1995-11-26: Stacking The Odds


Snape_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif

Scene Title Stacking the Odds
Synopsis Siobhan plans a stake-out to finally corner Snape on some things after a month of avoidance. The air is cleared and plots are hatched.
Location Hogwarts - Snape's Quarters
Date November 26, 1995
Watch For Banter, things left unsaid, progress
Logger I am the Bad Wolf

Snape is going over his lesson plans for the week, running a finger down the list of supplies, his mind completely on the task at hand. "Two teaspoonfuls apiece, so that means.." He mentally calculates the amount of one ingredient needed. "This is my Ravenclaw Hufflepuff class…" Yes, that makes a differece. They are much less likely to throw ingredients into each others' cauldrons. He scribbles down a number, and then nods.

A gentle but familiar brush of magic against the wards on the doorway precedes the portrait swinging open by only half a moment, leaving a petite blonde to sweep into the parlour. "Talking to yourself, Severus? That's the first sign of senility, you know." It's a comment lightly-enough spoken, but there's a subtle edge to it that so very few ever manage to pick up on. Dressed in thin cotton sleep-pants and a dark blue 'hoodie' with AIR FORCE ACADEMY blazoned in white across the front - something she obviously either pinched from Jethro or got from Pete - and draped with Seraph, she's almost got enough strange about her to detract from the dark circles under her eyes. Almost. Collapsing without apology into his green chair, she curls her legs up underneath her and spares a glance upwards to nod a greeting to Eileen - should she be around, of course.

Severus does pick up on the edge in Siobhan's voice, but he doesn't respond directly to it yet. "And another sign is the propensity to get lost when attempting to find your way to familiar places," he jibes, rolling up the scroll. He'll get no more work done for the moment; he's fully aware of that. "What brings you to my humble abode, Miss Noble? And so … admirably attired, as well?" He gestures at her clothing with a pointed look.

"Oh, I'm not lost," Siobhan answers easily, lowering Q into her lap before pulling a small, dog-eared paperback from the front 'pouch' of her too-big shirt. Though the cover flashes against the firelight as she waves it, the title might be seen to be 'Jane Eyre'. "I planned on being comfortable for a while. It's called a stack-out." Mis-remembered terms aside, she does seem to get at least the idea behind it. She mostly listens when Jethro talks. Just some of the fiddly middle bits get droned out - especially when it comes to Weird Muggle Military Terminology. One hand is lifted to trace gentle fingertips down Q's rough hide, scritching carefully around a place where the skin has started to peel for shedding. When she looks up again, it's to meet that intense black gaze with one of her own - gunpowder met with cinnamon. "You've been avoiding me."

Snape's brow quirks up at Siobhan's words. "A stack-out? I cannot say that I am familiar with that term. Is that something you have picked up from Auror Gardener?" He shifts in the chair — which is the less comfortable one — and sighs. "I have not actively been avoiding you." Neither has he been seeking her out, however. "I have merely had several new problems appear within my purview, and have had to expend more of my spare time dealing with them." He isn't referring specifically to any one thing; there have been rumblings of problems within his house. Whether it's something new or more weather-related tomfoolery, Snape hasn't figured out yet. He gazes implacably at the book in her hand. "You are indulging in romantic flights of fancy, I see." Snape is well-read. He may not have read the book, but he certainly knows about it.

"Oh for the love of … " Tapping her wrist against the arm of the chair, Siobhan flicks the bit of willow at the empty space near the fire and conjures another replica of his armchair from Spinner's End. She might be a bit peeved, but watching out for those in her 'pack' is second nature, now - an instinct she doesn't feel particularly disposed to suppress. She makes a noncommittal sound when he adds the qualifier of 'actively'; she's not at all convinced, but she'll let it slide with that. It's enough - he'll know her sentiments without her having to sit down and explain herself with accompanying charts and diagrams. "Flights of fancy?" She follows his gaze to the book in her hand and laughs softly. "Jane? No, not in the slightest. Romantic? Maybe. But there's ghosts and insanity and a mystery involved." She wrinkles her nose in distaste. "Better than the shit her sister wrote, anyway." Siobhan is not a fan of Wuthering Heights. "I like Jane. I've read the Austen novels more times than I can count, but there's something so refreshing about a story where the heroine can make her own way in the world without having to marry to do it." For a girl raised in the upper spheres of Wizarding and Muggle society - like Siobhan was - that kind of freedom is its own 'flight of fancy'. As for problems appearing of late … "There are things I would like your thoughts on, too." Isn't it lovely how she simply assumes they're problems he'll share? "You can go first."

"I can go first. Why, most certainly, I could go first." Severus notes, shifting from the hard wooden chair into the more comfortable one. However, he has no intention of doing so. "However, I am uncertain as to what specific things you have in mind." He leans back in the seat. "Romantic flights of fancy do not always engage the heart, Miss Noble." That's kind of what he thinks of some of the ideas she's presented in comparison to the practicality of his life. "I also have no taste for her sister's tripe." He's heard enough mooning over the likes of Catherine and Heathcliff to last him a lifetime. He sighs again, frowning as he looks over at her, waiting for her to broach the subject she really wants to talk about.

Siobhan is used to this dance, one she finds almost more exhilarating than any ballroom romp. Give and take, push and drop; one never uses the same steps twice, but with a familiar and engaging partner, the rhythm becomes something known and comfortable. "You could, but you won't." She doesn't seem so put out by that fact, however, a smile tugging at her mouth as he switches to the more comfortable seat. Give and take. "I think there's something wrong with Bean." It's not the most pressing of the concerns that finally drove her to stake out his sitting room, but of those most easily discussed, it is the most important. "It's … he's always been too quick by half." It's a trait she's reaped benefits from enough times to appreciate. "But he says he can't sleep unless he literally bores himself with sums and things. He can't … shut it off." It's a Muggle turn of phrase, but the idea behind it is simple enough. "I thought at first it was just the usual energy surge everyone his age seems to have, but he's been given Calming Draughts and everything up to Dreamless - none of which work on him. At all." The idea of a mind still spinning after being dosed with Dreamless? It's kind of terrifying.

"Mister Legume?" As accomplished as she in this method of interaction, Severus gives nothing, or at least nothing unearned. "That is worrisome indeed." He strokes his chin. "Has he been to see Madame Pomfrey yet?" That's the first step, of course. "I do not believe I have ever heard of such a malady, but perhaps she has." There is a hint of the worry he carries every day for his Snakes. "I shall look into something stronger, if that is something that the Matron deems worth an attempt." He frowns, mind already awhirl with the possibilities of something stronger than Dreamless, but less powerful than the Draught of Living Death.

Since she's begun with the small things, he will, too. "I conducted an ingredient identification class. The results were … troubling to say the least. However, I did notice that our young lion has a skill for identification I had not previously seen." He shakes his head, not really wanting to accept that maybe Remi does have the skill in potions his grades from Beauxbatons suggested. "He still bears watching for his attitude, however I have seen a marked improvement since you oversaw his detention. Pray tell, what method did you use to achieve it?" He's heard rumors and read the detention log, but he's not sure he believes it.

"I doubt he has." Siobhan bites her lower lip on a frown. "Most of us tend our own - as much as we can." At least they had during Sio's time at school. And it's not like they ever tried to actively hide it from their House Head - or even really believed he didn't know. They are just circumspect by nature. "Pomfrey's alright, really, but she's a bit deep in the Headmaster's pocket." And the Headmaster always asks too many questions - or not enough questions - when the snakes are involved. "I can send him to her if you want, or I can get him to my family's Healer over the holidays." She's as worried over their snakes as he is; the difference lies in that she doesn't feel the need to hide it away when it's just the two of them.

"Yeah, I heard about that." There's a touch of warm pride for Pierrick, there. "I contacted an old friend of mine and arranged for him to spend Friday afternoon reading The Hungry Caterpillar to sugar-high preschoolers." Even though she'd had the best intentions, there's a twitch of her lips and a glint in her eye that speaks of a truly wicked glee. "He saw firsthand how hard it is to regain control of children after just one slip. I told him there are reasons that discipline is important - especially in a Potions classroom - even if you are a bastard about it." There's a bit of rueful affection in her tone and in the look she gives him at that very last. It's a bit of amused resignation - because she knows he's not going to stop being a bastard (and most of the time she finds it more funny than upsetting) - but that quickly shifts to something like the knowing expression she used with Pie over mulled wine afterwards.

"I put it in a way he could understand and if it makes dealing with Gryffindors - " and there's far more venom in that House name than there's been before from her " - easier for you, I'll do the same with every last one of them. But Sev, you can't bully them." She shifts her weight in the chair and there's an understanding in her expression - one that speaks of younger, sharp pain. "He didn't pick that song to attack you. It was all over the Muggle radio this summer, it's probably been stuck in his head for months. Hell, there's no way he could know enough about that song to use it deliberately." No book scholar, Siobhan, but she knows people and how they interact and when it comes to understanding those kinds of bonds - especially with some first-hand experience - she's a clever little shit. "And I don't know if you actually assumed he was using it to barb you or if it just tripped your temper and you lashed out. Either way, that's not acceptable with a child and I won't defend you next time if you let your control slip enough to do it again." It's all quietly spoken, but there's no doubt that she means it.

"Are you attempting to tell me how to run my classroom, Miss Noble?" Severus' expression darkens, and he leans forward, getting close enough to loom. However he's not as close as he had been the night they pulled her out of her bi-dimensional domain. He's learned that lesson. "I do not bully them." He doesn't see it as bullying; he sees it as keeping miscreant children in their place. "It was not the nature of the song," he lies, fully aware that she's seeing right through it. "It was the singing in my classroom. I hear he was reprimanded early on for speaking his native tongue in your own matriculatory domain." Riiight. He leans back again, and nods. "That is an effective method of proving my point," and the fact that it required an external trip to do so doesn't seem to influence him on methods. He thinks it's a result of the kid's house. Poor kid.

If Siobhan gained one thing from growing up in a den of lions, it's how to dig her heels in and stare down the opponent. The benefit of her serpentine nature is that she's much better than most lions at knowing when to. (Because the when is just as important as the how, remember.) Narrowing her own eyes, she tenses and leans forward in her own seat. "My name is Siobhan," she grinds out between her teeth. His use of her names in his twisted system of punishment/reward and attention grabbing is starting to grate on her nerves. "I've already had to hex Jas incapable of saying 'Miss Noble'." She doesn't want to have to do so here. Not with her friend. "Don't lie to me, Severus. Not about small things and certainly not about things you're aware I already know. My rule about French is consistent. There is no such use of the language in my classroom at any time whatsoever. You told him to replicate his methods exactly and then punished him for doing so with - or so I've been told - a directive of 'not that song'." No, she's not buying his version of it in the slightest.

"I know how you keep order in your class and I respect it, I do. Seven years of deadly ingredients and the worst I got was snogging Ashley when I didn't get the antidote for the Amortentia." Apparently she considers that getting off lightly. "But I worked with him to brew that shortcut. If you leave him be a little, he's actually good at it." And everyone's stress levels get to drop a bit more. "Or at the very least, have a better reason than 'he was singing'." It's what she's been telling the youngest snakes for the better part of six weeks now. If they're stupid about it, she can't help them. Her hands are tied. Flopping back in her chair when he does, she heaves a sigh and lifts both hands to rub at her temples. The day after the full moon is painful enough without the addition of a fight. A short bout of silence seems to be enough for her to regain her calm, her book and her familiar ignored for the moment in a pile on her lap. "You get the notice about Gaius Peate, yet?"

Snape seems to realize the date on the Lunar Cycle or some other wise thought crosses his mind, because he merely stares impassively at her for long moments, eyes fiery. However, he makes no sound until she finishes her comments about the boy. "I will not change my methods for one small French noble's child." He states that flat out. However, "I may have been a bit … " He won't finish the sentence, but expects she understands the rest.

"Mister Peate is the Hufflepuff who is reentering the school because of a memory curse, correct?" He asks the question, though he's fairly sure of the answer. "To which part of the notice are you specifically referring?" They may not have completely settled the issue of Mister Pierrick Remi, but he's not bristling like a bearded badger at her words anymore. Which by any measure is a great improvement. "Miss Nobl — Siobhan," he allows, "I cannot recall whether I had apprised you of a situation which has arisen outside of school." He doesn't explain more, waiting for her to change gears, if she can.

The when is just as important - if not more so - than the how. If only she could find a way to pound that lesson into her less serpentine students, Siobhan would feel her duty as a professor well discharged. That partial admission - even with the caveat - is enough for her. She understands. She lowers her head. The challenge is withdrawn. The lowered head helps to obscure the smile she's not good enough to hide - there's a satisfaction she can't explain, and all for the fire that's lit up dark eyes in a way she hasn't seen for far, far too long. Better to have him snarling and fighting her than to have him worn and beaten into apathy. "He is, yes. A year behind you and Liam in school." She shivers visibly, the memory of the toxic curse and the film it left on her making her rapidly lose her color. "He was assigned to me first and I wanted to see how the memories were … torn. I only skimmed the surface, but … Circe, I've never seen a curse like that before, nor even magic like it. It felt …" She struggles a moment for the right word. "Toxic. Like someone's taken the nastiest filth and smog and oil and poisoned his mind with them." Both arms wrap around her middle in a gesture of self-protection that makes her look - for just this moment - pale and small and weak. Given that Snape is one of very few people who knows how … almost sacred a thing her mind is to her, perhaps this reaction is forgiveable. "You've not told me anything other than 'stop badgering me, I am adult enough to decide my own feeding habits' in a month." She doesn't have a prayer of mimicing his deep voice, but she manages the slow drawl well enough. The words themselves might be considered mocking, but there's an edge to them that speaks more of Siobhan's desperation to switch topics than anything.

Right. Severus doesn't comment on her change of mood from angry to triumphant, nor does he say a thing when it shifts to terrified. "I have seen a mind like that but once." He shudders. "I do not wish to see such a thing again, but it does not matter if someone is dealing with the effects of that particular curse." He stands up, getting rid of the extra chair to have enough room to walk his floor. He moves to get a drink, gesturing toward her with a clean, empty glass, silently asking if she would like some as well. "If I can be of assistantce, that is a difficult spell to deal with."

Sipping at his own drink, he falls silent for a few moments, composing his thoughts. "Mister Lancaster is not unknown to me." He looks up and meets her eyes. "He and I have mutual acquaintances." He pauses again, letting the news sink in. "His young daughter spent an afternoon with myself and two men whose grasp on reality is tenuous at best, sipping at her drink in a farcical parody of a tea party." He shudders again, this time, the liquid in the cup sloshing a little. "I have not seen a way to remedy this situation."

There's blatant relief on Siobhan's face when Severus not only knows of the curse, but shows a willingness to assist. She doesn't miss his assertion that his own dislike of the curse is immaterial; not so long ago, she is sure, he wouldn't have even admitted a distaste. "Thank you," she whispers, for both the drink and the offer. The last bit of tension melts from her frame. It seems more likely that his … rather unique temperament required the time to process the series of rather heavy paradigm shifts than anything suspicious. It is a relief. Siobhan has few enough people that she counts as friends as it is.

It doesn't take her long to absorb, translate and process his words. Warm eyes slide closed, forgetting in this instant that she's accepted his offer of a drink. Who needs to see to accept a glass full of liquid? It is a mark of her regard for this man that she does not lose her temper, she does not explode, she does not even raise her voice. There is enough restraint in her voice - when she finally speaks - that should communicate effectively that she's going out on a little bit of faith, here. "I would assume, then, since this is not 'news' but rather something you … forgot to tell me, that you've known Jas for a while, now." Q, unsettled by the energy and the tension she can feel coiling in her mistress, raises her head and creels a soft question-sound. She is ignored. "And since the Hatter and the Hare have not completely lost their grip on well-laid plans, I would assume the child was taken when Jas was injured in the attack on Diagon Alley." There's a long, slow, deep breath. "I assume you have your reasons for keeping me ignorant of the fact that the man I have been eating with, speaking with, dancing with and spending time with is an agent of Voldemort." That one might have been a deliberate jab. Control is, after all, his strong point - not hers. "I should really, really hope they're good ones."

"I was unaware of your relationship with Mister Lancaster until the Halloween Ball," Severus explains, though he knows they might have known of each other. The idea that they spent much time at all with each other never crossed his mind. "I knew you may have been acquaintances, but the level of your relationship was unknown to me." He shifts in his seat. "The aftermath of the ball was such that our conversations were less than clear as it was, and you undertook that endeavor on my behalf — quite foolishly I might add." His words may be sharp, but there is a slight warmth in his tone that speaks all the gratitude he has for her 'effort'. "When I considered whether to tell you of my knowledge, I balked, for I have heard a rumor or two about Mister Lancaster that led me to believe that he is not as arduous in pursuit of the goals of the Dark Lord as others may be. I wished to see how he would comport himself here." He pauses again, taking a long swig of his drink. He's being a bit impertinent using one of her core values against her, but it was part of his thought process, especially after her own words to him. "I have been remiss in mentioning this particular situation, however, I was hoping — foolishly — that I might be able to find succor in more conventional places. Such places have closed to me, even with the role her mother has played thus far. Hence, I am mentioning it to you, in the hopes that you may perhaps have a method or resource I do not."

Siobhan is an eighteen year old young woman. Siobhan is an emotionally damaged, eighteen year old woman. Siobhan is a woefully undersexed, emotionally damaged, eighteen year old woman. She, of course, interprets Severus' admission of ignorance with regards to Jas as a complete misunderstanding. Rolling her eyes and groaning, she heaves the sigh of the much put-upon and clears the air. "Sev, he bought me a pony." Because that would suddenly make everything clear. "When I first met Jas Lancaster, I still took ballet and demanded he let me marry his brother so I wouldn't have to practice the piano." In other words, she was like … five, maybe six. "He is quite possibly the last person outside my family tree I'd even consider sleeping with."

Still. "I'm not sure whether you're testing how strongly I actually believe in people's right to choose their own path or if you're banking on that strength of conviction to manipulate me into not being angry." She's been a snake for far too long to take these things at face value. "Either way, do you really think that I would have run to Dumbledore if you'd told me? That by keeping me in the dark you gave him any more chance than he would have had if you'd been honest from the start?" They sound like rhetorical questions, but there's something lurking under the surface that speaks of a genuine curiosity. Startled out of the rhythm of their conversational 'dance' by the unexpected warmth in his tone, she accepts the glass with a nod of thanks, sipping at the delicious golden liquid with relish. It really has become her favorite.

"So, to summarize, you tried to handle a situation on your own - even going so far as asking the Headmaster for help - and came to a dead end, so now that you're running out of options, you decide to bring me up to speed in the hopes that I'll be able to pull a rabbit out of my hat." There's something slightly bitter in that dry summation and the fingers of her empty hand twitch as if grasping for the cigarette that isn't there. She looks down at her hand in something like horror. That's not a craving she's felt for a couple years, now. "I don't have the head for complex theories and nine-syllable words." It's an admission that she'll probably regret later, but she's just mad enough - and just hurt enough - and just confused enough to be painfully blunt. "But I snuck in to enough cabinet meetings in Da's study and oversaw enough of the Death Eater cult to know that keeping each other in the dark until the last minute is a remarkably quick way to end up dead."

Snape blinks, looking up at her, trying to find where the confusion came in. "I was not insinuating that you had slept with the man, Siobhan." He sips at his drink. "I was merely unaware you were closer than … say, myself and some of the neighbors of my own childhood. I knew them, knew their names, but I did not make the effort to spend time with them." He pauses again, unsure of what to say to her summary. "That would not be how I would phrase it." He objects, but not too strongly. "I am unused to …" He moves again, seeming to need to be a little further away from her, or maybe it's just become a habit to pace while explaining. He certainly does so in the Headmaster's office. (Though not so much at Riddle house, of course.) "I am unused to being in close enough confidence to make such revelations necessary." He's used to parcelling information out as necessary for survival, always keeping the most important thing back to make sure things stay balanced — pulled between poles for years. It's as close as he can come to an apology at this point. "I shall endeavor to remember this in the future."

"You don't make an effort to spend time with anyone, Severus." Dry as pale bone dust, that simple statement, but there is humor and an indulgent kind of affection warming the rich brown eyes that watch his pacing so very carefully. "Do you think I stack out sitting rooms for a hobby?" It's a return to light banter and the easiness of before, but there's a grain of truth to it. She is under no illusions. She has to be the one to push, to initiate. She can live with that. Another silent sip of the honeyed mead and there's even an upward twitch to her lips. She'll always challenge him to step out of that narrow zone of comfort - just as he challenges her to do the same - but a challenge is different from a demand. A demand for more than can be given will never be made. "Where are they holding her?" The abrupt change to business seems to be some kind of signal; Severus is forgiven. "And why?"

"Before now, it was counterproductive." Severus replies without much emotion. The inference is that perhaps that may change. "She is being held, last I knew, at the Dark Lord's home." How he acquired it is not particularly evident, nor germane. "I believe the reason given was incentive for Mister Lancaster to fulfill his duty, which duty includes the discrediting and possible elimination of the Headmaster from the school, if my inferences are correct." He wasn't there when Voldemort gave Jas the direct orders, but he's seen the ends Jas has been working toward, and has heard rumors around. He's very good at his job.

"Riddle House…" That strange craving for a fag has Siobhan drumming her fingers on her knee, irritating Q enough that the winged serpent slithers gracefully to the ground and writhes over to curl up in front of the fire, hissing her displeasure to the world. "Riddle's not a wizarding name. At least not an old one." Which means he was either adopted into a Muggle family or some form of Half-Blood. "So the house would have warding only from the last … fifty years at best." Probably significantly less than that. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Maybe she's growing into an oral fixation. "The basics of it - from what I understand - is that the longer a place is tied to a wizard or witch that lives there, the stronger the wards. Especially if they're reinforced once a generation. It's why houses like my Da's are so hard to break into." And why the tombs in places like Egypt are harder, still. "The older a ward-set, the more … " She waves her empty hand as if to conjure the right word out of thin air. "The more finesse that's required to pass them." She takes another sip of her mead and contemplates. "So long as there isn't any blood magic involved, I should be able to punch through a single ward-set." Her eyes narrow at that last, the warmth and softness disappearing from her face as it closes off in something akin to cold fury. "He would use a child to force a father's hand." The smile that twists her lips is chilling. She chuckles and simply rests her glass against her lips, slipping into the elegance of the refined brogue for only just a very few words. "Maybe it's time Tom learns that it's always better to follow the spirit than the letter."

Practical. This part he can do. "I believe the word spread about the little village is that the house had been abandoned until the Dark Lord came back into England five years ago. So the wards may be even more porous than that." Severus flicks his wand, the chair reappearing, and sits in it, making his own counterpont rhythm against his own glass. "The wards may not be the issue. The issue may be with the Dark Lord's personal Rasputin. Perhaps we may time it with the other issue we discussed in the meeting." Severus has gotten so used to not mentioning the Order that he couches his words even in his own rooms. "I would not be surprised if there were blood magic, though it may not be the kind supported by years of familial history. The Dark Lord, according to Dumbledore, is a half-blood."

"Blood magic is old magic." And therefore unpredictable. "Some blood wards do nothing unless you have malicious intent. Some of them refuse you entry unless you were one of those who donated blood to the warding." Old rituals kept alive still by some of the long-lined families. "Not many families still do blood warding and those that do are almost exclusively old purebloods. Blood magic has … acquired a bad reputation among the 'great and good' of the wizarding trend-setters." And so, like sheep, the masses follow. "Rasputin?" she inquires, clarifying the reference even though she can infer the meaning from the context. "I've no wish to go up against the Dark Lord. Not all of us have Potter's luck." And isn't that an interesting bit of venom to her tone, there. "But if we can find a time when he and Shadow are gone, I will take the parents and get the child." There's an air of resignation about that statement, but no arrogance. "If there's anyone you don't want harmed, I'd suggest keeping them away." A rueful smile twists her lips, softening the expression, but the shadows are back in her eyes. "I don't have your control, after all."

Snape snorts, that control coming to the fore even as she mentions it. He forebears the obvious statement, choosing instead to sip at his mead. "I do not know what precautions the Dark Lord has placed on the house, but perhaps I can investigate them should he call soon." He narrows his eyes at her, gazing for a long moment at her face. "I do hope you intend to take more than just the three of you." He realizes that he cannot go — which bothers him — but he does worry for her. "I shall do what I can to help you prepare…" He drains his glass, and sets it down. "I must return to my planning soon." He casts a tempus, gazing at the numbers for a moment. "It does not take me long," since these are the same lessons he's had for years, "but I do need to make sure of the week's lessons." He frowns. "You are welcome to continue your stacking of whatever it is that you and Mister Gardener are referring to."

Siobhan recognizes the concern behind the words and a soft, simple smile returns life to her expression and banishes a few of the shadows behind her eyes. "Who else would I trust at my back, but you?" And she knows she cannot take him. Someday they'll have enough of a foothold to break the ties that choke him. She knows, however, that the when is just as important as the how. Only this time, that knowledge brings with it no joy. "I'll speak to Jack about going, though." She grimaces, made uneasy in an almost physical sense by the manipulation of her brother's guilt she's pretty sure will be required to pull this off. "He's a fair hand in a fight, if it comes to that, and if there are blood wards, he's the best one of us to disarm them." So four of them.

Her own glass - now empty - she sets aside on the small table. "If you'll help me brew and work on the wandless with me, I couldn't ask for better preparation." There's a slight flush to her cheeks as she picks up her paperback novel and flips the pages lightning quick over her thumb. "I tend to blow up practice dummies." There aren't many living subjects who she trusts enough to practice the wandless magic with and of those she trusts, none would she risk setting her wild and unpredictable magic on. "You, at least, I know I can't hurt." Running the pages over her thumb again, she finds her place and leaves the bookmark on the table next to the empty glass. "The odds, Sev. What I'm learning from Jethro will let me stack the odds." In their favor, no less. Even with that slight tease, she seems perfectly content to curl up and continue her 'flight of fancy', starting from the meeting with Mrs. Fairfax. It's already late enough that she knows she'll pay for this indulgence in blood, sweat and tears in the morning, but the company - the quiet, comfortable company - is worth it. She's missed this.

Snape inclines his head in a manner Siobhan might recognize from family dinners as an old Pureblood nod of acquiescence. Whoever took the time to instruct Snape in 'courtly' manners did a fair job; he just can't often be bothered to pull those manners out. "Mister Noble is fair at his occupation." It's grudgingly spoken. "I shall attempt to make a regular time in my schedule for our practice." They can brew whenever. He can just add whatever she needs to the row of cauldrons brewing for everyone else, if he needs to. "Stacking the odds is an extremely wise thing to do." He catches her tease and returns it, then collects the glasses, setting them back up on the mantle. Vacating the soft chair for the one at the table, he returns to the tiresome task of checking quantities and specifics for the week's lessons.

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