The Pursuit of Silence
or: Twenty Things that Severus Snape Never Said Out Loud

Severus Snape hates the Death Eater meetings. He has never said so, because he prefers to leave them alive, but an army is only as strong as its weakest man, and deep in the privacy of his own mind Snape assesses his comrades and concludes that the Dark Lord is an idiot.

He also finds the pointy hats stupid and effeminate, but knows better than to criticize Voldemort's sartorial taste.

He has never performed the Imperius Curse. He considers it -- especially after the Crouch debacle -- to be the last resource of a sloppy planner.

He was sitting in the pub the night Hagrid bought the dragon's egg, and conveniently forgot to mention it in the next staff meeting. A few days later an enormous and unmarked barrel of single-malt whisky was delivered to his dungeon door. The matter was never referred to again.

His least favorite colleague, surprisingly enough, is Professor Binns. At Snape's last estimate, approximately two-thirds of the school's young Voldemort sympathizers could have been easily reeducated if Binns hadn't been too dead to put modern history in perspective.

Lupin doesn't count. Snape never considered Lupin a proper faculty member in the first place.

He doesn't hate Lupin because of the werewolf factor, any more than he hates him for his bad choice of friends. He hates him because Lupin uses these circumstances as an excuse.

For that matter, he doesn't hate nonhumans at all. His own species provides targets enough.

During the Reign of Umbridge, he carefully avoided any sentences ending with "Umbridge is a--", lest under some fit of madness he should accidentally say what he really thought.

He knows all the passwords to Gryffindor Tower -- all Heads know one anothers' passwords as a safety measure. Heaven's grace has thus far preserved him from ever having to use any of them. (Dumbledore's passwords were bad enough.)

He knew, weeks in advance, that the Weasleys were developing their portable swamp. Rather than confront them about it, he worked some potential ingredients into his lessons so they wouldn't have to ask.

He occasionally sees Moaning Myrtle, floating disconsolately in the vicinity of various Slytherin outrages, but he never told her he knows how she died. For one thing, she's older than he is. For another, she's a complete twit.

He is under no illusions about Hermione Granger's intelligence. He never calls on her in class because he doesn't want to be reminded of it. She's too smart to be useless and too naive not to take sides in the coming war, and Snape can never look at her without thinking What a stupid waste.

He knows this because he was that way once -- minus, of course, the stable childhood and enthusiastic bravado -- and look what happened to him.

Longbottom, on the other hand, is a ready-made target. Though impressed that constant persecution hasn't broken the brat yet, he doubts that Longbottom has the guts to outlive Voldemort, and deplores Gryffindor House for encouraging children to flock to the front lines.

The Hat told him he should have been in Ravenclaw. Nobody but Flitwick has ever guessed, and Flitwick never called him on it.

He was at Godric's Hollow the night the Potters died. Nobody knows about that.

He used to sing in his office. He will admit it when snakes fly.

He has twice admitted to caring for someone. He has never admitted to love.

He didn't say a lot of things, that night on the tower. He didn't even say them in the final moments when Dumbledore opened his mind and there were no secrets between them. The only words he spoke left a sense memory that not even Voldemort could find fault with; but Snape doesn't regret that silence, because words become superfluous when understanding is so complete.