Note: I'm not sure I like the way Slughorn came out - या the abrupt ending - so any टिप्पणियाँ on those would be much appreciated :)
The walk back to the Slytherin common room was much longer and quieter, giving Severus ample time to think. There wasn't much that needed to be done to sever ties with the “wanna-be-Death-Eaters” – all he had to do was say he apologized to Lily – but he needed to think of a way to stop them from killing him. They wouldn't accept the fact he had apologized to a “worthless mudblood like Lily Evans.”
द्वारा the time he'd reached the common room, Severus was no और prepared to deal with Slytherins than he was when he left the portrait of the Fat Lady. Lily had asked a tall order, but Severus wouldn't back down from it. Not if it meant loosing her.
“Serpent's Tongue,” Severus कहा lowly to the दीवार and it slid open ominously.
A small group of Slytherins were huddled in front of the fire, chatting animatedly to one another. Avery, the oldest of the group, looked up when Severus entered. “Oi, Sev!” he called with a grin. “Whatchu doin' out so late?”
Severus gave a shaky smile. “I was apologizing to Lily.”
The smile instantly slid from Avery's tan face and his blue eyes widened in anger. “Lily? Lily Evans? The mudblood Gryffindor?!”
“Don't call her that,” Severus कहा quietly, dangerously.
Avery stood up, quickly followed द्वारा Mulciber and Crabbe. Although the latter two teens weren't the brightest of the bunch, they were the largest. Crabbe's forearm was the same width as Severus' whole body. And, while Avery was much smaller and slighter – closer to Severus' size – he was a seventh year, and knew just as many spells as Severus. The trio strode over menacingly, scowls etched on their faces, arms flexed and bulging . . .
“Or you'll do what?” Avery asked, his voice just as low. “Curse me?”
Severus gritted his teeth and told himself that, whatever happened next, would be well worth it if he got to keep Lily. His black eyes burned with a long-forgotten determination to prove himself – prove that he wasn't a coward, wasn't going to back down from this.
“If I have to.”
Avery's eyes widened and his mouth curled into a snarl. “Why आप two-faced traitor! After all we've done for you, this is how आप repay us? द्वारा crawling back to that disgusting woman who's barely considered a witch?!” He laughed shrilly. “Boy does she have आप whipped! It's all आप can do, innit? Crawl around after her, making pathetic कुत्ते का बच्चा, पिल्ला dog-eyes while she screws - “
Severus wasn't quite sure what happened next. All he knew was the rage inside him – a rage that had started building as soon as the words “two-faced” left Avery's mouth – had peaked. One minute, Avery was snarling and Severus' fists were clenching, and the the next, his fist was in Avery's face.
The room went quiet.
Then, all hell broke loose.
Avery slammed his fist into Severus' jaw, knocking him sideways. Crabbe grabbed Severus द्वारा his hair and slammed his head into the cold, stone wall. Something made a sick cracking noise and spots danced in front of Severus eyes, moving in time with the throbbing of his temple. Something warm trickled down the side of his face.
“Bathard!” Avery yelled, one hand pinching his nose. He struck out again, catching Severus on his cheek. There was another crack, followed द्वारा blinding pain, and Severus fell to the ground. He lashed out with his legs, catching both Avery and Crabbe off-guard. Crabbe went down – hard. Avery stumbled, but managed to right himself. He snarled a string of profanities and lunged.
Severus reached for his wand and pointed it out towards the other boy. “Stupefy!” he screamed. Avery fell to the floor with a heavy thunk and didn't move.
“What's going on here?” a voice demanded from the hole. Severus turned his head, wincing, and looked into the shocked face of Horace Slughorn, the current head of Slytherin House, standing अगला to Mulciber, who'd apparently been the one to run and summon him. “You boys have been fighting, haven't you?”
No one answered. Partly because it seemed like such a pointless सवाल – Severus' bloody face and Avery's still body were a dead give away of what had happened. “Haven't you?” Slughorn demanded again, glaring around at all his students. One द्वारा one, the Slytherins nodded.
Slughorn huffed. “This had better be the end of it,” he threatened. “Off to bed. Now! Except आप two,” he said, indicated Crabbe, and Severus.
He walked over to Severus and knelt down in front of him, studying his face. “What exactly is the meaning of this? This isn't like you, Snape.”
“It was . . . nothing,” Severus कहा quietly, speaking slowly as not to cause any और pain to his already damaged face. “We were just joking and this . . . got out of hand, sir.”
“Quite obviously they did, at that,” Slughorn कहा grimly. Severus wanted to chuckle. “All right. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to write all three of आप up a detention. But for now, let's get आप to Madam Pomfrey.” He reached out a hand and helped Severus to his feet before turning to Crabbe and the still unconscious Avery. “It's over – do आप understand me?” he demanded, glaring down at Crabbe.
“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
Slughorn nodded. “Good. Well, now, let's see what we can't do about Avery.” He pulled out his wand and waved it once. Avery stirred and then groaned. “Help him up to the hospital wing, Crabbe,” Slughorn ordered. “I'll help Snape.”
“I'm fine, sir, really. आप don't need - “ Severus began, feeling embarrassed at needing to be helped.
Slughorn put a hand on Severus' shoulders to steady him and the quartet silently headed off to the hospital wing.