"Nonsense, Severus. Today is a beautiful day."
Dumbledore clasped the Potions professor on the shoulder hard enough to cause the latter to stumble a few paces forward. They were both standing in Dumbledore's office, gazing out of the window. The snow, flawlessly placed on the ground, dazzled in the sun and invited students to lie down outside and bask in the weather. A rather lopsided snowman was being built by Harry Potter and his two friends, and Snape scowled as he watched the raven-haired third year tumble happily in the snow, wrestling with the redheaded, freckle-faced boy he referred to as his 'best pal.'
"Even so," Snape responded silkily, weaving his way out of the grip of Dumbledore, which was a rather hard task. "I do not wish to be disturbed by adolescents whose idea of a 'good time' is to throw clumps of frozen water in the air. As difficult as it is to refuse, I must pass."
"Nonsense!" Dumbledore repeated, giving Snape a shove towards the door. "There are many places you could be by yourself, stop being so pessimistic!" Snape reluctantly followed Dumbledore down the steps and outside the castle. The cold air hit Snape with a shock and his face became even paler, much to his disdain. Dumbledore gazed around happily at the joyful students playing in the snow. "Isn't winter a wonderful season, Severus? Is it not a great pleasure to see the frost accumulating on the outside of windows, to see the leaves fall and form great clumps that you could just jump right in to, to see a cup of hot chocolate on your table, steaming and so deliciously warm?"
Snape stared for a moment. "You sent that?"
Dumbledore smiled. "I figured you could use something to cheer you up. Remus said you seemed in an extra bad temper yesterday."
"Well you can ask Professor Lupin if he would be in a good mood if Longbottom's potion drenched his robes and hair."
"Always about your hair." Dumbledore ruffled Snape's hair for effect; Snape hissed and ducked his head, stepping sideways to avoid what he considered a senile man. "Well," Dumbledore finished. "I must go write Fudge a reply… his letter sounded urgent. But, Severus, I think I see a spot near the lake calling your name."
"Hear a spot near the lake calling my name." Snape corrected the Headmaster, turning his head to look glumly at what Dumbledore was referring to. It did look kind of nice. "I will go sit there," Snape decided, nodding his head. "But not because I want to."
Dumbledore smiled. "Of course not."
Snape scowled. "Please refrain from mocking me to my face."
Dumbledore's smile just widened, much to Snape's annoyance. "Dear Severus, I am not one of your students. Remember that." Dumbledore started to head back to the castle; he turned on the top step to call back to Snape. "Also, Severus, remember that the students, however much they annoy you, remember that they're people too! That they can enjoy the weather just as much as you can!" With that he turned and entered the castle, the great doors flapping loudly for a few seconds before finally closing.
"Blah blah blah." Snape yawned, walking over to the spot Dumbledore so willingly pointed out. "What a crazy old fool." He sighed, rubbing his face with his hands as he sat down to stare at the lake. The top was covered with ice, and Snape couldn't help but relate to the lake.
It's like me. It's covered with ice on the outside.
Snape thought for a moment.
That's a bloody horrible comparison. What am I, fifteen?
Snape groaned, massaging his temples and putting his face in his hands. "It's bloody freezing." He did a simple warming spell, but it soon wore off and he just clutched his robes tighter around his body. "Bloody Dumbledore. I swear one day he will die by my sword." Snape growled, looking around at all the gleeful students.
He was just thinking of leaving when something cold and hard hit him in the back of the head. Snape sat there, stunned, before standing up swiftly and glaring, shaking the snow out of his hair. "Who threw that?" He squinted. "Miss Granger?"
Hermione was wide-eyed and backing away, loose snow falling out of her hands. "I-I…"
Snape, shaking with fury, stomped over to the girl and glared down at her, a scowl threatening to leave a mark on his face if he kept it on any longer. "What in bloody hell made you think assaulting my person with a weapon was a good idea? Fifty points from Gryffindor."
As he said the last sentence Hermione's eyes widened even more, and she faltered slightly under his gaze. "I-I… it was a dare sir… I didn't mean…"
Snape looked over her shoulder. Potter was looking nervous, watching the scene with eyes as round as orbs, his hand holding a twig he was about to place on the snowman they were building. Weasley was rolling around in the snow, clutching his sides, he was laughing so hard. Snape's eyes narrowed. "Potter, Weasley, kindly move your show somewhere I won't be able to see in my peripheral vision."
Weasley scrambled up, still laughing, and whispered something to Potter. The latter still seemed a bit worried, but they both headed away from the scene. As Potter walked behind Weasley he tried to mouth something to Hermione. "Now!" Snape raised his voice, and Harry scurried over to where Ron was walking.
"So," Snape turned back to a shaking Hermione. She was probably cold from standing still. "According to you, you were dared, I assume by Mr. Weasley, to attack my person and risk my health and my life. And you chose to agree to this because…?"
Hermione gulped, still shivering. Her discomfort gave Snape satisfaction, but he was still very, very irritated. "I-I… well I-"
"Yes, Miss Granger, I know my alphabet." Snape snapped. "But if you continue to not answer my question you will soon get a d-e-t-e-n-t-i-o-n." He spelled out, sneering at her. "You always try so desperately to show off… do you know what that spells?"
Hermione turned red and it wasn't from the cold. "Sir, Ron told me that you…" She trailed off, and Snape raised an eyebrow. "Ron told me that students always threw snowballs at your head and that you probably wouldn't c-care." She stuttered as she saw the look on his face change from annoyance to pure rage.
"And, Miss Granger, you thought it intelligent to believe Mr. Weasley?" Snape clenched his fists, staring down at her. "You foolish, foolish girl. Believe it or not, you are the only person stupid enough to throw a snowball at me."
Actually, that wasn't true. James and Sirius would always hurl snowballs at him while he was trying to read in school, and after a Christmas party a few years back McGonagall had thrown one at him because he made the mistake of referring to her as 'Fluffy.'
But right now it seemed like a better idea to pretend that she was in fact the only person to hit him with a snowball. "Another twenty points from Gryffindor for your stupidity, and a detention tomorrow."
Seventy points seemed fair, didn't it?
Hermione didn't seem to think so, because after Snape finished his sentence she literally leaned over and retched all over the ground. Snape stepped back a few paces, looking down in disgust. "I'm sorry…" She apologized after a few moments, flicking her wand to perform a simple cleaning spell. "I just, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have thrown anything at you. It was wrong and I apologize."
Snape's eyes narrowed at her apology. "Remove yourself from my presence, Miss Granger." He hissed, turning around to go back to his spot by the lake. He figured he could get a few more minutes of peace before having to return to the castle.
Another snowball hit him squarely in the back of the head, and he whipped around, seeing an innocent Hermione Granger standing exactly where he left her. She had another snowball in her left hand, and as Snape shook his head to rid his hair of the snow, he looked up at her, his eyes narrowed. "You didn't think I believed you for a moment there, did you Miss Granger? Your sad tale of woe about being a naïve, innocent victim that thought I wouldn't mind being assaulted." He hissed.
Hermione just smiled, pulling her left hand back to aim the snowball at his face.
"No, Miss Gr-"
His mouth was open, and Snape coughed as he choked on the rather disgusting tasting snow. He stumbled back a few paces, clutching his chest and glaring at the fourteen year old girl in front of him. "Thirty points from Gryffin-"
Snape was flung to the ground as a storm of snowballs aimed themselves at him, hitting him in the face, chest, everywhere. She must have bewitched the snow to form into snowballs and attack him, Snape thought as he tried to cover his face with his hands.
That's a rather tricky spell…
And then it all went black.
"Miss Granger, Severus has informed me that you 'nearly killed him' earlier today and that he demands 'immediate action' on my part. Now, under normal circumstances your Head of House would handle a case like this, but since this is an assault on a teacher, a very serious crime, I must handle it directly."
Dumbledore finished his statement by clasping his hands together and leaning across his desk to look at the third year grinning sheepishly up at him. "I'm sorry, Headmaster, but I-"
Dumbledore cut her off, leaning back in his chair, his eyes twinkling. "Tell me, Hermione…" He trailed off to add a bit of suspense.
"Did he squeal like a little girl?"
"Seventeen times!" Hermione grinned.
Dumbledore held out his palm. "It worked perfectly! That deserves a high five!"
They high fived.
After a few chuckles and celebrations, Dumbledore had a question to ask. "What'd you tell him? I watched the whole thing through my window, but unfortunately I had no charms that would allow me to hear you from such a great distance."
"I told him I was dared to do it and Ron told me that he probably wouldn't care if I hit him with a snowball."
"Did he suspect otherwise?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Naturally."
Dumbledore looked thoughtful. "Does he know I set him up?"
She shook her head, grinning. "Not a bloody clue."
"Great!" He clapped, standing up and shuffling around. "Now, for that, I say… ninety points to Gryffindor. Yes, that sounds nice and fair, considering the amount he took off." He was still smiling, shaking his head in satisfaction.
Hermione thought for a moment. "Sir, I forgot to tell you something."
"What?" Dumbledore turned his gaze to her.
"I have detention tomorrow."