Severus was in a foul mood. Not only had he had to wait for an inordinate amount of time for the annoying Head Girl, Lily, to finish up so he could use the bathroom, but now, he had to endure the cloying smell of her perfume while he got ready for bed. He wrinkled his nose in disgust as he drew the water for his bath. Some people just had no consideration for others.
It was enough to make him sick.
He spotted the rubber ducky at the side of the bathtub and scowled. "I see she also left her things behind. Typical Gryffindor scum, thinking all of Hogwarts is for their use, and their use alone.
"Oh, well," he said, getting into the bath. "They'll get there's in due course."
There was silence for a few minutes when nothing could be heard except the sound of Severus swimming a few laps of the enormous tub. He came back looking and feeling much more refreshed.
"I should just put a hex on you," he told the duck. "It would serve her right, for leaving her stuff in here."
As weird as it sounded, Severus could swear the duck looked alarmed. He felt the inexplicable need to reassure the inanimate thing. "You needn't worry," he said. "I won't. There's an unspoken rule here at Hogwarts - the bathroom's off limits for any inter-house rivalry. No one wants to deal with curses and hexes when they're bathing. Even Potter and his gang of improvident misfits arenít stupid enough to break this rule."
He glowered. "Not like they wouldn't get away with it, even if they did. Those four get away with everything. If I were a teacher, things would be different.
"Of course, all the teachers feel sorry for them. Well, at least for Lupin. The poor dear," he mimicked. "The poor thing, always sick. The poor, beastly werewolf." The last part came out as a snarl.
Severus looked at the duck. "You have a right to be afraid," he said. "No one is safe with that thing running wild around Hogwarts. If only the Headmaster could see that, we would all be safer at night. But Albus Dumbledore is too compassionate for his own good. He'd let anything into the school - Muggles, werewolves, what next? A goblin? How about a troll? Or better yet, a chimaera or a manticore. Just sit back and see who's the first to get eaten.
"But even Lupin is tame in comparison to Black. He's a maniac, a killer, but he, too, has the teachers wrapped around his little finger. They can't see him for what he really is.
"I grew up with him, had the misfortune of living in the same village. I saw him as a child and he acted just as he does now - a sociopath with no signs of a human conscience. At least the werewolf has an excuse for not being human.
"Then there's Potter, the last member of the group, unless you count that contemptible sycophant, Pettigrew. I don't. The moment he has a free thought is the moment hell freezes over.
"Potter, on the other hand, is the ringleader of that coterie. He's the brains behind the operation. Perfect prefect Potter - Head Boy now. He has everything going for him. It's despicable.
"Just the other day, Potter and his gang decided to utterly humiliate us Slytherins once again, all because we won the last Quidditch match. They just can't take the heat. We weren't even playing against them, but they're too afraid of facing us on the field that they couldn't stand our victory.
"It was Black's idea, I'm sure. All the truly demented ones are. A deranged idea from a deranged mind is what I say.
"The thing is, Black is as clever is he is dangerous. It pains me to admit it, but it's true. We have long ago learned to identify the first signs that the Gryffindors have tried to pull some kind of prank on us and take precaution against it. They know this and act accordingly.
"The exploding pastries were just too easily identifiable as a diversionary prank. That should have been our first clue. The Marauders," his lips curled as he said the name, "haven't been that obvious about it since second year.
"The feathers were a better touch. Black and Potter obviously spent a long time preparing that one. It put us off guard, made us unprepared for the real prank."
Severus paused then, remembering. Suddenly he smiled maliciously. "It was nothing in comparison to what awaits them tomorrow morning. That will be a prank worth remembering."
He got out of the bathtub and dried off. It wasn't a minute too soon for, as soon as he got dressed, there was a knock. He was already standing by the door, just about to leave, so he was able to open it before the person on the other side could knock again.
It was Potter, of course. 'Speak of the devil and he shall appear,' Severus thought to himself. The Head Boy's mouth tightened, but he didn't say a word. Severus stalked off, slamming the door behind him.
End of Snape's Part
Wednesday, June 6, 2001
Thanks to everyone who reviewed the first part. See it for disclaimers and author's notes. Su - I suppose you can say there will be a hint of romance in this story, but only peripherally. It's not a general romance fic. Cali - Is there anything special about the rubber ducky? Ummm . . . wait and see. (In other words, have no idea. You'll know as soon as I do. *grin*)