Fine Figure of a Woman

By Bernice

Beta: None – feel free to point out my errors.
Note: I’ve put shouting into italics, as that’s what I believe JK Rowling does (I don’t have a book handy – feel free to tell me if I’ve got this wrong).


Molly, armed with a plate of fresh homemade biscuits, had him bailed up again, and Snape pressed himself against the door jam of the kitchen, trying to slide by her as she plied him with food.

“Really, Mrs Weasley-“

“Please, call me Molly,” she whispered, attempting, once again, to ingratiate herself, while keeping her voice as low as possible to avoid waking up Mrs Black.

“I must be going.”

“Just stay for supper? It’s only left overs, but you need something on your bones.”

“I’m not hungry,” he snapped. He was fed up with her always criticising his lack of weight. He did not understand her obsession with fattening up members of the order, and did not appreciate the criticism.

“You never stay to eat with us,” she continued, as if this was a personal insult. “I can make you something else, if you don’t like the food I prepare?”

“I cannot stay, I must return to Hogwarts,” he let his voice raise a little, a small warning to her to leave him alone or he would speak loudly enough to wake the portrait. Usually she backed down, or shushed him, or hurried away to bustle at someone else, spitting in hankies and rubbing faces, humiliating and comforting her beloved children, or force feeding other members of the order.

“You know he won’t eat here,” came the much-hated voice of Mrs Black’s son. “You should start serving goblets of fresh blood, Molly. That’s the only thing that he would appreciate.”

“Oh yes, once more you imply I’m a vampire. Goodness, I haven’t heard that one a thousand times before,” Snape said, finally just letting his voice rise to a normal level.

“Be gone from my house, you filthy traitors!”

“Oh no, Sirius, did you have to try and start a fight again?” Molly snapped at Sirius instead of himself, much to Snape’s surprise, and fluttered them both out of the room, threatening them with the shake of a tea towel.

“Bloody hell, Snape,” Black cursed over his shoulder. “You did that deliberately!”

“Traitor to the blood! wicked, ungrateful child!”

Snape wandered over to the portrait to stand in front of Mrs Black and she glared at him, as much as she could probably focus through the rolling of her eyes, and gnashed her teeth as if wishing she could personally rip the throats out of every traitor who defiled her house.

“Good afternoon, Mrs Black,” Snape said, brightly. He’d always rather liked Mrs Black, the few times he’d met her, and had always been jealous of Black having such a fine, upstanding woman as his mother. Black had never appreciated what a fine figure of a woman she had been. A true, traditional representation of wizarding womanhood.

“Filthy mudblood!” she shouted at him.

“I am no mudblood, Mrs Black,” Snape pointed out, calmly. “My lineage goes back as many generations as have been recorded, as you well know.”

She peered at him, deeply suspicious. “You’re that Snape boy, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“And you associate with muggles and traitors and half breeds! Traitor!”

“I’m forced to,” he said. “They even force me to be polite to that half breed werewolf, Lupin.”

“Half breeds and monsters! Fouling my floors!”

“Disgusting,” he commiserated.

“Werewolves! In my house! Disgusting creatures!”

“Utterly vile. It’s degrading, I tell you.”

Why!” She demanded, furious, put off her stride by his agreeing with her.

“They make me,” he leaned inclose to her, looking around as if to check no one was listening. “But I’m a spy,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth. No need for her to know on whose side he spied, though.

For a moment, she looked at him as if she actually saw him, something people did so rarely it left him feeling raw and naked, as she’d done when he’d been a teen, and she smiled, just a little. Her foam flecked lips quirking and cracking at the unfamiliar shape.

He smiled back at her, then realised he had lost the feel of a smile, and felt he was probably just sneering, but she cackled happily anyway, and screamed, “Traitors!”

“Traitors!” he roared back at her, and waved a fist for good measure.

Foul mudbloods!

He threw back his head and screamed, “Filth!”

She laughed, a wild and high cackle, a true witch’s laugh like he hadn’t heard in years, “Traitors! Red headed demons!”

Deceivers!” Snape stood on his toes to get a full projection behind his yell, straining forward with his fists clenched at his side.

“Nine months I carried that ungrateful brat!”

“Foul traitor! Murdering bastard!” Snape agreed, loudly.

“Stabbed me in the heart! Betrayed all wizarding kind!”

Useless, ignorant lover of mudbloods and half breeds!” Snape screeched, knowing he was probably going red in the face.

“Putrid leach of my womb!” She screeched back, not caring about the flecks of spittle that splattered her canvass.

“Cowardly, bullying, scrounging mongrel!”

“Severus!”

Snape turned to see Dumbledore, with scattered members of the order standing behind him, looking as astounded and bewildered as Snape had ever seen him.

“Headmaster,” Snape said, coolly, trying to stop himself from panting for breath, and standing ramrod straight.

“You disgrace me and all wizarding kind!” Snape assumed she was screaming that at the Headmaster.

“What are you doing?” Dumbledore asked, his eyes flicking between Mrs Black and Snape.

“Theives! Despoilers of wizarding heritage!”

“I’m having fun, Headmaster. With an old acquaintance,” he sneered as if that should have been evident.

“Severus, I know fun, I have fun on a regular basis. This is not... fun.”

“Trespassers! Defilers of the home of my fathers!”

“We have very different ideas of fun, Headmaster,” Snape said, tipping his head back so he could glare down his nose at the other man.

“Mudbloods! No better than animals!”

“Well... yes. Then. Perhaps you could... have fun... elsewhere.” The Headmaster tilted his head at Snape in a stern manner, but Snape could sense his amusement, well hidden as it was. “Maybe you could join us for a moment in the other room? We were just about to have another cup of tea.”

“I really do not have the time, Headmaster,” Snape said, sighing theatrically to express his regret.

“But you have time to ... have fun?”

“Frivilous time wasters and ne’er do wells!”

Me or them? Snape wondered, but she was rolling her eyes at Dumbledore, so he guessed them.

Hoist on his own petard, Snape could only twist his lips in rueful disgust, and allow himself to be bustled into the other room, accept the biscuits which were thrust upon him, and which then ended up filling holes in the ancient, mildewed couch, and have polite tea and conversation with members of the order.

After some time, the screams from the hallway quieted, as Mrs Black finally settled down. The others in the Order cheered up once she was silent, and their conversation was lighter, their faces brighter, their conversation ever more puerile. Once the actual owner of the house had been silenced, the intruders could celebrate happily. He tried to hide his sneer at their lack of empathy for the old woman who had to face hated intruders in her own home every day.

Finally, the torment was over, and Snape was able to make his escape from their inane conversation and mindless prattling about the children. He had no idea why they needed to waste time on business that was nothing to do with the work of the Order. He made his excuses about potions on the fire, children to mind, socks to darn.

“You did that deliberately, you bastard,” Sirius Black met him at the doorway, whispering fiercely to keep his voice low so as to avoid re-awakening his mother. “You just worked her up to piss me off, didn’t you.”

Snape peered up at him for a moment, allowing himself a small smirk, but kept his own silence.

As he left, he could feel Black’s smirk against the back of his head, smug in the belief that he’d cowed Snape into silence.

Snape was almost out the door, before he turned and screamed: “Good bye, Mrs Black!”

 

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