Friday, September 13, 1996, 7pm.
Snape loathed the new Defense teacher. Not that this was anything new; he was used to despising the Defense professors just for having the job. Professor Fides, however, was particularly loathsome for one aggravating reason: he was good at the job.
He was actually semi-competent, reasonably well behaved, not prone to showing off, and he ate his dinner without smacking his lips. He wasn't handsome--in fact, his dishwater brown hair was nearly as greasy as Snape's, and his face was marred by an ugly burn scar running down one cheek--nor was he stupid or fatuous.
The students loved him, including the Slytherins. In fact, there was only one other person in all of Hogwarts who didn't seem to adore the man: Draco Malfoy.
Snape had heard him talking with Crabbe and Goyle about Professor Fides, saying, "He's filthy, rude, most likely a Mudblood, and if my father was around, he'd be sacked before he could turn around."
Malfoy's opinion had far less cache with the Slytherins since his father's capture, but Crabbe and Goyle still hung on his every word. Snape had given the boy an unofficial assisting position--he was to spend two nights per week in Snape's stores, cataloging. It was Dumbledore's idea, to give him other things to think about besides killing Potter.
Snape had refrained from comment.
Now all he wanted was to have a nice cup of tea and enjoy the prospect of two days free of dunderheads. Instead, a rap on his door interrupted his thoughts.
Professor Fides, holding a chess set. "Fancy a game?"
Tuesday, September 17, 1996, 4pm.
"You know my father well, don't you, professor?" Draco looked up from his inventory scroll.
"I believe so," Snape said cautiously.
"Were you in school together?"
"Briefly. He left school my second year. I didn't know him until-- until later."
"He says you're the only one here with any sense."
Friday, October 4, 1996, 10pm.
"Brilliant move, Severus. But I'll have you--your bishop doesn't seem too eager to follow your instructions."
"Interesting, coming from the owner of the set."
"You aren't accusing me of foul play, are you?"
"Of course not."
Monday, October 21, 1996, 7pm.
"Draco, you ought to be in your common room."
"I know. I- I just wondered if I could do my homework in here with you. It's... too noisy in the common room."
"Very well. You may use the desk."
Friday, October 25, 1996, 11pm.
"So then I said, 'You might get my gold, and the rest of my belongings, but no dragon is going to take my sodding breakfast!' and I pulled out my wand, regulations be damned, and threw the first hex that came to mind."
Snape smirked. "I almost hate to ask...?"
"Let's just say dragons are hardly bothered by the jelly-legs jinx," Professor Fides said with a rueful grin.
"Indeed." Snape finished his--was it third?--firewhisky and contemplated the empty glass. "Where were you that has wand regulations even when facing down a dragon?"
"Oh, this was after-- it was Russia. The eighties, you know?"
Wednesday, November 6, 1996, 9pm.
"Draco, it's late. You should return to your dormitory."
The flash of terror on the boy's face was quickly replaced with his usual sneer. Snape almost didn't see it. "Are you... are you having difficulties?"
"No, sir," Draco said. His slumped posture and blank expression belied his words.
Snape frowned and walked over to Draco. "You--" he cut off, at a loss. This was so out of the realm of his experience, he felt blind. "That is to say, things may seem bleak at the moment. But--" he touched Draco's shoulder lightly. "You may rely upon me. You must tell me if the other students are bothering you. I will take care of it."
"Thank you, sir," Draco said. Snape blinked when the boy leaned into his touch, for the briefest of moments.
Friday, November 22, 1996, 10pm.
"How do you deal with difficult students?" Fides asked, toying with his--thoroughly subdued--bishop.
"They are all difficult," Snape said, feeling as sour as he looked.
"But you favor some more than others."
"You've been talking to Potter and his gang."
"Well. A little," Fides said, smiling widely. The skin around his facial scar shimmered briefly. A glamour, Snape thought. The scarring was probably much worse than it looked.
"It would behoove you to take anything that lot has to say with a grain of salt."
Fides nodded slowly. "You don't enjoy teaching much, do you?"
Saturday, December 7, 1996, 1pm.
"Draco? Why are you not at Hogsmeade?"
"I thought I would help you finish the inventory before the holiday."
"It's nothing that cannot wait. You ought to be with your friends."
"I'd rather be here, sir."
Friday, December 20, 1996, 6pm.
"Severus? A word?"
Snape let Fides in. The man stood in the middle of Snape's quarters, shifting from foot to foot, looking for all the world like he'd been caught pilfering potions stores.
"Yes?" Snape said.
"I'd like to talk to you about one of your students."
Snape waited another few minutes before sighing loudly. "And?"
"It's, er, Malfoy. He seems... troubled." Fides rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"And you decided to take it on yourself, rather than leaving it to his head of house?" Snape kept his voice low, but filled with venom.
"I just thought you ought to know. He's quite on edge. I think it wouldn't take much to push him over. Even-- even a kindness might be taken the wrong way."
"Of course he's on edge," Snape snapped. "His father is in Azkaban. It's hardly your business. I think I know the boy better than you."
"I wouldn't be sure of that," Fides whispered. He faced Snape and walked over till he was inches away. "Acclaro," he said, aiming his wand at his face.
The air around his head bent and shimmered, and Snape watched as dishwater brown hair began to lighten. His round, squashed nose lengthened and narrowed. Blue eyes faded to a silvery gray. Within moments, Snape was looking at the face of an adult Draco Malfoy. Only the burn scar remained.
Snape backed away, his mind ticking through the past term. "Time-Turner?" he choked out.
"Something like," Malfoy said. "There's several potions and a sort of portkey involved." He mumbled a charm and the glamour settled back on his face.
"Listen to me. Sometime later this evening, I-- my younger self is going to come here and... make you an offer. You are going to turn him down, rather coldly. It will have grave repercussions, for us all."
"Explain yourself," Snape said, leaning against his desk.
Malfoy sighed. "I will come here and ask to stay with you over the holiday, and I will attempt to kiss you. It will not go over well. You'll push me away and tell me to go home. In my anger, I will tell my mother that you are a spy for Dumbledore, and that you tried to take advantage of me." Malfoy laughed. "I didn't know one of those statements was true. The Dark Lord will call you, and he will torture you to death."
"And you've bent time just to come back and save me? Should I be touched?" Snape said with a scowl.
"You wouldn't believe me if I said it, would you?" Malfoy asked. "Without you, the Dark Lord's opponents were- will be blind. He will strike, sooner than anyone expects, and he will win.
"Things were rather nice, for a while. My father was released, people bowed and scraped. But... The Dark Lord is paranoid. He clamped down on wand usage, terrified that some young wizard would come along and get in a lucky shot. Then he started in with the taxes."
"Ah," Snape said. "But why didn't you reveal yourself earlier? Why tell me this now?"
Malfoy shrugged. "I enjoyed your company." He raised his hand to Snape's cheek. "Maybe I thought... you enjoyed mine?"
"You did not annoy me," Snape said softly.
"High praise," Malfoy said, leaning in. Just before their lips met, his eyes shifted to the side and he pulled back. Snape turned his head to follow Malfoy's gaze.
In the doorway, wearing a shocked and hurt expression, stood Draco Malfoy the younger. He stared for a second, and then ran off.
"Draco, wait," Snape called after him.
"He's gone," said Malfoy. "Damn. Well, I got farther this time than the others." He flashed a wide smile at Snape. "The last two times, you accused me of being in league with Potter in some plot to humiliate you. I'm getting closer." He stepped back and nodded to Snape. "I'll see you sooner rather than later!" With a tap to a button on his robe, he was gone.
Friday, September 13, 1996, 7pm.
Snape loathed the new Defense teacher....