost laughable. Just like Dumbledore, Severus was beginning to consider the whole thing a waste of his time. He knew Minerva could not stand the woman – even if she did treat her respectfully, mostly because she considered her a complete scam. But Severus knew better. Trelawney was a proper seer even if Minerva and Sybill herself did not believe it. And that fact had brought nothing but ruin. Thus momentarily satisfied with pushing all the blame over on her, Severus paused. The old man had to be losing it. A few months ago Severus would have sworn that Dumbledore wouldn't trust Trelawney to peel a potato. Yet, here she was, sneaking around on his orders.
He was not there when Victoria returned – having been working in the classroom. But her robe was tossed over the armrest of the sofa once he returned. Agitated, he picked it up and went to the door of her room which was shut as expected. He knocked.
"Yes?" The voice sounded slightly preoccupied and the word was spoken with much less attitude that he expected from her. Opening the door to find her sitting on the bed with a book. She had changed her clothes – the school uniform she had worn lay on the chair.
"I don't appreciate you using my living room as a wardrobe," Severus stated as he took in her demeanour. She looked nervous and like she was trying to hide that fact. She had good reason to be. They had yet to go over her getting a detention. He tossed the robe on the chair with the rest of her clothes to emphasise his point.
"Oh, sorry," she replied and jumped of the bed to take the robe and presumably put it in the actual wardrobe. She did not sound sorry about that in the least and her nonchalant (and relieved?) attitude caused Severus to huff. He held onto it a little but did let go when she tugged it out of his hand.
"You're back earlier than I thought," he said stiffly. She paused, then proceeded to put the robe in the wardrobe.
"Oh, yeah. It wasn't too bad," she shrugged as she turned back around, not looking at him at all. To Severus everything had been strangely divided. Once the girl was not only his but looked nothing like the boy he had hated for a year – it was easy to pretend they were different persons. But they weren't. Not in the slightest and this was exactly the sort of thing that would have sent in him a rage last year. It was what he considered an annoying, nonchalant attitude. She was either lying or Flitwick was a softhearted old fool. Possibly both.
"I see..." he commented. "And I suppose you thought I would have nothing more to say on the matter?"
"It wasn't potions!" she replied with some confusion. "And McGonagall never said anything!"
"Regardless of what professor McGonagall would or would not say, I am not speaking as your head of house but your... guardian. I am responsible for you now that you've chosen to remain with me," he said, casually disregarding the fact that it had also been his own decision to stay with her this summer and to have her remain with him. True, she had had to ask but he had wanted that as much as she did. Probably more, he imagined. "You grades and your performance reflect upon me."
Victoria suddenly crossed her arms and jumped back onto the bed. "Nobody knows I stay here."
"The people who matter do and that is besides the point. I don't appreciate the attitude," Severus replied crossly. What did she want from him? Just a roof over her head, food, clothes and the permission to do whatever she bloody well pleased whenever she pleased? "And with everything I have done to protect you I would at the very least expect some respect and gratitude. While you live under my roof – so to speak, you will follow my rules and directions."
"It's not your roof – it's the school's," Victoria mumbled, either not caring or realising that he had been obviously metaphorical.
Severus seethed with anger and his fingers twitched to grab her toss her in the nearest cauldron. "Well..." he said stiffly. "You're very welcome to go to your dorm instead!"
Her head snapped up. For a moment there was only surprise and mortification there. And then... "Maybe I will!" she cried furiously.
He was surprised of course as he had expected her to apologise and declare she would not go to the place she had so dreaded. Severus schooled his expression into a stiff mask and straightened his robes mechanically. "As you please. You had better leave at once if you don't wish to be out after curfew." And with that he spun around and slammed the door behind him with a great deal more force than he had intended.
Victoria felt the wave of air produced by the door on her face. Why on earth had she said that? Al she had aimed to do was distract him from the fact her explanations were vague but she had not wanted to do this! Victoria took a few deep breath while her hands were clenched in fists. Why did he not understand? If she had wanted someone to lock her up somewhere and make stupid rules she would have stayed with the Dursleys. If she had wanted him to sneer at her and tell her she was doing poorly all she would need to do is pay attention to him in potions. She had wanted to spite him just now. In a way she still very much did. It hurt. It hurt to be told to leave – even if it had technically been her own suggestion. She was terrified of the thought of going there but she did not feel like begging Snape to be able to stay either. She pulled her knees up under her chin and sat there on her bed, rocking back and forth for a moment before she finally made a decision.
What do you think should happen next?
I will be looking at any comment suggestions here and on P&S. Who knows? I might pick yours!