Hogwarts was a pain in the ass. While Cordelia liked most of the denizens of the Wizarding World okay, their school had a mind of its own and it didn’t seem to like her a bit.
“Fine!” she snapped when the third stairway in a row moved her to this floor instead of the floor she’d been intending to get off on. “Fine, we’ll have it your way.”
Cordelia shivered at the warm, slightly smug feeling she was picking up from the castle. As she stomped in a random direction, she scowled and deliberated on the best way to blow up a possessed castle. Even though she was almost convinced the damnable thing wasn’t possessed but, in some way, actually alive
. Magical accidents had done weirder things during her time on the hellmouth and her tenure as Angel’s girl Friday and most of those hadn’t been thousands of years in the making.
She stopped when a gargoyle spun around of its own volition, revealing a hidden staircase that seemingly led up to a tower. She pursed her lips. “Look, I’m not Dorothy. You don’t get to lead me around by the nose. So this is going to be the last little yellow brick road I’m going on. Got that?”
The gargoyle seemed to smirk at her and Cordelia huffed and sighed and took the staircase. Having to be diplomatic was one thing. Having to be diplomatic with a castle
was a completely different animal. She felt like reminding it that she knew people that had rocket launchers but she didn’t want to actually argue with a pile of bricks, no matter how magical it might be.
The room at the top of the stairs was fantastical, like the vast majority of Hogwarts, but besides that, it was also adult. Cordelia guessed that this was likely the principal’s office.
“Well, I’m here,” she announced, just in case the castle missed it. She really didn’t have any idea what was going on.
She finally just moved into the room, ignoring all the paintings whispering about her as she made a circle of the room. One hanging close to the stairs that led to the desk caught her attention and Cordelia walked towards it. The man that’d had his back to the camera or painter or whatever turned and she winced.
“Oh my God
, tell me you were blind. Or the person that did the painting hated you,” she said, visibly recoiling.
The man sneered and asked, “What’s a Muggle doing at Hogwarts?”
And Cordelia stiffened all over. That kind of intolerance belonged to a group of bad guys and she knew exactly who she was looking at. “Severus Snape.”
He stilled, then asked, “And how would you know my name?”
“This Muggle is one of the people that’s helping the Wizarding World clean up your mess,” she snapped. He was every mean girl and bigot she’d ever had to deal with and, since she’d died, her tolerance for that kind of bull had sunk even lower. “Well, the mess you Lord
Cordelia knew the facts, knew that Harry Potter, the Wizarding World’s savior, had lobbied for a painting of Severus Snape to be hung at Hogwarts, but she hadn’t realized that the man had been this unlikable.
“If you’re going to be rude, you should at least introduce yourself first,” he said, malice dripping from his words. “I thought even Muggles
Cordelia wanted to snap that hooked beak right off his face. “I’m Cordelia Chase, International Watcher’s Council liaison.”
“I see,” he said with a saccharine smile. “So you’ll judge me for being a double agent, then go send little girls out to fight monsters. Muggles
truly are unbelievable.”
Cordelia’s jaw clenched and that was the only reason she didn’t manage to retort before the staircase swiveled up and Headmistress McGonagall swished into the room, stilling when she saw Cordelia next to Snape’s portrait.
“I see you’ve met former Headmaster Snape,” she said cautiously and he must have really have been a nasty bastard if McGonagall thought his painting
was going to get under her skin.
“Yeah,” Cordelia said dismissively, turning her back on him. “The castle let me up. I have no idea why.”
“Hogwarts has a mind of her own these days,” McGonagall said fondly. “But if you’ll excuse me, Ms. Chase, I’ve a meeting about to begin.”
“Of course,” Cordelia nodded and didn’t look back as she walked away.
Snape may be nasty but he was, in some ways, correct and that was the worst part. Still, she got to walk away from him and he couldn’t even leave the castle. It was a hollow victory but Cordelia took what she could get these days.