Another year, another let down. Severus Snape, Professor of Potions. Still.
It makes me seethe to know that the Muggle Studies teacher managed to secure himself as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. With absolutely no confidence on the matter, he would be teaching the students to stutter at the face of evil. It’s despicable, even for Hogwarts’ standards.
I’ve noticed that since his return he’s been horribly twitchy and consistently nervous. I’ve considered offering him Sedation Draughts, Merlin knows how that would help the man.
One couldn’t possibly think that a turban and an exotic story of African zombies would lead Dumbledore to reward him with the post which should be rightfully mine. Dumbledore promoted him without a second thought, well, it’s the same pay but an exceedingly better subject choice.
Dumbledore has once again made a foolish decision and I cannot do anything to stop it. But I must trust him; he always seems to have knowledge of the future. I am indebted to him, though the most intelligent can still make mistakes.
On second thoughts, I may already have my hands full with the young Malfoy attending Hogwarts this summer. His mother has begged me to look out for him, make sure his is in good company and achieve ‘O’s in his classes. The usual mother’s worries, so I’ve been told. Lucius merely smirked at this; at least one parent is aware of their child’s capability.
Earlier, when I entered the castle I was set upon by that self-proclaimed seer who informed me that I would be in for a shock this year. It was no shock that I wasn’t awarded the Dark Arts position. It’s hardly a shock anymore. That bat Trelawney is a complete joke.
One correct prophesy and she is employed for life. One mistake on my part and I’m never trusted again. It’s injustice.
Or fair treatment.
I only have myself to blame for what transpired that night. If only I had never been there. Never felt for her. Never been born. Or better yet, Potter never been born.
Guilt and hatred are all I can feel. Evans and the Tormentor, how could it have happened? It’s been years and I am still plagued by the nightmares. A pensieve would be the cowardly option; it’s a pittance I must carry.
Methodically checking my potions store, I make a note to refill my case of Boomslang skin. Checking and double checking the locks, my private cupboard should never be touched by another. Setting several cauldrons to the boil I unwillingly leave for the Great Hall. Dumbledore assured me that there would be stewed mutton to look forward to.
The feast is hours away, Peeves will make sure of that. I’ve come to believe that each year that that poltergeist remains here the more wretched it becomes.
Students begin to file in, each one more drenched than the last. It’s pouring outside and if the little Malfoy is to catch a cold Narcissa will slaughter me. Or she’ll have Lucius on her command.
Finally, the first years arrive, led by that giant oaf. It looks like they’ve swum the Great Lake rather than sailed across it. For the sake of the parents, I’m glad he is only the Games Keeper. Merlin forbid he undertake a teaching role.
Among the new arrivals is Draco, his poise is remarkably like his father’s. The child finds me and waves; he receives a nod in reply. That will be the last time he ever greets me so enthusiastically.
The two ogres beside him are unmistakeably the spawn of Crabbe and Goyle. Narcissa will be pleased to know he is in fine company.
Quirrel beside me never ceases his incessant chatter. He must be pleased to reprise a position at Hogwarts, but he is a changed man. Not only the ridiculous turban and the stuttering, but his general outlook. I can’t tell whether I like it or not, trust him or not…
Within his blabber he mentions the Philosopher’s Stone, flinching I turn to listen. He should not be speaking so carelessly for the students must remain unaware of the calibre of Hogwarts’ new charge. Seeing my expression, he quickly changes the topic, giving me the peace of no longer having to pay attention.
Utterly bored I raise my goblet to drink; my eye is drawn away to a familiar and unwelcome sight. I almost splutter but my stomach definitely lurches.
Could it be? Potter’s child?
That tormenting mess of black hair is unmistakeable. And I feel a scowl creep back on my lips. Thankful that at least he is not tailed by a Black, a Lupin or a Pettigrew.
Quirrel gives me a concerned eye yet continues to talk.
Silently, I vow to loath this boy, to make his life as miserable as his father made mine. It will be no difficult feat. I’m sure he is as pompous as his father. Just as big-headed, selfish, cruel, troublesome… and undeserving as his father.
As if he felt my gaze, the boy turns.
And why? Enraged, I clench my teeth.
Of all things he could have inherited, he has his mother’s eyes.