With the cat's back turned, however, Severus pulls his wand. There's a spell I wanted to show you that I think you'll like, he tells the young DADA apprentice. Something you'll not have learnt from Gilderoy. There's an undercurrent whenever he uses the wizard's first name that is hard to miss, particularly as he generally favours his surname. She chooses not to take the bait, but suspects there's a compliment, of sorts, for her buried in there somewhere. She smiles to herself at the thought.
He twitches his wand, Baculus Transmuto! and a moment later Weasley squeaks, his wand gone, in its place a branch. As if the broken wand hadn't been trial enough...
'Ooo!' a certain ginger coos. 'I haven't seen that one before!'
I'd be surprised if you had, Severus sounds rather satisfied. It's one of mine, like the Langlock and Leglock.
'Oh! Could we see those again, too, please?' She looks so hopeful, he has to laugh.
Spellthirsty, are you?
'Well, no, not generally, but ask Miss Granger, and I think you'll find she feels it's warranted. Weasley's been something of a knob today.'
She hasn't even finished before he casts the Langlock, which thankfully puts an end to the squeaking, the Leglock, quite logically, follows soon after. Better? He asks.
'Much,' she immediately agrees.
'How did you come up with the wand Transfiguration?'
Same as with all the rest, started with an idea and experimented until I got it right. That one proved somewhat... tricky, however. I made it seventh year, perhaps I hadn't enough experience to know better, but I'd tried 'Baculum' first - it only made sense, it's the object after all - but it turns out that was a mite... ambiguous. That certainly sounds ominous.
Black was... kind enough to serve as guinea pig, and spent a week in the Infirmary with a twig for a... wand. She blinks at that, thinking she's got it right, both eyebrows shooting up to her hairline and he merely nods, confirming her worst suspicions.
Sirius Black, I should have noted, and not Regulus. He was a Moggie. Not one of ours.
'Ah, well that makes all the difference, I'm sure,' she grins, and he stands there trying to make out if she means it. Her smile broadens when she notices, and he decides it doesn't actually matter, as long as that smile remains.
There was a bit of a barney. I told him he was the very model of a Gryffindor. The benighted fool lapped it up taking it as some sort of compliment and I was forced to clarify: in a battle of wits, he'd brought a twig to a wand fight. She probably shouldn't judge. Hadn't she just been saying much the same thing to Professor McGonagall? Slytherins, they come by it honestly... And then I let him have it. I was feeling frightfully clever, and thought I'd debut something new. It didn't work quite as expected, but there was no convincing anyone afterwards that hadn't been the intended result...
'I could see why not...'
Minerva had me... assisting Argus for the rest of the term, but once they decided I was willing and capable of... going there, for the most part the Marauders left me in peace after that.
'I can imagine.' Even without the requisite bits, she finds herself taking a closed-legged stance just at the thought.
On balance, I felt it was more than worth it.
'So will you need to perform a Finite to return his wand or will it wear off?'
It'll need the appropriate Counterspell, but I think we should savour it a while longer.
'My thoughts exactly,' her grin is beginning to look as wolfish as his, he notes with approval.
'Would you care to share some of your Spell development process?'
If you're truly interested, certainly.
They spend a pleasant hour chatting about Spells, their creation and the vagaries of latin declination when it occurs to the DADA apprentice that they have a job to do.
'We have another door to open, if you'd care to do the honours?'
Gladly, he replies and makes short work of it.
Ah! This is promising! For the first time, he sounds like he actually means it.
Not Father Christmas after all. Colour me surprised.
'After all the fuss you made about him being Father Christmas, I expect more than a blithe 'colour me surprised' from you.'
Fine, I admit I am... pleasantly surprised.
His lips press together into a tight line, unwilling to let her draw the words from him. She smirks in recognition of that fact. If anything, she finds his reaction more satisfying than that admission would have been.
Now, now, Severus. I'm sure you can do better than that if only you try.
He shoots Albus an accusatory glare, which fazes the wizard not at all. No, instead he continues chirping. Ginger, you're not letting his sunny disposition ruin your holidays?
'No, Sir. Not in the least. Quite the contrary even; he's been keeping me company.'
Why, Severus, how unexpectedly considerate.
I should probably see to a potion... It's something of a sullen murmur that instantly sets Albus to smirking. Unfortunately, he tends to have that effect on him.
I'm sure you should, I'm sure you should... Albus seems incredibly smug, only serving to reassure Severus that discretion is the better part of valour. Oh, there! I believe that's the sound of your cauldron calling.
Without another word, although his eye roll is virtually audible, the Potions Master turns his back on the Headmaster - Diricawls Disapparating at the first hint of trouble have nothing on him - to face the DADA apprentice and asks, Ms. Bred, were you still interested in learning the proper administration of Wiggenweld's?
That's settled, then. If you'd care to come with me?
They've barely made the next corner when she begins to tease, ''Ms. Bred' again is it?'
If you don't wish to encourage Albus' taunts, yes. It seemed... wise.
'It's not as if he doesn't call me 'Ginger', too...' She only just gets the words out when he presses her into an alcove behind one of the castle's many statues and seals her mouth with a kiss that renders further speech momentarily impossible. If the physical hinderance hadn't kept her silent, the number that kiss is doing on her cognitive faculties most certainly would have.
He pulls back to await her response.
It takes her a minute.
'Uh...' Scarcely more eloquent than Ron. Brilliant. And he at least has a Langlock to blame for it.
She swallows and tries again.
'Severus...' Although somewhat breathless, small favours, decidedly not the reaction he was hoping for. 'I think we should talk.'
Far worse than expected even.
Those words never bode well.
Permit me what now seems to be a stupid question, but I was under the impression you wanted this, you started this. So why is it when I finally come around, you shy away? It sounds angry, but the haunted look in his eyes speaks more of hurt.
She's managing this poorly.
'Have you never wanted something badly, only to not know what to do with it when you get it?'
I'm going to try, my utmost, not to imagine what that's supposed to mean.
He's right, that probably wasn't the way to start... 'First. We should talk first.' On reflection that word makes quite a bit of difference. 'And then, if you still want to, *I* would very much like to get back to... that. But I wouldn't want you to think I hadn't been honest with you...'
He looks confused, and she's about to launch into a nonlinear explanation guaranteed to make that confusion worse, she's still not firing on all cylinders, when Albus comes careening around the corner, putting paid to any and all plans she may have hastily fashioned.
Which may be just as well.
Ah, Severus. Excellent. I hate to pull you away from your cauldron, but Poppy's just informed me you're needed in the Infirmary.
There's an emergency, he adds, as though that weren't clear.
But then he's used to dealing with Gryffindors, so allowances must be made.
And with that, the Headmaster grabs the man by the arm and whisks him off, leaving a certain ginger alone in the corridor staring after them.