Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, or any other personas created by J.K. Rowling.
A/N: This is set in the future. I don't think there are any OOTP spoilers in here. I don't know if this concept has been done before; if it has, I haven't read it. Enjoy!
"Spencer! What exactly do you think you're doing?"
Professor Severus Snape, Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House, towered menacingly over a palpably terrified first year student, who stood with his wand pointed at another young boy. The other student looked considerably less agitated; in fact, he watched smugly as Snape glowered furiously at his peer.
"Pro-Professor, Kildare started it, sir, he shoved me into the wall and threatened to h-hex me after Herbology -" Spencer stuttered badly as his wavering gaze met the intense glare of the formidable professor. Kildare, obviously enjoying the other boy's discomfort, smirked wickedly.
Snape sneered at the trembling student, then turned to young Kildare. "Is this true, Kevin?" Snape asked in a low, smooth voice. Kevin Kildare smirked even wider at his head of house.
"Of course not, Professor Snape," he simpered, his voice oozing with saccharine innocence. "I don't know what Spencer's playing at, I would never-" he pronounced the word with such faux outrage that it took all of Spencer's willpower not to hex him right in front of Snape- "ever, consider hexing another student, Professor." Kildare shot Spencer a smug look of triumph.
"I see," Snape purred. "Well then. I think, what, twenty points from Gryffindor for trying to attack another student in the halls, and another ten for lying about it… yes, that should do nicely." He sneered viciously at Spencer. The eleven-year-old boy, appalled at having just lost his house thirty points, opened his mouth to protest. However, upon seeing Snape's self-satisfied leer, he quickly thought better of it. Ducking his head so as not to meet the arrogant countenances of either Slytherin, Spencer hurried off down the corridor, red-faced. Kildare gave a short, sycophantic laugh, nodded at Snape, and continued on his way to his own class.
Professor Hermione Granger watched the entire performance, rage coursing through her veins. She knew Snape was flagrantly unfair in his treatment of students, ignoring all but the most serious of infractions from his precious Slytherins and punishing harshly the least offenses of the Gryffindors. It had been so when she had attended Hogwarts, and little had changed. Allan Spencer had, of course, not lied about Kildare's behavior; she knew this even though she had not witnessed the altercation. If she had, she would have intervened on his behalf. But as it was, Snape had gotten to them first, and it would be highly unprofessional of her to challenge Snape's discipline in front of students. Not that what he was doing was professional, but Hermione always prided herself in her ability to rise above the pettiness of others.
But she was no longer an impotent student, powerless to stand up to the intimidation of her frightening Potions Master. No, now she and Snape were colleagues and fellow Heads of House. She had succeeded Minerva McGonagall as Head of Gryffindor House after McGonagall had been appointed as Headmistress following Dumbledore's death. She had a personal and professional stake in the House standings and she would be damned if Snape helped Slytherin cheat their way to the House Cup. She strode purposefully after Snape, who had just left the scene of the crime and was heading back down to his dungeons.
"Professor Snape," she called after him. He stopped and turned slowly, obviously loath to hear her voice. He fixed her with his best impatient glare.
"Professor Granger," he said curtly. The contempt with which he spat out her title was not lost on her. She had the distinct feeling that, even though she had been professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts for four years now, Snape still considered her little more than the insufferable, bossy know-it-all he had believed her to be as a student. Of all the faculty members, he alone refused to be on a first-name basis with her. It usually did not bother her too much – after all, it wasn't as if she actually desired his company. At any rate, she was not going to stand by while Snape took points from her house for ridiculous things.
"Professor, I think we need to have a discussion about inter-house discipline," she began, meeting his surly gaze with her own unwavering one, refusing to allow herself to be intimidated by him. She respected him for his heroics during the War against Voldemort and admired the cunning and courage he had shown as a double agent. Keeping this in mind, she pressed on. "I don't think you had sufficient justification to dock thirty points from Gryffindor while allowing your student to go unpunished. You merely took your student's words at face value, while at the same time accusing Mr. Spencer of lying. Did it not occur to you that, in fact, Mr. Kildare might have been the prevaricator in this situation?" She wrapped up her spiel, cursing herself for the feeling of trepidation that was rising in her chest. She forced herself to maintain eye contact and braced herself for the onslaught of icy fury that would no doubt soon erupt from the Potions Master.
True to form, Snape's eyes frosted over, his expression even more sinister and hateful than it had been before. His lip curled back and he sneered rather evilly at Hermione. "Professor Granger," he spat frigidly. "I have been teaching here for nearly as long as you have been alive. I believe that I am capable of punishing students for their infractions without your meddling interference. Did you see Mr. Kildare's wand out, Professor?" he challenged her, his eyes burning. She continued to meet his glare with defiance, though inwardly she cringed. He was right. Spencer had been the only one with his wand out. Whatever Kildare had said to him had obviously provoked him into drawing his wand – but that could never be proven. Hermione wanted to curse.
Snape, sensing his victory, allowed a taunting smirk to creep onto his face. "Well then, Professor," he drawled, "if you are finished questioning my competence, I have important things to do. Good day," he sneered, voice dripping with acid.
Hermione seethed. Damn him! It was obvious that he had just taken points from Gryffindor out of spite, but what could she do? Wait… there was one more thing…
"Oh, Professor," she called out again in a honeyed voice, suppressing a smirk of her own as she watched him stiffen in irritation. "What about the ten points you took for Mr. Spencer's supposed dishonesty? I don't believe it would be proper to take points away based solely on the testimony of another student who very likely was trying to save his own skin," she reasoned. She was surprised when Snape whirled around and stalked back to where she was standing, stopping just inches from her face. Had she been a student, she would have been scared to death. As it was, his consternation was merely unpleasant.
"Of course," he hissed. "You are, as always, correct, Professor. It was improper of me to take points away from Gryffindor for dishonesty," he bit out sullenly. Hermione tried to stifle the feeling of shock that was welling up in her. Had Professor Snape just admitted that she was right? Had she finally talked some amount of reason into him?
"Instead," he intoned silkily, reverting to his Evil Smirk, "I will take the points away for impertinence." With a final sneer, he spun around with a flourish and marched down the hall, robes billowing out behind him.
Hermione felt her jaw drop as she watched him stalk away to the dungeons. Bastard! Of all the nerve! The race between Slytherin and Gryffindor for the House Cup was especially close this year. Gryffindor had a superior Quidditch team and looked to win the Quidditch Cup, but if Snape had his way, he would deduct enough points to hand the House Cup to his own House. She clamped her jaw shut, gritting her teeth in anger.
Fine. If this was the way he wanted to play the game, then fine. Two could play at this. Gryffindor had just missed winning the Cup last year, and by all accounts should win it this year. She was not about to let Snape's low-down, slimy, underhanded, cheating dirty Slytherin tactics screw her out of her first House Cup!
She strode purposefully towards her private rooms in Gryffindor Tower. As far as she was concerned, this was war.