As soon as Harry and Snape both stepped out into the corridor, they were confronted with Jessica Flint.
"Mr. Potter, are you teaching tomorrow?" Jessica asked, her eyes alit with fascination with Harry.
"I am, actually. And I believe I have the Slytherin seventh years tomorrow. Isn't that right, Severus?" Snape nodded, and Harry continued, "Well, then I expect I'll be seeing you soon, Jessica." He gave a friendly, but at the same time, wary, smile.
Both Harry and Snape began walking away from her, but then she caught up with them. "I had trouble with the essay Professor Snape assigned us. Mr. Potter, would you mind helping me with it?"
Strange. A Flint openly displaying admiration for Harry Potter? What was she up to? They'd just have to play along in order to figure out her intentions.
Harry was probably thinking along the same lines, as he said, "Sure. Why don't you follow us to Professor Snape's classroom?"
They walked for a while, Jessica politely inquiring about how Ginny was doing and about how work was. Snape could see right through Jessica, having known her for so many years now, and he knew Harry could definitely tell that she was simply trying to get him on his good side.
Then, just before Snape could open the door to his office, Albus came around the corner and said, "Hey, Dad! I just wanted to -" He stopped speaking as though a switch had turned him off as soon as he realized Jessica was with them.
The air became very heavy as soon as Albus began to look at Jessica mistrustfully.
"What did you want, Al?" Harry asked, probably trying to break up the tension.
"Nothing. I'll come back later." Albus was still looking at Jessica, now with true anger. "What's she -"
Harry ignored Albus entirely and spoke instead to Snape. "I'll deal with Jessica first, and you can stay out here and help Albus with whatever's up with him." He went into the office without waiting for a response.
Snape wished he didn't have to be the one who had to put up with Albus, but it had to be done. If Albus and Jessica were in each other's presence, they wouldn't reveal anything about what they were up to, considering they were rivals, and Jessica only seemed willing to reveal information to Harry today, not Snape.
Albus looked at Snape expectantly. "Here comes the interrogation," he said sarcastically. "Well? I'm ready, I guess."
Snape narrowed his eyes at him. It was funny, indeed how, in moments when either the brat was under a great deal of stress or his temper was pushed to the limit, Albus was capable of reminding him of two other Potters who both went by the name of James.
"Do I need to remind you that I am your professor and that you should learn to watch your tongue?" Snape carefully looked him over with hatred. He was reminded of how utterly repulsed he was of the fact that the entire wizarding world associated him with this boy. "The entire staff assumed from the start that you would be the complete opposite from your brother, but I always had a suspicion you would be just as arrogant, just as mediocre, in your own way -"
"Look, what do you want from me? I have priorities other than standing here and listening to this rubbish, so just get on with it already." His furious green eyes dared to meet his.
"Priorities?" Snape hissed at him. "Anything you consider a priority is something that results in disaster. So, tell me. What were you about to tell your father? What secrets are you shamelessly keeping from the rest of us?"
Albus gave him a defiant look for a few seconds and then looked about to answer when the door to the office finally opened back up.
Jessica came back out, looking overjoyed as Harry said to her, "You should be able to finish the rest of the essay now. Have a good day, Jessica." He gave a strained smile and dropped the facade as soon as she turned the corner.
Albus immediately went into the office with Snape and Harry.
Snape quickly picked up on the fact that Harry was sending a cold stare his way. It had become rare nowadays for Harry to be doing such a thing to Snape ever since the war had ended.
"There's no need for me to ask if you found out anything from Albus, considering all I heard from that really loud argument was you, instead, focusing on insulting him."
"You seem to be ignoring the fact that you heard your son disrespecting a teacher -"
Albus jumped into the conversation. "In case you haven't noticed, you've had it coming to you for a while, professor."
Harry didn't say anything, but rather, he appeared satisfied at Albus's words, as though he agreed with him, as though he was seriously condoning such behavior.
"Well, you'll be happy to hear that I've made some progress, and I'll need Albus's explanation to fully understand what's been happening." Harry turned to Albus now. "You have to be completely honest with us. If you just tell me the truth, I won't be mad."
Albus sighed. "I never believed you before when you said that and I really don't believe it now."