A Different Story

Chapter 3

The wind blew harshly against the house. Sophia looked out the window of her bedroom, the rain clouds were blowing in. It'll be pouring soon, she thought, turning away from the window, I wonder when Severus will be home.

Moving to her bed, Sophie fingered through the pages of The Tales Of Beedle The Bard to take her mind off it all. It had taken her a few hours of digging around, but she finally found the book in an old chest from her childhood home, along with quite a bit of other stuff.

The pages of this copy were soft and worn from years of use. Sophia had loved each and every one of the stories in the book as a child. In fact, she still did.

In her other hand was one of her favorite teddies that she used to play with all the time. She held the bear above her head smiling at it. The bear reminded her of when she had been a little kid, and would play with her parents, running all over their home.

The floo swished downstairs, but Sophia didn't hear it. The young girl was long gone, lost in memories.

Severus entered the room quietly and looked around. Well, he thought, glancing around, at least the little monster didn't wreck the house while I was gone. He moved down the little hallway that ran beside the stairs. At the end was his potions storage room.

The storage room may look small, but the shelves moved around and rotated so that there was plenty of room for the Potions Master. The house was unusually quiet. Severus glanced down at his wrist.

Sophia had gotten him the watch for Christmas when she was a third year. It really was a beautiful thing, a silver band with a green watch face. Around the face were tiny silver snakes. A perfect watch for the Head of Slytherin House.

The time on the watch read 10:23. It was a bit early for Sophia to be asleep, especially on holiday. He wasn't used to the quiet house anymore, his charge was quite a noisy thing. Thinking back to after dinner, he wondered if his remark had been a tad too harsh. She had looked quite upset, he mused, perhaps he'd go and check on her.

A few moments later Severus stood in Sophie's open doorway watching her stare off into space clutching a teddy in one hand and the other resting on a book. Walking in he glanced at the title of said book.

"The Tales Of Beedle The Bard? Is that the book you've been wanting to read, Sophia?" She jumped and sat up, wheeling her head around to look at him.

"When did you get back Severus?" It may have been the lighting, but her eyes looked a bit misty to him.

"Just a little while ago, did you not hear the floo?"

Sheepishly, Sophie drew her knees up to her chest. "Sorry, I was thinking."

"Well, that's a change," Severus said dryly looking down at his charge.

Sophia huffed and stood up, setting both book and bear down. "You know," She said as she walked towards the dresser, "You've been very snarky today." She pulled out some pajamas.

Severus watched her move around then behind a privacy screen to change. "Have I?" Her head popped out.

"Yes, yes you have. You weren't very nice after dinner. I wasn't ignoring you, I was just thinking. Like when you came home just now, I was just thinking about stuff." She walked out and past him, bouncing back onto her bed, pulling her legs under the covers.

"Hmm," Severus grabbed the chair from the vanity and placed it near Sophia's bed. "I suppose I have been a bit... snarky. Care to share what you've been thinking about all day, little monster?"

"Oh... Nothing really... Just stuff." Severus raised an eyebrow at her. "About my parents I guess" His eyes softened at that, "And the stairs."

"The stairs?" He asked in a curious voice, parents he could understand but stairs?

"Yeah," Sophie glanced away from Severus and to the window where the rain was starting to come down. "Remember when we painted the stairs with all the different emblems? And I couldn't figure out how to paint the snake, so you showed me how and wound up painting all the snakes for me?"

Severus leaned back and nodded, "Yes I recall that. Then the next day you were supposed to clean the whole kitchen and 'forgot'."

Sophie grinned at him. "Yeah, it was a fun day." She felt around the edges of the book, "So, since you were very snarky today-"

"Yes, I am sorry for that Sophia." A large flash of lightning and a booming clap of thunder caused both heads to jerk to the window.

Sophia looked back at Severus and gave a slight smile, "Oh it's all right. But, anyways, since the weather is so bad and all, maybe I could convince you to read me a story from this." She presented Severus with her copy of The Tales Of Beedle The Bard.

He took it from her and stared for a moment before asking "How old are you again?"

Sophie rolled her eyes and laid down in her bed, cuddling the teddy, "I know, I know... It's just that this day has brought back a lot of memories of my parents and whenever the weather got this bad they'd usually read me a story from that book... I guess I just kinda miss that. " She looked up at Severus; he still looked doubtful, "Besides you were really snarky so I think I deserve a story? Please?"

Sighing, Severus crossed his legs and opened the book. "Which story would you prefer, and you only get one."

Almost immediately Sophie said, "The Wizard And The Hopping Pot, it's one of my favorites."

And so the story began "There was once a kindly old wizard who used his magic generously and wisely for the benefit of his neighbors. Rather than reveal the true source of his power, he pretended that his potions, charms, and antidotes sprang ready-made from the little cauldron he called his lucky cooking pot. From miles around, people came to him with their troubles, and the wizard was-"

"Why do you call me little monster?"

Severus stopped reading and looked at the tiring girl. "Excuse me?"

"You call me Little Monster a lot. Why?" He looked taken aback.

"I... I'm not sure. It seems fitting considering how young you are and the fact that you're a bit of a monster sometimes."

Sophia's eyes widened, "I am not a mons-"

"Sophia do you want me to finish the story or not?" Sophia sighed and snuggled back down.

"Yes please."

"Very well, where were we... The wizard was pleased to give his pot a stir, and put things right..."

The storm had reached it's the maximum point where the winds whipped the house and the rain beat down against the roof and windows when Severus had finished the story. Closing the book he glanced at the young girl.

Sophia was mostly asleep, curling around the bear like a lifeline.

"Hmm." Severus let a small smile slip onto his face and reached out to pull the covers up to her chin.

"Mmmm... night dad..." Came the mumbled words. Severus froze, suspended slightly over the child. Finally, his body relaxed and Severus smiled. He rested a hand on the side of her face, brushing her hair back.

"Goodnight, Little Monster."

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