Chapter Five - Filius Flitwick
Filius Flitwick had had a long and tiring day. He was a good and nice teacher who actually liked students and would put up with quite an amount of fooling around – after all, he had also been young once, about one and a half centuries ago. But this Valentine's Day had been a little too much. He had never before given so many detentions in one day, some of them even to his own beloved Ravenclaw students.
At least the teachers had not, as that Lockhart had suggested, 'entered into the spirit of the occasion'. Even Trelawney and Vector, who both sometimes displayed girlishly romantic opinions, had refused to take part in the Valentine's Day festivities.
Now all Filius wanted to do was to see if that latest edition of Charms & Jinxes Bi-Monthly had already been delivered to the library, and then he would go to bed and forget about the day's horrors.
Yawning, he opened the library door and stepped inside. Then he froze in his tracks. This had to be a dream. Had he possibly already dozed off and was sleepwalking? But one did not dream during sleepwalking, right?
Filius pinched his arm – ouch! – and decided to re-evaluate the situation.
Alright, one step at a time. He was an old man, he would take things slowly. Yes, he was in the library. He had pinched his arm and it had hurt, so he was neither sleepwalking nor dreaming.
That Lockhart chap stood at the other end of the library, in the Restricted Section. He did look familiar enough in his shocking pink robes, but his facial expression was out of the ordinary. For once, Lockhart did not smile overly self-confident, but he looked confused and irritated. And his hair was a total mess.
Next, there was Severus standing close to Lockhart, and there were two unusual things about him. First, he did not glare at the Defence teacher with barely concealed annoyance – that alone was abnormal enough.
Secondly, he held a woman in his arms and actually smiled at her.
Filius blinked again. The witch stood with her back to him, but she looked extremely familiar. Actually he was certain that it was the Deputy Headmistress but… that just was not possible, was it?
"I apologise I kept you waiting," Severus said. "You are not angry with me, are you?"
"Not at all," Minerva replied warmly.
Severus smiled the smile of a Very Lucky Man and gently picked some of the omniscient heart-shaped confetti out of her hair.
"You – are?" Lockhart inquired breathlessly.
"Didn't you know?"
"No! No, I didn't know – "
Lockhart sounded just as surprised as Filius felt. Here he was, having thought that at least the other professors had decided not to join into the day's silliness, and the Heads of Gryffindor and Slytherin suddenly stood in the library, making out like teenagers.
"Obviously," Severus snarled.
Filius had no idea what this comment was all about, but the hostility at least sounded a bit Snape-ish again.
"But you are the Heads of Gryffindor and Slytherin," Lockhart stammered.
"So?" Minerva replied while she turned to look at Lockhart.
Severus hugged her from behind.
"You know, there is no Hogwarts rule saying we have to hate each other just because we are the Heads of rivalling Houses," she chided.
"But you are so much older than him!" the blond wizard cried out.
Filius was outraged – from his perspective, Minerva still was a fairly young woman. And this remark had been extremely impolite.
"Ouch," Minerva said.
Severus looked equally outraged.
"You apologise to the lady right this second!" he bellowed. "The age difference between us may be unusual, but you certainly cannot deny that Minerva is the most beautiful witch in Hogwarts."
"Sorry…" Lockhart muttered, but his words were disregarded by the two others.
Minerva beamed at Severus again.
"That wasn't necessary, but so nice of you. You are always such a gentleman."
The Head of Ravenclaw had not known that she could whisper like that, in such a silky, playful voice.
"It's simply the truth," Severus replied curtly. Then he smiled again and placed a light kiss on Minerva's forehead.
"I'll just wait for you in my rooms, alright?" Minerva said.
"See you in a minute."
Severus had slowly let go of Minerva and she went two steps away, smiling when he would not entirely release her arm. His hand trailed down to her wrist, then her hand, and the couple exchanged another one of those sickeningly sweet glances.
"I still don't believe this!" Lockhart spoke what Filius was thinking.
Severus caught Minerva's hand again just before she let go. He pulled her back so fast that she almost stumbled over the hem of her robes, but she only giggled and allowed Severus to catch her.
"How could anyone not believe this?" Severus said feverishly.
Then he kissed Minerva full on the mouth. She sighed and her arms flew around his neck. Both of them moaned with pleasure as their kiss grew more and more passionate. Severus had one hand on her back and one on her shoulders, almost lifting Minerva off her feet.
Filius was a gentleman. He would not watch a couple in an intimate moment without announcing his presence. The old wizard raised his hand to his mouth and coughed audibly.
Neither Minerva nor Severus reacted. They held on to each other as though they would never let go again. Lockhart gaped at them.
"Filius!" a female voice whispered.
He turned to his right and saw Pomona Sprout sitting on the floor behind a book-shelf, waving him closer.
"Come on!" she said urgently, then she actually jumped up and pulled him into her hiding place.
"Pomona, what are you doing here, this is most impolite…"
"Ssshhhh! Keep your voice down!"
"But they have a right to know I have seen them, although I must say this is quite a surprise…"
"Keep your voice down, I said!" Pomona hissed. "This is not real!"
Not real? The whole situation appeared unreal enough, but Filius did not quite understand the Hufflepuff's meaning.
"This kiss. It's not real. They are acting so Goldilocks will believe Severus is straight."
"But we all know he is no Death Eater any more…"
"No, not straight as in normal. Straight as in heterosexual. Goldilocks tried to seduce him tonight, actually he more or less harassed Severus… it was quite funny really…"
Pomona sniggered. Filius, lost for words, looked through the book-shelf at the couple again. They had stopped kissing for a moment, but still stood in close embrace, their lips almost touching. Lockhart looked disgusted.
"This does not look much like acting," Filius whispered to the other Head of House.
"I know, I'm as surprised as you are. We just came in when Goldilocks tried to kiss Severus, well actually he did – " Pomona chuckled again, "and then Severus pushed Gilderoy away. If truth be told, they were on the verge of a serious brawl. So Minerva got in the middle of it and stopped them."
"Well, I am leaving!" Lockhart announced pompously.
"Good idea," Snape replied.
"Sleep well," Minerva purred. "I know I won't for a while…"
Severus laughed and kissed her again, this time spinning her around so that he pinned her against the wall. Minerva sighed audibly, put her hands on his back and pulled him even closer.
"She did not just say that…" Pomona stammered.
Filius could not reply, his mouth was standing wide open. He had, of course, known that the Gryffindor possessed a wicked sense of humour, but that was overdoing things a bit.
Lockhart stormed to the library door and rushed out of the room. He was in such a hurry that he did not even notice Filius standing and Pomona sitting in their hiding place.
The Heads of Gryffindor and Slytherin did not stop kissing until Lockhart slammed the door shut.
"Think he's gone?" Minerva whispered.
"It appears so."
They instantly broke apart, both of them smiling nervously. Filius wanted to get out behind the book-shelf, but Pomona held his arm. Her fingers felt like the claws of a badger, really, he had often wondered how people could underestimate the Hufflepuff House animal.
"You can let go now," he whispered.
"Only if you stay put. I want to see the end of this," Pomona replied.
The other two Heads of Houses had by now resumed their normal facial expressions. Severus looked quite solemn, and Minerva serious as ever. She immediately started to re-arrange her hair into the familiar tight bun.
Severus looked at her for a long moment.
"Thank you," he then said gravely.
"You are welcome," she replied. "You know… that was quite a response."
Now she blushed. Filius wondered if he had actually ever before seen Minerva with pink cheeks. Pomona giggled again.
"In for a knut, in for a galleon. I merely thought we ought to act the part as convincingly as possible," Severus stated. "Your generous assistance was more than welcome. I suppose you must have witnessed some of the previous events?"
"Enough of it. Most of all, I noticed that you had left your wand on the table, and I don't think Irma or Dumbledore would have appreciated if you had actually started a physical fight here… this is no place for a mêlée."
"Of course, you are right. And who knows if the git would then have given up for good… he might just have taken this as another 'display of passion' or something of the like."
Pomona had gagged herself with her sleeve. Filius looked at her in surprise and raised his eyebrows questioningly. She waited for another moment, then she carefully removed the sleeve from her mouth and drew in a deep breath.
"Merlin, this is so funny," she whispered. "Have you noticed?"
"No eye contact. They act all formal and avoid eye contact. They are embarrassed, both of them."
"Yes," Minerva agreed with Severus – while inspecting a book as though she had never seen one before. "He was quite… zealous. So I just thought I'd help you put this to an end."
Severus looked at her back for another thirty seconds, then he spoke up in his usual, cold voice.
"Alright, so what do you want?"
"What do I want?"
Minerva spun around and faced him. Her voice also sounded normal again.
"Like the Gryffindor Head of House would just do me a favour. What do you want in return?"
She smiled sweetly.
"It was not fair when you gave the Quidditch pitch to your team after Wood had booked it. Your Slytherins already have the better brooms. We need more training time."
"Not if our training time is to be cut short."
"Would you like me to go and tell Lockhart that you are madly in love with him?"
"Two weeks. For the next two weeks, all Slytherin training hours are cancelled and Gryffindor gets the pitch instead. From Monday on."
Minerva nodded happily.
"So if you'd excuse me now, I had intended to return several books…"
"So had I."
Severus collected his books from the table and returned them to their shelves. Minerva bent over the library catalogue and peered at the cards. Filius knew that she could hardly read without her spectacles.
The Head of Ravenclaw now really wanted to step out of their hiding place – they would be discovered any minute now – but Pomona again held him back. Well, badgers could be dangerous, so he stayed.
When Severus was done returning his books, he leaned against one of the tables and watched Minerva for a while.
"What?" she asked while sorting through the library catalogue.
"All it ever was about was the Quidditch, wasn't it?" he said mockingly, in the voice of a ham actor making the big melodramatic statement.
"Of course," she replied, smiling warmly. "What did you think?"
They exchanged another friendly glance.
Then, both of them turned quickly and looked away. For just one second, Filius wondered how it could have happened that suddenly the two sternest Hogwarts teachers appeared so very vulnerable and emotional.
Minerva held another index card close to her eyes.
"Minerva? Where are your glasses, anyway?"
"Oh, Pomona held them for me. Pomona, who might by now maybe consent to leave her hiding place…"
Pomona sighed and stood up. Filius followed her around the book-shelf. Thankfully, neither Minerva nor Severus commented on his presence, although Severus rolled his eyes in annoyance.
The Slytherin left first, quickly putting on his robes and saying a curt goodbye. Once Minerva had put on her glasses again, she was equally fast in returning her journal and then declaring that she would go to bed.
Filius had by now totally forgotten why he had come to the library in the first place, so he just waited until Pomona had checked the Old England Journal out for herself and then they left together.
He accompanied the Hufflepuff Head – who still was giggling once in a while – to the stairs before saying goodnight. Those pink confetti again were all over the place. Hadn't Filch already started to clean them up?
The question to his musings presented itself when the Weasley twins appeared on the stairs, running in the direction of the Gryffindor Tower. They were followed by a storm-cloud of heart-shaped confetti and Filch's screams of rage.
Severus had apparently waited for the twins to appear on the scene. He stepped out behind a stature. The two fourth-years stopped dead.
"Weasley and Weasley again, what a surprise…" Severus whispered maliciously. "Let's see… out of bed in the middle of the night… performing magic in the corridors… messing up Mr Filch's work… I should say, fifty points from Gryffindor?"
"For each one of you."
The boys looked outraged.
So did Minerva, who had also suddenly appeared on the scene.
"Professor Snape! Fifty points each, that is too much… They do deserve punishment, but this was not a serious break of the rules, just a little harmless charm."
"And a lot of extra work for Mr Filch. Professor McGonagall, you stay out of this."
"They are my students."
"And I caught them red-handed."
Fred and George looked at each other and grinned. Even if they had lost Gryffindor a hundred points, a Snape-McGonagall argument always was excellent entertainment.
"Fifteen points each should do. Also, they will go to their dormitory immediately, or I will personally put them in detention for the rest of the term. And take more points."
Personally, Filius agreed with Minerva. Severus frequently got carried away when taking points from students, especially from Gryffindors. The Weasley twins were trouble-makers, but of the good-natured kind. Not like James Potter and that Sirius Black had been…
"If you say so," Severus replied icily.
"Boys – off to bed," Minerva ordered.
Fred and George sped off to their dormitory. Severus and Minerva glared at each other.
"Goodnight, Severus," Minerva said curtly.
He did not reply, but turned on the spot and strode off to his dungeons. Minerva also turned around and followed her students.
Filius watched Severus disappear down the hallway, black robes billowing behind him as usual.
"Seems that Valentine's Day is over and the world is back to normal, doesn't it?" Pomona said next to him. She sounded slightly disappointed.
"I should think so," he replied. "Goodnight, Pomona."
She marched off in the direction of her rooms, but then stopped again.
"Filius? They would sort of be a nice couple, wouldn't they?"
The Ravenclaw Head remembered that unusually emotional expression on the faces of his colleagues just before he and Pomona had left their hiding place.
"Maybe. Yes, actually I think they would – though Merlin help us if they ever really decide to team up against the rest of the world. Just think of poor Lockhart."
"Yes, you are right," Pomona grinned. "Poor Goldilocks. Well, goodnight."
She turned around for good and hurried away. Filius yawned again and decided to go to bed. It had been a long day.
– The End –