Characters: Severus, Amycus, Daphne, Poppy
Warning (highlight to view): For canon-level violence and a seventeen-year-old student kissing her Headmaster.
Word Count: 891
Summary: Severus is troubled by a Slytherin risk.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: This ficlet follows A Thoroughly Inappropriate Talisman. Thank you, arynwy, for beta'ing.
By late spring, the Carrows were proving more difficult to control as many of their favourite targets disappeared and they turned their intensified, sadistic frustrations on the students who remained within their grasp. One such student was Michael Corner, a seventh-year Ravenclaw. He'd last served detention with Amycus for having been caught graffiti-ing "Dumbledore's Army: Still Recruiting" on the wall outside of the Great Hall and come out of it relatively unscathed, but his latest infraction had so enraged Amycus that he'd accused Severus of being responsible for it.
"I beg your pardon?" Severus asked Amycus, as he continued on his patrol of the corridors.
"You heard me! You're not settin' the right example as Headmaster—letting them run off an' hide!"
"I fail to see why your inability to keep track of students serving detention is my problem."
"'Cause we got to chain 'em up now so they can't run away before we're through with them!"
Severus stopped walking and swivelled into Amycus' path. "And?"
Shrinking back, Amycus said, "Well, they got someplace to run away to." He took a few wheezy gasps of air. "That's your fault—and if that Ravenclaw don't pull through for helpin' one of 'em escape, that'll be on you, too."
Without warning, Severus jammed his wand into Amycus' throat and pinned him against the nearest wall. "What. Did. You. Say?"
"C—can't . . . t—t—talk!"
Severus pulled his wand back, just, and glared into Amycus' eyes. The images floating on the surface of his mind were even more disturbing than usual. "What the hell did you do?" he demanded, releasing Amycus and setting off in the direction of the Hospital Wing.
Amycus followed him, running to keep pace. "Not . . . my fault! He deserved . . . it!"
"Your department is discipline, Carrow, not death!" Severus shouted, so concerned he was to see Corner after what he'd learned from Amycus' mind. No one's died, he thought, oblivious to everything Amycus was yelling as he flicked his wand without thinking about it. No one's died. No one's—
Whatever hex Amycus had directed at Severus' back fizzled against his Shield Charm, and he ignored it—but he could not ignore the expression of horror on Daphne's face as he saw her step out into the corridor.
"Leave it," he snapped, taking her arm and placing her in front of himself as he entered the infirmary. "Where's the boy?"
"It wasn't my fault!" wailed Amycus, trailing after them.
"He tried to—"
Severus quieted Daphne with a sharp look before addressing Pomfrey. "What is his condition?" he asked, nodding at the bruised, unconscious Corner, to whom she'd been attending.
"It's dreadful. They used the Cruciatus Curse on him—repeatedly—and I'm out of that tonic you ga—that tonic I need."
Fuck, thought Severus.
"'Tonic', Snape?" Amycus spat. "You've been giving the brats tonic? To make it all better, have you?" He cackled. "Alecto was right. We should be tellin' our lord how weak you—"
The infirmary fell as silent as a graveyard as Severus moved to examine Corner.
"I'm so sorry, Se—Headmaster."
"It's done, and he'll live," Severus said, fishing a key out of his robes and handing it to Pomfrey, who made no move to take it. "Poppy!" he barked.
Severus rose and gently pressed the key into her hand. "Go to my storeroom for more of the tonic. I've put up twelve phials." He turned to Daphne, saw her expression of utter astonishment, and said, "You needn't worry. I'll fix it. Everything's going to be—"
"Don't you dare tell me everything's going to be all right!" she shouted, thrusting her hands into the pockets of her robes.
"Not now. I—"
"Shouldn't have done something so very stupid, yes, I know."
"I said, not now. I'll fix it. He won't remember a thing."
"And you think that will be enough?" Daphne asked, before drawing the back of one hand across her mouth as if wiping away spittle. "Enough to keep him from casting another hatchet at your back?"
"Forget you saw that."
"Forget. You. Sa—"
"He tried to murder you, Severus!"
Exhausted, infuriated, and frightened out of his wits that Daphne had risked calling him by name in so public a place, Severus seized her by the shoulders and leaned down to hiss, "Stop. You know better than to . . . you're better than . . . I don't want to worry about . . . you can't be caught say—"
The shock of feeling Daphne's mouth on his made Severus' mind blank, but the press of her body, as she wrapped her arms around his neck, returned all his blood-livened senses to him. For one treacherous moment, he obeyed their demands and sucked her tongue into his mouth, shivering violently as it slid against his own and seemed to fuse with it in an intense wave of heat that rolled through his entire body—and then, just as abruptly, he was shuddering with a cold sense of loss as Daphne broke their embrace and fled.
He would have pursued her if he'd had his wand.
My wand! Severus frantically scanned the floor. There. It had fallen from his fingers while he'd been . . . distracted.
He was already damning himself for having lost control and seeking to reshape his perception of what had just transpired, much as he'd have to do to Daphne's.
He picked up his wand and thought, I'll Obliviate her later, as Pomfrey returned.