Fire and Ice
Dinner rolled around and passed all too quickly for Hermione, she had seen Professor Snape after class; only for him to tell her to come and see him after dinner and then sweep from the room. So this was how she found herself stood outside the dungeon classroom once again, preparing herself for whatever awaited her. She took a deep breath and knocked, entering when the stern voice behind the door bade her to do so.
"Professor." Hermione greeted with a terse nod. She hadn't yet forgiven him for belittling her so publicly.
"Miss Granger, please sit down." She faltered before making her way over to her usual desk, a confused frown pursed her lips as she watched him with apprehension written all over her face. "Firstly" he continued "I believe I should apologise for deliberately provoking you, but it was necessary." Hermione noted that whilst he said he should apologise, he still managed to refrain from actually doing so.
"Why was it necessary, Professor?" She asked, her tone suggesting defiance. Clearly Miss Granger had grown up when he wasn't looking and no longer constantly sought his approval. He wasn't sure he liked the change.
"Because Granger, I had to see how you would react, how your magic would react. Tell me, have you noticed yourself losing control like that often?" It helped that his tone was curious rather than condescending. "No sir, it's very rare I get that angry and very few people manage to push me to that point. I do my best not to lose control and I haven't, not since I first discovered I was a witch."
He quirked an eyebrow at her in question. "And your magic first manifested itself as…" He already knew the answer.
"Fire, sir. I nearly burned down our home." She smiled in wry amusement as Snape nodded, like he hadn't expected anything else.
"How many of your friends powers also manifested in such a way?" She shook her head whilst eyeing him suspiciously. "None of their powers manifested as fire. The most common were levitation, making things disappear, blowing things up. I'm given to understand that fire is a rare form of magical manifestation."
Snape nodded at her and leant back against his desk. "You are correct, Miss Granger. In fact it is incredibly rare. I have noticed your power becoming stronger and I would like to offer you tutelage on controlling it."
Hermione blinked, trying not to show just how dazed she was by his pronouncement. "Forgive me sir, but why would you choose to inflict that upon yourself?"
He smirked wryly before answering her. "Because your powers will be a great help in the dark days ahead of us." He knew that was all he needed to say. He watched as he shoulders relaxed and the interest in her face became earnest and open. It always came back to Potter. "First, show me how you produce fire from your wand. I believe you've always had an affinity with fire?" He quirked an eyebrow at her knowingly whilst she flushed scarlet, images of her setting fire to his robes danced through her memory.
"I don't know what you mean sir?" She said as innocently as possible.
"Are you not adept at producing Bluebell Flames, or has Professor Flitwick been overstating your ability?" Inwardly he chuckled as he watched her relax again, this child was so easily read. Yes he knew she had set his robes on fire in her first year, now he understood why that had been the first spell she had thought of. Fire came as naturally to her as breathing did to him. "So, proceed." He gestured with a flick of his fingers and she placed her wand down on the well used surface of her workspace.
"Actually Professor, I don't usually use a wand when producing fire." He barely concealed his surprise at this statement, how could a teenage girl already be adept at wandlessly controlling fire? Clearly he had underestimated her.
He watched as the girl extended her hand, palm up and suddenly a small flame appeared, flickering in the centre and casting a strange shadow over her slightly curled fingers. Next she bought her hands together and the size of the flame doubled, he watched as she moved her hands like she was cradling the fire and it grew in size rapidly, licking at her fingers in a loving way.
Snape couldn't help but be impressed as he watched her. There was a smile of total contentment on her face and her brown eyes danced with the flame's reflection. "Impressive" he murmured, almost by accident. The beaming smile he received from her made him want to shift uncomfortably.
"Do you find it easily controlled? Fire can be unpredictable and volatile, all it would take is a slip of your concentration an-" She interrupted him swiftly, gracefully. "Forgive the interruption, sir, but I don't find it volatile at all. It whispers to me like magic, it listens to me." Almost as if it were eager to prove her point the fire danced up her arm in a spiral and licked at her face, her robes remained untouched from even the slightest singe. Her eyes were aglow with mischief as she advanced toward him. "I can even decide who it burns."
The flame reduced in size to sit back in her palm again and she extended it forwards toward him. "Try touching it."
His look was pure incredulity before the glow of the flame caught his eyes once again. It was beautiful really, how it flickered in and out of life and suddenly he was seized with the urge to touch it. He didn't know if it was his own curiosity or her strange power that pulled his hand towards it, his pale fingers paused before flicking over the flame. Where he had expected to feel overwhelming heat and pain he instead felt a pleasing warmth. "Extraordinary." He spoke quietly, like he was fearful that any loud noise would startle the flame which danced between the gaps in his fingers.
Suddenly, as though he was doused by icy water Snape came back to himself. He quickly stepped away and resumed his previous position leaning against his desk. "How many of your friends have you bragged about your power too?" He wanted to know how easily word of her powers would reach the Dark Lord, when the time came.
She shook her head and closed her fist around the flame, extinguishing it. He was almost sad to see it go. "No one knows, no one asked." She shrugged her shoulders as if that explained everything. He could imagine what it was like to be Hermione Granger, only wanted for her intellect and the help she could provide with homework. No one was interested enough to know her, not really. Not even the two boys she claimed were her best friends. Strangely enough he knew all too well what it was like, he had been just like Hermione Granger once.
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