He's been waiting for her by the door to her quarters, leaning to the wall.

The icy demeanour from the feast and the congratulations (her hand still hums, he squeezed it so hard) has made way for bitterness. It's not an unusual expression for him, but it seems more concentrated, like he poured it into one of his cauldrons and boiled it down to its essence.

"Still smarting, I see."

She didn't think his mouth could get any tighter, but he proves her wrong.

"Oh come now, Severus. What was it you've been saying to me for, what, seven years? 'Man up, colleague, what's one more year'?"

He pushes away from the wall with an edgy motion.

"Or is it only funny when it's you saying it?"

His hand jerks in the general direction of his wand, and she briefly wonders whether she should keep pushing him.

But it's been seven years of being a good sport and jibes at being a sore loser, and if she could take it for years and years and act like it was all in god fun, so help her god, so can he.

"It might be funny, Minerva, if that win of yours weren't so utterly ridiculous. 'Ten points for standing up to one's friends' my arse. Though, on second thought", an ugly sneer forms on his face, and she really wants to look away, but doesn't. "On second thought, Longbottom clearly has been the only one of the lot acting somewhat reasonably, so there's that."

"What really bothers you is that it was Potter who essentially won that House Cup, and you can't stand it."

She's hit a nerve, she can tell. His right hand is millimetres from his wand, stiff as a board, but she's beyond caring. This has to be said (had to be said all year now that she thinks on it).

"You need to let that grudge go, Severus. Stop projecting all that old anger onto the boy."

His fingers are now around his wand, but he hasn't drawn it yet.

"He's just a child, and you treat him like your mortal enemy."

"He's –"

"'He's' nothing, Severus. You're being ridiculous and petty. I'd call it childish if it weren't so utterly disgusting."

He makes a sharp, wheezing sound. It might almost be a laugh.

"You think children are incapable of disgusting behaviour? You think children are above cruelty and pettiness?"

"You're changing the point, Severus."

(Her voice is now as cold as his.)

"And what is the point, dear professor?"

"The point is that if I caught any of the students bullying a classmate the way you're bullying that boy, I'd put them in detention until they were ready to go into retirement."

They stare at one another for several moments, in the way that always sounds ridiculous when it's described in books, but here, in real life, she feels as high-strung as the chord of a harp and it takes several breaths until she is sure that he won't hex her right here in the draughty corridor.

But he looks away and turns around, in that sharp, jerky movement that makes his robes billow, and walks away, just slow enough not to be running (she remembers now he never could stand that word bullying).

She tries very hard to feel satisfaction. Satisfaction for beating him in the House Cup, for making a grown man squirm with just her glare as if he were a student, for finally telling him what was at the tip of her tongue for ages.

But as she watches him walk (not run) away, she feels somewhat disgusted.

She can't quite decide whether it's with him or with herself.