In Retrospect. by Magical Maeve
Summary: Severus Snape is a young Slytherin with a lot of homework and expectations. He has no idea that his world is about to be changed irrevocably. This is a Maeve/Severus short fic that details their time at Hogwarts.
Categories: Marauder Era Characters: None
Warnings: Mild Profanity
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 11705 Read: 8893 Published: 04/19/06 Updated: 06/10/16
Enemies by Magical Maeve
Maeve made it the Clocktower Courtyard before him, battened down against the snow in her winter cloak. She loitered by the fountain as time slowly moved on; it was already quarter past twelve and she was beginning to think he wouldn’t come. Some immature idiot had painted a pair of glasses on each of the eagles flanking the statue, which caused a huge eye roll as she deployed a quick Scourgify to sort them out. To distract herself from the possibility that she was about to be stood up she reflected on the morning. Potions had been far better than expected, especially as she had someone to sit next to who was prepared to talk to her. Kathleen hadn’t been the star pupil of the class, but she had certainly been able to help Maeve’s confidence grow a little. The highlight for Maeve had been sticking her hand in the air and answering one of Professor Slughorn’s more taxing questions correctly, which had led him to calling her his bright new star. Kathleen had given a very audible tut before whispering darkly in Maeve’s ear about an invitation to a Slug Club, something which Maeve though sounded revolting but hadn’t been able to ask for further explanation as the class had moved on quickly. She had resolved to ask Severus at their meeting, but to do that she would need the boy himself and there was still no sign.

The courtyard was empty at this time of day, the majority of the other students holed up having lunch or heading for the library to escape the diabolical weather. It was possibly one of the reasons he had chosen this spot; its current isolation would mean their meeting was unobserved. It was a failing of hers, she knew, to always over-think a situation and she tried to send her thought in a more positive direction.

Snowflakes began to drift down gently, frosting her face and eyelashes until she blinked them away. She had thought they would perhaps go and get some lunch together followed by a quick catch up on her lessons. The clock, however, disagreed as it continued churning out the minutes. It was almost half past twelve before she caught sight of a black blot on the bridge, hurrying towards her with his face hidden from view. She sensed something was amiss even at this distance. His cloak looked dishevelled and his hair, always messy, now looked positively bedraggled.

–Severus,” she called, realising that he was turning to his right as he exited the bridge. He looked up at the sound of his name being called, his eyes searching quickly for the source. Maeve winced as she noticed blood on his face, and tried to read the furtive look in his eyes. –Severus, has something happened? Did you forget we were meeting?”

The courtyard seemed to have doubled in size as she made her way to him. He didn’t seem inclined to move towards her; if anything she thought he might flee in the opposite direction. With a weary sigh she knew that he had forgotten their meeting; there was nothing in his face that even seemed to recognise her for a moment. His mouth opened, and then closed again without enlightening her further regarding his state of dress or the cut on his cheek. Now that she was level with him she could see the injury had been caused by a fist; there was bruising around it already and the skin was split rather than torn. There was no magic here; this was the result of a schoolboy fight, and the swelling on his cheek bore testament to that.

–Fighting?” she asked, preparing herself to give him the benefit of the doubt.

–Not really,” he replied. –I need to get cleaned up. I’m sorry you were kept waiting; perhaps it was a bad idea to begin with. Perhaps you’ll be better off not seeing me after all.”

–What happened then?” She pulled her wand from her pocket and to her horror realised this had made him also reach for his wand, raising it level with her face as if in anger. –What on earth are you doing? Are you mad?”

Her heart was beating a little faster as she stared this sudden stranger in the face. There was a layer of anger in his eyes that was as thick as seam of coal and for the briefest moment she was genuinely afraid that something very bad was going to happen.

–Put the wand away, Snivellus.” They both turned, wands still aloft, to see James Potter and Sirius Black stalking across the bridge as if it was their personal property, also with their wands drawn. –Get away from her.” It was James who was speaking, but it was Sirius who seemed filled with the most potential to menace.

Maeve turned back to Severus, glaring at him for a moment before giving her wand the merest flick alongside a muttered, –Episkey.”

He reached up with his free hand and felt the tear in his skin begin to heal, the tightness of the swelling already easing. She looked from his face to his wand, and then back again, a challenge in her eyes. With a flurry he pocketed the offending item just as James and Sirius reached them. With a low threatening growl, Sirius prodded Severus on the recently repaired cheek with his wand.

–I said get away from her.”

–Or what?” Severus asked, not budging an inch.

–Do you really want to find out?” Sirius snarled, his face made ugly with repulsion.

–Leave him alone,” James said, stepping in to play something of the peacemaker. –He’s put his wand away and she’s clearly not scared of the little toad or she’d be legging it by now.”

–I am here, you know,” Maeve snapped, feeling nauseous at the sight of so much male posturing. –And you’re right. I’m not scared. Severus wasn’t trying to scare me. I’m not entirely sure what the hell he was doing, but whilst I appreciate your concern I really don’t need it.”

–I’d have thought you’d have had enough by now.” Sirius continued as if no-one else had spoken. –Wasn’t our little lesson earlier enough to get you to leave decent people alone.”

–What do you mean?” Maeve asked, looking at Sirius properly for the first time and not liking what she saw. –Did you cause that on his face?”

Sirius waved a set of perfectly bruised knuckles in her face. –Well I assume you’re talking about the black eye and not his big conk because Mother Nature is entirely responsible for the latter. The black eye, naturally, was me. Nothing like a bit of putting people firmly back in their place; beats wand waving any day. Besides, it’s only Snivellus; he deserves everything he gets, nasty piece of work that he is. Has he told you about the amount of extra practice he puts in for Defence Against the Dark Arts?”

–So you’re a bully.” Maeve narrowed her eyes at the pair of them, Severus now out of her line of sight. She could see James glaring at Sirius and wondered how many times he had had to intervene to stop his friend doing something that everyone would come to regret.

–I am no such thing,” Sirius said, and then he exploded with laughter. –Although the day we tipped him on his head so the whole world could see his grimy underpants was perhaps a touch harsh. Bullying is completely the wrong word, though. It’s teaching, enlightenment, correction even.”

James tried to mutter something that could have been an encouragement for Sirius to stop, but there was something crazed about the other boy now. No amount of pleading by his friend was going to stop this barrage of taunts.

–Or the time we got all his books up in a tree and hid his wand. I think we saw rather more of his pants again then too. Or at Halloween, when we gave all the pumpkins his face…”

Maeve turned to see Severus marching away, his head down and his shoulders slumped. Peeking out from the right hand pocket of his robes was a small bunch of crushed white violets; their petals destroyed by whatever correcting Sirius Black had decided to mete out. She felt a sick feeling in her stomach when she realised he hadn’t forgotten their meeting, had perhaps even gone out of his way to steal some flowers from the greenhouses to please her. It took only a few seconds for the sick feeling to morph into one of potent fury. She had always loathed bullies, and she had seen enough of them among the elite at Navan during her time there; there was something frightful about an excess of money and privilege in certain people, as if it bestowed on them the right to be cruel without any sort of redress. She had sometimes chosen to be that redress. There was something in her, some force that even she didn’t understand, and occasionally it would not be tempered by her own reason. So after a couple of incidents a few letters had found their way home complaining of her behaviour from some of the more vocal, and influential, parents.

It was a shame that Severus had chosen that moment to leave, has chosen that moment to accept yet another potential friendship had been destroyed by Black and Potter, had chosen that moment to let shame get the better of him. Had he hung around he might have felt better for the rest of the day instead of skulking around trying to keep out of sight of the world and its occupants.

–So a bully and a complete arse too,” she said, her voice so low Sirius though perhaps he had misheard her. She took a step backwards, as if to move away from them and leave; in reality she was putting a little aiming distance between them. –What is it you don’t like about him? Is it just because he’s a Slytherin, and no one likes Slytherins, do they? Can’t be, because then you’d have to practice your arseholery on a whole house and even you probably aren’t that big a man. Is it because he’s cleverer than you, or more interesting? Or is it just because you can?”

James saw her wand move before Sirius did. He gave a shout of warning, but Maeve was far too quick.

–Let’s see how you like a taste of your own medicine,” she announced, before muttering something that sounded vaguely foreign and rather less vaguely ominous

Sirius’ nose simply exploded. He screamed, or tried to as his face became a mess of blood. Maeve watched for a moment, allowing a very familiar feeling of satisfaction to settle over her at seeing a bully become the victim. If there was one thing her father had taught her it was to meet violence with violence. No wonder, then, that the letters from Navan complaining of his daughter’s behaviour had gone straight in the bin and her occasional outburst of temper went unpunished.

–You’ve bloody killed him, you thug!” James shouted as he tried to help his friend by staunching the flow of blood with an inadequate handkerchief. –His face is ruined.”

Sirius looked thoroughly horrified by his friend’s verdict and pressed the sodden handkerchief to his burst nose even harder.

–The both of you are pathetic.” She looked at them in disgust. –It looks worse than it is. It might not even be broken. Get him to the hospital wing, if you don’t know how to fix it yourself that is?”

–You could help,” James said, panicking slightly.

–Not a chance,” she said, still furious. –He can suffer for all I care. Perhaps you should ask Severus; I’d bet your silly lives on him knowing what to do at a time like this.”

Maeve left them to it, heedless of the consequences her actions would have. Perhaps, she thought, almost hopefully, she would be expelled. Life at Hogwarts had seemed to be getting better, but now it had taken a distinct turn for the worse. She briefly considered trying to find Severus, but realised that she didn’t actually want to see him, remembering the wand in her face, and on a more practical level, she didn’t know how to find the Slytherin Common Room. She went instead to the only place she could go to without having to talk to anyone, and that was her bed. At least there she would be left in peace. Divination would have to do without her for that afternoon’s lesson.

Although it was quiet, sleep decided to be a stranger. Maeve tossed and turned on her bed and gave in to a sudden bout of self-pity. Her father might not kill her but it was going to be a close run thing. At best he could lock her in a room and throw away the key. Nothing this serious had ever happened before, even at Navan, and certainly not something that could result in an expulsion. She knew this whole Hogwarts thing was an exercise in getting her out of her father’s way and here she was, managing to do something so serious it could result in being sent right back to him. Her gran had been fond of sayings, and ‘Catch you temper before your temper catches you’ had been one of them, specially tailored for her granddaughter. Well, her temper had certainly caught her this time and she was going to pay for it.

The knock on the door wasn’t unexpected, but the person doing the knocking was. Instead of a teacher come to bring her to the Headmaster’s office it was Kathleen looking concerned.

–You’re not in class so they sent me to find you. Are you okay?” Her round face looked unusually pinched.

–Just a bit under the weather,” she replied
–Oh, okay then.” Kathleen looked unsure of what to do for a moment before moving towards Maeve’s bed. –Lily Evans asked me to give you this. I bumped into her on the way back from the lesson.”

Maeve took the offered note and placed it on her bedside table, not trusting herself to read it in front of Kathleen. –Thanks. It’s probably something about homework for Herbology.”

–Are you sure you’re okay. Shall I get Professor Flitwick?”

–No, no, it’s fine. I don’t think he’d be that interested in a bit of tummy ache.” She gave a little grimace, as if a cramp had just poked at her stomach.

–Madam Pomfrey then?”

–I said no!” Maeve was instantly contrite when she saw the look of hurt on Kathleen’s face. –No thank you. Honestly, I’m fine. It was really good of you to come check on me. Perhaps I’ll see you at dinner.” She made to turn away and then paused. –Has anything unusual happened this afternoon?”

Kathleen was puzzled, shaking her head. –What do you mean?”

–Any fights? Anyone hurt?”

–No. There’s never any fighting at Hogwarts.” Kathleen looked incredulous, as if Maeve had suggested Hogwarts was a perpetual boxing match. Maeve privately thought that Kathleen was very naïve if she believed there was nothing of that sort going on in the school, in any school. She suddenly felt far older than her years.

–Okay, that’s good. See you later then,” Maeve said. –And thanks again for checking on me.”

Once she was alone she quickly unfolded Lily’s note. It was an exercise in conciseness. It merely said: Sorted out you-know-who. Meet me on the covered bridge at 7. L

It was impossible to read anything into it. You-know-who must be Sirius, but she wasn’t quite sure what Lily meant by sorting him out. She would have imagined that Sirius would have raised hell about his nose by now, but still no-one had come for her. A quick replay of the events made her cringe. Any remorse she felt for hurting Sirius, which was very little if she was honest (and if she was being brutally honest she would probably have done exactly the same thing to him again), was outweighed by the remorse at not looking for Severus afterwards. It was his poor face that she felt the most regret about, from the murderous expression when he had first approached her, to the look of alarm when she had raised her wand, and then that final defeated look. Perhaps he was used to having to constantly defend himself, and for that brief moment she had become another potential bully in his eyes.

With a fatal resignation she knew she would have to lie low until later. Any opportunity to speak to Severus would mean being seen around school with no valid excuse for not being in class; besides, she wanted to hear what Lily had to say before she approached him again.
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