Severus Snape was annoyed.
How could he not be? To begin with, that idiot Malfoy child hadnt had the sense god gave a gadfly. The boy had refused to tell Snape what was being planned and, most importantly, when it was being planned, so Snape had ended up fleeing Hogwarts castle without so much as a spare pocket handkerchief. He had left without packing anything, so all his possessions, from his favorite straight razor to his best gold cauldron--which had taken him three years of scrimping to save for--were left behind.
As a consequence of that miserable pureblooded spawns idiocy, Severus Snape was forced to borrow, from Narcissa Malfoy, the necessities that properly belonged to her husband. Snape was forced to sleep in Lucius Malfoys nightshirt. No doubt his fifth best one, but still. It was silk, which felt so delicate against Snapes skin that he expected the garment to tear every time he tossed and turned in sleeplessness, with a low neckline that was held closed by laces. Plus there was lace trim on the sleeves. Transfiguration had never been Snapes strong suit, so he had left the nightshirt the way Lucius Malfoy had worn it, which made Snapes habitual insomnia even worse and--all his sleeping draughts were back at Hogwarts.
Snape was also wearing Lucius Malfoys heaviest winter socks. The socks were dark green instead of black, which annoyed Snape to no end. Even more horrific, he was wearing Lucius Malfoys underpants. The house-elf had brought silk ones initially but Snape had insisted that even Lucius Malfoy had to own some decent undergarments and the elf had eventually returned with a pair made of the lightest cashmere, spun nearly as fine as silk, worn, the elf explained, when the master went on winter holidays to Switzerland. There has been an argument over pocket handkerchiefs as well, until the elf sullenly picked out the embroidered initials.
Then there was Snapes new room. He was currently living in a hunting lodge that belonged to the Malfoy family. He and several others, that miserable Draco among them, were making the lodge their home, since it was Unplottable and little known outside the family. No Malfoy had actually hunted in generations. The lodge was five hundred years old, half timbered and plastered, with deep set windows filled with tiny diamond shaped panes of glass. The panes caught the light and glittered, an annoying flicker that Snape kept finding himself catching out of the corner of his eye. Hed turn, hand reaching for his wand, because he interpreted the glitter as movement. His own rooms, his proper rooms, were in a dungeon and the small windows were well above eye level. The glass was stained dark colors and never, ever glittered. Because the windows of the lodge faced out over a wood, instead of into the depths of a lake, the light coming through the windows changed as the day progressed, creating moving shadows that continually annoyed Snape. There were trees outside the windows, their leaves moving in the breeze, always moving so quickly, unlike the slow, gentle movements of the creatures and plants that lived in the lake.
The walls in the room were plaster, painted a soft white, which reflected far too much light. Snape was used to stone walls, dark grey, lined with bookshelves containing his beloved books--all of which had been left behind!--and Snape found the white walls even more distracting than the glittering window panes.
Then there was the annoyance of all the people in lodge! Hogwarts castle was full of people, of course, but Snape was never aware of them when in the quiet of his own rooms. In this wooden structure, he could hear other people walking around, in the corridor outside his room and on the floor above him. It was very annoying to hear the heavy steps of Marcus Avery pacing over his head. (And above Avery was a thatch roof. What a ridiculous thing! A pile of dried grass to protect against rain and wind and all the threats surrounding them. Snapes own house had a solid, if somewhat in need of minor repair, slate roof and at Hogwarts, Snape lived, as he repeated to himself endlessly as he perched in his corner room in the Malfoy hunting lodge, in his safe, solid, quiet dungeons.)
Meals at the lodge were even more of a trial. At Hogwarts, he sat at the Head Table, surrounded by colleagues who knew better than to try to strike up a conversation with him, in his proper seat, with no one across the table from him. Here, people at meals sat wherever the fancy took them and they would often try to engage Snape in a bit of small talk or scheming, whatever entered their heads. Hed look up from his kippers and see Bellatrix Lestrange eyeing him from across the table or Walden Macnair, whose table manners left much to be desired, or, worst of all, Narcissa Malfoy, who gazed desperately at Snape as if he, of all people, were the solution to her problems. To make it worse, the house elf here didnt know how Snape took his tea and insisted on pouring the milk in after, rather than before, the way Snape preferred. The coffee was always too weak and the eggs too hard. There was never enough cheese and too many sweets and every meal ended with an upset stomach and his stomach draughts were back at Hogwarts!
Nights were no better, trying to sleep in a soft feather bed whilst wearing one of Lucius Malfoys nightshirts. Some nights, it was too warm in his room, and the air too close, but if he opened the windows and left the door ajar to create a cooling breeze, he could hear conversations and arguments inside and animal sounds from outside and they disturbed his sleep. Even more annoying, if he left his door unlocked, Bellatrix or Narcissa or even Draco might creep in, desiring things Snape didnt want to think about. When it was chilly, he could hear the wind whistling through the chimneys and round the corners of the house, rattling those damned window panes. In a dungeon, one didnt hear the wind.
The lodge annoyed him. The company annoyed him. The borrowed underpants annoyed him. Even the rather placid river scene that hung above the mantle annoyed him. Annoyance filled him, from the moment he woke to the last lingering seconds before he caught a bit of sleep. His eyes were gritty from exhaustion, his nerves frayed to their last edge, his entire body nearly trembling with vexation.
But annoyance was better than other things. When those other things intruded, the grief, the rage, Snape felt his heart swell as if to burst, his mind spinning as if it might spin away completely, and he would suddenly fix on something to be annoyed about. His too milky tea, the chair in front of the fire that was too low, the grating presence of the others here. Because if he wasnt annoyed, he might weep or scream and he couldnt do that.
All he could do was be annoyed.