Chapter 5 : A Slap in the Face
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Severus held his hand out to her. “Give them to me.”
She immediately held the newspaper and the mask out to him. All she wanted to do was get out of his presence unscathed. He took them from her and came so close to her that if she moved she would touch him. She gazed uncomfortably over his shoulder. He reached around her and placed the items back into the drawer. He roughly shoved the drawer closed and she realized too late that she was leaning on it.
She stumbled backwards, hitting her lower back. She winced.
He took a few steps backward, giving her a steely gaze. “Why are you in here?” he demanded harshly.
“I was looking for you.”
“Surely, one glance inside my room would be enough to tell you that I was not there… or am I overestimating your intelligence?”
Camilla sighed. “I just… I’m nosy okay? You don’t talk to me. How else am I supposed to find out anything about you?” She paused, wondering if he would say something. He didn’t. “I’m sorry,” she said softly.
He seemed slightly surprised that she had apologized, but that didn’t stop him from giving her a nasty sneer. “And what did you find out about me?” he asked. Camilla remained silent. “Go on, speak.”
“That you don’t like muggles very much?”
Severus folded his arm across his chest. “No. I don’t.”
Camilla shifted her feet. He was still staring coldly at her. She stared back at him, not willing to look away. She was sure that in his mind, it was a battle for control, a battle of wills. It was a battle she knew she would lose, but for some reason, she battled anyway. They’d done this before; staring into each other’s eyes for minutes at a time until her eyes burned and watered and she had to blink and gaze at the fireplace instead.
Camilla looked at her shoes.
“Do you like him?”
She looked up. “Who?”
“Lupin. Do you like him?”
She bit her lip, debating what to say to this. “He’s my friend,” she answered finally, “Of course I like him.”
“Don’t play games with me,” he snapped suddenly, “You know what I mean.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
He growled impatiently. “Answer the damn question!”
“No! I don’t like him… not like that. Okay? Is that good enough for you?”
“Then why were you outside snogging him?”
She looked up at him. She shook her head, not able to articulate an answer. “And how do you think that makes me look when my fiancé is snogging someone else in public?”
“It makes you look like you don’t give a crap about me, that’s what it looks like!”
“I don’t care about you!” he replied angrily, “What I do care about is my reputation!”
“You mean your reputation for being a greasy, rude, caustic git?!?”
He took a few menacing steps toward her. “I couldn’t give a damn about what you and your stupid friends think of me, you arrogant little bitch.”
His voice was close to a whisper and Camilla realized that this was the angriest she had ever seen him. He’d never said anything that her mother classified as “dirty words” to her. His voice had never taken on that low hissing effect, which slightly terrified her.
He stood over her and took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look up at him.
She could feel his breath on her face. She felt her hands shaking slightly. She clenched them into fists. She was not going to back down.
“I mean the people who matter. The people who are worth something. Not your disgusting muggle-lovers or that mudblood.”
She let out a nasty, mean laugh. “The ones who kill innocent people for fun? You’re right those are the people who truly matter,” she said sarcastically. She knew she was pushing him to his limit and that his self-control was deteriorating dangerously fast, but she couldn’t stop herself. “Besides, you’re being hypocritical don’t you think? I mean, you’re part muggle aren’t you? In most purist’s eyes you’re just as filthy as a muggle.”
For a moment, Severus seemed to stop breathing. His face remained cold, but she was sure that somewhere deep inside he had just exploded. She smirked up at him, reveling in her victory. She had insulted him into speechlessness.
Then, he exhaled slowly and calmly. He traced smooth circles on her cheek with his thumb. He sneered at her and she knew what was coming. She tried to raise her arm to stop him, but she was too slow. She felt the sting before the she heard the sound of the violent smack. Tears sprung to her eyes immediately and she was powerless stop them from streaming down her cheeks. She didn’t really know why she was crying, because after the initial sting it hadn’t hurt much. She assumed it was probably the shock of having been slapped across the face for the first time in her life.
He grabbed her chin again and forced her to look up at him and she was strongly reminded of Cain and the incident on the train.
“If you ever say something like that to me again, I’ll do much more than slap you. Do you understand?” he whispered into her ear.
All she could do was choke back a sob.
He kissed her gently beneath her ear and Camilla tensed in shock. He trailed soft kisses down her jaw line, stopping just before he reached her lips.
She let out a shaky breath. She had stopped crying.
“Do you understand?” he repeated calmly.
“Yes,” she replied softly.
“Yes, sir,” he prompted.
Camilla clenched her teeth. He was forcing her to admit defeat and she hated him for it. She hated him for it, perhaps even more than she hated him for slapping her.
“Yes… sir,” she spit out finally.
As soon as she said it, he pulled away from her and took her arm roughly. “Now, get out.” He shoved her towards the door.
She marched angrily out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
“So you two fought again?” Severus grunted in reply. “You’re a man of many words Severus,” Lily said sarcastically. “What did you guys argue about?”
“Nothing important.” Severus knew that sooner or later, Camilla would tell Lily what had happened, but he certainly wouldn’t.
“I wish you two would get along. It would make everything so much easier, don’t you think?”
He didn’t answer her. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to get on with his future wife. “She’s determined to hate me. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Lily gave him a doubtful look as she sliced caterpillars for their shrinking potion.“You could try being nice once and awhile,” she responded, a little bitterly.
“Whose side are you on?” he snapped.
“Camilla’s,” she said bluntly.
Severus and Lily worked in silence after that. The two students had been working on potions projects together since the beginning of their sixth year. Tonight, they were finishing up on a simple brew of shrinking potion Slughorn had asked them to make for his second years. Not one of their friends knew about their work together. They both agreed that it was best to keep their friendship a secret simply because they were from such different groups that none of their friends would accept it.
Suddenly, the door to the student potions workroom opened. Both Severus and Lily looked up. It was Camilla. Severus groaned inwardly. She looked as if she’d been crying.
“Oh. I didn’t realize… Lily can I talk to you?”
Lily placed her knife on the table and wiped her hands on her trousers. She shot Severus a confused look and he rolled his eyes back at her. As Lily exited the room, he could hear the two girls whispering for a moment then, the door shut.
Severus decided he’d better prepare himself for the inevitable storm of fury that he would have to endure. When Lily returned a good half-hour later, she didn’t look happy.
“I’m trying to decide whether to hear you out and then leave or just to leave now,” she said coldly, her arms folded over her chest.
“She cheated on me,” he spit out, “with that werewolf no less! And then she went through my things!”
“Yeah, I know. She told me what she found.”
“The gift from you?”
“The mask! How could you possibly-?”
“I’m not a Death Eater!” he shouted back at her. “Lucius is just-”
“Then explain that to her! And explain to me why you thought it was okay for you to hit her!”
He groaned and looked at the ceiling. He was not in the mood to argue with Evans as well. He heard Lily exhale angrily.
“I’m leaving. Tell me when you’re willing to be decent person.”
“Listen, I just lost it, okay? I’m tired of arguing with her all the time and she insulted me and she never shuts her mouth and-.”
“Tell me how any of this excuses your behavior.”
Severus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know I was wrong,” he began warily, “but sometimes you can’t forget how you were raised. It was a lapse in control and judgment… it won’t happen again.”
“You actually sound like you regret it,” Lily replied.
He looked at her. “What?”
“Prove to me that you truly are sorry for what you did.”
He rolled his eyes. “How?”
“Apologize to her.”
“You know I never apologize to people.”
“Well now that you’re getting married, it’d be a good time to start, don’t you think?”
He didn’t answer her.
She packed up her things into her bag and hoisted it onto her shoulder.“I’ll see you Tuesday to check on this, okay?” she said indicating the potion. “And I shall know if you apologize or not Severus.”
“Got it,” he replied coolly.
Camilla scribbled a short reply to her mother. She refused to write anything more than necessary to the woman who had shoved her into the clutches of Severus Snape. She glanced up when Severus entered through the portrait hole, but then went back to her note.
“Who’s the letter from?” he asked, seeing the owl perched patiently on the desk.
She clenched her teeth. He had a lot of nerve speaking to her after what he did. “My mother,” she replied tensely.
She folded the parchment and tied it to the owl’s leg. It soared out the open window. “She’s coming to visit with us next weekend in Hogsmeade. I hope that’s alright with you.” Instead, of waiting for his answer, she headed up the stairs to her dormitory.
“Camilla?” He was looking at her from the bottom of the stairs. “I actually, wanted to talk with you… about something.”
She bit her lip. She certainly didn’t want to talk with him, but Lily had made her promise that if he came to her she would give him a chance. Camilla descended the staircase slowly and stopped in front of him.
For a moment, he just looked at her. Then, he took a deep breath. “I don’t do this, normally,” he began, “but I thought that… I need to tell you that I’m…”
Despite all the hatred she felt for Severus, Camilla could not help but find humor in the situation. He was having a dreadful time trying to get out the words. She knew that Lily had put him up to this and he was far out of his element.
“I think you know what I’m trying to say,” he ended irritably.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t still say it,” she replied.
“Why do you have to be so damn stubborn?” he snapped.
She turned around to go back to her dormitory. She was not going to end up in another fight with him.
“I’m sorry,” he said finally.
She turned to face him. “I’m sorry too. I’m sorry for going through your things.”
He immediately bristled. “What about cheating on me? Are you sorry for that?”
“You don’t even like me. Why do you care if I kissed Remus?”
He shook his head in anger and disbelief. “Just forget it.” He turned his back on her and disappeared into his dormitory.
A/N: Thank you, thank you, thank you for everyone who has been reading and leaving wonderful comments! I love hearing from you!
Revised: March 3 2008
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