Severus Snape sat at the high table, as always, drinking black coffee and eating considerably less than he ought to. He knew that, truly, but he didn't feel hungry. Not even Minerva's mothering could make him hungry - she always sent a bit more beef skittering onto his plate when he wasn't looking. He'd long ago learned not to glare at her, as it made no difference.
Glancing up at the students, Snape felt Potter's eyes on him. The strength of that look felt like it was going to set his hair on fire (and maybe if it was as greasy as the students always joked about, it would really catch fire!). He'd been pleasantly surprised that Potter hadn't cornered him directly after class - he'd even set aside a bit of time to deal with the tempermental Gryffindor.
Well, all things change, Snape thought, even if few of them change for the better. Potter learning to rein in his temper was progress, as loathe as Snape was to admit it.
Granger was also looking up at him - her gaze weighty, like a ton of bricks. Calmer, more considerate, Granger's stare meant many more questions than Potter could ever produce. She expected everything to be given to her, rather than working it out. It was an approach that tended to chafe - Snape hated when students needed to be spoonfed. And Granger demanded it, despite being perfectly capable of working things out herself.
His gaze darted to the Slytherin table, catching Malfoy's calm gaze - resting today not on Snape but on Flitwick. Some trouble with Charms homework, then, he thought. Theo had his nose in the air, despite the blatant fawning that half the Slytherin table was doing. Blaise was the attractant for the rest of the table - and most of the Ravenclaws as well.
Experiment seemed more than modestly successful, and no reported side-effects.
The Hufflepuffs were taking Snape's lesson the hardest, and he'd have been much more cheered with that realization if he thought that a single one would head for the hills.
There were days, and this was one of them, when Severus Snape's throat craved a drink - that sweet, succulent taste of alcohol that beckoned him into his cups. Just one more...
[a/n: Alcoholism tends to run in families. (our original taste for the stuff was inclined away from it, as it meant rotting fruit).
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Second post of the day. (First got revised, too)
Also, - what, you thought Snape wasn't planning for Potter yelling at him? Slytherins plan things. There's a reason the class ends when it does.]