Severus Snape stalked down the corridor leading to Albus Dumbledore's office, his robes billowing menacingly behind him. His venomous snarl added to the foreboding effect, further spurring the already rampant rumors that he was a vampire.
All around him students ran for cover recognizing the telltale signs of his trademark sour mood. His onyx eyes held nothing but hatred, not even malice or contempt stained them. Despite the intense emotions swirling in his eyes, his still managed to keep his tread light, going as far as startling a poor first year Hufflepuff who didn't hear him coming.
"Out of my way," he hissed sharply, barely even bothering to move his lips. The shy gave a scared squeak as she scurried to a nearby vacant classroom. She hid there for a good fifteen minutes before she deemed it safe to peek her head out the door. The scowling potions professor continued towards his destination, ignoring puzzled colleagues and half wit students. To Snape it seemed like he had been walking (or gliding, as Gryffindors called it) forever when he finally reached the stone gargoyle.
Glaring at its never changing face, he cleared his throat and said,
"Sugar Quill," in the sharpest most disapproving voice he could manage in his still blistering mood. When would his superior ever grow up? The whole wizarding world was on the brink of war and the Headmaster still found time to mess with sugar coated passwords. Pathetic. It was becoming increasingly easy to guess the pass codes as the years wore on. The familiar sound of stone grating against stone alerted the brooding potions master that the time to ascend was at hand.
He carefully strode up the stairs trying not to alert the headmaster of his presence. It was increasingly frustrating to hear his genial voice calling his name without giving him a chance to make any sort of an entrance. He reached the top of the stairs in record time, quickly making his to Dumbledore's heavy oak doors. Without pausing to knock, he pushed them open rather forcefully, relishing in the satisfying bang as they hit the walls as a result. The headmaster was in a corner, hunched over his pensieve as usual.
"Severus," he said without looking up, " to what do I owe the pleasure?" Snape scowled at the headmaster's greeting.
"Headmaster," he began, his voice full of venom. Dumbledore looked up, his eyes twinkling brightly. This further deepened Snape's permanent scowl.
"Call me Albus, dear boy." Snape hated when he was addressed as thus, he was not a boy, and he certainly wasn't 'dear'. "Lemon drop?" Snape hesitated for a moment. Usually the automatic answer was a curt 'No.' On the other hand, accepting the candy may make Dumbledore more likely to look at his demands favorably. Cautiously he held out his hand and drawled,
"Yes, thank you He- Albus." The headmaster bemusedly cocked an eyebrow but did not argue. If possible, his eyes held even more twinkle than before. Only the infernal Potter boy would ever even cause him to think about accepting the despicable Muggle confection. The Headmaster eyes him with growing amusement as he carefully popped the candy into his mouth. He instantly puckered, almost spitting it out. Snape had never enjoyed sour edibles. Hastening to rid himself of the sour candy, he quickly bit down, only to have his mouth filled with cooling lemon sherbet. It was a challenge to hide his pleasant surprise, lest he please the old man in front of him. Albus smiled slightly and gently nudged the potions master back to the subject at hand.
"Severus, what were you saying?" Snape quickly came back to his senses.
"Ah yes, that Potter spawn-"
"Harry…" Dumbledore interjected mildly. Severus chose to ingnore this in favor of continuing on.
"…is arrogant and lazy, just like his father! I refuse to tutor him any more in occlemens. He is hopeless. He doesn't care! He seeks attention, Albus, he doesn't want to close the connection. Don't you see? You've been duped!" By the time the angered professor reached the end of his rant, he was breathing heavily. He hated that boy, he was exactly like James!
"Oh Severus, what has he done now?"
"He," Snape spat, "deliberately humiliated me by rifling through my memories coming across some… sensitive material!" Albus's mouth formed a small frown at the mention of 'sensitive material'. Regardless, he plugged on saying,
"Harry is a loyal, sensitive boy. He's been through a lot Severus. I'm sure all that has happened is merely a mistake and nothing more." Snape was quiet for a moment before he ground out in a deadly quiet voice,
"How typical. Albus Dumbledore takes Potter's side. How bloody typical. James was always your favorite, wasn't he?"
"Severus-" Albus started warningly.
"He did it out of spite! He tried to harm me emotionally- don't you see? He is just like his father! He's resentful for his floundering potions mark, and he hates me because I see him for who he really is!" Albus sighed, knowing his colleague wouldn't budge. He tried a different tactic.
"We can not turn our backs on him, not now. We need him to close the connection before Voldemort takes advantage and gets someone hurt!" Severus merely sneered,
"Oh, yes, coming from the man who hasn't spoken to the boy all year. If I hadn't known better," he said cruelly, "I would have thought you had already turned your back on him." The Headmaster turned away, all twinkle gone from his eyes. He looked very old, and it seemed as though several found their way magically onto his face. Snape noticed with satisfaction that Dumbledore had not argued against the statement. Being the Slytherin he was, Snape took advantage of the Headmaster's weakness to demand, "Relieve me of the burden of tutoring James's son! I refuse to…" Suddenly, Dumbledore's back stiffened and he stood several inches taller than normal, steely eyes glinting without any hint of twinkle.
"Severus Snape. You will teach Harry Potter occlemens. For the sake of the wizarding world swallow your bloody grudge and do your duty. Need I remind you of your promise? You said you'd do anything to save Lily! You, in a sense, are responsible for her death! Now, the boy is alive, and you ignore and hate him! Shame, Severus, what would Lily say?" Severus took several steps back at this sudden shift in dominance. Suddenly he felt very small and insignificant. He tried to keep his voice free of tremors as he curtly said,
"I understand, sir." The conversation was over. He would have to teach bloody Potter, son of his enemy, occlemens. Dumbledore slumped down, looking tired. Severus walked purposefully towards the door, robes billowing behind him. Quietly, almost inaudibly, Dumbledore called,
"He really is a lot like Lily, Severus." Snape faltered, but it was only for a moment. He continued on as though he hadn't heard. The oak doors clanked shut behind him, shutting him out, rejecting him. That old fool! He was wrong! Potter was not loyal, kind or sensitive. He was just like James. He was not like Lily, at all. The old meddling coot had always been right about one thing, however. Those lemon drops were pretty bloody good.