Harry Potter wheeled about (his eyes having followed Hermione's grande exit), dodging the question by asking instead, "You meant to do that." It came out as a statement, and Harry felt a moment of pure shock at the idea that he could ever be that certain of the wily Head of Slytherin House.
"Of course, I nearly always mean to do what I do." Snape drawled.
"You meant to get her angry." Harry Potter said.
"And what good would her agonizing have done her? I brought things to a head." Snape asked grimly. Harry just stared at him, thinking furiously in circles. "Do you think she'd have decided differently if given half a week to flip and flop like a fish on dry land?"
Harry Potter thought this over, thought it over good and hard. Hermione cared about schoolwork in a way that Harry (and, of course, Ron) simply didn't. But, no, she was a Gryffindor not a Ravenclaw - practicality would always come first over being the best. "No, I think you're right. You do that a lot though, don't you?"
"What, specifically?" Snape asked, leaning forward, his eyes bulging just a tad - Snape putting an effort into not snapping at Harry for being vague as all get out.
"Poking at Gryffindors." Harry said, looking slightly bewildered. "But... why?" It hadn't seemed to make sense, at first glance, but Harry saw the pattern starting to emerge - a pattern of Snape being unfair deliberately towards the Gryffindors. Harry suddenly felt confident that if he asked the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws if Snape was fair, they would probably say, "mostly yeah." and then mutter about how harsh he was.
"Griffindors," Snape said with an ominous pause, "I have found, learn best with opposition. Of all the Houses, their temperament turns most towards a fight." It made a scary amount of sense, Harry thought. Snape's mouth crinkled into a half-smirk, as he continued, "If, as you might expect, the Gryffindors see me as someone to fight - well, they are that much more likely to pay attention in my class."
"That's why - with Hermione," Harry said, slightly incoherently, "You never ever give her a scrap of praise."
"And she repays me with excessive work ethic, turning in sheets of paper that I slave through every school year." Snape says with a lofty sigh, "The punishments a lowly teacher must endure."
"Sir... Do you think, there might be, some way to get Hermione some extra credit - if only she would actually write the assigned number of pages?" Harry somewhat stammered out, thinking that it sounded half formed and threadbare even as he spoke.
Leaping to his feet, Snape stood looking Harry levelly in the eye, "Now, Potter, that has possibilities." Snape absently began to pace, humming completely off-key.
Harry shifted uneasily from foot to foot, not wanting to leave, and not wanting to stay when Snape was clearly done talking. He vaguely heard Snape say, "I shall have to talk with Albus..." It took a few minutes, but Snape eventually looked up, saying quickly, "Well, we'll see what comes, no?"
[a/n: What do you think of Harry's plan? Can you improve it? Snape's already thought of improvements, but that's Snape for you. This chapter wasn't supposed to end here, but Scheming Snape said "enough chit chat, I'm planning, leave me alone!" Introverts, no?
Snape's actually a decent teacher - he does get better work out of the Gryffindors than most teachers, who let the kids laze around except where they're interested. Sadly, there's nothing saving Longbottom.
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