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An Important Lesson by Snape_Malfoy
Chapter 2 : From an Old Friend to an Old Friend
 
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The fall term started a few days after Snape returned to Hogwarts. He started his teaching year filled with self-loathing, hatred, and intense anger, which he immediately began to take out on the students. He stalked the corridors, morning and night, black cape billowing out behind him and wand in hand, meting out punishments left and right upon any poor student who happened to be in his way. In class, he berated his students ceaselessly, making sure that even a minor slip in protocol resulted in points being taken away. Gryffindors suffered the most; seeing how Neville Longbottom could never adequately complete a potion and Harry Potter just happened to always show up for class.

His temper was so foul, however, that even his Slytherins shied away from him. Not knowing what had caused their Head of House to act in such a worse manner than normal, they tiptoed around him. The worst incident happened when Draco Malfoy fell afoul of Professor McGonagall and lost Slytherin fifty points. After hearing about the lost points, Professor Snape sought out Draco and proceeded to give him two weeks of detention. After that, the house became more like Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs rather than Slytherins, following school rules to the letter.

Even the staff were not spared Snape’s vicious mood. Meals were always tension-filled, while staff meetings found nearly everyone crowding the front and trying to leave the back of the room empty for Snape. One morning, the students and staff found Professor Flitwick stuck to the ceiling because of a well-placed curse from a very angry Potions professor during his nightly sweeps around the school. Even Dumbledore wasn’t spared; snarls and sneers were all he got, which was rather tame in comparison with what everyone else received.

While many Hogwarts staff and students held on to the belief that things would calm down, the fact that Snape kept seeing Lydia at the school, meant that his temper always got a fresh kick every week. Being one of the few Aurors who did not work for the Ministry, Lydia needed to come to Hogwarts almost every week in order to receive new instructions from her boss—Dumbledore.

These necessary visits occasioned intense tensions within the school, for a fight nearly always ensured between the two former lovers. The two equaled each other in knowledge and know-how, which allowed for rather spectacular duels. Enough curses and hexes flew between the two that an infirmary trip became the norm and students stopped watching except from a distance.

Finally, near the middle of the term, Dumbledore decided to pay a visit to his errant Potions professor by setting aside a time when he knew that Snape would be in his office. On that day, Dumbledore ambled along the corridor toward the dungeons passing scuttling Slytherins eager to be away from their common room. Knocking on Snape’s office door, he heard a gruff, “Come in.”

Snape sat at his desk marking papers when the door opened and Dumbledore walked in and settled himself into a chair. Snape paused only to glance up at the headmaster. “Can I help you?” he sarcastically asked with a sneer.

Dumbledore looked around the office. “Just came down to see your office. It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen it for quite some time.”

“Well, you’ve seen it now. I hope you like it; but I’m busy or else I would show you around.”

Snape returned to his work. Dumbledore continued to sit in the chair. “So many interesting things you have,” he began. Snape began to grit his teeth and gripped his quill harder.

“Headmaster…,” he began.

Dumbledore interrupted, “Now about your temper…”

Snape glanced up again and sneered at his headmaster. “It’s more than just your normal self, if that’s what you were about to suggest,” Dumbledore hinted at.

Snape just continued to glare. Dumbledore picked up a glass jar of something that was sitting on the desk. “It’s probably all because of Miss Riddle,” he prompted, setting the jar down. Snape’s eyes became mere slits and he began to grit his teeth harder.

Dumbledore continued to absentmindedly pick up various objects off of Snape’s desk. “She’s hurting worse than you, you know. She comes around more than she should, really. But, well, in a moment of hurt and confusion, I believe one needs the comfort that one had while growing up.”

Snape clenched his hands into fists, breaking his quill in the process. He had to grit his teeth even harder to keep from screaming at the man in front of him. “If only she hadn’t lied to me!” he thought, not realizing that he spoke the sentence out loud.

Dumbledore took a quick glance over his glasses at a man who had let his defenses down for one moment. What he glimpsed was a man in pure emotional torture before the man realized what he had done and immediately sought to correct it. “She didn’t lie, Severus,” Dumbledore comfortingly explained, “Indeed I didn’t even know she had left until I contacted you. She went to save a Muggle child.” Dumbledore chuckled to himself, “She always has a soft spot with children.”

Snape took a look at the elderly man who had trusted him so long ago. He decided to once again step outside himself and entrust another deep held secret to him. “There was no Muggle child,” he commented hoping his voice came out angry. Instead, his voice held deep grief.

Dumbledore looked Snape right in the eye, “You, of all people, should know that there are stories within stories. Never thought it was a possible trap, did you?” his tired eyes twinkled with this last question.

Snape stared back and roughly, but reluctantly, answered, “No.”

“Ah, well then.” Dumbledore stood up and turned to go, “I like what you’ve done with the place. Keep it up.” He left.

Snape sat for awhile, staring at his desktop and letting his mind go. Eventually, he pulled out the engagement ring, which he had placed back into its box, and began to turn it in his hands. Thoughts swirled around in his head: the first time he met Lydia; his first kiss with her; his proposal; finding out about her parents…

Another knock. Why can’t people just leave me alone!? He thought, settling the ring back into the box before leaving his desk and pulling open the door. To his surprise, a tall man with long silvery-blonde hair and dressed all in black was on his doorstep.

He sneered, “Lucius Malfoy. I was wondering when I would encounter you.”

Lucius sneered back, “I hope I haven’t caught you at an improper time?” he asked in his clipped and proper voice. At the same time, he brought his silver-tipped cane against Snape’s chest and pushed him back into the office all while walking forward into the vacated space and slamming the door behind him.

Settling himself into the same chair that Dumbledore had just left, he motioned for Snape to sit back down. Snape did so and crossed his fingers in front of himself, while leaning slightly back. “I suppose you’re here to talk about what happened with Draco, again?”

Lucius simply looked at him and quipped, “No.”

Snape’s eyebrows rose in surprise in spite of himself, “Well, to what do I owe this visit then?” he nastily replied.

Lucius looked slightly uncomfortable, which surprised Snape even more. Never losing the coolness or crispiness in his voice, he replied, “From an old friend to an old friend,” he took a deep breath, “you made a mistake.”

Snape sat surprised, his mouth hanging open. This wasn’t the Lucius he knew rather it was the Lucius that used to be when Lydia had been his. Caught in this revelation, Snape, once again, brought down his defenses. “What?!?!”

Lucius seemed rather loathe to bring the subject up, but he continued anyway. “Don’t let her go.”

Snape just blurted out, “I believe you’ve gone insane.”

Lucius just sat there, “Maybe I am; but I know what she means to people. Just…well…”

“Just scare her away again with my temper?” Snape sarcastically added.

Lucius laughed evilly, “I don’t think you can be the Dark Lord’s daughter without being able to give and take a little on the temper side.”

Snape had to add a little smile of his own over that fact. Lucius sat forward uncomfortably, “I…don’t…quite…well…um…my…advice…um, try to work…it all out. There, I’ve said it.” He quickly stood up and moved toward the door, leaving a stunned Snape in his wake.

Opening the door, he looked back at the still stunned Hogwarts professor and before leaving said, “Well, I am sure there will be no more problems concerning my son, Professor.”

Snape remained at his desk, staring at the door with the surprised look still stuck on his face.


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