Author's Note: You already knew that I was sketchy and that I really enjoy age gaps and gen ships. Well, here's further proof. And it's not the last of it, either. You've been warned. This is the first in a series of three one-shots. Keep your eyes peeled for the next two, if you care to.
If you're reading Brevity, next chapter will go up tomorrow morning.
And now for something Snapey.
By Menolly Mark
Professor Severus Snape scowled. Almost immediately, he schooled the facial expression into a more subtle sort of sneer, remembering something his mother had said. "If you make that face too much," she'd told him, when he'd taken to pulling faces at her while she washed the dishes in their none-too-lavish home, "it'll freeze that way!" He thought he'd rather have his face freeze in a jeering smile than in a scowl.
Pushing open the door to the Slytherin common room, he strode in, letting the door click shut behind him. The place was almost completely deserted, save for a couple of second years crouched by the fire, their heads bent together, apparently lost in some intensely personal conversation. Snape scowled at them, and they skittered away up the stairs to their dormitories. So much for the smile, he thought.
A burst of high pitched feminine laughter wafted down from the dorms, and Snape glanced up at the stairwell. He looked over at the magical wall clock. It was eleven o'clock at night, and a Tuesday, no less. What could they possibly be doing at eleven o'clock at night on a Tuesday? Didn't the students ever get tired of being loud and rambunctious? He couldn't remember having been that obnoxious himself, when he was at school.
Taking the steps two at a time in his irritation, he soon arrived outside the door of the women's dormitory from which the offensive sound was emanating. He knocked once, and then threw the door open without waiting for any sort of reply from inside. He hoped they were decent. It would serve them right if they weren't, but …
All talking ceased immediately as he entered the room, and the four girls perched on the nearest bed gazed up at him with wide, alarmed eyes. The first two, only third years, squeaked shrilly and vaulted off of the bed, rushing away through the curtains, apparently towards their own. Snape paid them no heed.
The other two girls he recognized very well. Lorelei Watts, a gaunt, sharp-nosed fifth year, was perched on top of the covers next to dark-haired sixth year Pansy Parkinson. Pansy didn't cringe when Snape turned his reproachful eyes on her. Instead, she gave him an incredibly complacent smile.
"Hullo, Professor," she quipped. "You're not supposed to be up here, I don't think. This is a girls dormitory." She slurred the word 'girls,' and Snape's frown deepened at her flippant tone. There was no reason for him to let her get away with anything in the middle of Slytherin house.
"Thank you, Miss Parkinson," he drawled, with anything but gratitude. "I am aware which doors lead to which parts of my House common room. You, however, do not seem to be aware of what time it is, and some of the more obedient, respectful students are no doubt attempting to sleep despite your cackling."
"Laughter's the best medicine, Professor," murmured Pansy sweetly. Lorelei shot her a concerned look, and jerked her head pointedly at Snape. Pansy shrugged.
"As far as I am aware," continued Snape, refusing to be goaded, "none of us are ill or in need. You, Miss Watts, may return to your bed." He glanced at Lorelei, who immediately followed his orders, and slid the curtains closed behind her. Pansy continued to gaze unperturbed at Snape.
"Bed, Parkinson," he muttered. "Do not let me hear you disturbing the peace again tonight, or it will be Friday night detention."
"Ooh," murmured Pansy, "that's a tough choice. "Obedient sleep, or detention with you…you're not making it easy on me, are you, Professor?"
Snape had absolutely no idea how to respond to such an audacious comment. He glared at her, and she simpered up at him with her huge, dark eyes.
"Try me," he muttered, coldly. Pansy's face fell very slightly, although she immediately forced it back into it's original mask of attentive coquettishness. Turning on his heel, he made as if to leave the room.
"If you're here to see Draco," Pansy told him, "he's not in his room. We don't know where he is. You aren't going to find him, I don't think."
Snape stopped dead. "And what," he asked, a little too quickly, "makes you think that I have any errand to Mr. Malfoy?"
Pansy shrugged a second time. "A hunch," she said, still smiling. "But I told you, you aren't going to find him, he's completely disappear-!"
"He has done nothing of the kind," said Snape, thinking very quickly. The other students were beginning to notice that Draco Malfoy was spending a great deal of time outside the common room. Pansy Parkinson may be a Slytherin, he thought, but he had no reason to believe that she was trustworthy. The Dark Lord would no doubt not take very kindly to too many Hogwarts students knowing about Draco's little mission for the Death Eaters, and yet the boy apparently wasn't quick enough to make up effective excuses to explain away his disappearances.
"I have every reason to believe," Snape continued, around his thoughts, "that Mr. Malfoy is in his bed where he belongs, and I have absolutely no reason to go and wake him. Your impertinence is not only inappropriate, but completely misguided. Bed, Miss Parkinson. Do not tempt me further to-!"
"Mustn't I?" asked Pansy, although she slid back beneath the covers subserviently enough. "You're no fun." She pouted at him, and he was alarmed to notice that those batting black eyes were set in a face that was no longer pinched or puggish, but smoothed and rounded by her increased years. She was pretty, he was forced to admit, almost pretty.
Just as quickly, he remembered that it didn't matter worth a House Elf's ass whether or not Pansy Parkinson was pretty, or as ugly as a hippogriff. He had business to attend to, and she had o be getting back to-
"You know," she was saying, as she nestled herself deeper underneath her green Slytherin coverlet, "you could just tell me what you came all the way here for. I'll tell Draco when he gets back. After all, he always wants to talk to me about important things. We're very close, Draco and I."
Something about that statement very much annoyed Snape, and he didn't think that it was because of Pansy's incredible impertinence. He cleared his throat, but something seemed to be lodged rather heavily in it, so that he had to cough several times before he was able to speak again. Pansy continued to blink her eyelashes at him, and he attempted to look away from her, disgusted, and very agitated.
"A kind offer," he hissed at her, "but you'll forgive me if I insist that you get back to sleep, and leave matters alone which do not at all concern you."
"Forgiven," said Pansy. She flicked her wand at the bedside light, an murmured, "Nox," before letting her wand fall to the floor next to her bed, and carelessly throwing one end of the covers farther over her, so that the sheets and blankets all shifted aside, revealing a patch of bare skin, which Snape guessed to belong to Pansy's thigh. He blinked, and then swore inwardly, his bile rising as he managed to turn one eye away from Pansy, while the other lingered on her bared leg, twisting his focus painfully.
Her next words jolted him out of that unpleasant fixation. "I know everything, you know," she said to him, with perfect calm. "Draco's already told him about what the Dark Lord's planning. He's a very brave boy you know, but everyone needs someone to talk to." As Snape stared at her, attempting to figure out how to deal with this new complication, the simper left her eyes, and she gave him the first steady, serious look she'd turned his way all night. "You can trust me, you know. I believe very firmly in what Draco's doing, I want the Dark Lord to rise again, I want-!"
"You have no idea what you're talking about," snarled Snape, cutting her off with a wave of his hand. "Do not speak such things aloud in this place."
"Fine," she murmured, pointedly lowering her voice, her eyes still fixed on his. "The point is, I know everything already, so you might as well let me in on what's going on. I can help you, Professor, I really can. You need more students to help you, anyway. We're the body and soul of this school, only through us can stuff really happen around here."
Snape shook his head firmly. He could see her aim very well know, and though his mind was starting to clear of the deceptive sweetness of her tone and gaze, his recalcitrant eye still lingered in the smoothness of her leg beneath the covers. "Seductive as your argument is," he began, emphasizing the first word so that she could be well aware that he knew what she was up to, "I am forced to remind you again not to meddle in any sort of affairs which are none of your business. And if you speak of this to anyone," he continued aggressively, "the Dark Lord will be…most displeased."
Letting that threat lie, Snape tore his eyes away from Pansy, and left the room. As he turned to close the door behind him, he saw her pull her leg back underneath the sheets, cursing unintelligibly to herself as she did so. Her irritated eyes never left him as he shut the door, and headed downstairs, away from the dormitories. He would find Draco in the morning, he decided, suddenly exhausted. He couldn't worry about that right now.