Chapter 2 : 2 - The Research
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fantastic CI by Carnal Spiral @ TDA
The first day of lessons had gone smoothly for Carla so far. The students seemed eager to learn (even though they chatted a little too much and occasionally messed around a bit - only this morning had she had to suffer the ordeal of dealing out her first round of detentions to some Slytherin students who had somehow gotten hold of newts' eyes and were throwing them around the classroom). She had tried her best to avoid Professor Snape, not sitting even remotely near him during breakfast.
Snape was at the other end of the staff table for lunch right now, alternating between flipping the pages of the book he was reading and taking a bite out of his sandwich. Carla wondered what he was reading. What genres did he like? She stifled a giggle at the thought of him reading a romance novel. Something about his outside appearance and the way he acted towards her made it seem very unlikely.
The woman next to her, Deidre Cummins, a batty old professor that had been teaching when Carla was at Hogwarts, looked up at her giggle. She blushed and turned to her food, giving herself a mental slap in the face.
Why was she allowing herself to think of him? He had been the sole occupant of her thoughts throughout the entire day, and she wasn't having it any longer. Carla suspected that the only reason she was curious about him was that he had acted so awful to her in the first place. If he had acted like a normal sane person when they met yesterday, and had been polite and courteous, perhaps she would have taken to him differently.
Now she couldn't stop thinking of him, and it aggravated her to the extremes because he didn't deserve to be thought of at all if that was the way that he acted all of the time. She wondered what it was about her that had caused him to instantly dislike her so much.
Carla turned to Cummins, who, if the rumours were true, would be easy to weasel information out of.
She cleared her throat. "Deidre," she began. Saying her name after she'd been taught by her for seven years felt odd. "Forgive my interruption, but I was wondering if I could ask you some questions?"
Deidre smiled. "Of course, Miss Hemmingway. How are you finding your first day?"
"Oh, perfectly fine." She lowered her voice and cast a glance across the table to where Snape was sitting. He didn't look up. "I wanted to ask you some questions about Snape."
Cummins raised her eyebrows, but otherwise said nothing.
"What's his first name?" she asked. That had been bugging her the moment that he'd refused to tell her it.
"Severus," Cummins replied quietly. "Did he not tell you?"
"He refused," said Carla.
The older woman snorted in an unladylike manner. "He never was a natural at making good impressions."
"Do you have any idea why he might not like me?"
Cummins shook her head. "He doesn't like anyone, so I wouldn't take it personally. I think his upbringing and the things that he's gone through have left him bitter and untrusting. The only reason I can think of for him not taking a liking to you would be that there's a rumour that he's asked for the Defence Against the Dark Arts position three years in a row now, and you're the next person to take it up. No one likes having what they want being taken by someone else. Of course, I have no idea why Dumbledore won't just give him the job. I've heard that the Dark Arts is his obsession."
Carla paused, taking all of this in. The rumours had been right, Cummins let gossip roll off of her tongue as easily as if it were inane chatter about the weather.
"How old is he?" she asked.
"He came here in 1980, when he was 20... So that would make him 23 years old."
"Wow," Carla said. "That makes me feel old. And he's head of Slytherin, too?"
"Yes. Slughorn was the previous head of the house, but when he left there were no other Slytherin professors to take his place but Snape. And, of course, Dumbledore thought he would be good at keeping the older Slytherins reigned in, because, you know..." She lowered her voice even further. "Some of them are considering joining the side of You-Know-Who and becoming Death Eaters, and Snape himself was a Death Eater."
Carla's eyes widened.
"Snape was a Death Eater?" she exclaimed. She lowered her voice again, looking up anxiously. No one seemed to have noticed her outburst. "How could Dumbledore let him work here?"
"Albus trusts him," said Cummins simply. "And I trust Albus' judgement, so therefore I trust Snape too. I can't say I like him much, though."
Carla was still having trouble letting Cummins' former words sink in.
Snape was a Death Eater? She couldn't help but feel a little nauseous at the thought.
By the time Carla reached the owlery that evening after dinner, the sun was going down and the sky was beginning to darken. She made her way up the staircase of the tower carefully, watching her footing on the uneven, crumbling steps.
She almost fell backwards in surprise when she reached the circular room at the top to find Snape standing amongst the owls. He had his back to her and was staring out of the large window which looked out over the forest. From the view he had, he wouldn't have seen her coming.
She went into the room further, then stood, fidgeting a little. Eventually she cleared her throat.
Snape spun around, startled, and then narrowed his eyes when he caught sight of her.
"What are you doing here?" he growled. He didn't look happy at having been caught by surprise.
"I came to post a letter," she said. "What else?"
He scowled and turned away from her, back to the window.
"What are you doing?" she asked, because he didn't seem to really be doing anything.
"Posting a letter," he said. "What else?"
It was Carla's turn to scowl at him. "Where is it then?"
"I just sent it."
"So what are you doing now?"
He turned on his heel and glowered down at her. "Leaving!" he snapped.
"You don't have to leave because of me, professor," she said. "Stay. I won't bother you."
His eyes narrowed as he continued to look down at her. "I'd rather not, Miss Hemmingway," he sneered.
She shrugged nonchalantly. "Fine. See you later."
He moved towards the doorway. "Again, I'd rather not."
He left the room, the sound of his loud footsteps on the stone steps echoing through the owlery long after he'd gone.
She hurriedly tied her letter to the leg of an owl, practically flinging the bird out of the window in her haste. She wanted to catch up to Snape.
Snape hurried towards the castle, black cloak billowing out behind him.
Every time he looked at Miss Hemmingway he thought of Lily, and he couldn't even begin to try and stop himself. It hurt to look at the her, to even think of her. He would have to try and stay away from her from now on.
Speak of the devil. The sound of Miss Hemmingway's voice carrying easily through the wind caused him stiffen. He wanted to be rude and continue walking, or at least pretend he hadn't heard, but for some reason he slowed down his pace and waited for her to catch up.
"Hey," she said again, slightly panting as she fell into step beside him. Her chest was rising and falling in rhythm with her laboured breaths. "I didn't think you'd wait for me."
"I didn't think so either," he said, "but we all do unexpected things sometimes."
The corners of her mouth tugged upwards slightly. She had a beautiful mouth.
"Have you not had dinner?" she asked. "I didn't see you at the table earlier."
He shook his head. "I'll have a house elf bring me something later."
"Oh." She paused, obviously searching her mind for something to say. "Do you go to the owlery often?"
He shook his head again. "I don't have anyone much that I need to communicate with outside of Hogwarts."
"Me neither," she admitted. "Just my brother."
There was a silence. Snape willed for the castle to magically transport itself towards them so that they could spare the next five minutes of this awkward conversation and get indoors.
"Did - " he began uncertainly. She smiled in encouragement. "Did you go to Hogwarts for school? I don't recall ever seeing you."
She smiled, looking down. Was that a blush he saw forming across her cheeks? "I did go to Hogwarts, yes, but you probably wouldn't have recalled seeing me because I'm much older than you."
That took Snape by surprise. Miss Hemmingway didn't look a day older than twenty, and certainly not older than himself. "How old are you?"
She blushed again, more heavily this time. "You can hardly expect a lady to own up to that sort of thing, Professor Snape."
They walked on in a slightly awkward silence.
"How do you know that you're older than me?" he asked suddenly.
"Oh! I... I just could tell, that's all," she said. The blush that had only disappeared a few moments ago reappeared again.
Snape smirked. He had been correct in his suspicions at lunch.
Miss Hemmingway had been doing some research.
A/N: I'm halfway through writing the next chapter as I post this, so hopefully that should be up pretty soon. I can truthfully say that I have no idea where this is going, but I've wanted to write a Snape story for so long so I decided to jump on board the muse train and not get off. :P
I love reviews!
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