Chapter 5 : Part V: November I- Preferential Treatment
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Severus Snape sat in an armchair with his head cradled in his hands behind his neck. He had just now written a rather satisfying chapter of his book. When he wrote the last word he could tell that this was his best chapter yet. He felt a sudden urge to wake Nymphadora out of her sleep but he knew it would not bring the praises he was hoping for. She reacted to each of his chapter like she had done the first, she was not impressed. She had even been so bold to tell him that those spells were as old as time and she learnt nothing new. This was obviously a lie because he included a spell in there that he himself invented and never shared with anyone. She must have been trying to change his mind about the kind of book that he should write.
Severus felt a smirk on his lips as he thought about it. How could he possibly write a book about himself? It was damn near torture for him to testify at the hearing. Why would he put down everything he ever felt or been through on paper? No, it made much more sense to keep it to himself.
“You look awfully busy.”
He looked at the doorway to see that Nymphadora had just walked in. There would be nights when she couldn’t sleep so she would come to his study to bother him. It was clearly one of those moments. “I just finished another chapter,” he said straitening up himself. “I think that would be it for the night.”
“Oh no, let me read it. I’ll tell you what I think.” She sat on the other armchair in the room and held out her hands.
He sneered. “I no longer value your opinion on my work. You have the same reaction to all my chapters. I am in no mood to hear it again.”
“Oh but I swear it will be different this time,” she said pleading.
He sighed. He knew this was one of the nights that she couldn’t sleep. “Do you want a sleeping potion?”
She pouted at this, like she was surprised that he was able to read her so easily. “They make me drowsy the next day. I hate them.”
“Well we can’t have it all, can we?”
She sighed in frustration. “Never mind then, I’ll go find Pince.” She got up form the chair and just as she took a step, she tripped, falling forwards. The poor girl couldn’t keep her footing for more than an hour at a time. She had fallen so many times that he had grown tired of asking her if she was okay.
She got up quickly and wiped her hands in the long cotton pants. She turned around. “Now you’ve gone and made me trip.”
“I don’t see how I could have done that, seeing that you have the balance of a two year old.”
She walked over to him. “Come on let me read the stupid thing.”
“I don’t appreciate you calling my work stupid Miss Tonks.”
“You know what I mean.”
He gathered the papers on his desk and placed it in a file and looked up at her. It startled him at first but then he cleared his throat. “Nymphadora, you’re bleeding.”
For the time she had been there she had been sick so many times that he was certain that it out numbered her good days. Of course he knew she would be in an emotional state when he hired her but he never thought that she be in a physical danger as well.
“Is there anything that can help it?” she asked quietly.
She was lying on her bed with her stomach exposed. He looked at the wound and immediately he felt his head begin to throb. He had never heard of this happening before. She was attacked almost three years ago and the wound was still bleeding out. He wondered why she never told anyone about this before. She must have noticed that they weren’t healing. The scratches were deep and crimson red and still bleeding slightly, though he managed to clear away most of the blood. The line in the middle was the deepest and ran right through her navel. He had never seen this happen before. “I think you should go to St. Mungo’s” he finally said.
“No,” she complained. “I’m fine; I just need a little time to heal.”
“And two years wasn’t sufficient?”
She pulled down her night shirt and turned to the side. “I’ll be fine by tomorrow.”
“Don’t be silly,” he said. He knew her well enough to know that if she didn’t want to go to St. Mungo’s then she wasn’t going to go. He would have to try to fix her himself. “Raise back up your shirt, I know something that might help.” She turned back on her back slowly and rose back up her shirt to where the wounds started. “This might not work so I’m not making any promises. And it might do more harm than good.”
“It’s okay,” she whispered. “I trust you.”
He felt his voice get caught on his throat. Suddenly he couldn’t speak. He took his wand out from the bed side table and began to mutter a song like enchantment over the wounds. He saw that they were having the desired knitting effect.
“How are you doing that?” she asked.
“Shh,” he whispered. He moved on from the first line to the one on the outer end. This one healed in the same fashion. However he had to pass pieces of cotton on the middle one to clean out the blood that had gathered. Then he whispered the enchantment over wound. It knitted slowly until there were only thin red lines on her stomach. “Now, I’m not sure how this will hold, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
She passed her hand over her stomach. “What was that spell,” she asked sitting up. He put his hand on her shoulder to indicate that she should lay back down.
“It’s something I invented.”
“You invented?” She sounded slightly shocked and impressed.
“Yes, to counteract another spell I invented.”
“Another spell, how many of them did you invent? Why is it that you never told anyone about them?”
He sneered. “I did once and it was a huge mistake. Now every Tom, Dick and (literally) Harry wants to use it.”
“What spell is it? Do I know it?”
He sneered, because he almost laughed out loud at the memory. “I believe that particular spell caused you some grief in the sixth year.”
She pouted as if trying to remember. Her face contorted in realisation. “levicorpus”
He nodded. “You see, in the wrong hands it can be dangerous. Who knows that better than you?” He was referring to an incident when she came in the staff room crying to Professor Sprout because someone had hung her upside down by her ankles and revealed her underwear to the school. She didn’t hear who spoke it because it is non-verbal but she knew it was a Slytherin.
“I should really beat you for that one.”
“Like I said, it got in the wrong hands. When I was in my fifth year someone used it on me.”
“Oh yes James,” she said a small smile creeping on her face. He felt a tinge of embarrassment in the pit of his stomach. “Remus told me. I was telling him about the time that happened to me and he told me when James used it on you. Now I’m sort of wondering why you didn’t stand up for me more, you just gave them a little bit of detention.”
“Well it’s obvious, isn’t it?” he said.
“Why?” she asked.
“You were a Hufflepuff.” He got up from the chair and placed it back in the corner of the room. He couldn’t be in that room too long. “Sleep on your back tonight,” he said.
“Don’t worry I have practice in that area.”
If only she knew how that sounded. “Good night Nymphadora.”
Severus rested his head on the pillow looking at the crescent moon. This arrangement was beginning to get more difficult than he hoped. He couldn’t believe that he let Harry Potter of all people talk him into hiring her. He knew what people in the office were saying; they all thought that they had something going on between them. He imagined that people thought they were having sex when she was in his office for hours at a time but in reality he was just dictating a report for her while she wrote. He never did anything in his handwriting because most people couldn’t understand it. They said it was too small and too cramped.
It hadn’t been long since Remus had died and she wasn’t willing to jump right into work like he was so she took some time off. When she came out to work he had decided to put her in the office before sending her out to do anything dangerous. She had just finished writing what he said and started to correct the errors she made while writing.
“Nymphadora, you are being silly, why don’t you use your wand.” He asked from behind his desk. He looked at her as her hand hovered over her wand for a second before she took back up her quill.
“I prefer to do it by hand,” she said.
That was the first time he noticed something was wrong with her. During that month he took notice of her actions around the office, she never used magic. He wasn’t quite ready to jump to conclusions so he decided to ask someone who knew her better. She had been spending a lot of time with Mrs. Weasley at the Borrow so he called on her to inquire about her condition.
They sat around the table and Mrs. Weasley looked nervous for some reason. “What brings you here Professor?” she asked.
“I’m concerned about Nymphadora,”
From the look on her face he could tell that his suspicions were right.
“How bad is it?” he asked. He had seen her fail to perform simple spells so he knew it couldn’t be good.
“She asked me to change her hair Professor, I know the charm so I changed it for her. I think she is in denial, she hasn’t been the same since loosing Remus.”
“Is there anything she can do?”
“No, nothing, but she acts like she can still perform magic. I’m afraid to tell her otherwise. I thought she had moved on too soon, that she wasn’t showing signs but I guessed that’s her way of grieving.”
The following day he spent the whole morning promising himself that he was going to let her go. But she would come in and say something totally out of order and he would reconsider it. In spite of her attitude, her lack of respect for authority, her talkativeness and her clumsiness he actually liked being around her. The day had come and gone and he had said nothing.
In fact he said nothing for two years. Instead he made her position permanent. She was not pleased but he had no choice. There was no way she could go out in the field. This was the only way she could keep her job.
However people didn’t look upon this too kindly. They didn’t understood why he needed an assistant and there were rumblings about her being rude and him not reprimanding her. Of course, she couldn’t help it and most of her cheek was returned with equal severity but they didn’t see that. All they saw was him showing favouritism. He was able to keep it to just that until someone decided that it would be a good idea to ask her out in front of him. She was in his office writing his memo when Ben Stonewell came in to drop in a vacation request.
Ben Stonewell walked passed him and to Nymphadora and stopped at her chair and desk. “Maybe you could join me in Malta huh Tonksy.”
Nymphadora looked up at him and rolled her eyes, she looked very annoyed by him.
Severus cleared his throat. “Mr. Stonewall,” he said. The young man paused at the door and turned around. Severus held up the vacation request. “It’s been granted and it’s permanent.”
“Excuse me sir,” he said looking confused.
“You’re fired. Pack your things and leave the building.”
“Are you still here, do I need to escort you out of the building?”
The young wizard left the office swearing at Severus and he really couldn’t care less.
“That was a bit much, don’t you think?” she asked. But Severus could see a smirk on her face that indicated it pleased her. But what worried him was that he was pleased because she was pleased.
Maybe he shouldn’t have fired him. Maybe that was a bit much. But what was he supposed to do. That was not appropriate office behaviour. But what irked him the most was that it was common knowledge that her boyfriend was brutally murdered not too long ago. He couldn’t understand how Mr. Stonewall could have thought it would be a proper thing to try a pick up line on her.
Needless to say the reaction was not good. He had never heard so many people gossip about him in his life. People were now certain that he fired Mr. Stonewall because he and Nymphadora were in a relationship. Naturally he had to busy himself with firing people for more ridiculous reasons so the incident would not look isolated. At the same time he had to keep his good record in tact. They caught more dark wizards that month than any other. Some of the rumours died down but not all. That’s when he decided to start to date. He told Nymphadora she was a muggle but she was really a squib. He tried to put all his efforts into the relationship but he found himself bored and not interested. He ended it, but it had the desired effect. There were no more ramblings about him and Nymphadora anymore.
They worked in peace for more than a year until she went after Bellatrix. He was so angry with her; he couldn’t even stand to look at her. He knew what would happen. He knew he would be asked to fire her and that was the last thing he wanted to do. He didn’t know when it happened but he started to get quite attached to her. She was the only one who could take his mind off things, she was the only one who could put up with him, she would laugh at him at all the right times and take him seriously when she knew she ought to. He hated to admit it but he actually needed her more than she needed him.
He only knew how much when he outright refused to fire her. And what had been speculation had been confirmed, at least by the Minister anyway who was the worst person who could have found out. He gave him an option to end it or step down. This was frustrating as there was nothing to end, they weren’t in a romantic relationship but it was a relationship all the same, one that he himself couldn’t define. It wasn’t quite friendship because he had hoped for more at times and he knew it was wrong.
He had been thinking about this so much that he had been short with her for the first two weeks she was at his manor. He tired to avoid her by giving her long and difficult chores to do but it only made it worse, he thought about her all the time, he wanted to talk to her to have the same thing they had when they were back in the office. But he couldn’t do that. Once he knew how he felt about it, he knew he had to draw a line somewhere.
But the line didn’t last long. She was such a fragile thing that he couldn’t bear to see her miserable. He wanted her close to him, where he could keep an eye on her, to make sure she was taking care of herself, or really so he could take care of her.
A/N: Okay nowyou guys know why he was acting like that in the last chapter.
I hope you guys are still enjoying this. I know it's difficult to read a ship that never happened and never will but let your imaginations run wild, it's actually quite nice once you get used to the idea. They are so different that it makes sense to put them together.
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