“So how is Miss Faith settling in Minerva?” said Dumbledore, who was sitting in his favorite chair behind the desk in his office.
“She seems to be doing rather better than I expected.” Professor McGonagall said as she settled her self down in the comfy chair across from Dumbledore. They had been having these private talks at the end of the day for years now…ever since she had been given the position of deputy headmistress over 25 years ago.
McGonagall smiled. “Her progress at developing her magic has been nothing short of miraculous. She is already performing spells at a level of control that far exceeds someone with years of training, not someone who has just discovered their powers.” McGonagall said with a certain sense of pride.
Dumbledore smiled at the look of affection he saw cross the usually stern look woman. “It is not that surprising. Because of her calling she has been forced to adapt to a variety of different situations quickly. Add to that her already conscious use of her Slayer power; it is only natural that she would be able to quickly assimilate her newest abilities.”
McGonagall paused. “I do have a concern however Albus...” she said with a bit of hesitancy.
Dumbledore folded his hands in front of him and gave her his full attention. “What seems to be the problem?”
“I believe the young woman is getting restless hiding in the dungeons.” Minerva said. “Though she completely
understands the necessity of remaining hidden till she is better able to understand and control her newly developing powers, she…she is a spirited girl and I believe the longer she feels trapped behind these walls, the larger the risk is that she may inadvertently act out against the restraints we have put on her.”
Dumbledore smiled and the idea of Faith being described as ‘a spirited girl’…the young woman was a force of nature in her own right…if what Severus has been reporting was to be taken seriously. He turned to Minerva and spoke. “We must never forget that she is a Slayer. Her very nature is pushing her to use her strengths.” He thought for a moment. “Perhaps, once she has developed a bit more control with her magic, we can allow her to assist Hagrid in the Dark Forest…at night of course. That way she can remain hidden from society but still be able to do what she was born to do.” He gave his old friend a mischievous grin. “Severus is training with her this evening. I was going to head down to the dungeons to discuss the situation…and also to observe their progress.”
Minerva raised an eyebrow. “Their progress?” she said, the corner of her mouth twitching.
Dumbledore continued to smirk. “Yes…Faith, being who she is, initially was not pleased at the idea of being told what to do at all time…but it seems that they have reached an understanding. Severus trains her in the magical arts and she trains him in the physical arts.”
Minerva choked on the last of her tea. “What?!” she said sputtering and turning crimson.
Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling. “It seems that Severus was not completely object to learning some different forms of self defense and fighting techniques from an actual Slayer. It is a rare opportunity to work with one so skilled. So, after the days magic lessons, they do several hours of sparing techniques.” Dumbledore gave her a blatantly false innocent expression. “Why? What ever did you think I was referring to my dear?”
Minerva glared at him for a moment. Then, slowly, a grin developed. “So you were going to head down to the dungeons to ‘observe’ their training after our meeting…would you care for some company?” she said, inwardly relishing the idea of watching the young woman toss the ever proud Severus Snape around and put him in his place.
“Of course you are welcome to join my dear.” Dumbledore said with a knowing smirk. “As my assistant, it would only be appropriate for you to see first hand their progress.” Then his eyes started twinkling again. “There is also the matter of some students returning for the Ministry’s New Years ball tomorrow evening. We must make adjustments to Faiths living situation to keep her hidden a bit longer if necessary. Shall we go?” Dumbledore said as he rose from his seat and offered her his arm as they left the office.
Snape pulled himself up of the floor wincing and glared at the young woman who was standing across the room and smirking at him. “That was unnecessary” he said.
Her trade mark smirk grew even wider. “So was hitting me with that bondage bind spell thing earlier. You knew I would get you back for that sooner or later.”
The corners of Snape’s mouth twitched in what was almost a smile. “Of course…and the spell is known as the body bind spell. Would you have preferred something more lethal?” he asked with an almost smirk.
Faith just smirked back. “Nah…that was a cool one to learn. Could come in handy sometime.” she said with a suggestive smile, letting her eyes rake over the wizard, grinning as he sputtered slightly at her words.
Snape understood that it was impractical to practice physical defense in his usual wizard’s robes, but he felt practically naked in the black shirt and pants she demanded he wore during these sessions. And it did not help that the skin tight pants and tank top she wore were positively indecent to his sensibilities. Add to that her complete inability to keep from throwing out sexual innuendos in every conversation…well, it made him uncomfortable. He was not blind to her charms, and she had strength in her that called him. He saw the obvious commonalities of their situations. Both had been servants to the dark and had been trying to find redemption in a light that would never completely forgive or accept them. Though they had never discussed their pasts in any detail, they had found a certain level of comfort in each others presence. Maybe a lesser fool would try to take advantage of her ‘so called’ offers…but Snape was no fool. He knew that her suggestive comments and actions were just a part of her nature and was her way of controlling a situation that she felt she had no control over. Contrary to popular belief, Snape was a compassionate man...to those he felt deserved it of course. And the fearful look he could occasionally catch in her eye when she was not looking…well, no legitimancy was needed…he knew that look all too well. He knew that she was not afraid of what might possibly happen to her, but of what she might possibly do to someone else if the circumstances presented themselves. Because of this, she was tireless in her pursuit to control the magic that was so new to her…and he respected that. He also knew what it was like to feel helpless to the fates. So in these sparring lessons, he let her lead and he could see it was good for her. The one thing he would not concede on was his clothing. He would wear, however grudgingly, the more practical attire for sparring, but he insisted on long sleeves. He knew that Dumbledore had briefed her on the current situation and knew that she was probably aware of his status as a double agent. But he would not openly display the mark that was the symbol of all of his failings.
Faith watched the face of the man who had become her closest companion, since Xan man had left, with fascination. This guy was no fool and had the attitude to back it up. A tough fighter, vicious sense of humor, and a shit ton of power to back it all up…she liked him. But more importantly, she respected him. For her, respect was not easily given. She had known too many assholes with delusions of greatness. Even the ones with the power to back it up most of the time were so fucking blind to both sides of the story that they usually ended up no different than the other side. But Snape man here…he knew the dance. Dumbledore had given her the basics of the sitch around here, so she knew a bit of the Prof’s story. She didn’t need the details though. She could see it in the man’s face. The walls, the comments, the attitude…they were all just defenses to a world that had no clue what it was like to have felt that kind of darkness, that kind of power, and been able to walk away. It actually made her a bit uncomfortable that she and S-man were so similar. She wasn’t used to having someone who knew exactly what she had been through around. Yeah, Angel had helped her, but he didn’t have a soul when he went all evil and shit. She knew what she had been doing the entire time and had loved it. It was only when it had spiraled out of control that she had realized what she had become and she knew she would spend the rest of her life dealing with that fact. She had the feeling S-man was all too familiar with that road…and it freaked her out a bit that a man she had just gotten to know could know her that well…so she made up for it by pushing his buttons. She got a kick out of it…the reactions she got out of the normally stoic man. She could tell the guy had some fire in him…she grinned.
“Should I be worried by that grin Miss Faith?” Snape said with a raised eyebrow.
“It seems we have an audience for the next round.” she said with a nod towards the door that Dumbledore and McGonagall had just come through. She gave him a challenging grin. “You up for another dance old man?”
Snape glared at her, then, he formed his own slight smirk. “I assure you I am up to the task.” and launched himself at her.
Faith was startled by his abrupt move and Severus took full advantage of that fact, using the very techniques she had been demonstrating earlier. It wasn’t long however before Faith’s superior strength gave her the upper hand again and Snape found himself flat on his back…again.
Faith smiled as she gave him a hand up. “Not to bad there S-man…Nice technique…I almost broke out into a sweat there for a bit” she said fanning her face and fluttering her eyelashes.
Snape refused her hand. He arched his back and flipped himself up into a standing position inches away from Faith. He gave her a slow smirk as he said in a low voice that only she would hear. “It would be wise for you not to forget whom you are dealing with Faith…or the fact that I know a variety of techniques that would definitely have you…sweating.” He gave a wicked smirk at her shocked expression and turned around to change back into his teaching robes. Inside his head, a voice was screaming ‘why the hell did you say that? What were you thinking you old fool?’ He told that voice to shut up and that he was just enjoying that fact that he got to beat her, for once, at her own game…inwardly knowing that he enjoyed her reaction to his comments far more than he rightfully should have.
Faith had composed her face quickly and was toweling off while Dumbledore and McGonagall were talking with S-man...but her brain was spinning. Damn! That man knew how to turn it on when he wanted to. Shit…that voice alone was enough to make her want to throw him against the wall and rip…wooooh girl! Down there babe…that man is the only friend that you can trust in this fucked up new world that you are stuck in…don’t go fucking it up by getting all hormonal and shit. She subtly let her eyes rake over Snape, now that he was back in his teaching robes. Yum-Yum, but no-no…she saw him scowl at Double D and McG so she went over to see what was up…