Chapter 3

Damn that stupid, idiotic girl! Why couldn't she just watch where she was going? Severus thought, highly annoyed. Great he thought sarcastically. Just bloody brilliant! Now I have five hours of Hermione fucking Granger in my office with me trying not to fuck up her against the wall. Oh and there's the Prat-Who-Lived along, with Longbottom who has got to be one of the biggest dunderheads I have ever had the misfortune to teach. Well, I'm going to make these detentions the most miserable hours of their pathetic little lives. A malicious grin spread across Severus Snape's grim features as he lay in bed that night thinking of those detentions.

"Hermione are you alright?" Harry asked as he saw her coming through the portrait hole her eyes all red and puffy, it was obvious she had been crying.

"I'm fine it's just that Professor Snape gave me detention for running into him, it's not like I did it on purpose I didn't see him." She replied in a trying-to-stay calm tone of voice. She sighed and shrugged then said in rather overly cheerful voice "Honestly I'm fine I'm just going to have to rearrange my homework timetable."

Harry didn't look all together convinced but Ron (having the emotional range of a teaspoon and therefore oblivious to the atmosphere in the room) started chatting happily about the Halloween dance in Hogsmeade in two weeks time, Harry soon forgot about his concern for Hermione as he joined in whole-heartedly with Ron as they devised various plans to get a date. Hermione pushed her thoughts to the back of her mind, deciding to think about them later in bed and started revising ancient runes whilst listening to (and rolling her eyes at) Harry and Ron's conversation.

It was almost midnight by the time Hermione dragged herself away from her books and finally went to bed, but as soon as she drew the hangings around her four-poster bed she felt wide awake and decided she would mull over some of the things that had happened that day. Firstly there was the very weird look Professor Snape gave her in potions and the equally strange look he was giving her as she walked away from the library after she had accidentally walked into him.

What was wrong with him today? Hermione thought. Perhaps he had an extremely difficult mission to complete for the Order, but then again he's a strange man in the first place, what with the long billowing robes and his general attitude of sarcasm and disdain towards everyone. But something about him was stranger than usual recently and Hermione just couldn't figure out what it was.

And I have a detention on Monday night to get through she groaned inwardly.

Still at least I'll be able to listen to that velvety voice for another couple of hours and that might just make up for the hours spent peeling toads eyeballs or whatever other disgusting punishment Professor Snape gives us.

Hmmm, should I have them remove the stings from billywigs or pluck the feathers from some jobberknolls?

Snape was standing in his store cupboard pondering over which punishments to give the three imbeciles who would be serving detention with him tomorrow evening. Which is the most unpleasant? he just couldn't decide between the two.

A knock on his office door interrupted his pleasant daydream of making the three most irritating people he had ever been unlucky enough to teach undergoing some of the vilest punishments he could think of. He strode over to his office door and pulled it open, rather annoyed at this interruption of his peaceful afternoon. Minerva stood in his doorway and before he could even open his mouth to tell her to go away she had dumped a ton of essays in his arms and as he staggered under the weight of them Minerva marched into the room and settled herself in a large, green leather armchair by the small fire.

"There are your fifth year essays on the uses of re'ems"

"Thank you" Severus said trying to carry them to his desk, which he thought might break under the weight of them all. Ha, the wretches must have been so scared by threats of detention with Filch that they wrote extra long essays! he thought triumphantly.

"It's freezing in here Severus!" Minerva grumbled and pointed her wand at the empty grate; the next second a fire was crackling merrily and casting a casting a warm glow around the room making it look almost cosy.

"So Minerva, to what do I owe the…erm…pleasure of your company, surely this is not a social visit."

"No Severus I'm afraid it's not, Albus has requested a meeting of the Order tomorrow evening at nine o'clock. I would be grateful if you could tell Potter, Weasley and Miss Granger as I believe you have sentenced them to detention."

"Minerva, you make it sound as though spending several hours with me in the dungeons is a bad thing" he said with a playful smirk (well, as playfully as he could anyway) "Besides Weasley does not have the pleasure of serving a detention with me, Longbottom does."

"Poor boy. I shall inform Weasley of the meeting myself somehow. When is the next Death- Eater meeting?" Minerva asked, half dreading the answer for she knew that each time Voldemort summoned him could be the last, even though she only knew half of what he went through she could guess the rest. And over the years she had come to value him as a colleague and, on her part a friend.

"Probably not for another week or so but I can't be sure." Severus replied shortly, he crossed the room and took two glasses and a bottle of Old Ogden's Fire Whiskey out of a cabinet, he poured the amber liquid into the tumblers and handed one to Minerva, which she took gratefully.

"Oh, I've been dying for one of these all day, since my second year Slytherins and Hufflepuffs; three of them had to go to the hospital wing after they gave themselves fur."

Severus smirked, "A typical day then"

They sat in silence for a while, sipping their drinks (Minerva was closer to gulping than sipping)

"Have you completed Remus' wolfsbane potion yet?" she asked, not doubting that he had but she had wanted to break the silence.

"It needs to brew for another five days before I can the final ingredients." He replied dully, wanting to steer the conversation onto more neutral topics.

"I was hoping I could borrow your Flourish and Blotts autumn catalogue, I seem to have lost mine and I wanted to order the latest…er… Enchanted Encounters novel." She blushed as she said it.

"Enchanted Encounters, I thought you said that those books were a 'heinous portrayal of witches' and that you 'would never read them even if Merlin himself begged you to.'"

Severus' smirk had grown so wide it could almost be called a grin.

"It's erm…a gift…for…erm…my sister." She stuttered, Severus' smirk grew even wider.

"Oh have you got the catalogue or not!" Minerva snapped, blushing again and looking a little flustered. Severus went to get up from the chair he had been sitting in and accidentally put too much pressure on his left arm, which had been hit with a nasty curse some weeks ago which gave the feeling of almost permanent cramps and it was still bruised and sore. He winced as he felt his wrist crack and immediately cursed himself for showing signs of injury and weakness in front of others. Minerva, seeing his pain had risen quickly from her chair and had placed a restraining hand on his arm preventing him from getting up.

"Severus if you're injured you should go to Poppy." She chastised him, but her voice was full of concern.

"I'm fine, it's healing, I have several potions to take care of it but it was an unknown hex and it is taking longer to heal then I had anticipated" he snapped. Minerva looked at him sceptically, not believing a word of it "I am fine!" he said more forcefully and pushed himself up from the chair, he went over to a small table in the corner of the room and picked up a thick blue catalogue with 'Flourish and Blotts, Autumn Edition' stamped in silver on the front. He handed it to Minerva, ignoring the look of concern she was giving him.

"Is that all?" Severus asked, in a foul mood now after his display of weakness and the amount of fuss it would cause when Minerva told the Headmaster, which she inevitably would. Minerva sighed and nodded then readjusting her hat she walked to the door.

"Minerva" Severus called " which do you think is worse, removing the stings from billywigs or plucking jobberknolls?"

"Oh I always prefer making them squeeze the pus from a bundimun don't you?" she said, a little smile on her face at Severus' version of an apology. "Goodnight Severus" she smiled again and closed the heavy ebony door with a soft click.

Severus smiled to himself, whoever thought that Minerva McGonagall could be so cruel as to make students squeeze the pus from bundimuns? Why hadn't he thought of it before?