Author's Note: Part of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest (response to: Scenario #32: Hogwarts holds some sort of quiz/comp/gameshow. How competitive is Snape, and who is his rival? What will he do to make sure he wins?; and Easy Pairing #23: Snape/Avery.) I have taken Certain Liberties with the canon timeline. Specifically, Rita Skeeter is now a year younger than Our Boys. I don't hear her complaining.
DISCLAIMER: I don't owns 'em. That's J.K. Rowling, don'chaknow. I just slips 'em out in the dead of night and makes 'em have little tea parties. Don't sue me. It'll all done in fun, I don't make a penny from my efforts (as the world at large seems so intent to remind me), and the most valuable thing I have is a kitten. If you sue me, she'll be sad. Do you hate kittens?
Part 7 - Crime And Punishment
"... And the Quaffle is in the air!" Gin Chang's voice broke through the roar of the crowd. Severus hovered, watching with slit eyes, as Jin Chang grabbed it and started racing towards him. "Chang has it, and is racing towards-ooh, Xavier got her good! Y'okay out there, sis? Quaffle falls to Pucey, who tosses it to Charles, to Pucey, Charles, Pucey... AND AN INTERCEPT BY POTTER!"
The Gryffindor section erupted. Severus gripped his broom tightly. Potter had the Quaffle clamped under his arm, dodging Pucey, Charles, and McMichael. "Gryffindor has possession, and let me tell you, folks, they're not giving it up! Ooh! Potter's still got the Quaffle, but he nearly didn't keep his head! Milton's a strong Beater, daresay she could give Malfoy a run for his money. Xavier tries his hand... and Evans sends it straight back at him! How's that for a fiery redhead, folks?"
"Stick to the game, Mister Chang. We don't need any side commentary."
"Sorry, Professor. Potter nearly to the scoring area now. Snape - where's his hat? - Snape is ready, flying a good, tight pattern around the goals. Potter in the scoring area now. He's going for the middle-no, the right-hand goal! He's-OH, MY GOD!"
Severus' shoulder impacted solidly on Potter's stomach. Potter grunted, dropped the Quaffle, and only held onto his broom by his knees. Severus laughed. From across the pitch he caught Black glaring daggers at him, skirting the very edge of the Gryffindor scoring area. Evans cursed in his direction and swooped closer to Potter.
The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw crowds were all booing loudly. In a moment of inspiration, Severus jumped to his feet atop the broom. Grinning, he waved his hands at the stands, conducting. Motioning at Slytherin, he waved his fingers upwards. They cheered madly. When he waved them downwards, they quieted in a chuckling thunder. It only made the rest of the crowd jeer more. Severus threw his head back and laughed as he led the crowd in steadily growing boos and his own marionette House in approval.
As soon as the Quaffle came back into proper play, though, he was down, broom clutched between his legs, never taking his eyes off the blood red sphere. "McMichael's got the Quaffle and is racing towards the Gryffindor goal, Pucey and Charles pulling into a Hawkshead Formation. Potter tries for another intercept, only to get Charles' elbow to the chest! Evans is close behind and... wow! Two Bludgers at once! One with her bat, and one with her broom! Nice job, Lily. Xavier's deflected one, but the Hawkshead Formation breaks up as Pucey is forced to the side. McMichael tosses the Quaffle over his shoulder to Charles, who in turn drops it to Pucey. Back to Charles, to Pucey, to Chang, to MacDonald, to Chang, to McMichael, and straight towards Gryffindor's goal."
Black dived. He missed the ball by inches and the Slytherin crowd roared. Severus clapped and whistled with them. "First ten points to Slytherin. Let's see if we can fix this, eh?"
"Only listening to the crowd, Professor McGonagall. MacDonald has the Quaffle now and is tearing over the pitch at breakneck speed. And Patil dives! Sharma follows quickly. They're neck and neck. And it's a Wronski Feint! Sharma's pushing off again, and she doesn't look happy about it. Patil's going to be lonely tonight!" There was a brief scuffle as McGonagall tried to wrest the megaphone from Chang. "Sorry, Professor! I won't do it again."
"I certainly hope not, Mister Chang. May we please get on with it?"
"Of course. Patil, who is most certainly not engaged to the lovely Miss Sharma for the purposes of this match, is back to circling the pitch. Potter once again has control of the Quaffle and it looks like he's out for blood."
Severus braced himself, sneering as Potter streaked towards him, narrowly missing Bludgers and assorted Slytherins. Severus started to charge-
His head was full of stars. Something immensely hard and painful had slammed into his stomach. As he fell, he realised Potter had deliberately plowed him with his broom. He heard a crunch, and yelped. The ground was numbingly hard.
All around he heard shouting, and silhouettes gathered above him. Snape tried to argue that he was fine, but pushing himself up on his elbows he felt the most immolating pain in his right leg. Glancing down, he saw it bent at a sickening angle, dead in the middle of his calf. Hot blood soaked through the khaki trousers of his uniform. He looked up; Potter was circling. Snape's eyes narrowed.
"Can you stand?" Professor Fellus crouched beside him.
"Do I look like I can stand?" Severus snapped.
"Well, no, but I thought maybe with help-"
"Everybody, stand aside." Madam Pomfrey pushed her way through the circle. "Budge up, Socrates."
Professor Fellus moved back, and Pomfrey knelt in his place. "Are you in pain?"
"No, I feel like a million Galleons," Severus said sarcastically.
"There's no need for that, Mister Snape. Oh, dear. I'm afraid I can't treat this here."
"Why not? It's only a broken leg!" Blood started pooling on the ground.
"The bone has obviously broken through your skin, and there's bound to be muscle damage. Come on, to the hospital wing with you." She conjured a stretcher and started to levitate Severus onto it.
"I've got a match to finish! Just put a bloody splint on it!" He tried to push himself off the stretcher. Madam Pomfrey held him down.
"No match is worth losing your leg, and I won't have anyone test that theory on my watch."
He struggled anyway, and Madam Pomfrey finally cast a Restraint Charm on him. Severus growled, then spat as he heard the Gryffindor crowd go mad. Potter circled Ryan, the Slytherin alternate Keeper, head obviously down and following Severus. A glance across the pitch showed Black holding a hand over his mouth, obviously having the time of his life. Disgusted, Severus lay back. This was a matter in need of no ordinary repayment.
Snape spent two and a half days in the hospital wing while Madam Pomfrey tried to reattach two severed tendons. The first day, the team came to visit him. They all looked rather dejected. In the end, they'd lost two-hundred-and-seventy to ninety. It was through dumb luck that Sharma caught the Snitch, but pure malice that Gryffindor managed a stunning twelve goals.
Various and sundry Slytherins trickled in to see him, and even Peter managed to sneak in long enough to stand there dumbly, swallow, and run out. Snape spent what precious free time he had studying, or thinking about what sort of punishment to bestow upon Potter, or missing his private time with Tom. It struck him as a bit strange to be so thoroughly attached to a bit of parchment, but he consoled himself with the fact that it was, intellectually and emotionally, a person. The physical body was all Tom really lacked.
Monday evening, Lucius stopped by. "Nasty fall you took, there, Sev."
Snape looked up from his Arithmancy book and raised an eyebrow. "Oh? You bothered to notice?"
"Of course I noticed. I always notice when something happens to my best friend." That brilliant, perfect smile made the whitewashed walls look dull.
"So I'm your best friend again, am I? What makes you think I agree with this concept?" Severus licked his thumb and turned a page.
Lucius caught his wrist. Carefully, he turned it so the tender brown skin of the inside faced up. Lucius raised it to his lips, smouldering eyes locked with Severus'. "Because I know you," he said in his smoky voice. "Where would the shah be without his grand vizier?"
"Awfully high impression you've got of yourself, Malfoy."
Lucius tutted. "I should be upset at that. You've had a nasty injury, though, so I'm prepared to forgive you." He reached into his bag and pulled out Snape's hat. "Stole this from the locker room before anyone else could." He set it on Snape's head.
Severus suddenly felt dressed. "Thanks," he said dryly, hiding his gratitude.
Lucius smiled sweetly and stroked the inside of Snape's wrist. "Not at all."
So Lucius had finally gotten over his tantrum. Severus supposed it was proper to show similar loyalty. "What have you been doing with yourself?"
Lucius shrugged. "Studying. Library. The rest hasn't really been only with myself."
"Narcissa, or someone else? Or both?"
"Nobody you'd know." The sly, knowing Malfoy smile told Snape he'd find out eventually. "I've got a friend who'd like to meet you sometime."
"How wonderful for him."
"Sev, this is a big deal. He's powerful. I've already introduced Evan and Adam and Emeric. You'd like him."
Lucius shook his head. "Naggy's not really his... type. Too... Mudblood."
"His gran's a Muggle."
Severus rolled his eyes. "And that makes him the embodiment of Mudblood, then?"
Lucius nodded. "How 'bout we talk about this in private? Once Pomfrey's untied you, I mean."
Severus shook his head and looked at his book again. "I suppose." A small alarm was shrieking at the back of his mind. He shifted. Part of him wondered when Lucius would take his revenge for being cut. "Does this have to do with that thing on your arm?"
Lucius quickly put a hand over Severus' mouth. He did it carefully, thumb brushing a chiseled lower lip. In a moment, his mouth replaced the hand. Severus raised his eyebrows; they'd always kept anything beyond slight touches confined to each other's bed. There was no need to advertise; most of the school had figured out by now that they were friends with benefits. "You don't have to bring that up here, do you, Sev?" Lucius murmured against the kiss.
"Hmm." Severus refused to flinch. He kissed Lucius back, briefly, and shoved him aside. "Don't suppose you got my homework for me?"
Lucius fluttered his lashes and pulled a handful of scrolls from his bag. "Arithmancy, a History of Magic essay, something about soil types for Sprout that I still don't get, and a chart for Divination. I don't understand why you study that crap, Sev. It's not like Trelawney ever does anything but predict doom and gloom."
"I study everything, Luc. You ought to know that by now. Divination just happens to be insubstantial enough that some form of guidance is required." Severus licked his quill and corrected a formula in his Arithmancy book.
Lucius closed it. "I don't see why you even bother. You're far too pretty ever to need to work." He earned a sharp glare for his trouble.
"Looks fade, Lucius. You'd do well to remember that."
Malfoy snorted. "You'll have worked yourself to death by the time that happens." There was an odd, lilting note in his voice. He stroked Severus' cheek. "Speaking of fading, you're a bit pale. Sure you don't want me to smuggle you out?"
"Fuck off, Malfoy. I have homework to do."
"Hmph! If that's all my friendship means to you, then I will. Going to be out of here tonight?"
"Tomorrow morning, I expect."
"I'll see you in the morning, then?"
"Most likely." Severus wished silently that Lucius would just leave. His normally smooth temper felt jagged. "Leave me alone, I'm busy."
"There's gratitude for you." Malfoy stood up and stretched anyway. "Bye."
Severus grunted. He didn't look up as Lucius walked out.
Severus looked up from breakfast an hour after Madam Pomfrey let him go. Lucius, Adam, Nagendra, Evan, and Emeric all looked up, too, each giving Peter a look that ranged from pleased puzzlement to outright hatred. Peter wrung his hands nervously, shifting his feet so that the flesh around his middle swayed.
"Where's your little pack, Pettigrew?" Lucius drawled. "Finally decide they didn't have room at your table?" Nagendra scowled; Adam, Evan, and Emeric chuckled.
"N-n-no. They're..." Peter wiped his nose on his sleeve. He trembled. "They're busy," he whispered. For an instant his gaze landed on Severus.
Severus mentally sighed. He needed to do something, lest he lose his spy. "Shut up, you lot. Can't you be civil for once?"
"But..." Adam stammered, "but he's a Gryffindor, Severus! No offence, Nagendra."
"Shut up, Adam." Naggy threw a corner of toast at Wilkes. It bounced off his head. "Hullo, Peter. Where're your friends?"
"Oh. Um, James and Sirius are asleep, they had late detention." Severus smirked to himself. If only Peter knew how much suffering he'd caused his friends. "Remus is a bit poorly." No small wonder, that, with the full moon the night before. The Lupins had been tucked into bed just before Severus left that morning.
"So what are you going to do about Potter's vicious attack on our Keeper, Pettigrew?" Lucius folded his arms and arched an eyebrow.
Peter turned pale. He shuddered. "M'sorry," he mumbled. "He's not usually like that. He's qu-quite nice, really."
"Not that we've ever seen." Emeric stuffed his mouth with sausage.
Peter mumbled something.
"You'll have to speak up if you want us to understand you, Pettigrew. Or are you too dim to enunciate?" Lucius smirked.
"He just doesn't know you." Peter looked directly at Severus. "He'd like you if you only... y'know, got to know each other." The watery blue eyes pleaded silently.
Bloody Hell, Pettigrew, this wasn't part of the agreement. Maybe that salve was a bit too strong. Or maybe Peter had a spine under all that blubber after all. "I don't fancy that happening soon," Snape said a bit more softly than he normally would.
Peter drooped. "No. I suppose you're right. Um." He shifted. The bag on his shoulder was buried in a chasm of flesh again. "I need to finish some homework before class. G'bye."
The Slytherin table murmured uneven farewells and Peter hurried off. Lucius nudged Severus. "What the fuck was that about?"
"Maybe he's depressed I couldn't tutor last night. How should I know?"
"Well, you're the one who spends all your time with him. I'm starting to think you're a Gryff lover. Next thing we know, you'll be spouting the virtues of Muggles."
"Go fuck yourself, Malfoy." Snape stabbed a bit of tomato and gnawed absently. It probably should have bothered him that he had even less appetite than usual - had for a week or so, for that matter. It was probably nothing. He poked for a few minutes.
"Can I talk to you, Snape?"
He looked up. Severus' eyes widened to find Lily Evans standing at the end of the table.
"What the Hell's going on here? A fucking Gryffindor convention?"
Evans narrowed her eyes. "Fuck off, Malfoy."
"You'd like to, wouldn't you?" Lucius leaned on his elbow, a slimy smirk across his face.
"Yeah, right before I kill myself." She glared at him. "Can I talk to you for a minute, Snape? In private."
Severus regarded her for a moment. "All right." He dragged himself up from the long bench and slung his bag over his shoulder.
"Aren't you hungry, Severus?" Nagendra eyed his barely touched plate.
He shook his head. "I'll see you later." A few rude comments and catcalls threatened to erupt from his end of the table. A sharp look silenced them. He adjusted his hat and followed Evans outside.
It was a brisk, clear November morning. A few traces of frost still clung to the branches and windows that weren't fortunate enough to get the morning sun. Breath hung in white clouds as Evans led Severus to an isolated alcove between two defoliated hedges. "Listen, I only wanted to say I'm really sorry about what James did the other day."
Snape straightened. He arched an eyebrow. "Really."
She nodded. Green fire flashed in her eyes. "If I weren't, do you think I'd be apologising to you? I can't say I'm happy about what you did to him, but that's your job. A good Keeper's supposed to keep the other team from scoring, right?"
"That's about it." A smirk threatened Severus' mouth.
"Doesn't give him any right to knock you off your broom, especially if it takes you out of the match. How's your leg, by the way?"
They stood in uneasy silence for a moment. Evans shifted her bag higher on her shoulder.
"Listen," she said, pulling a hand through her loose mess of ruddy hair, "if there's anything I can do to make up for him a little... I know it's not really my place, but he's so stubborn sometimes. Someone's got to uphold House honour." She smiled wryly.
A spark fired in Severus' brain. Suddenly, Potter's payback seemed much clearer. "As a matter of fact," he said, "if you're not busy tonight I could use some help with Charms."
She looked at him incredulously. "You're joking, right? Severus Snape, need help with homework?"
He shrugged and took his hat off to run fingers through his silky hair. A few strands fell coyly across his face. "I have to work just as hard as anyone else, maybe even harder. I only want to make sure I understand this theory unit. It's not easy, always having to prove yourself." He smiled, playing with the hat's brim carefully.
She peered at him. "Your parents are from India, right?"
"Mum is, yeah. Why?"
"No real reason. You sounded a little like Devi just now. Very humble. It's not something I ever expected to hear from you."
Severus dropped his face a few degrees and let his eyes slide halfway closed in false humility. "Does that mean you'll help me?"
Evans smiled. "All right. Tonight after dinner? James has detention again. It's his own fault, really, he and Sirius ought to know better."
"What did they do?"
She shook her head. "Nothing much, only tried to reconnect some pipes so the Gryffindor toilets ran into the Slytherin showers. Well, it would have been a lot to you, I'm not saying it's not a serious thing, but it's not like they were..." she trailed off, cheeks very red.
Severus chuckled. "I understand." He leaned close. "Between you and me, I wouldn't mind seeing a few of those twits learn some humility."
Large green eyes looked up at him mischievously. "You know, if I hadn't heard you a minute ago, I would have thought you were being sarcastic."
He smiled. It gave him no small pleasure to see her pupils dilate just the slightest bit. "When you live in a den of serpents, you learn to play by their rules. That doesn't mean I believe in all of them." Of course, it doesn't mean I don't, either.
Evans giggled. She covered her mouth with her fingers when she did so. "You're not so bad, Snape."
"Music to my ears, from one so intelligent as you."
She giggled again. "Shut up. I need to get to class. Meet you in the library around seven?"
"Definitely." He bowed and, gently, took her hand. A slight brush of lips across the knuckles made her eyes go wide. She raised an eyebrow. Severus raised one in response. Evans smiled so her perfect white teeth showed in a thin line between her lips. She scurried away, glancing back with a wryly surprised smirk.
Snape watched her go. His smile lingered. Yes, he'd have his revenge, and the best part was that Potter would never even know.
Return to Archive | next | previous