Severus Snape, age 32, the youngest Potions Master in England was already planning his retirement.

How he managed up until this point, he doesn't know…

-No, wait, yes he does!

He managed because in all his 11 years of teaching, he never had to teach the Potter-spawn.

He knew that this is what he signed up for all those years ago, but he didn't imagine just how exhausting it would all be. How that boy and his idiotic friends manage to get themselves into life-threatening situations like nobody's business is beyond him, and honestly, he doesn't even care to know why, he just wants it to stop. Now he's stuck protecting this idiot who, if left to his own devices, would probably find and waltz right into some mysterious secret unused classroom in Hogwarts that kills him upon entrance, despite the big, glowing magical words that say specifically not to do that.

There was a time he hoped that the boy would be alright. That he would inherit anything other than his father's... anything. Just last year he was within these same quarters trying to convince himself that the child he's risking his very life for wouldn't be the arrogant ponce he pictured in his mind. That everything would be alright.

He even entertained the notion of him becoming a Slytherin of all things and took great pleasure in imagining the look of horror on Potter's face beyond the grave if that hat had condemned his beloved progeny to be in the house he oh-so despised, the house of Slimy Snakes. He carried said notion all the way to the Head Table at that thrice-be-damned welcoming feast, only to be reminded why he should never engage in wishful thinking ever again.

Severus interrupted his dramatic inner monologue with an equally-dramatic sigh as he packed the clothes he will take back home with him over the break. He thought of all the wonderful, mundane things he gets to do over the summer. Gardening, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, potion-making… What was he on about again?

Oh. Right- Of course the brat would end up in Gryffindor, why did he expect anything less? The fourteen seconds it took for him and the other teachers at the table to get a good look at all those bright and wide-eyed dunderheads, he honestly had thought the ghost of James Potter had come to these hallowed halls to finally haunt him after all these years. Oh, yes. Somehow, he had unknowingly invested his own coins into the genetic lottery of the little devil and lost big time. Had he known that this boy were to be an exact replica of his father, he may have reconsidered going to Azkaban after all.

He knew from all the teary-eyed monologues from the old biddies in the staff room that the holy terror took after his father, but this was ridiculous. His looks alone were enough for him to know within the deepest recesses of his soul that the urchin would be in Gryffindor. The divine beings that ruled his fate must be laughing it up right about now over the dramatic irony of it all. James Fucking Potter and that little rat Pettigrew are probably losing their damn minds wherever the hell they are.

So the curse on my life in the form of a little boy strutted on over to the table full of foolhardy lions, just like his father would have done. Yes, it's all clear in his mind now. The ghost of Potter the elder did not manifest in the hall directly-Oh no, that would have been too easy. His imprint is all over the little shit. The way he glares at the Slytherin table with disdain. The way he tucks into his dinner like he doesn't get perfectly good food at home, the ungrateful brat. Spoiled, just like his father was. The way Minerva glowed as she prattles on about the wonderful new addition to her house, the son of her two favorite students. Just like his father, he will trounce along these halls without a care in the world, act like he can do whatever he wants. And by the way that Albus' blue eyes twinkled with pride when the gray accent of his robes melted into bright reds and glimmering golds, he might be allowed to do exactly that. He'll bully and pester innocent bystanders and get away with a mere slap on the wrist for 'taking his fun too far'. Just like his father was.

At the time, he didn't even realize he was staring at the whelp until he saw them.

"He has his mother's eyes."

.

.

…and there was Lily.

.

.

.

…maybe she was laughing at him too.

Severus finished packing and shrunk his luggage. He put the trunk into his pocket and looked out the small dungeon window. It was already dark, so most of the other staff must have left by now.

Good.

He sneered at his now-barren living space one last time for good measure, and departed into the hallway towards the nearest exit out of the castle. He trudged along the hall where he unfortunately encountered Minerva and Pomona. Unfortunately, before he could slip away and make his hasty exit, they saw him.

The women fastened him with a stern look that instantly transported him from being a fellow member of the staff to being a student after getting a particularly bad grade on a test. He knew exactly what they wanted to talk about and this was the one conversation he'd been trying to avoid ever since the students left. If it were anybody else, he would have simply ignored it and moved on. But he knew that these two would corner him again eventually. It wasn't worth fighting the inevitable.

"Severus, we were just talking about you." Minerva greeted.

"Oh? Gossiping behind my back, are we?" He quipped, allowing his eyebrow to quirk just a little.

Pomona snorted. "Of course. What sort of old ladies would we be if we didn't?"

The two of them reveled in the playful atmosphere before Minerva finally acknowledged the metaphorical elephant in the room.
"…Severus, would you care to explain where on Earth Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger got the impression that you were the one planning to take the Stone?"

He sneered. How the hell was he supposed to know what those gremlins were thinking? She must have known what he was thinking because she didn't let him answer. If he wasn't a Master Occlumens he would have thought she was using mind magic on him.

"Severus, I know you weren't on the best of terms with the Potters, but at least give their son a chance. Harry is a bright and kind boy, just like his mother was. Couldn't you make at least some effort to try and connect with him?" Minerva looked at him with pleading eyes.

He mentally sighed. Why can't he just go home?

Pomona apparently decided to take this beat of silence to add in her two knuts. "Yes, I see so much of Lily in him. I know how close you two were in schoo-" He cut her off before she could even consider finishing that sentence.
"Do not speak of what you don't know, Pomona." He spat out.

No.

Don't compare that troublemaker to her.

The only thing he took from her were the eyes, seemingly manufactured to torment Severus Snape for the things he's done.

So just like that, the conversation was over, and he was already walking away from the two. He could faintly make out Minerva calling out for his name over the sound of his own thoughts, but it was too late. He was already out the door and walking towards the apparition point.

Potter this, Potter that. 'Just give him a chance, Severus! He's wonderful!'- My arse! Nobody knows what he's really like. Nobody knows but me. How many times have they excused his behavior? How many times have they looked the other way when he harasses the Slytherins? How long until someone gets hurt?

No, I won't let that happen again. Potter is not going to get away with this.

Not as long as I can help it.

And with that thought, Severus Snape apparated from the campus grounds with a resounding crack.


Wishing Snape a Happy Birthday! This is my first HP fic, so let me know what you think!