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Twenty-, Thirty-, Fifty-Six

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January 9th, 1986

Severus set down young Nymphadora Tonks’ essay and shook his head in vexation. ‘There’s the proof, right here, again!’ The style left a lot to be desired and punctuation and Miss Tonks were only distant acquaintances. Like every student he had ever taught, her theoretical grasp of the subject could never hope to deserve an Outstanding. However, as this essay and others before it showed, it was… Acceptable.

Miss Tonks’ deportment in Severus’ class room was decidedly not.

“She’s a growing metamorphmagus,” Poppy had said the last time Severus had brought it up. Still, Severus knew better than to believe Miss Tonks’ tearful “I can’t control it, Sir!” whenever she caused a spillage or knocked something over.

There was a marked difference between the overall manageable hazard of clumsy adolescents and… that. Nymphadora Tonks, who possessed at least a sliver of intelligence and who had been a metamorphmagus all her life, evidentially had enough coordination to pull pranks on her friends. Those, she seemed to judge worthy of effort.

Her callous lack of dedication toward not endangering her class mates could not be tolerated.

‘There are accidents, and then there are accidents,’ Severus hissed as he graded Miss Tonks’ essay with a Poor. If she did not improve by the time the second years advanced past page 105… No matter what Albus decreed, Severus could no longer in good consciousness allow her presence in his dungeon.

 

January 12th, 1996

Severus let himself sink down onto his bed and resisted the urge to hide his face under a pillow in denial and exhaustion. He wished, at this moment, more than anything for the ability to turn back time. ‘Not that a Time Turner would do any good,’ he thought wearily. He had to believe that if there had been any good to be done with a Time Turner Albus would have done it.

He hadn’t rushed back and forth between this many places in so short a time in forever. The Ministry. St. Mungo’s. Hogsmeade. The Great Hall. Malfoy Manor. The Ministry. The Great Hall, again. The potions class room, as if nothing was wrong. No time to catch his breath anywhere.

And as if it wasn’t enough that the Dark Lord felt confident enough to let his presence be suffered in a manner only Fudge could deny… As if it wasn’t enough that ten Death Eaters had broken free from Azkaban and preciously few people had any real sense of the danger they were all in… As if all that wasn’t enough, between classes and spying and brewing Severus had been forced to waste time he didn’t have on lessons with the good for nothing Potter brat, who squandered whatever flicker of talent he might possess by virtue of being too curious about the Dark Lord’s thoughts, far too arrogant to let himself be successfully taught.

At least no one had tried to celebrate Severus’ birthday. ‘At the rate things are accelerating, it might all be over and done with by next year anyway.’

 

January 9th, 2016

The first draft deadline for Accursed Caves in Five Continents loomed in March. The four chapters Anselme Aguilar was contributing solo had been finished since before Yule. What remained were the two chapters he had pledged to write in collaboration with Remus Lupin.

Five scrolls, that was the goal he had set for today. Five scrolls to sketch out the damage to the secret tunnel and summarize its history, then they would freshen up and apparate to Hogsmeade. Five scrolls, easily doable, if not for Remus insisting on using his feet distractingly under the table.

“Make a note that I want to find the exact quote,” Severus said against gritted teeth after scrutinizing the paragraph they had just written.

“Gadarukanaru’s servants?” Remus asked, reaching for Caceres’ book. The feathery touches against Severus’ inner leg were not letting up.

“Yes,” Severus ground out.

They were going to meet their adult son in a few hours. Their of-age son who, Occlumency skills or not, would know what they had been doing. Their seventh year son who would be six months out of Hogwarts by next year.

“Toward the end of the third part,” he instructed, trying to keep his focus above the table. Aguilar was a professional. Severus would soon have been he longer than he had officially been a Potions Master.

“The frailest is said to have been especially shrewd,” Remus reported in a voice that betrayed nothing untoward. They had now been in a relationship for just as long

- and –

there went the last of Severus’ resolve.