DISCLAIMER: Anything you may recognize is most likely not mine. I do however own Dahlia and Missa. The chapter titles are various songs. 'Kay? Thanks.
NOTE: Thanks to cylobaby and Aphotic Euphony for the reviews! They make me smile.
A/N: This is my longest fic! HOORAY FOR ME NOT ABANDONING IT! ….yet. So to celebrate here is the longest chapter I've uploaded. YAY!
The next morning as Dahlia got dressed, she noticed that her favourite black jacket was missing. She half tore apart her trunk in the search, but to no avail. She frowned as she came across the fish wrapped in fabric. It was then that she noticed what the piece of fabric was… It was her grandfather's handkerchief. She could remember all of the times in her childhood that he would pull that out of his pocket and blow his nose. Once she even used it, only to have the unpleasant wetness of his snot on her nose. She grinned for a minute, before bringing the fabric to her nose. It had been washed since then, but it smelled like him. It was a sour, dusty smell, but she couldn't get enough. By the time that she finally got downstairs she was stopped by Professor Flitwick.
"In a half an hour, we thought that it would be nice to sing Carol of the Bells, being that it is Christmas Eve. Everyone will be down here for lunch."
"Okay," she smiled. "Sounds good."
"Good, just be up in twenty minutes. Dumbledore still isn't sure if we are going to continue this class and I hope this can persuade him. Oh, and Dahlia?"
"You're going to be one of two sopranos. So just be prepared."
Dahlia smiled at him and walked towards the front doors. How was she going to sing? Just the thought of an audience made her throat tighten. Sure, at her old school they had sang in front of an audience, but there were twenty other girls. This would be practically a solo. To calm her nerves, she pushed open the front doors. She was greeted by a rush of cold air; she shivered. She loved snow, but her own town hadn't gotten much in years. She hugged herself as she walked out towards the lake. She wondered how Missa would survive the snow. She had no fat on her, while Dahlia had plenty. Dahlia could just imagine Missa frozen stick straight in the air, her tongue frozen in some boy's mouth. She giggled.
'How picturesque,' she thought, looking at the castle. She closed her eyes and put her arms out. She felt foolish, but she spun in circles. She could feel the world swirl around her, but all she saw was the red of her eyelids. She felt herself fall into the snow and she sighed. It was so cold, but so comforting. She fully lay down on the snow and she felt the cold sink into her very bones.
"What are you doing?" came a voice.
Dahlia looked up to see Professor Snape. She had to squint, but she looked him right in the eyes. She propped herself up on her elbows and replied, "Enjoying the first snow of the season, Professor."
He scowled at her. "Without a coat?
She patted her arms and then spotted her black jacket in his hand. He noticed this. "And what, might I ask, was your jacket doing outside my door?"
Dahlia's mouth went dry. "I don't know Professor. I was looking for it and I couldn't find it."
He snorted. "Then I came out here this morning to hear the laughter of a fool. You were out here. Frolicking! What fool, honestly, has this much folly in such frigid weather with no jacket?"
Dahlia just stared at her jacket. Maybe her tongue had frozen in her mouth.
"Well, you are the coldest dunderhead, and by Merlin I don't want to be, in any way, responsible for you getting sick. I'm feeling… generous due to the holiday season and won't punish you this time. If anymore of your things find their way outside my door, you'll be scrubbing cauldrons for a month. I don't want to have to suffer fools."
Dahlia dropped her eyes to the snow. She couldn't think. All that came when she tried to think was cold whiteness. She frowned. Honestly how did her jacket get there? She couldn't recall having it last night when she talked to the Professor.
"Shall we go inside? I'm not accustomed to freezing like a nitwit," his voice came out in a puff, which drug Dahlia back to the situation in front of her. He suddenly offered her his hands. She took them and felt the soft coldness. They almost made her shudder, but she ignored it and let him help her up. She smiled and thanked him. He said nothing, but he held her jacket open. She slipped it on and he started walking back to the castle. Dahlia jogged up next to him and they walked back to the castle in silence.
When it came time to sing, Dahlia was still nervous. Right before everything started Professor Snape appeared towards the front of the hall and he smiled at her. Maybe she could do it. When the sopranos were cued to sing, she sang. It wasn't half bad. Then the crescendo came. She tried to sing louder, but she only succeeded in croaking and squeaking. By the looks of the kids, they'd noticed, too. She wanted to run away, but that would only make things worse. At the loudest most point, her voice came out glorious, before dipping back down to the squeaking. She decided to stop singing, and she did. She mouthed the words, but she was sure it was noticeable. Fortune was so good to her. At the refrain Dahlia resumed singing, and it was better. When the crescendo came, she decrescendoed instead. It worked pretty good, and when the loud point came again she belted out that line. She sang quietly again.
By the time it was over, Dahlia quickly went to her room and curled up in her bed. She stared at the ceiling, hoping that if she stared hard enough she would be back at her house with her grandfather. She got her wish. She fell asleep and woke up in a memory again. She was in her living room and her grandfather was sitting in his chair by the fireplace. Dahlia coughed.
"Getting sick? Maybe you should go put on some shoes to keep you warm," her grandfather said.
Dahlia smiled and got up from the chair she was sitting in.
"Do you need anything?" she asked.
"No, no I'm fine."
The doorbell rang and Dahlia rushed to the door. She opened it and standing there was an overweight Puerto Rican man. He was wearing a green sweater and carrying a big briefcase. Dahlia led him into the living room and she sat down on the chair. She watched as the man pulled a stethoscope from his briefcase and asked her grandfather to breath in.
Dahlia woke up suddenly, with the feeling that something was missing from the memory. Something was missing and she couldn't figure it out. Maybe she was just going crazy.
The rest of break hadn't been worth experiencing. Dahlia hadn't seen Professor Snape since she sang, and Yule had only brought her more books and clothes. She spent most of her time in the bathroom talking to Myrtle, or in her bed reading. She got used to this cycle, and wasn't that excited about classes starting up again.
It had been decided that after this semester Choir would become a club. Dahlia frowned at that, and she was sure that it was in some way her fault. She wanted to drop Transfiguration, but people thought it better that she didn't. Dahlia could hardly transfigure a mouse into a rat. Was there a difference?
On the first morning of classes Dahlia ate breakfast and ran to the Potions room. Why was she so excited to see this cranky old man? Well, actually he wasn't that old. He was twenty-six. And he wasn't always cranky. He had his moments, and yet he seemed more cruel than he had before. This curiosity is what drove her to his classroom. She took her normal place in back, impatiently awaiting his arrival. She kept peaking her ears for that velvety voice until it came.
"Have a good break?" came the voice. Professor Snape followed it from the darkness.
Dahlia's heart raced and she smiled, "Yes!"
"How as your break?"
"Satisfactory, although it could have been improved upon."
This small exchange of words became the norm. Whenever she had Potions, he would appear from the darkness and ask her about her day or how her classes were going. Dahlia was always enthusiastic and she wondered where the cranky man at Yule was. This semester was going grand. Missa was no longer in this class, and several other sixth years had dropped. The people in Dahlia's current Potions class were quite rowdy. Professor Snape would scowl, but he didn't scold them as often as he used to. Dahlia was beginning to like this class more. Her potions weren't any better. They always were and always had been barely satisfactory, but the Professor didn't mind as long as her papers were always fantastic. She always knew the ideology behind everything and she always knew the answer to any question Professor Snape asked the class. It had been known that he was not one to suffer know-it-alls, but whenever Dahlia raised her hand he called on her. It was pleasant enough.
One day another silly boy asked Professor Snape about having a girlfriend. Dahlia was anticipating him to start yelling and throw the boy out. Instead, he half smiled and confirmed that he had one before dropping the topic. Dahlia's heart dropped. How? And why did this affect her so? It's just… how could he get a girlfriend in such a small frame of time? And what would happen if one day he came in and announced that this mystery woman was pregnant? These thoughts swirled around in Dahlia's head for a few days. Dahlia talked to Myrtle who told her that he was probably lying. She wasn't convinced.
Then one day in the next week the class was working quietly on a potion when Professor Dumbledore appeared at the door. He asked for Professor Snape. The Professor looked around before his eyes met Dahlia's.
"In my absence Miss Maiper will be in charge," he said before rushing out.
Dahlia smiled and looked up from her potion just in time to see a twinkle in Professor Dumbledore's eyes. She watched everyone adding in ingredients or scowling at their discolored potions. She wanted to smile, but instead she stood up a little straighter. He had put her in charge. She felt so powerful and on top of the world. She added in another ingredient to her potion and she stirred it clockwise four times. It was the perfect color. Just a few more minutes of simmering and it would be ready. Dahlia went back to watching the class with pride. A few minutes later Professor Snape came in. He looked around before walking over to Dahlia.
"Thank you," he said. "You did a wonderful job."
Dahlia smiled in return and she bottled her potion. It was the best one she'd ever done, and it was the best out of the class. After the class Dahlia rushed up to the bathroom. Myrtle was unusually ecstatic to see her. Dahlia just beamed and told Myrtle about the last class.
"He trusts you," squealed Myrtle.
"Yeah, I guess he does."
"He is responsible for all of their lives while in his class and then he put you in charge. He trusts you with a dozen people's lives. I've never seen him even trust McGonagall with a piece of trash."
"Well, she is kind of weird."
"Oh Dahlia, you're so cute."
Dahlia grinned, but she remained quiet.
"What is it?" the ghost asked.
"I still don't understand him."
"How do you know?"
The ghost looked surprised for a minute and covered her mouth.
"Please," begged Dahlia.
The ghost sighed, "In time. I don't want to spoil things."
Dahlia grunted before heading back to her room. She was feeling a little cold, and had forgot her jacket in her room. When she got there it was nowhere to be found. Uh oh.