The First Class
Severus loathes children. Loathes them.
Of course, there had once been a time when he had entertained vague and misty pictures in the dark recesses of his imagination; hazy pictures of a thin black-haired child with green eyes, brilliant at Potions and Defence. He had been very young then, and had still nourished a tiny pitiful hope that Lily – that something might –
What a fool he had been. And now she is gone.
He shakes the black thoughts away now. They are irrelevant. More to the point, on this, his first day of teaching, was his utter, total, complete loathing of children in all sizes and houses and levels of growth.
He fixes the offenders with his best, most chilling Look. He has been practicing it in the mirror for the last few weeks, in preparation for this day. They are two Little Girls, wretched things with shiny pigtails and tip-tilted noses, the sort of creature that is to Severus as a kitten is to a vulture. And they are - giggling. He had swept past their cauldrons in supreme disinterest, and they had put their featherbrained little heads together, and whispered, and giggled.
If there is one thing that infuriates him, it is whispering, and giggling. It's a fury that has its roots back in his teenage years, when he was always the odd one, the black crow, greasy-haired and big-nosed and unsociable. There had always been a couple of girls who giggled together, and he'd always known that it was himself they were laughing at, and hated it.
(Lily had never giggled and whispered. And now Lily is gone.)
And now, on his first – his very first day at this new teaching position that Dumbledore had been so certain was right for him, and there were more girls, laughing at him; stupid little Hufflepuff girls who had hardly two brain cells to rub together. Well, he was not going to have it, not anymore. He is the teacher now, and he will not have disrespect in his classroom. He swoops over them, using his height for intimidation.
'Miss Bagnold. Miss Cornfoot. Is something… amusing you?'
They freeze, looking terrified, and Severus feels an odd, bitter stab of pleasure. Vindication, at last. The hunted has become the hunter.
'I will not tolerate rudeness in my classroom,' he says silkily. 'Ten points – each – from Hufflepuff.'
Pomona Sprout is concerned, of course, at two of her first years coming back to the Hufflepuff common room in tears. Severus feels a twinge of something a little like guilt, but it fades quickly when he remembers all that he had suffered as an unattractive teenager, by the hands of girls just like these. He refuses to back down. A point has been made, and there has been no more giggling in his classes.
And so the legend of Severus Snape is born, amongst the students of Hogwarts. Snarky, unpleasant, greasy, unfair; he knows they call him all of these things, and takes a kind of spiteful unhappy pleasure in it. They loathe him, and he loathes them, and that is the way things have always been with Severus Snape and the world.
And so it remains.