Thanks for everyone for reviewing and adding, especially to 'frenchcatt' for the helpful suggestions.

As always relevant character and place names are property of JK Rowling first and foremost, and copyright of Warner Brothers. Chuck and Maryann are all MINE!

Chapter Three: Confessions

Professor Spedena, the good-looking Arithmancy teacher, bashed desperately on the bathroom door. "For Merlin's sake, Severus, open the goddamned door!" he growled in his deep, rich, beautiful Anglo-Canadian hybrid accent.

"Leave me alone," Snape replied, emotionless and aloof.

"Oh, come on!" Spedena argued back. "Look, if you're having stomach cramps, I know a charm that'll stop you from..."

"Shut up!" Snape barked from inside. He sighed. "I just need time to... think"

Spedena leaned on the mahogany door. "Oh, really?" He sounded intrigued. "What about?"

"It's none of your business," Snape hissed to his irritatingly handsome colleague.

Spedena sighed. "Okay, fine," he said tiredly, slipping off his shoes. "Here I am, opening up to you... and you choose to ignore me, sulk in a bathroom, and let your life pass you by." He whipped out his wand. "Don't worry about me, I'm sure Dumbledore will lend me his chamberpot." He pointed his wand at his shoes and whispered, "Locomotor brogues" to them and watched them begin to march down the corridor. He followed them a little way, calling, "Goodnight, Severus," before sneakily returning to the bathroom door. Snape had been acting very strangely all day; one or two of his colleagues had even caught him with the ghost of a smile on his face. So keen Spedena was to know what was amiss, he ran the risk of angering Snape greatly by snooping around behind his back. Seeing his shoes were turning the corner, out of earshot, Spedena aimed his wand at them, whispering "Immobulus", praying that Snape would not hear. He never did quite get the hang of non-verbal magic.

"W-wait!" Snape called, finally opening the bathroom door, as if changing his mind. "I need your..." he shouted down the corridor before suddenly noticing that a shoeless Spedena was still waiting for him. He jumped back, startled. "Don't do that," he hissed, giving Spedena a warning look, which he ignored.

"What did you want, Severus?" Spedena asked cockily, folding his arms and tilting his head slightly to one side, grinning.

Snape sighed, slinking back into the bathroom, this time without closing the door behind him, to gaze at himself in the mirror, as he was doing before Spedena's rude interruption. This time Spedena followed him.

"Look at me," Snape said flatly. "Thirty-four, and no wife, not even a girlfriend." He shook his head mournfully. "No woman, witch or Muggle, would ever look twice at me."

"Don't say that," Spedena said optimistically, although silently agreeing with the grumpy Potions master. He was, after all, not one of the best looking gentlemen in the Hogwarts faculty. "Your – uh..." Spedena flailed for the right word "ugliness – could be seen as a blessing."

Snape turned away from the mirror reflecting his pale face, and stared darkly at Spedena. "I beg your pardon?" he snarled.

"Whoa!" Spedena held up a hand, as if to defend himself from Snape's accusatory glare. "What I meant was... at least the girls don't get crushes on you." He grinned nervously. "That Hermione Granger is a total pain in the ass, I'm telling you. Always the last to leave the Great Hall, giving me longing looks, wondering when I'm gonna be her teacher... Thank Merlin I'm shipping back to Canada next year."

"And I shall miss you," Snape growled sardonically, "but there's no way I'm ever going to get a girlfriend discussing your problems." He sighed. "Or looking like this." He shook his head and returned his gaze to the mirror. "I'm a hideous wreck of a man, Charles. I mean... we're the same age, aren't we? Yet you don't look a day over twenty and I'm the bloody Elephant Man." Yes, even wizards fast approaching middle age, not-so-good-looking wizards, get image conscious. It is rare, but it happens.

Spedena tried not to laugh at Snape's reasoning. "Try not to think about it," he advised his colleague.

"That's easy for you to say, pretty boy!" Snape retorted

Spedena ignored that. "The right woman will come along, Severus," he continued casually. "Then again , if you're having a mid-life crisis, maybe you should buy a sports broom." He smiled inanely, basking in his own, unique form of wisdom.

Snape pushed his greasy hair away from his face. "You're not helping, Charles," he said, behind clenched teeth.

"Then tell me," Spedena replied cleverly. "Why are you so concerned about your looks all of a sudden?"

Snape took a breath. "You know you said the right woman will come along?" he said, more to his reflection than Spedena.

"Uh-huh?"

"That new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher," Snape blurted.

Professor Spedena's brain refused to cotton on. Like most of the staff, whenever Snape so much as mentioned Defence against the Dark Arts, Spedena always assumed Snape was after the job. "Okay," he sighed wearily. "What's wrong with this one?"

Snape got a glazed look in his eyes. He almost cracked a smile thinking of her. Sweeping into the Great Hall, dark scarlet robes flowing behind her; the way her hair tumbled forward when she bowed to Dumbledore, and the way she curled it back behind her neat, pretty ears, and her beautiful eyes... he wasn't exactly sure of the colour, he hadn't got close enough to see yet... that gorgeous smile of a movie star... Just thinking about her was heaven.

"Severus," Spedena called loudly, making Snape jump slightly. "Snap out of it!" He was smiling, as if he'd finally figured it out.

"Nothing," Snape answered lazily to his reflection. "In fact I'd say she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen since..." He tailed off, confused over his feelings.

Spedena grinned widely. "I see," he mused, finally understanding Snape's predicament. And... you're scared that because you're so god-damned ugly, she wouldn't touch you with a Nimbus 2000 broom handle? Or even a Cleansweep 300?"

"Mmm-hmm," Snape ignored the insult. Either that or he didn't hear him, as he was still gazing into the mirror, deep in thought.

"And you want my advice?" Spedena questioned.

Snape raised an eyebrow. "considering the number of women you've noisily shagged in the Teachers' Common Room at Hogwarts, then yes, Charles, I would love your advice," he said, barely attempting to hide his cynicism.

Spedena seemed pleased with himself,obviously remembering one of his noisy sex-sessions which had woken the dead. Literally; the ghosts complained about the noise all night, particularly the Bloody Baron, Slytherin's ghost, the most fearful phantom in the school.

"Basically, it's not that hard," explained Spedena as the pair stepped out of the bathroom and headed off down the corridor. "All you have to do is be yourself." He considered the Potions master for a minute. If old Snape was 'himself,' it would surely put off any woman in her right mind. "Then again," he continued, undeterred, "I've found that Love Potion works very well, too." He cleared his throat. "As long as Dumbledore doesn't find out." He winked.

"You know, Charles," Snoop said, hardly sounding impressed. "I might just do that."

"But remember," Spedena warned his colleague, "you must truly capture her heart before the potion wears off."

"I know that," Snape retorted, more than a little annoyed. "I am the Potions master off after all."

"D'oh!" Spedena hit his forehead with the palm of his hand, forgetting that little fact momentarily. "Then, it shouldn't be too much of a problem for you, sir."

"Thank you, Charles," Snape answered, with the confidence of a man who had never concocted, supervise, or even considered making such a potion, and since it was forbidden by Dumbledore, it had never even crossed his mind. "And at this point,. I must bid you goodnight." He strode importantly down the corridor, only pausing to point disparagingly at Spedena's ageing Hush Puppies. "Don't forget your shoes."

Finally, reaching his chamber and flopping down on his four-poster, fully clothed, he closed his eyes, too exhausted to do anything except think about beautiful Maryann. He soon fell asleep, with the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher on his mind.