Thanks to JK Rowling for the use of her characters. I'm borrowing them with no intent of making any money...

Rain poured down scouring the earth as the figure Apparated near the forest. Night was falling and all was silent except for the sound of water hitting leaves softly while it searched the small clearing with cold eyes. Alone it stood, taking in signs of the recent battle, trembling as it's dark form made way toward the shadows where the fallen one lie. Kneeling on the muddy earth long fingers trembled as they searched the body for some sign of life. Ignorant of the wind that thrashed through the trees the hooded figure sat quietly, bitter tears washed away by heavy rains. Shaky hands cupped the now still face and warm lips pressed softly against the cold cheek in silent goodbye. Like a shadow the mourner lay its body down in the mud, settling into the arms of the dead, waiting for its own escape into death.

The school year was approaching Hogwarts at a pace too quick for the Potions Master as he left the dark solace of the dungeons. Soon the arrival of the students would mark the end that solitude. They will invade like a swarm of bees, buzzing about as they set up their hives, their mere presence a sting in his backside. Tolerating the brats was the price he had to pay for his redemption and especially at this time of year his past sins hung over him, clouding him with thoughts of what could have been. What should have been his life had he made better choices and not joined up with the Dark Lord.

Severus Snape stood before the statue that marked the entrance to the Headmaster's office, clearing his mind before speaking the password and entering the throng of cheerful professors waiting for the staff meeting to begin. Revolted as always by their cheerful camaraderie he made his way to his usual seat against the rear wall.

Professor McGonagall's voice drifted into his ears as the door to Dumbledore's private office opened.

"I can't believe that you are willing to take such a chance! Mark my words Albus, this decision is one you will soon regret. It's not too late to change your mind."

"I will not waiver in this Minerva and I would ask that you keep things to yourself. We don't need rumors flying around now do we?"

Shortly after the Headmaster and Mistress joined the gathering a woman entered. She looked vaguely familiar and he immediately knew what she was doing here. Ye gods a woman teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Snape's eyes narrowed as she made her way past inquiring eyes to the rear of the room. The chair scraped the floor as she pulled it away from the group, pausing for a moment the git actually scowled at him before settling down a short distance away. Her complection pallid, stringy dark blonde hair hung into her angular face and straight past her shoulders, making her large eyes seem out of place. An old fashioned shirt buttoned up one side of her neck underneath dusty black robes.

Feeling his eyes on her the new professor turned to him with a blank look, "Professor Snape."

"I've seen you before, where?" he cut to the point.

"Perhaps your memory is failing you in your old age professor. After spending five years in the same house I'm barely familiar am I? Or is it that you only remember the pretty young girls, like Lilly? One would hope that your powers of observation would have grown with the years."

Her sarcasm grated his nerves as he turned his attention to Dumbledore. This would be no simpering fool of a woman to grace the halls of the school. Snape was thrown off by her attack, her mention of Lilly, yet at least she was a fellow Slytherin. The chit sat ram rod straight in the chair, arms crossed over her chest and merely nodded to the other professors as Dumbledore made the introductions. Morgan Rheged would indeed be the new DADA instructor, Snape pondered staring at nothing in particular, the name does sound familiar.

Dumbledore approached them as the meeting let out, "Severus I have a few things I must attend to, would you be willing to show our new professor to her rooms?"

As always this was a demand and not a request that the Headmaster made sound so innocent, "if I must."

Morgan paused as they made their way across the room, "hello Minerva," she spoke slowly, a slight sneer on her lips.

The elder professor turned to her with a look of disdain, "Morgan. I will have you know I'm not at all happy about this. I don't condone your being here. Professor Dumbledore saw fit to give you this post regardless of my concerns. I'm not sure what made you decide that Hogwarts was the place for you, and I would hope that you will not make the Headmaster regret his decision."

"I don't intent to."

This rare show of anger from McGonagall intrigued the Potions Master and he mused it's meaning during the trip to the classroom. Morgan's eyes roamed the room quickly before heading into the office.

"It will do. Where are my quarters?"

"You and Professor McGonagall seem to get on well," he said casually as they left.

The woman stopped in her tracks to glower at him for several long moments, "I'm afraid my dear auntie disowned me a long time ago for the bad seed that I am." Noting the interested look on the dark man's face she continued, "didn't know that the old lady had a niece did you? This is a bit too close for her comfort. Something tells me my stay here at the school is going to be a delightful experience for us both. Can we go now or do you feel the need to prattle on?"

Prattle? Snape was slightly taken aback at that accusation as he took her to her rooms and told her the password before he stormed off in a swirling of robes.

Finding her rooms adequate, Morgan settled down on the bed and sank her face into her hands with a heavy sigh. This was a mistake, she thought. Minerva's presence was bad enough but she'd completely forgotten about Snape. He was still an arrogant bastard and while it galled her that he didn't remember her from school, she didn't need any additional embarrassment. The sight of the man brought back memories of the humiliation and pain of adolescence. Angry recrimination washed over her, there is surely no love lost on you Severus Snape.

Severus sat in his office thinking about the new instructor. It was bad enough that Dumbledore had given his coveted post to a woman, but what on earth would possess him to chose this woman? An unsociable aggravating wench at that. Prattling old imbecile was he? At least she was a Slytherin, and that in itself might be enough to give Minerva reason to dislike her. He was intrigued and irritated at the same time. He wanted to know why she was here and just how rotten indeed was the seed that sprang her. Finally curiosity got the best of him and the Potions Master headed to her classroom.

Silently he passed through the open door and finding the room empty continued to her office. The woman appeared to be preparing a class syllabus as she sat quill in hand, staring at some parchment on the desk.

"Professor?" he inquired.

Morgan looked up into at him, feeling slightly taken aback at his countenance. Once along time ago she'd had a crush on the man and something in the sight of him now stirred those long ago vanquished feelings. He stood looking so regal in his tightly buttoned frock coat that her heart skipped a beat as their eyes met.

"Professor," she responded in kind.

"As a colleague, I am curious to know what qualifications you have to teach the Dark Arts."

Morgan almost smiled at his audacity. He came seeking answers, she thought before responding, "the same thing that qualifies you to teach, knowledge, practical skills and experience."

"And just what is the extent of this knowledge?"

"Look Snape, I'm more than able to teach this post and if that's a problem then feel free to quiz me."

The man regarded her solemnly, wondering if she knew what he was after before he decided to take up the offer, "fine." Severus removed a spider from it's container and set it in front of her. "Kill it."

"Now that's original," Morgan ran easily through a number of other torturous and forbidden spells before one last Avada Kavedra put it to death. "Does that meet your satisfaction?"

Snape marveled at the ease those hexes flew from her, perhaps Minerva was right and she dangerous, but why then did the Headmaster want her here? "Yes, I suppose it does fill in a few gaps."

"Professor Snape," the woman started softly as he turned to leave, "the next time you want to gather information I really wish you'd just ask. I just had to waste a perfectly good spider and Hagrid seems to have something against giving them up in the first place."

The arrival of the students meant the return to the formal staff table and she was to sit next to the Potions Master in front of the Slytherin table. Memories of her own frightening first day flashed by as the students were sorted in to their own respective houses.

She sat shaking in fear in the stool, the other students had already began to tease her and now she had to sit in front of everyone. Hundreds of eyes baring down forced her own to look at the floor. 'Daddy, please come and take me home.'

"There's only one place for this one," the hat began, "Slytherin."

Even as her new house-mates cheered, her Aunt had challenged the Sorting Hat, "you've got to be joking hat. Surely you meant Gryffindor, this just isn't possible."

"McGonagall blood she has 'tis true, but what makes you think she's just like you? It is Slytherin that will lead her to great things and great power."

Now the other children were really staring at her. Everyone knew Professor McGonagall was a relative, and worse 'she' was a Slytherin. Her aunt was horrified. Did that symbol mark her? Did it define her future? What did the hat mean by great power? Her head was reeling, hands patting her shoulders and back as she sat at her house table for the first time.

Morgan found herself thankful for Snape's silent and brooding nature as she emerged from her thoughts. Once again all eyes fell on her as the Headmaster introduced her as the new instructor, only this time she felt a surge of power. Being a professor was an honor that demanded respect and she was suddenly proud at her accomplishments, at those skills and that knowledge she'd boasted to Snape about.

On the way through the hall Morgan came upon Snape who was leaning over a frightened boy, poking a finger into his chest, "mark my words Potter, lest you end up tormenting others like your father. Now get out of my sight."

"That takes a lot of nerve," she said catching up with him.

"And what do you think you know about Potter? You haven't even met the boy yet."

"No, I don't know Potter, but I do know you."

What on earth did she mean by that, he wondered, watching her retreating form.