Every housemate of mine I see is getting a hex for every sickening word that prattling bitch of a gossip wrote about me.
Severus keeps his face mostly impassive though inwardly he knows Bellatrix has the upper hand in every way. He has nothing else to barter with and if she refuses to do the assignment, he will indeed get a bad mark even if he is to do all the paperwork involved. With a slight scowl, Severus uncrosses his arms, realizing how tense he is… as he always is. He can’t just agree to this… And though he’s already feeling himself give in now, he has every intention to speak with their Professor later about getting his partner switched, though in the back of his mind he doubts he’ll have any luck.
Finally Severus relents and sighs irritably. “If we are to dance here, then you will help me pick apart these ridiculous lyrics at the very least.” Even if this way he is doing all of the research, he is at least willing to bargain a bit, if only to appease himself and make things a bit more difficult on Bellatrix. He wonders if she’ll hold her ground firm because if she does, Severus will have trouble saying yes to her terms as he’s stubbornly refused them before. He is not so ready to simply allow her to make a mockery of him without her doing anything at all in this mess of an assignment.
The muggle song. The muggle music.Lyricsfor Merlin’s sake! The last muggle studies assignment was torture enough; even with a pregnancy of her own to think of then, there is no way Bellatrix would call the experience with the orphanage a good thing. Muggles are such disgusting and backward people. The Dark Lord couldn’t be more brilliant in his agenda. Yet here she is, attending a school where she not only has to share the halls and classrooms with pathetic excuses for witches and wizards—breathe the same air as bad blood—but also has been forced together with one of the lesser of her house to dance to a song written by muggles.
Bellatrix continues to tell herself that putting Snape through is paces, placing him in a public space where the rest of their housemates can witness his lack of coordination and class, means enough that she’ll bear through the muggle portion of the assignment. Bella glares at Severus, hot pulses of anger over the situation she’s been placed in courses through her body. She’s been through hell the past few months and the last thing she wants is to be subjected to such uncouth and filthy things. Bellatrix would much rather have a bottle of firewhiskey, hex the items of her dormmates’, and torture students in the halls. The best thing would be to attend the Dark Lord but no one demands things of their master.
Jaw locking and fingers clenched into fists, Bellatrix finally grinds out her words. “Fine, Severus. Do the bloody writing and I will suffer the blasted song. Then you’ll learn the dance I choose and we’ll practice it here where our housemates can witness what a mess you make of it.”
Bellatrix waves her hand at Snape, losing the edge of her restraint. “Well, you can play the song. You can’t be that deficient.”
Severus is not surprised as Bellatrix lets out a fit of laughter as he extends the book. As he observes her reading the title of the book and the slow snarl crosses her face, he brings the book back to rest between the underside of his arm and the side of his ribs. It is nothing he hasn’t already expected. What had been surprising however, was her mention of the assignment to begin with. He briefly notices her wand gripped securely between slender fingers and has to resist the strong urge to pull his own wand out. The last thing he wants is to get into anything, however. He’s been in enough trouble as it is in the past six years with Gryffindors and fellow Slytherins alike to last him a lifetime.
The boy is not at all happy with being told he is to be doing the research himself and it is evident as he glowers at his partner and again crosses his arms. “I don’t pick up for other students’ slack, much less allow them to take credit for my work. If I’m doing the paper, my name will be the only one on it.” He explains with an air of finality. In Severus’ eyes, there is no room for argument. He is equally unhappy about having to practice in the Common Room and is not about to give in to her request so easily without a fight. “As if there’s enough room to practice anything to begin with.” This, of course, is a lie. There is plenty of space in the Common Room even with all the chairs. Severus can tell that now with just a quick glance.
“Have you even listened to the piece yet?” He sneers again. He, of course, hasn’t listened to it himself or even begun researching the artist or the meaning of the song, but at least he’s started somewhere and that’s more than he can say for Bellatrix. Even so, if she’s not concerned about her grades than it doesn’t much matter. He half expects her terms are the only way he’s going to get her to participate and that doesn’t bode well with him. “You’ve no idea if the song is upbeat or slow or what-have-you, do you?” His voice is as condescending and annoyed as ever.
Of course the sodding boy would refuse to place her name on the assignment. Eyes narrowed, Bellatrix shakes her head sharply. “If you want to do this dance then oblige me by place my name on the parchment. Otherwise I’ll settle for not doing a bloody thing and as a result,yourmarks suffer.”
There’s a challenge in the girl’s eyes as she looks around the common room, already seeing how they could move chairs and sofas away to create a proper practice space. Then her gaze snaps back to Severus. “The room is suitable enough and I refuse to do it other any other circumstances.”
She glares, teeth bared as the boy reminds her that she still doesn’t know what this muggle noise is that they have to dance to sounds like. Giving a derisive snort, Bellatrix answers Severus, “I’m certain you’ll show it to me if you want to do this dance thing. Obviously you care for your marks.”
With a raise of the eyebrow, Bellatrix stares. “So what is your choice, Severus?”
Severus straightens his slightly slumped shoulders as he spots the elder Black sister, eyes narrowing instantly. He crosses the room halfway, coming to stand several feet away from her. It is close enough without being directly in front of her. Crossing his arms defensively, he sneers. Always the jabs about his hair. “Of course not. If you can even call a mere snap a ‘command’.” He jeers back, mindful of the wand he can feel beneath the thin fabric of the robe covering his arm. He’s certain he won’t be the first to draw it, but if Bellatrix gets tired of him quick enough, he’ll hopefully be the first to hurl a curse her way. Hopefully none of that will be necessary though, Severus thinks. After all, he is well aware of Bellatrix’s ability, as much as he hates to admit.
Regarding her for a moment, Severus speaks up again. “The assignment… Have you done anything besides stamp your foot about it? Because as it so happens, I’ve found a book in the library explaining some of the… instruments… used.” He says the word with distaste, finding music in general to be a waste. It is a tool used to distract Muggles, Wizards, and Witches alike and take their minds from things they should focus on. The idea that he is to focus on something that removes focus to begin with seems a bit mundane and Severus has never danced a step in his life.
He knows the mention of the assignment will anger her and that is perhaps part of his intention. To be one up on her in anything is a small victory to Severus and he extends the book he’s taken from the Library to her, not actually expecting her to take it.
Stamping her foot? Bellatrix lifts a delicate eyebrow, arching it high as she stares at the mug of the prat she’s expected to close the distance with. The thought nearly makes her physically ill. The fact that they now stand merely feet apart feels sickening enough as it is. And she certainly isn’t doing any foot stamping. She isn’t ten years old anymore.
“Why would I do anything toward this abominable task?” Bellatrix bites out, tossing her hair back with frustration. Her gaze is sharp on her partner as he produces a book, holding it out as if she’ll deign to take it from his hand. With a bark of laughter, Bella crosses her arms over her torso, easily revealing that her wand is securely held in her hand; she rarely has her companion anywhere else. “Obviously you have this covered so there’s no need for me to try too hard. Certainly not for your sake.”
She glances briefly at the title of the book extended toward her, lips curling back in a silent snarl at the ridiculous title and what it suggests. Let Snape do the studying on the topic because she sure as hell has no intention of doing anything that requires her to look at the word ‘muggle’ for more than a second.
Bellatrix looks back at Severus with a glare as she adds, “I don’t care for the written portion of the assignment. My marks rank low on my list of concerns so as long as my name is on the parchment, I’m sure that’s all that really matters.” As she shifts the direction of the conversation, a slow grin—more like a bearing of her teeth—appears. “I will concede to the dance and performance. But only under one condition: we practice here in the common room—regardless of who else is present.” If she’s going to agree to be in close contact with this gravelly mess of a boy, Bellatrix figures she might as well humiliate him to the fullest extent. However, she’s certain he’ll object. Perhaps if she can get him to agree to simply fail the assignment then she can be free of him and all the muggle tripe.
Severus had been avoiding her for weeks now. It was bad enough when he’d discovered he’d had to do this assignment with her but on top of everything else? The song, the subject focusing on Muggle music, on top of the dancing and, dare he even dwell on it, performing at the ball? It was simply too much.
With the assignment as big as it was, he imagined it would take a huge chunk of his marks as well as House points if it remained incomplete. Though the boy almost wondered if suffering bad grades and losing to other Houses (even Gryffindor) would be worth skipping out on dancing with that atrocious woman, he regrettably decided against it.
Hadn’t Bellatrix mentioned something in passing about meeting her later? It had been such a quick and curt command, it was possible he’d merely imagined it in his fatigue during breakfast in the Great Hall. But chances were he was aggravating the unstable girl even more with his disappearance. With a sigh and a bit of resolve, Severus shut his copy of The Marvelous Misconceptions of Melodies: Meandering in Muggle Music and tucked it under his arm as we swept out of the Library. With any luck, he’d completely misheard Bellatrix’s meeting spot and end up passing by where he actually needed to be.
He moved much slower through the halls than he normally would, dragging out the time as much as he could whilst careful not to be stopped by those who tended to pick on him whenever they had the opportunity. Fifteen minutes of dragging his feet and cursing his own fate and this blasted assignment, he found himself stepping inside the Slytherin Common Room.
He nearly cursed aloud as he happened to spot Bellatrix. So much for his luck.
Bellatrix stifles a bitter sigh as she leans back in one of the common room chairs near the entrance. The five second years who had previously been occupying the circle of seats were now displaced to the other side of the chilled room, still rubbing self-consciously at the spots on their skin where the hex from the eldest Black’s wand laid siege. The girl is in a foul mood. She had been unceremoniously reminded of the muggle studies assignment by a hapless classmate earlier in the day—that nameless student found a spot in the hospital wing for their trouble. The last thing she wanted was to remember that she’d been partnered with the likes of Severus Snape for an assignment that involved muggle music and dancing to it. She was a Pureblood; dancing was meant for proper music at the proper time, not for some inane assignment.
Glaring at the flagstone floor and tugging at a lock of her black hair, Bellatrix asks herself why she’d even bothered to speak to Severus in passing after being reminded of the assignment. The truth is, what better way to torment someone and be entertained than to turn the tables on Snape and insist that they do the assignment and watch him fail miserably? She could surely get a laugh from that. As for the music they were provided with…she’d do her best not to acknowledge that fact.
As for performing at the ball, she’d consider that when it became necessary. There would be no way she’d simply go along with the program the professors had in place. But how to dismantle it or subvert it—she hadn’t gotten that far.
The entrance opens and Bellatrix’s icy gaze lifts from the point on the floor to take in the sight of her unfortunate partner entering the common room. Eyes narrowed and a sharp smirk sliding over her lips, Bellatrix lifts herself from her seat.
“Severus,” she snears, “It’s good to know your mop of hair hasn’t impeded your ability to hear a command.”
The last thing I want to do at the moment is hunt down that pole of grease and dance with the git.
The Dark Lord carries out the order and I will obey. If a family member needed to be killed there’s obviously good reason for it.
My sisters may be hard to kill without some remorse but I’d do it for the cause
Absolutely not. There are far better options than Severus. Have you forgotten that I’m also engaged, anonymous? *flashes her ring and the mark* Not a chance in hell with Severus.