Disclaimer:  Anything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR.  Dedicated to Tessie who sent me a simply yummy photo of Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".  Essentially, these are Severus' thoughts before he duels Gilderoy Lockhart in COS (one of the scenes I am most looking forward to)..

More the Fool He

And so I have been effectively baited into this.

Damn this fool of a professor…he makes my very teeth ache in annoyance.

Who does he think he is…strutting around like some golden-clad peacock?  All his self-important charms on display for the world to see.  A disgusting show of indolent, misplaced pride and arrogance.  I have watched most of the female population at Hogwarts drooling over him as if he were a cauldron cake or other wizarding confection to be devoured.

And I have to play along with this little game he is playing.

Oh yes…pitting himself, the man who has defeated hags, ogres and Merlin knows what else, against the seemingly incompetent Potions Master.

I suppose he thinks that all those years of breathing in the fumes of smoking cauldrons have somehow addled my brains…dulled my reflexes.  Perhaps he overheard my traditional first year speech about unnecessary wand waving and believes that my technique is somehow not up to par.  Rusty from lack of practice.

Does this asinine excuse for a man realize who I was?

Can he possibly imagine the things I have done?

I highly doubt it.  He would run scurrying for cover faster than a werewolf from silver.

A Duelling Club.  What a mockery of the very term.  Look at this motley group of students here.  They are in second year and I can think of only one who could possibly have the talent and the courage to stand his ground in a real duel.  As much as I detest admitting it Potter has that sheer nerve that one requires when facing off against a fellow wizard or witch.  Unlike this nitwit who is prattling on about how he is going to go easy on me, Potter would never under-estimate an opponent. 

Well, we shall see.  The boy does need more preparation…more practical skills.  His life, although spared so many years ago, is still not safe and the sooner he learns how to defend himself, the better.

Time to take further advantage of the antipathy between him and Malfoy.  Yes, that should put Potter on his guard but I will give Malfoy a hint…a spell that Potter will not expect and we will see what we have to start with.

Time passes and I am more and more convinced that Lockhart likes nothing better than the sound of his own voice.  It confounds me that so many witches find him so dashing.  He is nothing but a bit of window dressing and there is something…something about him that I do not trust.

I am not alone in this thought and, as I wait for this pompous buffoon to finish his speech, I remember the comment that Minerva made only the night before.

"Severus…if it came down to facing The Dark Lord…I would much rather have you beside me than this gilded pansy."

And she was not smiling…she was deadly serious.  She feels it too.  Something not quite right.  Something off in the shadows…indistinct…remote.  But it is there and I mean to find out exactly what he is hiding.

For now, I will content myself with a small demonstration that, although a Potions Master, I have more than adequate skill with a wand.

He thinks I am helpless…a meaningless adversary.  Easily defeated.

More the fool he.

Now.  Let us begin.  I am nothing if not a strict adherer to the traditions of dueling and immediately assume the formal pose of attack.  I hold Lockhart's eyes for a moment in challenge.  He immediately looks away.  Intriguing.  Never trust an opponent who cannot look you in the eye.

I only hope that I don't kill the bastard.