She'd finally made progress with him, it had taken her a week to work up the courage to approach him and here she was, storming away from him. The boy had responded well, he'd come down to the Three Broomsticks and in one well worded sentence she'd ruined it all, sending them straight back to square one. She glanced behind her and she could see Severus in the distance, his long robes billowing in the unusually strong summer wind.
She felt bad. He'd only been curious but it was still a hurtful topic, even after all these years. She guessed that seeing Logan had brought feelings she thought she'd managed to suppress. Upon reflection, she'd taken out her angst on the new Professor. She slowed her steps and glanced back again. Severus had his head down and Minerva stopped to allow him to catch up.
"Professor Snape..." His head snapped up and she realised he had been so deep in thought that she'd startled him. "I'm sorry," she said, not only apologising for surprising him but also her outburst earlier. He nodded and began to walk past her. She followed him.
"Professor Snape..." he whipped around to face her so fast that she nearly walked into him.
"I asked you to call me Severus." He was standing so close to her that she could feel his breath on her cheeks when he spoke. Minerva licked her lips nervously and noticed his eyes shift to them. She waited for him to step away but when he didn't move she took a step back and swiped an imaginary piece of hair behind her ear.
"Alright Severus." She took a deep breath, unnerved by his closeness. "Let me explain..."
"You have nothing to explain. You were right. We are not friends." She understood the look in his eye was a challenge for her to deny his statement.
"No we're not," she heard herself say and Severus let out a snort as he turned back towards the castle. "But I would like to be." He froze and spoke with his back to her.
"Because I think we could both use a friend, don't you?" She waited patiently while he slowly turned around and she felt uncomfortable under his intense gaze.
"Will you tell me what happened to you?" He asked. It almost sounded like a test.
"No." His eyes bore into hers as if hoping she'd buckle under his gaze but she held strong. Realising that she wasn't going to get a response she took his continued presence to mean that he wasn't completely in opposition to being... friends. She walked past him and felt him turn to walk with her towards the castle. They remained silent until Severus closed the door behind them.
"Are you heading to the Great Hall?" Minerva asked, removing her shawl.
"I was going to take dinner in my own room." Severus said, his eyes watching her every movement.
"Perhaps tomorrow," she said, giving a slight smile.
She watched him walk away and a few first year Hufflepuff students scurried out of his way. Minerva shook her head and walked across the corridor towards the Great Hall. As she made her way to the staff table Albus looked up at her with a smile.
"You're late for lunch," he said, pulling out her chair for her sit down.
"Yes, a slight delay in my schedule." She could feel his eyes on her as she took off her outdoor robe and helped herself to a bowl of soup.
"You saw Lydia today," he stated and Minerva looked up at him surprised.
"How did you..?"
"I spoke to Rosmerta," he smiled and Minerva chuckled.
"Did she also tell you..?"
"That Logan was there?" Albus cut her off again and Minerva shook her head disbelievingly. "Yes. Said he's looking more and more like his aunt as he's getting older." He turned to look at her properly but she couldn't look at him.
"Yes, I thought so too." She whispered quietly, desperately wanting her mentor to stop talking.
"Has a lot of his father in him." At that Minerva's eyes snapped to his and she suddenly lost her appetite.
"Yes." She wasn't sure why he was bringing this up but she wished that he would leave it alone. Of course he understood her needs without her having to speak them aloud and after a gentle pat on her hand, he changed the subject.
"I heard Severus was at the pub too. Did you speak to him?" Minerva smiled. She knew this was his way of letting her control the conversation.
"You know very well that I did." She pushed her food away and leaned back in her chair. "He was there on my invite."
"And how was it?" He asked his expression unreadable.
"Fine. He's..." She shrugged her shoulders. "He's different." Albus frowned.
"Everybody changes, with what he has been..." Minerva shook her head.
"No you misunderstand me. I meant, he's different to what I expected him to be, considering what he's been through. He's actually more like the boy I taught." Albus nodded thoughtfully.
"Except he's a grown man now." He looked at her pointedly and she avoided his eyes.
"He has surprised you?"
"He said something today..." She paused, letting their conversation play through her head and smiled slightly. "Yes, he surprised me." Albus smiled too.
"I think he will continue to surprise you Minerva, just don't pull away." She frowned at him but before she could ask his meaning, he was pulled into another conversation.
Later in the evening Minerva was in the library collecting books for a research project she had started. She checked her list and made her way over to the Restricted Section, a pile of books floating along behind her.
"You've been hiding," a voice suddenly said and Minerva peered between the books to see Pomona's friendly smile. Minerva shook her head and moved a book to cover the gap the other teacher was peering through.
"I have not been hiding," Minerva said as she added a book to the pile. "Merely busy," she turned around to see Pomona leaning against the bookshelf looking at her with a sceptical look.
"Yes, making friends with the new professor." Minerva moved along to the next row but she frowned back at her friend when she heard the malice in her voice.
"Really Pomona, never have I heard you be so cold toward new teachers." Of course, Minerva knew why her friend was behaving so hostile but it was still very out of character for the normally warm and welcoming Hufflepuff to show such disdain.
"Do you remember Jacob Daniels?" Pomona asked angrily as she followed Minerva to the library desk to sign her books out on the register. "They slaughtered him in front of his family!" Pomona's words slowly filtered into Minerva's head and she closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she felt bile rise in her throat. "They tortured him because he married a muggle girl! Murdered his children and left the poor muggle girl with crazy with grief." As she continued to talk Minerva could feel a familiar burning in her chest and the dull memory of pain throughout her body. She turned to face her friend, hoping that she wouldn't be able to read anything in her features.
"Was Severus there?" She asked and Pomona jerked back in surprise, at the question or the use of his given name Minerva didn't know.
"What has that -"
"It obvious that he didn't do anything to prevent their demise but you can't be sure he was involved." Pomona was looking at her with incredulous eyes and Minerva couldn't quite believe what she was saying herself. "He may have their deaths on his conscious but his hands are clean." She signed the rest of her books out and Pomona just stared at her in silence for a few seconds before speaking.
"They murdered him Minerva, his wife..." Minerva could feel her palms begin to sweat and her mouth became dry. "Do you have any idea how she must feel?" Pomona's voice was full of emotion. Minerva looked at the other teacher and smiled as she shook her head. "What is it?" Pomona asked and Minerva suddenly felt a bubble of angry laughter rise through her chest.
"Do I know how it feels?" She asked through manic laughter and Pomona looked on with worried eyes. "I would imagine that it was terrible. It was probably the worst moment in her life." She wiped tears from her eyes furiously as her inappropriate laughter subsided and her voice took on a harsh tone. "She would have felt helpless; she had no wand, no other means of protecting her husband and children. I would imagine they tied her down, made her watch as they beat him to a pulp. I can feel her agony as she looked into her husband's eyes and the utter devastation from knowing that it was her fault. I know how it feels, because I have to live with it every day." She wasn't sure why but part of her enjoyed the horrified look of shock on Pomona's face. "I'm sorry Rebecca had to see that, I truly am but don't you dare lecture me on her feelings. You have no idea what it's like." Pomona reached out a careful hand towards Minerva but she angrily pushed it away as she stormed towards the library doors.
As she was about to leave a small movement caught her eye and with horror she turned to see Severus starring at her. Oh Merlin, what had she done? Her eyes fell to the floor but she could feel his intense gaze burning into her skin. How could she be so foolish? Minerva couldn't bring herself to look at the young man and in a violent wave of panic she fled through the doors, leaving Severus to stare after her with a thousand things running through his head.
Write a Review The First Cut is the Deepest: Chapter Six