Chapter 4 : Chapter Four
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“You can’t be serious,” The Professor snapped, “Do I seem like someone who knows how to handle children?”
Severus Snape was sure the Headmaster had completely lost his mind. Gone mad with the pressure of being in charge of a school, the Order of the Phoenix, and the increasing threat of battle.
“Oh, Severus, I’m sure you’ll be fine. The children will sleep most of the time they are under your care anyway.”
“And if they don’t?”
Dumbledore smiled, “You will do fine. You have been teaching her for twenty years and not once have you hexed a student in who was under your supervision. Quite impressive actually, considering.”
Severus’ eyes narrowed, “Considering what, old man?”
“You’re rather famous among the students for your quick temper.”
He might not hurt the children but he could very well hex himself.
The younger wizard did not dignify that with a reply. It was clear that Dumbledore would not budge on the issue at hand. It appeared that Severus would be stuck with babysitting the two Malfoy and Granger brats. Their current caretaker, McGonagall, had an important personal matter to deal with off Hogwarts’ grounds.
“Sir, I do not believe that this is in my job description.”
Dumbledore knew Snape well enough to take this as him giving in. He chuckled, “Think again, Severus. When you joined the staff here, you made a promise to look after the students who passed through these doors. Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger are still students despite the recent turn of events.”
“Careful Headmaster, you’re beginning to sound like a Slytherin.”
And that is how Severus Snape ended up where he is now. Sitting on the couch in a gold and red common room, stoic expression on his face and two children chasing each other around the seat. It was already ten at night and neither Draco nor Hermione showed any signs of slowing down. The day had not worn them down and they were just as energetic as ever.
“Don’t you think it’s time for you two to be getting to bed?” Snape tried to keep the annoyance out of his voice. The last thing he needed was for one of these two to burst into tears.
“Nope!” Draco called, “Ms. Minnie said we ain’t got no bed time.”
“Ain’t is not a word, Draco.”
“Yes it is!”
Ms. Minnie? Interesting, Severus made a mental note to ask McGonagall about that later. “Enough bickering. As you have only been in her care for one night, I doubt any such rules have been established.”
“He knows you’re lying.” Hermione explained to her young friend.
“I don’t wanna go to bed!” Draco pouted, he crossed his arms over his chest and dropped down onto the carpeted floor.
Severus could be just as stubborn, “That’s too bad. You have pajamas to change in to, I assume.”
But Severus underestimated just how defiant a young youngster could be. Draco reached up and covered his ears, humming loudly to block out the Professor’s deep voice. Hermione rolled her eyes and went to the princess-themed bedroom, closing the door behind her. Snape might have been grateful for her compliance if he didn’t feel like he was losing his mind with frustration.
“I cant hear you! I can’t hear you!” Draco began chanting in a sing-song voice.
Dumbledore would pay for this. Desperate time call for desperate measures as they say. Severus decided that it would be best to physically move Draco. He was in no mood to deal with the childish arguing all night long.
The little boy gasped in surprise as the ground suddenly disappeared from beneath him. Opening his eyes, he was greeted by the sight of a large nose, frightening man glaring back at him. Draco kicked his legs and flailed about, hoping to strike “Mr. Snake”. His efforts, however, were in vain as he was being held at arm’s lengths. His childish limbs were not long enough to reach any part of the man that would cause serious damage.
“Severus Snape! You unhand that child this instant!”
Oh, thank Merlin! Minerva could rescue him from the blonde menace.
“Never. Again.” Severus’ voice cut off Professor McGonagall before she could reprimand him any further. “I am leaving. Next time you need a babysitter, give them to Hagrid. I’m sure that oaf would be delighted.”
Minerva narrowed her eyes at Draco as Snape stormed past, robes billowing behind him. She waited to hear the portrait close before speaking. “What did you do?”
“I didn’t do nothing.”
“You didn’t do anything.” McGonagall corrected.
“That’s what I just said.”
“Why are you still awake?” The Professor changed the subject. It was futile to try to correct a five-year-old, especially one as persistent as Malfoy.
“I don’t wanna go to bed. I’m not tired.” The little boy pouted. Growing up in the Malfoy family, he was unused to not getting his way. Lucius and Narcissa frequently bribed their son to keep him quiet and do as he was told.
“I’m sorry, Draco. You can’t always have your way.” McGonagall attempted to reason, than got a better idea. “If you don’t go to bed, you’ll sleep all day. What about Hermione? Who will she play with if you don’t get out of bed?”
This seemed to get through to the boy. “Yeah! She didn’t even know how to play with the ‘seeker’. She’ll be so bored without me!”
That was a bit of a leap. Apparently Draco had always been very confident in other’s opinion of him but she played along. “Indeed! We better get you to bed than, shouldn’t we?”
The boy nodded eagerly, then stopped. His head lowered as if ashamed, “Ms Minnie, do you think I could have a light on?”
“Oh, are you afraid of the dark?”
Of course not, stupid question. “I have a better idea.”
She took the little boy’s hand and walked into his room. Pulling out her wand and pointed it towards the ceiling. With a few mumbled words and a flick of her wand, the tip of which glowed with a little green light. The ceiling was suddenly alight, it took on the appearance of a distant galaxy. Light purple mixed with inky black and the tiny pinpricks of stars. It was a much simpler version of the one in the Great Hall. Not nearly as extravagant, but still a beautiful sight to behold.
“This is so amazing! Thank you, Ms. Minnie.”
- - -
The following day was Saturday, as such there would be no classes. An invitation had been extended to the three Gryffindors and four Slytherins considered closest to Hermione and Draco. Not at the same time of course, Professor McGonagall wanted to avoid any House conflicts.
Draco’s friends would be the first to arrive. Zabini’s first quidditch match as seeker was later that day and he needed to meet with the team beforehand. The members of the Hufflepuff team had been heard bragging about an ‘easy win’. They weren’t aware that the Zabini family money had paid for him to be trained by the best.
The four Slytherin students entered the room with the usual arrogance about them. They were overdressed in the latest wizard world fashions. They seemed more like they were on their way to a dinner party rather than the weekend ‘casual wear’, an escape from the weekday school uniform.
Draco who was playing a game of ‘Go Fish’ at the table. It was a muggle game he was new to but picked up on quite quickly.
“Alright Hermione, do you have and eights?”
“Are you lying?”
“I cant show you my cards, Draco. That’s cheating!”
So, maybe he still needed a bit of practice.
Crabbe was the first to speak, “What is he hanging around the Mudblood for?”
Both children looked up from their game. Draco couldn’t believe that the boy had said that word. He’d heard it before but only from the scary grown-ups who were friends with his father. The men who argued over whether some guy named Bald-e-mort or something like that would come back or not.
Professor McGonagall put her book down, “Mr. Crabbe! Five points from Slytherin for using such a derogatory term, another five for using it in the presence of two young children.”
Blaise rolled his eyes and took a seat at the table, watching the children’s game with disinterest. Hermione and Draco continued on as if nothing had happened, even inviting Zabini to play with them. He considered this for a few minutes before nodding.
Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle went over to watch. Draco did his best to explain the objective of ‘Gold Fish’.
“So, what happens when you get a match? Do they explode or something?” Goyle asked, pulling a sweet from his mouth and popping it into his mouth.
Hermione giggled, “No, silly. Nothing like that. You just put them down. When someone runs out of cards, whoever has the most matches wins.”
“What happens if I win?” Blaise always thought like a Slytherin.
Draco shook his head and grinned, “Nothing. It’s just for fun. You probably won’t win anyway. Hermione and me are the best.”
“I believe you mean ‘Hermione and I’.” Blaise smirked, “What exactly is your basis for comparison?”
“No, It’s Hermione and me. You don’t even know how to play. How could you be the best?”
Pansy Parkinson watched from the other side of the room. Her arms folded across her chest and foot tapping the ground, frustrated that she was not getting any attention. She waited for Crabbe and Goyle to come to her side and listen to her complain. Or at least for Blaise to snap at her for making that annoying tapping sound. She would insist that she couldn’t help it, it was a habit, than they could argue until one of them got frustrated enough to give in.
That’s how things had always been.
But not today.
The minutes ticked by, turning into an hour. After four rounds of ‘Go Fish’, Pansy could not stand it any longer, “Don’t you think it’s time we get going? Blaise does have a match to prepare for this afternoon.”
“Indeed.” Blaise stood and put his remaining cards down on the table. “This was interesting. You’ll have to tell me your secret, Granger. It seems impossible to beat you.”
“Cause she cheats.” Draco slumped in his chair, pouting.
“No, I’m just good at guessing. You’ll get better with practice.”
Blaise smiled, a rare sight. “I’m sure I will.”
Pansy huffed and stomped from the room, not bothering to wait for the two boys rushing to keep up with her. The dark skinned Italian merely rolled his eyes, politely nodding to the remaining three occupants of the room before taking his leave.
They sat in silence for a few minutes before it was broken before a curious Hermione. “Ms. Minnie?”
“What does ‘Mudblood’ mean?”
A/N: So, the next chapter. Hermione learns about a not so great part of this magical world. The Gryffindors visit, and the quidditch match. Then maybe a little surprise? Sorry about the delay on this chapter!