Her Pet Hippogriff

Adelina's lips parted slightly as though to speak, but no sound issued forth. Snape's eyebrow raised quizzically as his lips pursed together in what might have been a smug expression as she closed her mouth and tried once more. "Professor, it really isn't necessary."

"No need to thank me, Miss Cummings," Snape dryly stated as he started to walk down the corridor, forcing Adelina to take long strides in order to keep up.

"Well, thank you, but I am perfectly capable of finding my chambers sans assistance," Adelina said as she settled into a pace that matched her chaperone's. As an afterthought, she added, "Thank you."

"I don't doubt that you are capable of finding your chambers on your own," Snape said in a tone that seemed almost genuine. However, he continued, "Though, I do think it would behoove you to find them before morning." He stole a quick glance from the corner of his eye, but she was unnervingly silent. He began to wonder what sort of names she was calling him in her mind.

Adelina visibly flinched at the stinging remark, but refrained from retorting. Instead, she was content to silently spew forth a variety of epithets as they made short work of the corridors.

"Well, Miss Cummings, this walk has been quite enlightening," Snape stated with an almost traceable hint of enthusiasm as they stopped before her door. "I bid you good-night, and I expect you to be on time tomorrow morning," he said, placing emphasis on the fact that her 6:01 a.m. appearance was completely unacceptable.

"Good night, Professor," Adelina replied in a tone that slightly betrayed her irritation. Without a second glance, she stepped into her bedroom and closed the door soundly behind her.

"Come in, Severus," Dumbledore called out from behind his desk.

Snape immediately entered the room without another thought as to how Dumbledore always seemed to know who was approaching; he'd long given up trying to answer the quandary. Exclusive of a proper greeting, he spat, "She's a Legilimens!"

Dumbledore stopped reading the parchment before him. Hpeered over the tops of his spectacles to study the vexed professor before him. "You don't say?"

"You knew, didn't you?" Snape asked – his tone calming to an cool monotony.

"Severus, I promise you that I have not given you a Legilimens for an apprentice," Dumbledore replied. "I'm certain it's simply a coincidence." He paused before adding, "Though, you must admit that would be quite interesting."

Snape stared stoically at Dumbledore, and the older man made no attempt to avoid the penetrating glare. Satisfied, he sighed in frustration. "She was petting a thestral this evening. Cooing to it, actually," Snape languidly stated as he sank into a plush chair. "I escorted her to her chambers, and she called me names every step of the way. The students here are quite fond of several of them."

"Would it be so tragic for you to be kinder to her?" Dumbledore questioned as he pulled a lemon drop from one of his pockets.

Snape raised his hand to forego the sweet. "There's something about her . . . something unnatural."

Dumbledore shrugged. "There's something a bit unnatural in all of us, I dare say."

Silence hung over the room for a few moments while Snape pondered his latest grievance. "Whose death did she witness?"

"Her pet hippogriff," Dumbledore replied quickly. When his humour was met with a stony expression from Snape, he shook his head. "I think she would be a more appropriate person to ask about her history."

"Perhaps, but I'm asking you," Snape said. However, he received nothing more from Dumbledore, and so retired to his chambers to stew over the thorn in his side – or perhaps more appropriately, the thorn in his mind.

A/N: My apologies for the shortness; I've begun rewriting the story from this point forward, as my outline and fanfic were lost when my desktop crashed.