The italicized dialogue is supposed to be spoken in French. I do not speak French, so please bear with me!
Special thanks to Sheri for being such a great beta!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters except for Serena.
Professor Serena Daniels strode to the front of the cavernous classroom, her burgundy robe billowing around her slight body. With a loud bang, she dropped her pile of books on the large black desk at the front of the room. Turning to face the room full of first and second year students, she glared behind the dark rims of her glasses at the two giggling girls in the front row. As they stilled, her dark green eyes softened and she smiled at the class.
“Bonjour, Classe,” Serena said.
“Bonjour, Professor,” the class responded.
“Please take out your books and pencils.” As they obeyed, her eyes confidently swept the class, noticing every detail. Once every eye was back on her, she continued.
“Today, we will be studying werewolves.” Serena drawled the last word, her eyes twinkling as the first year students gasped.
“Oh, come now. You are all old enough not to be scared by fairy tales any longer. One day you will all be powerful wizards and witches. You must learn the truth and thereby banish all these myths. For the next few weeks, we will be discussing every aspect of werewolves. You can ask any question without fear of sounding foolish. We are all here to learn, so no thought or idea will be rejected.” Serena paced back and forth in the front of the classroom, her passion for the subject evident from her clear strong voice and the heightened color in her cheeks.
In the back of the room stood a tall man dressed in black. Serena’s earlier scrutiny of the room had missed the man, who seemed to be a part of the shadows. He observed the attentiveness of her students and the way the professor seemed knowledgeable about the Dark Arts. He folded his arms and sneered, his dark eyes flashing in his pale face. He cursed Dumbledore for making him come and offer the job that he so desperately wanted to this young woman. She looked like she would blow away with one word from Hagrid’s lips. The dark man just wished he understood French so that he knew exactly what was so captivating about what this woman was saying.
Serena glanced at the grandfather clock at the back of the room and sighed. The class had just gotten into an interesting discussion on the origins of werewolves when she noticed that time was up. Interrupting the young man who was reading a passage from the textbook, she stood up.
“Thank you, Mr. Richards, but time seems to have slipped away from us. Your assignment for tomorrow is to write one page about the werewolves’ origins, in your own words, please.” She arched her eyebrow at the class, focusing on one of the talkative girls in the front row. “That means you as well, Miss Mercedes.”
The class giggled as the girl’s face turned bright red. “Class dismissed,” Serena announced.
“Au revoir, Professor,” the class responded while they packed up. As soon as the last student had left the room, Serena breathed a sigh of relief and plopped into her chair. Pulling off her eyeglasses, she rubbed her eyes.
She knew the man at the back of the room would now approach her. About halfway through the lesson, she had noticed the scowling man in the back of the room. Unwilling to break the focus of her class she had ignored him, knowing she would find out, sooner or later, what he wanted.
“Professor Daniels?” the man asked in a low, gravelly voice.
Peering up at the sneering man, she decided to have a little bit of fun with him.
“Oui?” she replied, batting her eyes at him.
Clearly thrown, his eyes widened and he stuttered slightly. “I-I am Professor Snape from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Inwardly, Serena giggled, but outwardly, her face showed only confusion. “Hog-warts?” she repeated slowly, pretending not to understand.
Annoyance flashed across Snape’s face and he smirked.
“I was under the impression that you spoke English.” His voice was low and controlled, but Serena could hear the angry tone underneath the words.
Serena paused, but decided to continue with her charade. “I do not understand.”
Snape’s face became livid and he balled his hands together, as though trying not to lash out.
“I am going to kill Dumbledore,” he mumbled to himself. “Sending me on this foolish trip to offer my job to a slip of girl not intelligent enough to speak English. Just how is she supposed to teach a roomful of blithering students who can barely understand one language?”
Serena’s eyes flashed, but Snape did not notice as he continued his tirade.
“What does this girl,” he spat the word as though it were filthy, “know about the Dark Arts? She’s probably never even seen a Boggart, a werewolf, or even heard of the Dark Lord. What can she teach the students? How to flirt with a Death Eater?”
Snape turned and made to stomp out of the room, when a voice stopped him.
“I think, Professor Snape, you presume too much.”
Snape’s back stiffened and he looked over his shoulder, his surprised eyes taking in the anger on the face of the professor he had just so thoroughly insulted.
Then the surprised look was replaced by his usual smirk. Turning all the way around, he crossed his arms and looked the seething professor up and down, noticing that her face was about as red as the hair piled on top of her head. If anger were visible, he would swear that it was pouring off her body like smoke.
“Was it fun to make me look foolish, Madam?” he asked, his voice dangerously low.
“Somehow, Professor Snape,” she ground out, “I hardly think you need my help to look foolish.”
They glared at each other across the room.
Snape finally broke the tension by sitting on one of the desks and smiling stiffly at Serena. Dumbledore would be annoyed if he returned with the job unfinished.
“Well, since you obviously speak English, then you understand the reason for my visit.”
Serena counted to ten silently and sat down at her desk, clenching her hands under the cover of the table. She smiled coolly at Snape.
“Headmaster Dumbledore sent me an owl two months ago requesting that I transfer to Hogwarts.”
Snape nodded. “We are in need of a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher since our last teacher was unable to complete his duties several days each month.”
Serena’s cool demeanor broke and her eyes lit up in interest. “The last teacher was a werewolf?”
Snape’s eyes flickered over her face, noticing her sudden fascination.
“Yes. Does that interest you?”
“Oh, yes. In fact, that is what my class had just begun to study. I’ve been intrigued with werewolves ever since…” Suddenly, Serena realized to whom she was speaking and stopped. She smiled tightly, trying to mask her desire to change the subject.
“Anyway, I was preparing to send an owl to Headmaster Dumbledore stating that I would be able to accept the position after all.” Her eyes surveyed the blank expression of the man in front of her. “However, it seems as though he has become a little impatient.”
“Yes, well, we are preparing for a war, Professor Daniels. Defense is a very important, and necessary, subject.” He stood suddenly. “I’ll notify Dumbledore of your decision. When can we,” he paused, “when can he expect you?” He shrugged uncomfortably, wondering why he had chosen that particular pronoun.
Serena was silent a moment, then stood as well. “Please inform Headmaster Dumbledore that I will see him by the end of the week.”
Snape nodded. “Very well. Au revoir, Professor,” he sneered as he turned to leave the class.
“Au revoir, Professor Snape. And please, do not worry. I’ll be teaching those students how to flirt in no time.” She smiled in satisfaction as she saw him stumble slightly before he reached the door.
Watching him disappear, Serena again dropped back in her seat, exhausted by the attitude of the angry Professor. However, she also found him strangely intriguing. What had happened to him to make him such an arrogant person? Thankfully, her next class was filtering in and she was distracted from thinking of the sneering man- at least for the present.