31st August 1993, and the Hogwarts staff are being introduced to yet another Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, much to Severus Snape's delight. (I don't think!) However, this new teacher will turn the Potion Master's world upside down. Warnings: Slight, but intentional Mary-Sue, OOC (and how!) Snape, AU Harry's second year.

Author's Notes: This is a fanfic I have had on the go for some time now, but I stopped it because the main love 'trest seemed like too much of a Mary-Sue (hence the warning). But since this is a comedy, I see no harm in a Mary-Sue or two, especially one with a twist... ;) In any case, I hope this will be a welcome break from my other Potter-fic, The Forbidden Corridor

All relevant character and place names are property of JK Rowling first and foremost, and copyright of Warner Brothers. Spedena and McGinty, are mine, however. Good... good...

Chapter One: A Fleeting Meeting, A Heart Beating...

It was Sunday before term was due to start, and deep in the Scottish countryside where no Muggle would dare venture, in what appeared to be a derelict fort, was Hogwarts, a school for Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the Great Hall of the most prestigious wizarding school in Europe, if not the world, the teachers of the school gathered, as the sun from the enchanted ceiling, replicating the weather of what had turned out to be a late summer, beat down upon the anticipant crowd.

Finally, the long-awaited Headmaster, resplendent in mauve robes decorated with silver moons and stars, strolled in. Albus Dumbledore, a great amongst great wizards.

"Greetings, my fellow colleagues," boomed Dumbledore, as the eager chatter of friends and colleagues swapping stories about their summer vacations abruptly died down.

"As you are all sadly aware, the demise of our most recent Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Quirrel..."

"Professor Squirrel," whispered Charles Spedena, the Arithmancy professor, quite audibly, to the blonde witch on his left side, teaching assistant Malandra Vector, who had returned to Hogwarts after her NEWTS, to embark on a teaching career. "I heard he choked on his own nuts..." her mentor joked to her.

A few of the people close to Spedena laughed at this off-colour joke; even Dumbledore raised a smile. However, Spedena's cheeky glance was met with a dangerously reproachful glare from the Potions master, Severus Snape.

"Yes, that will do, Chuck," Dumbledore said lightly, narrowly avoiding laughing himself. "In any case, there is now a vacancy for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts."

A few eyes, especially those of the more established teachers, including the formidable yet fair Professor McGonagall, and the tiny Charms teacher, Professor Flitwick, glanced over at the Potions Master, as they knew for the thirteen years he had been teaching at Hogwarts, his beady black eyes had been on the very job there was an opening for.

Snape's usually pale, sallow cheeks went slightly pink as he dared to hope. Was Dumbledore about to grant him his dearest wish... to be able to meddle, once again, with Dark Magic?

"Filling the position," Dumbledore continued, as Snape crossed his long, bony fingers under his robes, "will be a professor who has just graduated from Durmstrang Institut's Teaching College."

Snape's pallid face fell, and his fingers uncrossed and reverted into tight fists. So, some young buck with a few months' involvement was considered more suited to the Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching position than his more... first-hand experience. Well, thought Snape. This young whipper-snapper, whomever he may be, he's certainly not on my Christmas Card list...

"Please let me introduce," Dumbledore announced grandly, "our new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Miss Maryann McGinty."

There was a babble of astonishment from the staff, who were clearly surprised. There hadn't been a female DADA teacher in Howarts since... well, ever.

Snape snarled angrily. Beaten to his dream job by a woman! he thought, stuck in his old-fashioned ways. Feeling emasculated, he scowled as the doors slowly opened. So she was a Miss, indeed. Probably ugly and hence unmarried. But wait, he thought, as the doors opened wider. Didn't Dumbledore say she had just graduated from Durmstrang Teaching College? Then unless she was a mature student (another possibility), she could be...

In walked a pretty, petite witch, flowing chestnut brown hair, like the best chocolate, cascading down her perfectly angled shoulders and straight back, and mysterious bangs hanging in her bright hazel eyes, scarlet robes spilling round her beautiful figure like life's blood.

Quite a few of the gentlemen teachers, such as Spedena, stared transfixed at the beautiful maiden who was passing before them. Even Snape, jealous as he was, couldn't tear his eyes away from her.

After receiving a congratulatory kiss from Dumbledore ("How come I didn't get that when I joined?" complained the Herbology teacher, Professor Sprout), Maryann cast her eyes about the crowd of mostly dumbfounded men and mainly envious women, and cleared her throat. She turned her head briefly to the Headmaster and nodded. "Thank you, Professor Dumbledore," she said in an almost musical voice, like the spring.

An unusual sensation sprung in Snape's stomach. He groaned a little. It had been a mistake to order that Muggle delicacy, pizza, as a last-night-at-Spinner's End 'treat'. Nevertheless, he looked at the undeniably pretty girl, who could be no older than twenty-four, and decided to listen to what she had to say.

"Thank you everyone, for your kind welcome," she said, with a dazzling smile, showing off perfectly pearly white teeth. "I am honoured to be a part of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, working alongside such talented and noble witches and wizards, as Albus Dumbledore, the greatest sorcerer of recent times, and Minerva McGonagall, the great Transfiguration artist." She looked earnestly at the flattered Head of Gryffindor house. "I read about your work, Ma'am. It is most fascinating."

McGonagall smiled as Maryann continued her speech. "And I am most looking forward to meeting and getting to know..." Here her beautiful, now oddly blue-hued eyes, met Snape's large dull black ones, and she paused, a noticeable flush rising in her coral-tinged cheeks. She cleared her delicate throat once again, and went on "...the rest of you. I am honoured..."

Snape felt a nudge in his ribs. "Did you dig that, Sevvy?" Spedena hissed in his annoying Anglo-Canadian accent. Snape wished he would make up his bloody mind and be one or the other.

"What?" Snape hissed grudgingly through clenched teeth He was so angry, he felt as though his jaws had been stuck together by Honeyduke's Tastiest Trick Toffee.

Spedena smirked cockily. "Maryann," he said proudly. "She was totally giving me the eye." He gave Snape a knowing wink. "I think I'm in there."

The fluttering sensation that Snape had taken for sickness began to burn intensely. Snape moaned. "I can't take this," he muttered, beginning to shuffle through the crowd, to the exit. Little did he know, watching his retreat most intently of all, was Maryann McGinty.

By the time Snape had reached the bathroom, the sick feeling had subsided, but somehow, he didn't feel like returning to the Great Hall, however much he wanted once again to look upon Maryann's beauty. Instead he looked at himself in the full-length mirror. How, looking like this, sallow-skinned and greasy-haired, would he ever snag as much as a date, with the alluring DADA teacher? He thought he saw a small whitehead forming on his forehead, so he reached to try and squeeze it.

Before he could, an apparition of Maryann appeared next to his reflection. "Maryann," he said hurriedly and nervously, "you... you must have trouble finding your way around the castle. The ladies' bathroom is across the..."

Snape was stopped in his tracks when he noticed that Maryann, or rather her image, was not wearing her blood-red robes, rather... a white gown. "Huh?" he said stupidly, "what's with the fancy clothes, Maryann...?" He finally turned around to face the lovely new professor, but instead found himself staring at...

"Charles," he sighed. "What are you doing here?"

Spedena shrugged. "I dunno," he said. "Came to see if you were all right." He looked genuinely concerned, though Snape didn't care. "You left in rather a hurry."

"I... I'm fine," Snape stammered, angry at his being interrupted, by Spedena, of all people.

Spedena frowned. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Because I'm sure I heard you talking to yourself..." He paused and pretended to think. "No... not yourself... to Maryann."

"Well, certainly," Snape said gruffly. "I saw her reflection behind me and thought it only polite to direct her to the right bathroom." He smiled, satisfied. "She must have taken my advice, because she's gone..."

"Uhh, Severus," Spedena interrupted, a concerned tone touching his voice. "I followed ya right in here, and there was certainly no Maryann. Unless... heey!" A delighted expression crossed his face as he unceremoniously shoved Snape out of the way to look in the mirror himself. "This is only the Mirror of Erised," he smiled. "And if you could see what I could see, you'd be happy too!" He grinned and spaced out a little as he drank in the image. Whatever it was, Snape didn't want to know.

"But... what does that mean?" Snape thought aloud, meaning Spedena to help him a little. "How come I saw Maryann in the mirror? And besides, I thought Albus was going to get rid of this thing, to prevent certain students sneaking around the castle after hours." He thought of that trouble-making Potter boy, and how he was exactly like his proud, arrogant, smart-ass bully of a father.

Spedena tore himself away from his obvious fantasy, and looked at Snape as if he were an idiot. "Duh!" he sighed. "The Mirror of Erised shows you your heart's deepest and darkest, most valued desire."

"I know that," Snape snarled, "but..."

"Personally I thought you'd see yourself strangling Potter," Spedena remarked. Snape, to his shame, almost nodded. "Or drowning Ron Weasly in a mess of his own making... in a cauldron of course!" Spedena quickly added, realising his quip could be taken in many ways. "Or perhaps inviting that Granger girl for... detention..." He winked and nodded his head dimly. "Huh? Huh?"

"Shut up!" Snape hissed angrily, "and help me figure out why I saw Maryann in the mirror, in a white dress, when I don't even like her!"

Spedena's jaw dropped and his big, pretty eyes widened. "A white dress!" he spluttered. "This just gets better and better; you've seen this chick once and you want to marry her?" He began to shake with silent laughter and his eyes began to water. "Oh, Merlin's beard! Thank goodness I'm in the damn bathroom!" He ran hastily to a cubicle.

Not wishing to hear from Spedena's waterworks, Snape hastily stepped out of the bathroom, and dashed to the Teacher's Lounge, hoping he wouldn't run into Maryann.