Chapter 9 : 9 - The Haircut
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Don't Severus and Peter look gorgeous in this CI that Carnal Spiral @ TDA made me?
Carla strode defiantly along the dimly lit corridors of the Hogwarts dungeons, flicking up the hood of her cloak as she neared Severus' chambers (she'd asked some portraits where she could find them). It was early on a sunday morning but she expected he'd be up since he'd mentioned once in passing that he liked to get up early on sundays for the Sunday Prophet.
She reached his door and knocked, thrice, in what she hoped was a sharp, demanding manner. Several seconds passed before the door was flung open to reveal Severus, dressed in his long, black, impersonal robes (as per usual).
"Miss Hemmingway," he said, his words laced with coldness that he hadn't directed at her in a while (he'd snapped a little the night before, but it hadn't been cold like this). His hard, black eyes travelled down the sweep of her robes, all the way to the toes of her favourite boots, before travelling back up again to rest on somewhere just above her right shoulder. She expected he was frightened and embarrassed to meet her eyes after what had happened yesterday evening.
"Carla," she corrected him.
"Miss Hemmingway," he said again, pointedly ignoring her correction. "Is there anything that you wanted?"
She cleared her throat. "Yes, actually. I want to talk to you."
He looked down at her from over his nose. "I'm afraid that I'm busy at the moment. Could you possibly come back at a later date - " he began, starting to bring the door to. She cut him off by promptly stepping forwards over the threshold and therefore blocking the door's path with her foot.
"Do you have any manners at all? Never shut the door in a woman's face!"
He scowled in reply and moved backwards slightly so as to give her the space to come in. She circled round him and carried on into the room, taking a vague look around and deciding that his chambers were just as 'plain' as hers.
Snape closed the door with a light push and swivelled round to face her, though still not meeting her eyes.
"What is it you wished to talk to me about?" he asked.
"Yesterday," she said, watching his face set into a grim, unreadable expression as the word escaped her mouth. For a moment he was silent, so she took it as his cue for her to continue. "You're still hung up on the Lily thing." He swallowed. She turned away from him to look at the fire. "I'm not Lily, Severus," she said. "We have the same hair. But from what I've heard of Lily Potter, I know that I am not her." She turned to face him again. He was watching her with a subtle curiosity, as if wondering what she was going to do or say next. "I'm not Lily," she repeated, tugging at her hood and letting it fall and envelope her shoulders.
He stared at her, his face a sincere mask of astonishment. "Your hair!" he said.
"Yes," she said. "I cut off my hair."
"Why would you do this?" he asked. "Surely I'm not as important to you as your hair?"
"Don't doubt yourself, Severus," she said, smiling. "You are more than capable of meaning more to someone than their hair."
It seemed he didn't quite know what to say to that. There was silence for a while, and she paced for a bit before heading to one of his many bookshelves and examining the books. She felt his gaze on the back of her head.
"Feel free to borrow a few, I won't miss them," he said.
"Thanks, I'm sure I will," she replied softly, running her fingers along the spines. "Books are such beautiful things. I don't understand people who can't find time to read them. How often do you read?"
"I scan the Prophet daily, but read the sunday one thoroughly since it's the only day that I have the time to. Of course I also make time to read novels and biographies, usually in the summer when I'm at home and sometimes in the evenings here if I have finished marking."
"Oh, that's nice. Do you have any favourites?"
"It's hard to choose, but I have a few," he said, striding over to the bookshelf by the armchair and selecting a couple. "I am particularly fond of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - it's a muggle book, you might not have heard of it. But this one on the dark arts by Cordelia Willersley is also very thought-provoking and beautifully written." He placed them in her hands, straightened them, and turned to examine the shelf they standing at. "You can borrow those two if you want," he said. She noticed a hint of shyness in his tone that she knew would have been much more evident had he not been trying to cover it up so much.
"Oh, I couldn't! They're your favourites! What if you had the sudden urge to read one, or what if I damaged one? I couldn't possibly borrow them, I'd worry so much and then I'd rush reading them and not enjoy them the way I could have had I not just bought them for myself - "
"Borrow them, I insist. I'm sure it will put you at peace to know that I have several copies of each of them in my library, both here and at home, so if anything should happen then it would be perfectly fine."
"Are you sure?"
There was another moment of silence, and she struggled to think of something to say.
"Would you like to accompany me to breakfast?" she asked, after a short moment of deliberation.
"No, I'm fine." He grimaced a little. "I'm sure Pete will be there to keep you company."
"Aw, come off it, Severus! Why do you hate him so much? All of the signs are telling me that you're jealous."
He scowled. "Why would I be jealous, Miss Hemmingway? You mean nothing to me."
Carla threw up her hands. "Yeah, okay, whatever. So do you wait for hours and hours at the sickbed of someone who means nothing to you? Do you brew an incredibly advanced and time-consuming potion for someone who means nothing to you? Do you lend your favourite books to someone who means nothing to you?"
He watched her silently.
"What? Nothing to say? I didn't think so." Carla pulled up her hood again, leaving the books on the side. She strode to his door. "And by the way, I didn't really cut my hair off, it's just a charm. I wanted to see your reaction."
She slammed the door as she left, leaving Severus in the wake of it's silence, confused at the whole conversation they'd just had. He exhaled slowly, putting his hands to his head and sinking down into an armchair. It bewildered him that Carla would tell him that he was worth more to her than her own hair when actually she'd only charmed it off and it was perfectly easy to be put back to it's normal state. It left him wondering whether she'd actually meant what she said, or she really had just done it to see his reaction.
More than the issue of her hair were the words she'd spoken about him being jealous. He wasn't jealous, he just had a great dislike for the man. And he'd only done all of those things for her out of duty and politeness. It hadn't been personal. Had it?
With the end of October and the full moon quickly approaching, Carla was steadily getting more and more anxious. Jeremy couldn't console her properly through letters, Peter had no idea what was up, and though she and Severus were still talking, he was stiff and cold all of the time and wouldn't say much to her at all. She was in desperate need of someone to talk to, but no one else seemed trustworthy, and so it was with annoyance that Severus Snape found his friday evening interrupted because she needed a 'chat'.
"I'm in the middle of marking, Miss Hemmingway - "
" - So, whatever you wanted to talk about, perhaps we could do it another time."
"I've been holding it all inside, Severus, because there's no one else to talk to about being a werewolf apart from you! I didn't want to have to bother you, but it's gotten unbearable. The full moon is in five days. I'm not ready."
He sighed, gesturing to the wooden chair that sat in front of his desk. It looked highly uncomfortable and was probably meant to be since no one but naughty students ever had to sit in it, so Carla conjured up her own rather more comfortable chair and sat in that instead. His eyebrow arched up at that, but he made no comment. He noticed that she'd already charmed her hair back to normal.
"I don't know what it's going to be like. Will the transformation hurt? When I'm a werewolf, will I still be able to think as me or will I be completely gone? Will it be like my mind is in there but it's functionless, the werewolf mind ruling instead? Or will I be blissfully unaware through the whole of it? And what if I am unaware? Will it be blissful? What if I killed someone while I was a wolf and I didn't even know? Would that be worse, or would I rather witness myself killing it without even wanting to? And how long will I be one for? I know it varies, so will I change as soon as the moon comes up, or will it be a bit later than that? When will I change back? What - "
"Stop. Miss Hemmingway, stop."
Carla took in a deep breath, trying to hold back the tears that were forming in her eyes. "This is so stupid. I'm so stupid."
"You're not stupid, Miss Hemmingway - "
" - You beat me to the Defence Against the Dark Arts post, didn't you? That must count for something."
She smiled weakly at his (albeit terrible) attempt of setting a lighter mood, sniffing and wiping away any escaped tears with her sleeve. "You're so big-headed, Severus."
He rolled his eyes. "Look, Miss Hemmingway - "
" - If you really want me too, I'll try and get into contact with the werewolf that I went to school with."
"Really? Oh, Severus!" She seemed overjoyed, jumping up and running around his desk so that she could hug him briefly. "Thank you!" It was a bit of an awkward hug, given that he was sitting down and she was standing up - his head was about level with her breasts, which he found extremely uncomfortable. (It was mental comfort that he was referring to, not physical, because she actually smelled heavenly, a mixture of honey and vanilla, and she was very soft and warm too.) He pushed her away very gently, so as to not hurt her feelings, and then stood up.
"I will get to that," he promised. "Now you should get to bed, it's late."
They bid their goodbyes and Snape set to work writing a letter for Remus Lupin. Lupin was the least detestable of the four Marauders, and though Snape still wasn't overly fond of him, he was glad it wasn't any of the others who was a werewolf. It would have been impossible to get hold of any of them if that were the case anyway, since one was in Azkaban, one had been blasted off of the face of the earth leaving behind only a finger, and one had been murdered by the Dark Lord.
Severus grimaced. The glory that had shone over them in their Hogwarts years had been quick to diminish.
To Mr. R. J. Lupin,
I am writing to you because I have a friend who is in great need of assistance and you are the only werewolf who I am acquainted with. The last I heard of you was before the Potters' death and you were living in Surrey. I hope you're still living there now. My friend was recently bitten and is struggling with coming to terms with it. It would be of a great help to her if she could talk to someone else who has the same problem as her.
I know it is odd of me to ask for your help, especially with our history, but you were the only choice I had.
This is even more of me to ask, but we are out of the Wolfsbane Potion and if you have an extra dosage that would be very, very helpful.
Reply as quickly as possible if you can come. You know when the deadline is.
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