Author's Notes: Educare is Latin, it's the infinitive form of the verb educo, educare, educavi, educatum, which means (as you may have guessed) 'to educate'.
Well, this is unusual for me. I avoid writing Snape if I can help it, I don't write McGonagall or Albus either (or anything for the HP fandom lately). I certainly wasn't expecting this to turn into anything…
Anyway, this was inspired by some prompt-writing I did with my good friend Mickie (Adonais on ). The prompt she gave me is as follows:
Professor McGonagall knew Severus Snape since he was an eleven year old boy. Now, he's a faculty member and Head of House. Must include a Severus-McG conversation in the staff room. Strong tea optional. Lemon drops optional. Mention Albus Dumbledore.
I'm pleased to say I managed to fulfil the requirements entirely, and that Mickie liked it.
Why not tell me what you think? Reviews make me happy, and make me a better writer (and encourage me to become more prolific, to be honest).
As far as Severus Snape was concerned, the only redeeming feature of teaching was the staff room. The room itself was utterly unappealing. Albus had, at some point, taken a fancy to interior decorating, and decided that purple and violet drapes, mixed with pastel green shag carpets, yellow furniture and purple throw pillows, sounded like a rather good idea. Though the colours mixed well enough (not, of course, that Severus would, under any circumstances, condone the colour yellow, mind), the décor itself was appalling -- and threadbare.
The company was appalling too. Severus hadn't liked the teachers at Hogwarts all that much as a student, and found that his opinion had changed very little upon returning. One of the most intriguing things about Hogwarts was that no matter how much things changed, everything managed to stay the same.
Still, the single (and most important benefit) of the staff room, in his mind, was the solitude it provided. Not a single student was allowed across the threshold (a rule Severus enforced with particular vigour), and, if he timed it right, most teachers were busy and he had the room to himself. Though he preferred to think in solitude within the comfort (and infinitely better-decorated confines) of his own rooms, Albus had insisted that he spend more time within the 'school environment', in order to better acclimatise.
In all fairness, Albus did have a reason to be concerned about Severus' anti-social behaviour -- if not only due to the complaints from the other staff members. Severus' first class had been somewhat of a disaster (to put it mildly).
Though no one else knew it, (despite how much they had joked about it), Severus had less than no interest in teaching. As far as he was concerned, children were a bunch of dribbling idiots -- it was bad enough going through school the first time around, he wasn't about to do it year after year. But Albus had insisted, and, in his weakened state, his could do little but comply.
Thus he had found himself standing, arms crossed and looking suitably bat-like as he stared down the length of his rather substantial nose at a collection of trembling first-year Hufflepuffs. The expression 'thrown to the dogs' came to mind as he began to teach - lazily informing the children that they were making wart removal potion, and if they failed to correctly follow the directions the resulting explosion would be both substantial and toxic, before striding up to his desk and glaring angrily at them from a more comfortable position of power. What he had not expected was that the students would go into blind panic.
"It would perhaps have been best to provide a little more instruction and a little less mention of toxic fumes," Albus had said later. "Lemon drop?"
At times, the headmaster could be maddeningly unhelpful.
After several weeks of inane and obvious questions, poorly written and illegible homework assignments, and test results guaranteed to suspend the summer privileges of all his students, he was beginning to wonder if simply throwing himself off the Astronomy Tower would not be a better solution.
"Marking exams?" came a soft voice from behind him, and he startled, spilling his tea all over his hand and an unfortunate Ravenclaw second-year's essay.
He scowled automatically, wiping the tea from the table, but watching in satisfaction as the essay soaked and the ink began to blur.
"It never gets any better," Minerva remarked, walking around the hideous purple chesterfield and fixing herself a cup of tea, and a refill for Severus.
He scowled harder. Though he was loathe to admit it, there was a small part of him that remained intimidated by Professor McGonagall. He couldn't count the number of times she'd caught him casting spells in the hallways, or getting into fights during his school years. Though he preferred getting caught by her over some of the other, even more biased, teachers, there was no denying that Potter and his gang had got away with a great deal more than they should have. It was a long-held grudge, and the source of a great deal of his strife and bitterness, but he wasn't about to let it go.
"I've been meaning to catch up with you," she continued, oblivious to his thoughts. "But you do seem to have a way of avoiding social obligations." He was startled to see her eyes twinkling in amusement as she spoke.
"Regardless, I ought to have checked up on you sooner."
He bristled. He did not need checking up on.
She smiled, as if aware of his line of thought. "Not," she added amusedly, "that you'd need it, of course."
He was caught between aggravation and confusion. The fact that she, of all people, was making fun of him was mind boggling in itself. He settled for being aggravated -- the fact that he disliked being mocked was easy to understand, and easy to respond to. The fact that it was his old Transfiguration professor -- a professor notorious for not having a sense of humour, simply made his brain want to explode.
"Thank-you for your concern," he ground out. "But it is unfounded."
"Hmm," she said non-commitally. "I noticed the first year Hufflepuffs looked particularly terrified leaving your classroom," she added, stirring honey into her tea with a spoon that looked like it had been sitting on the counter since she had been a student. "Albus told me about your first lesson."
Severus made a mental note to talk to Albus later. He avoided the practice of gossip, and avoided the practice of being gossiped about, by any means necessary.
"I have no doubt that you are capable of commanding their attention and respect," she said mildly. "But you must also help them learn. To do that, you must assume both that they know nothing, and that they want to know everything."
He pointedly avoided her gaze, picking up his sopping pile of essays and preparing to leave.
"You may find a student worth teaching," she said placing the spoon back on the counter and taking a sip of her tea. "But you will only do so if you look."
"Thank-you for the tea," he said stiffly, at a loss for anything else to say, before turning and striding purposefully out of the room.
Years later he began to wonder if it might have been a good idea to take her advice after all. By then Minerva had stopped offering, and Albus had resigned himself to dealing with each of the many complaint letters from parents that came raining in every holiday break. About one thing the universe seemed to agree upon completely: Severus Snape was not a teacher. But, occasionally, he would catch glimpses of students that showed admirable curiosity, aptitude and intelligence. He hated them on principle, because he could not teach.
It was easier to be horrible at his job when he could satisfy himself with the knowledge that his pupils could no more learn than he could teach.
And those few moments when he'd answer a particularly well-thought out question, or read an intriguing essay, he'd see a flicker of the life he could have had reflected in their work.
In the end it only made him even more bitter.