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The Puzzling Prattlings of a Pulchritudinous Potions Professor by JuicyJuice
Chapter 1: The Mad, Harry Beginning
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And so the year began. On a miserable day in my miserable life in a miserable castle. I’m talking about the school year, of course. Who would talk so drearily about the New Year? It happens to be my favorite holiday.
But anyway, I remember this day very clearly because my dungeon was leaking (and in my life, these are the only things one remembers), and the dripping on my head, reminiscent of Chinese water torture, gave me a slight twitch that plagued me all through dinner.
And unfortunately the beginning was the best part of the day.
The students arrived that night. Just like any other year, they came crashing through the doors, yelling and giggling and stinking up the place. Only worse. For Potter was there. Oh yes. He was. I know. It’s mad. Harry. Potter. There.
I girded my loins and readied myself for battle.
Of course I knew all along he was coming I just didn’t realize he was actually coming. When I first got a look at him I had twelve minor heart attacks, one stroke, and total loss of control of my face (eyes popping out (probably on springs), nostrils flaring, and mouth hanging open). I hope no one noticed. I have an image to keep up, after all.
The entire student body and most of the staff had a dithering fest as Potter walked up to the Hat. I gave him my Tears-Inducing Glare with a touch of menacingly raised eyebrow. One of my better ones, I if I do say so myself. The Piss-In-Trousers-Inducing Glare would have left a nasty smell to eat my dinner by. It didn’t matter, though, because he didn’t notice, blockheaded as he undoubtedly is. I hate it when people don’t notice my glares. It makes me wonder if life is worth living, which is not a good thought when you are about to start the school year and life is inevitably not worth living by any standards.
Anyhow, Potter became a Gryffindor. Typical. Just like his father. And mother. And whole damned extended family. He probably has the wit, charm, and amiability of his father as well (i.e.-none at all). Oh this is infuriating!
I must make a list.
Reasons Why Potter is Decidedly of Unsound Mind:
1. He was sorted into Gryffindor (maybe Slytherin has all the evil power-sucking murderers, but Gryffindor yields 78% of the Hogwarts loonies, studies state).
2. I was talking with someone. It must have been Quirrel because I remember feeling particularly sour. Anyway, my mind was gallivanting through the Golden Gates of Boredom, so I looked down at the students and I caught eyes with Potter, after which he promptly smacked himself on the stupidly scarred forehead. That can’t be normal behavior.
Gah! I can’t think of any more! No matter, they will come. I must breathe.
After that, nothing very momentous happened. Except Dumbledore commented on my twitch, which excited a sort of murderous instinct that took all my mind power and meditation training to put down. Of course he only commented because one particularly violent twitch dumped all my pumpkin juice down the front of him (rather more impressive than it seems, as he was sitting three chairs away from me), but really it was probably Quirrel’s fault deep down anyway.
But I was already angry with Dumbledore. Only the day before I had asked (again) why he felt I was not appropriate for the Defense Against the Dark Arts job when he clearly felt that a mass of turbaned nothingness was. Well, I didn’t really ask him, per se. I took all of his fuzzy socks hostage (harder than you might think—they were locked in an underground chamber guarded by a troll) and threatened to feed them all to the giant squid if he didn’t fire Quirrel immediately.
He smiled, probably because he knew nothing alive would ever consent to eat his socks, and insinuated that I have an unsatisfactory love life. Actually he said something like, “Severus you should find yourself a nice, patient, not-too-goodlooking person to settle down with and give up this petty nonsense. You may do whatever you like with my socks.” Then he gave me an eye-twinkling smile, put me in a full body bind and threw me (quite literally) out of his office. He’s got hefty arms for an old worm in a pointy hat.
Cocky old man. I hope his eyes twinkle out of his sockets. I spent the rest of the evening burning most of his socks in my fire. It left an awful smell. Eventually I realized that I should stop, so I took the remaining socks and hid them on the forbidden third floor. I cleverly figured that Dumbledore would never look there, since he knew that “Fluffy” was after his blood since he had stolen its tambourine.
Ha. I am almost smiling. . .but not quite, mind you.
Chapter 2: First Lesson and Ferreting
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I blissfully ignored my Potter Problem for three lovely days (to myself, though, I secretly called it my furry little problem). Three lovely, poetic, amorous days until September the 4th when the little First Year Gryffindors paraded themselves into my dungeon like there was no tomorrow.
I gave a stunning speech, naturally. I copied it down afterwards to use in following years (performed to its ultimate perfection in September 1995 when the impeccable diction, the dramatic pauses, and of course a slight baring of teeth culminated in the peak of my career, and drew actual tears from several students). Of course the speech itself was first-rate crap. Who do you know that can brew glory?
Although I do sometimes feel quite glorious while brewing potions. If one sets the proper dark atmosphere with a proportionate amount of billowing steam and explosions, one is reminded of the wizards of old who intoxicated themselves and danced around naked bellowing complex (half-nonsense) incantations in rioting thunderstorms. It is quite inspiring. The last time I did it, however (felt glorious while brewing a potion, of course, not frolicking about in lightening storms), I was inspired to strike a menacing pose upon which McGonagall burst in with some small complaint or another (for regarding herself as Cat Woman, she has a lot of minor, old-lady health problems). Well, when she saw me, she wet herself laughing at my imposing stature (and I mean literally urinated on herself—another lovely smell to pervade my dungeon). She remained on the floor in convulsions for approximately 25 minutes. I tried to convince myself that she was so impressed by my pose and grace that it was unbearable to the old hag, but when she began to sob in laughter so that there were small puddles on my floor, I had to admit the truth. I was obliged to throw her outside into the hall in a blubbering heap. It’s really ridiculous how little privacy one gets around here, even when the students aren’t around.
Following this of course, she took to barging in on me at the most unexpected moments, like it was some sort of game. I took to dressing and undressing crouched behind my bed, as a precaution. She gave me quite a turn once when I was ferreting around on the floor (pretending to be a ferret, obviously—it’s an excellent stress reliever) and she stormed in like a wild boar on steroids. I had to say I was searching for my eyeglasses.
“You don’t have eyeglasses,” she said like the insolent, disagreeable thing she is.
I replied, with the greatest dignity for someone in ferret-pose on the floor, “For a lady of your stature, Minerva, you should comprehend the secret lives of secretive, er. . .secrets. But now I will divulge to you and only you a great mystery of the mind which is: I have eyeglasses!. . .and they are somewhere. They cannot be with us right now as they are on a secret mission of their own.”
I thought I had handled the whole thing prodigiously well, but her look told me that she knew I had no clue what I was talking about, probably because I didn’t have any clue what I was talking about.
She then said, “Severus, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else has any clue what you are talking about.”
“Ha!” I said, still in ferret-pose, “That’s just because no one else can hear us!”
She rolled her eyes and swished out of the room. How dare she swish out my room when no one invited her in the first place?
Miserable old earthworm.
But I’ve lost myself in reminiscences of better, golden days. I was talking about those ridiculous little First Years. . .
I also told them that I could teach them to “stopper death.” Heh. And they swallowed every word of it. I just hope none of them are smart enough to ask me how in their seventh year, because I will undoubtedly gape at them and look thoroughly stupid. Hah! Stopper death. . .If stoppering death were possible, the Dark Lord would have been alive and hopping at that point. . .and probably salsa dancing, too. The closest I’ve come to stoppering death is the anti-depression potion. After all, depression is the leading cause of suicides. What an intelligent sentence.
Anyway, then I took a point away from Potter. I forget why. I should have taken more, but it was funny to see him look mortified, thinking that one point was a real tragedy and that I was being an evil bastard. Then a complete ninny, Neville Longbottom (son of Alice and Frank, bless their souls, but without the talent) managed to explode the simplest potion in Wizarding History.
So I, naturally, took another point from Potter.
Chapter 3: The Painters Are In
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The most shameful day of my life reared its ugly head four pathetic days later. As a direct consequence, I barricaded myself into a broom cupboard and resolved never leave until I was legally and spiritually dead. I would become a broom cupboard hermit crab. I would be a legend at Hogwarts. In fifty years First Years would skitter past the door nervously, knowing that something inside it was alive. The Seventh Years would dare each other to open the door or peek through the keyhole, but none of them, not even the dumbest Gryffindor, would have the nerve. Filch would suffer a sudden death because he would never see some of his smelly brooms and mops again…And I, I would wither inside that sad, dank, dark, misty, uncomfortable place, until I forgot the horrors of Tuesday, September the Eighth.
In retrospect, perhaps, it seems a bit dramatic.
See, here’s what happened: I was working on next week’s lesson plan for my sixth year Hufflepuffs, and deciding whether to make them drink their own potion or their neighbor’s, when a truly useless Third Year Ravenclaw approached my desk.
“Yes?” I said sharply. I always try to be as sharp as possible. It is very soothing.
“May I go to the bathroom, Professor?” she asked. She looked nervous. I knew she was up to something. They are always up to something.
“No,” I said, “You can wait until the end of class.”
“Please, Professor!” she said, and then she leaned in really close and whispered desperately, “The painters are in.”
Well, I looked handsomely boggled for a moment, and then realized what she meant.
“Well, class,” I said, “Miss Price here has just asked me an interesting question. She asked if she could leave class because the painters are in.” At this point everyone looked sort of shocked, though I didn’t know why. I turned to Price, “I don’t know why there are any painters at Hogwarts, Miss Price, but I suppose you could tell the class what you are going to do with these painters? Snog them, I suppose?”
Some of the class began to laugh, at my wit, I presumed. Price looked mortified, as one could imagine, but then she took me by surprise by running out of the room sobbing, like she had nothing better to do or something. The class, especially those intolerable Weasley twins, continued to laugh as if they had never heard anything so funny, while I marked Miss Price down for cutting class. I kept an amused half-smile on my face, not wanting to make them think I was turning into a nice, witty sort of guy. I am not a nice, witty sort of guy. Once I remembered that, I yelled:
“That’s enough! It was not that funny!”
Somehow, that only made them laugh harder, which was when I began to get suspicions. However, I did not completely understand my mistake until McGonagall barged in on me an hour later.
As I have said before, she is always barging in on me, so this was nothing special, though it was slightly embarrassing as I was singing along to some American bloke’s song called “Werewolves of London” that I was getting on WWN (Wizarding Wireless Network). By the time she had entered, I was very into it and was on a particularly nice “Awooooooo!” with my head thrown back and arms spread out. I may have been dancing as well (possibly Irish), but I prefer not to think about it.
She, being her insufferable self, had to take a few minutes to get over that (laughing unprofessionally hard and occasionally banging her head against the wall) before she got to her point.
“Severus,” she said, as if we were on first name terms, “I am here to teach you the facts of life.”
It went downhill from there.
Apparently that nitwit, Fanny Price, had gone running to McGonagall when she left my class. Why couldn’t she have gone to her own head of house?...though now that I think of it, Flitwick is not the one I choose to confess my girlie problems to either…
How was I supposed to understand female slang? How should I know that when “the painters are in” they are not actually painting portraits or walls, but flowing out someone’s nether regions? Urgh. No one will ever here me use those terms ever again.
Before McGonagall could educate me on the finer points of reproduction, I stunned her, put her in a full body bind and tried to carry her to her office. Unfortunately, her apparent frailness has no correlation with her weight. I would say that 302 kilos is not a bad estimate. As I passed through the halls, many students stared at me like they had nothing better to do except stand still all day staring at innocent professors carrying around their colleagues. And not one of them offered to help me either.
“What?” I shouted (rather feebly because I was panting so hard), “There is nothing to see here! Go on with your lives! Move along!”
They continued to stare however (they never were the brightest of things), so I forced the old hag onto two of them and panted back to the dungeons. Only then did I realize that I forgot to modify the mad woman’s memory.
I sat in my office the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself and then went into to dinner late, hoping that most everyone might have left by then (I knew that half the school would know what had happened by that time). Sadly, however, when I entered, nearly everyone was there, and more than half the students and all of the staff turned to stare at me. Most of them were smiling. Dumbledore was twinkling his eyes. I turned around abruptly when some of the students began to giggle and pretended I had lost something.
“Oh no,” I said, “I have lost my…” for some reason avocado was the only word that could come to mind. I thought very quickly and finished, “orange! Oh dear. I must find it.”
I don’t pretend to have good acting skills, but I must say that I think I handled that very nicely, considering. So then I left, looking for my orange, obviously, and then barricaded myself in the cupboard, never to come out again.
To make matters worse, something soon began knocking and shuffling about outside the door.
“Professor Snape-y!” someone said, in a horribly sweet, singsong voice “It’s time to come out now! I have some cheese for you!”
That is my life.
Chapter 4: Shoe Shoppin' Snape
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Nothing is so bad for the nerves as this school, I can tell you. I need a 20-hour sleep and a new life. Perhaps one with a garden and pet peacocks.
In addition to all my regular pain and toil, Shoe Shopping Day came, like a smack on the bottom, a few days after the start of term. I was hoping to avoid it for a few more decades, but Dumbledore made a comment about my old shoes that I simply could not bear.
He said that they were just his style. And he was right, which, as you can imagine, made me strangely willing to take my own life.
You see, it’s a very hard job finding shoes to fit my image. I can still remember the look on McGonagall’s face when she saw me sweeping down the hall in bright white trainers. I thought that the person she had been talking to (Dumbledore) had just made a very good joke, and you can imagine what pleasure she took in correcting me.
“What is so funny?” I snapped, never one to miss a good joke.
“Your—feet,” she wheezed, before falling over and knocking over a suit of armor, which then began to chase her in circles. Still, much as that spectacle amused me, the insult to my footwear would not be erased.
You know, now I realize, in retrospect that it was impossible for Dumbledore to have made a good joke. The funniest thing he has ever done was unintentional. It was about five years ago, when he tripped and slid down to my dungeon door, shouting all kinds of amusing profanities (the floor slants downwards). It was actually the Third Favorite Moment of My Lifetime when he tried to get up again, but his feet came right out from under him and he fell back on his rear. I have never laughed so hard. And never will again.
But anyhow, my next pair of shoes I believe were those sort of sensible sandals with the Velcro strap round the back that let me feel the wind through my toes. Those, however, got a similar reaction from the sanity-challenged members of our staff (Sprout and McGonagall, who are never particularly friends until it comes to laughing at me. It is truly demoralizing to be laughed at by two old hags, one of whose name matches her profession, which is so naff that it borders on criminal). So the sandals as well were retired to the Closet of No Return, which also holds old eighties outfits and the stick-on moustache that I used to be so fond of.
Then, for nearly six months last year I was able to get along barefoot, making sure only to wear my extra-long robes. It was very painful (walking to Hogsmeade—in the snow. That would not agree with anyone.).
But then came the Noodle Incident, which is another fiasco that I will never disclose to even this most secretive Account of my Life. The Noodle Incident will go with me to the grave. In any case, Dumbledore/McGonagall (because sometimes they sound so similarly irritating that they may as well just be the same person) and I had a row, so I stormed out of Old Dumb’s office in a very billowy-imposing way, sporting the pissed-off look to end all pissed-off looks. Unfortunately, the billowing got a little out of hand, exposing my bare (but perfectly pedicured) feet. Dumbledore yelled something completely ridiculous and off-topic about a dress code, and McGonagall just gasped. Many times. I thought she might have been dying, so I whipped around expectantly, but I was mistaken. She was merely expressing shock. How dare she express shock in so ambiguous a manner?
Well, as you can imagine, this only made me angrier, so I kicked the wall (breaking two toes, as I later found out), and limped off to the Hospital Wing, which sort of ruined the dramatic affect.
Still, I was not inclined to put on shoes until two weeks later when I overheard Minerva and Professor Sinistra speaking.
“They were just so sexy,” said Minerva, which in itself made me trip over myself and fall to the ground with a severe stomachache.
“His feet?” asked Sinistra. I gagged. Quietly.
“Yes—oh, I can’t explain it. It’s very silly of me, but I’ve never seen better feet.”
Sinistra paused, probably to throw up, as I was ready to do.
“Sorry, but Severus Snape? Sexy feet?” She paused again, while I went into spasms, “I guess I’ll just have to see them for myself.”
And ran, but of course in a non-feet-exposing way, which I imagine made me look like a skittish duck, which is why I never imagine for long.
Ever since then I had covered every inch of foot with a high-heeled, black, silver-buckled boot. Most unfortunately so did Dumbledore, so naturally upon notice of this I was forced to skitter off in between classes to that God-forsaken shoe store. I remain amazed it didn’t take my life.
The dashing dress shoes that I acquired from the experience, however, are well worth mentioning. The number of blisters I acquired, immaterial.
Chapter 5: Quidditch, Quirrel, and Quarrels
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On Friday, September the Twelfth I determined to never speak to anyone ever again. Especially not certain people who make up rules and then let other certain people break them, just so that other certain people (who the first certain person happens to be in love with) can get on the Quidditch team, even if it is against all the regulations in the world. But no, we all bow down to certain Gryffindor idiot Potters because no one seems to think straight except for those who live in dungeons.
I could scream. Actually, I did scream. The second I heard, I flew into Dumbledore’s office with the speed of a drunken missionary, spluttering and squawking in the way that only Dumbledore would understand.
“Severus,” he said, acting like he was a good, old mate (he is not), “I understand that you are upset about Harry.”
You see, Dumbledore likes to pretend that he can read minds. I bet he just keeps a list of all the things that he knows make me want to kill him, so that whenever I swoop down upon him, he can take it out, choose the most likely item, and then think that I think that he is reading my mind, which makes him feel really intelligent. (He is not.)
“But you must understand,” he continued, “that Minerva was desperate. I am quite sure that I’d bend the rules in the same way for you.”
I just gaped attractively for a moment and then gave my Die-You-Fiend Glare (with a slight baring of teeth), before storming out of the room. I refuse to converse with people who talk out of their arses. Then I decided that I could not let him off so easily, so back I ran to tell him how I felt. But again, I just couldn’t stand his voice. It kept talking. And it was talking total codswallop, too. So out I went again within moments.
This back-and-forth continued for a full ten minutes, until I collapsed against the wall across from those dumb gargoyles that guard his office. I never was a good endurance runner. Then that’s when I realized that even though I was no longer in his office, he was still talking to me. I could hear it through the wal,l and I was not going to stand for it.
“SHUT UP!” I yelled. A pair of seventh years were walking by, and that perked them up, let me tell you. One of them jumped out a nearby window, and the other pitched her books into the air so high that they slammed into the ceiling, and then ran. Unfortunately for her, she tripped over nothing at all and fell right on top of me, which would have been uncomfortable enough if I was not her professor.
I pretended not to notice (a difficult thing when someone is smack on top of you), and just kept yelling at the old bearded man, “YOU’RE STILL TALKING YOU OLD FART! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LALALALALAAAAAALA!” The unfortunate Seventh Year Girl was wise enough to flee, “YOU GREAT, GREEN, GIANT, POTTER-LOVING, UNRECOGNIZABLE TALKING-FOOL! EAT YOUR WORDY WORDING WORDS, SEE IF I CARE! YOUR SOCKS SMELL LIKE QUIRREL ANYWAY AND NOBODY LIKES LEMON DROPS! WRINKLY LIMA BEAN!”
You know what? I think I will stop there. You see, sometimes something so witty in retrospect can seem like waffle, but I’m sure that in context ...Yes, I’m sure. Yes.
From now on I should just ignore myself, and not listen to or comprehend a word that I say. It would make life so much easier.
But in any case, Dumbledore’s favouritism has reached an all-time high. If I hadn’t already known for a fact that his last lover (urggggggghhhhhhhhhh) was a woman named Norma Jean “El Dicionario” Who, then I would think that there was something between him and McGonagall. I would tease him about it if it didn’t give me a distinct nauseous feeling thinking of anyone snogging either of those old bags. In that respect, they go very well together.
Still. Lima bean? It’s hard to believe that I, Master of Wit, could have said that. One would think that someone or other could have smote me down with a lightening bolt, as a favor, before I let that leave my mouth.
And this Quidditch thing was not the only thing I had to annoy me at the time. “Professor” Quirrel had now taken to stalking me. No, I am not joking. He followed me around like a bobbing piece of nothingness in a turban. And he began asking me dubious questions.
For example, he asked, “So, Severus, what was your l-line of work before H-hogwarts?”
This, as I'm sure you realize, is a thoroughly stupid question. Everyone knows what I did. I murdered innocent civilians. So I decided to have a private joke with myself and said:
“Oh, I was the Ministerial Dentist. That’s why it made so much sense for me to become a potions teacher. Because, you know, dentistry and potions are very closely linked.”
“Really,” Quirrel said. He looked exquisitely irritated, and he was doing a very bad job of hiding it. I’ve never seen him angry before, because he always quivers so much that it makes me twitch to look him right in the face because of all that moving around. He had forgotten his quiver, though, so I could observe very accurately that he is ugly. That fact rather distracted me, so I wasn’t quite paying attention when he said, “I had thought, for some reason, that you worked for V-v-v-v-vvv-vvvvvvv-v-v-v-v-vvvvv-vo-vo-vv-v-vo-vo—”
He went into some sort of spasm and purple electrical-looking shocks—I swear—began to come from his turban. It looked very painful, but I couldn’t be bothered helping him. First of all, I was too busy laughing at him to do anything else and secondly because I didn’t feel like finishing the conversation. Discussing the finer points of all my moral failings with Quirrel would have been the end of me.
So that’s the way I left him, a heap of turbaned nothingness, writhing from the electrical shocks emitted from his own turban. I wondered if that turban was of his own design, to stop him from ever saying the Dark Lord’s name if he ever felt tempted. I thought it strange though, that he would shock himself. But it was also very convenient. It saved me the trouble of doing it myself.
Chapter 6: The Fluffy Halloween Fiasco
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The next eventful event of my life occurred on Halloween. All events previous were neither interesting nor conducive to my mental health if I have to relive now them by writing them down. I make a point never to be in a good mood, but in this particular year there was absolutely no risk of that, with Potter there as an exact replica of his father and McGonagall being all stroppy with me ever since I Stunned her. If we weren’t both mature, sensible adults, I’m quite sure we would have been hurling Dungbombs at each other in between classes…Well, actually, to be honest, we were. I hadn’t been able to hit her yet and she’d never even come close to me, but it drove Filch crazy. He thought the students were conspiring against him. I don’t think he slept.
Once, I was stalking around the castle looking for students out of bed when he started chasing me with a mop. He looked sensationally dotty, with his eyes nearly popping out and his hair sticking up in all sorts of odd ways, brandishing a dirty old mop like it was a spear. I was swatted seven times before he noticed that he was attacking a professor. And then he didn’t even apologize, he just sort of slumped against the wall and fell asleep, which was fortunate as it didn’t give him time to notice that my pockets and socks were bulging with Dungbombs, in case I ran into McGonagall. Poor man. I would feel sorry for him if I didn’t have a reputation to uphold.
But anyway, about Halloween. Everything was averagely unpleasant until the feast. I was taking a sip of pumpkin juice, feeling rather elated that Quirrel had chosen not to show up and irritate me, when the doors to the Great Hall slammed open. Flitwick, who is very excitable, was so startled that he leapt into my lap, somehow managing to knock my hand so that the entire glass of pumpkin juice was dumped right over my head. So not only was I sticky and wet, but I also had my male, elderly colleague in my lap. The whole thing was sensationally awkward for the both of us. I pretended to be paying attention to the fool Quirrel was making of himself while Flitwick removed himself with a lot of embarrassed mumblings.
Yes, it was Quirrel who had banged the doors. He flew in looking dramatically terrified; acting as if anyone actually cared that something had scared him. He ran too fast, however, and he careened into the Staff Table before he could stop, making all our drinks spill all over the place. Or mine would have spilled if it hadn’t been dripping down my robes already.
Anyway, then he said, “Troll—in the dungeons—thought you ought to know.” Then he sank to the floor in a faint. It’s not very reassuring when the school’s Defense teacher goes fainting all over the place at the first hint of danger. I stopped only to mention that to Dumbledore before springing into action.
I heard Flitwick say, “A troll? Why—and how—did a troll get in?”
Well, I knew exactly why. Dumbledore. It was the troll he had set to guard his fuzzy socks. The fuzzy socks that I had stolen. Dumbledore had sent the thing out when he knew we were all at the feast. He sent it to the dungeons, but I was too clever for him. As far as I knew, the socks were still on the third floor with Fluffy. Still, while trolls are dumb, they have a very keen sense of smell…and Dumbledore’s socks are quite easy to smell, I promise you.
So while Dumbledore was calming everyone down, I slipped out the side door. I walked briskly to the third floor, worried about “Fluffy” and what I would do if the troll had beaten me to the socks. I knew that I would not set my hostages free until I got the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, but I could hardly fight a troll and a mutated dog at the same time.
Well, it turns out that I didn’t need to worry about the troll. The dog was too much for me to handle anyway.
The door was closed and the troll was nowhere in sight. I unlocked the door and entered—slowly and cautiously. Fluffy was curled up over the trap door and I could see the pile of socks in the corner. One of Fluffy’s heads rose up and eyed me. I paused, but he/she/it didn’t make a move, so I crept along, pressed against the wall towards the socks. Fluffy began to growl then, so I burst into song.
“And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-ee-IIIIIIIIIIIII will always love you-oooooooooooooooooo. And III—“
I am ashamed to admit that before I could even finish the chorus, Fluffy lost it. She leapt up and snapped at me, but I dodged her, grabbed some socks, and ran for the door, shooting random spells as I went. Still, it was doomed. She has three mouths. Three. So just as my hand was on the door handle, she bit me pretty badly on the leg. I’ll probably have the scars for the rest of my life.
Now would also be a good time to explain why I would burst into song in the heat of battle. You see, Hagrid is the one who takes care of Fluffy and he should really be the only one who knows how to calm her, but, you see, Hagrid is also very fond of drink. Whenever he gets drunk (which is not seldom, mind you) he tells at least five people how to tame Fluffy. I don’t know why he does it. He just does. So every once in a while he’ll come and bang down the dungeon door, all tipsy and smelling of mead.
“Severus,” he says, “I have a three headed dog. Ever seen one o’ those? Aren’t you interested to know how to tame ‘em?"
“No,” I will usually reply good-naturedly. But he always says anyway. Sometimes I wonder what the point of me ever talking is. No one ever bothers listening no matter how brilliant I am.
“Well, you just play a bit o’ music and he falls right to sleep, that’s all you does!” And then he slaps me on the back (which feels a bit like getting hit by a train) and toddles off, weaving about and crashing into things and such, off to find the next person to tell. It’s a strange habit, I admit, but I thought it would come in handy. Apparently I was wrong.
I think I need to work on my singing.
So anyway, I had just run out the door with five pairs of socks in my hand and blood running down my leg when Quirrel crashed into me. I don’t know what his problem is with walking like a normal person. He went into a sort of nervous spasm. He’s another fellow who’s rather too excitable for his own good.
“Severus!” he squeaked, and then cleared his throat and then said in a normal octave, “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask the same of you, Quirrel. I suppose you’re running away from the troll? Not a very good quality in a Defense teacher, don’t you think?”
Well by that time he had almost recovered himself so he said, “Not at all, I was looking for the thing, s-same as you, I assume.”
“Ri—right,” I said, thankful he had made an excuse for me. I was in no state to think one up for myself. He was eying the socks so I quickly shoved them in the mouth of nearby gargoyle (which then spat them right back at me, cursing and carrying on) and said, “Those students, always leaving their things around. . .losing their socks all over the place. You know.”
He very clearly didn’t know, but he didn’t seem to mind so we set off to look for that blasted troll that caused all the trouble in the first place. We ran into McGonagall, who was looking very disheveled with her hair flying about and all, pretending that she actually cared for the students’ safety. She said she had heard screams from the girl’s bathroom, and Quirrel said that he had thought so too, though I personally believe that Quirrel was just saying that so he could get the chance to go into a girl’s bathroom, as he had been with me all the time and never mentioned any screams.
Well, anyway, then we heard this great thud from the bathroom’s direction so we began to run. Or rather McGonagall began to run and we had to follow so that we could prove we were good teachers too. My run was more of a wincing limp/pirouette because of my injury. I’m rather good at handling pain, but the bite was deep and messy.
When we arrived at the bathroom (panting like a bunch of old hippos—really, the school should offer some sort of fitness program so we teachers don’t have to embarrass ourselves like that whenever there’s an emergency), the troll was already knocked out and laying on the ground, if you’ll believe it. Quirrel almost pissed his pants of fright and he ran over to sit on a toilet just in case. He was pretending that he just needed to sit down out of shock, but I wasn’t fooled.
But then we turn, and guess who is standing there. You will never guess. It is too much of an outrage to ever guess. Even when I tell you his name you will still not be able to guess, it is so shockingly infuriating. Harry Potter. I gaped for only a second. I was going to start screaming, but McGonagall beat me to it, which was rather lucky as I’m quite sure what was about to come out of mouth was not exactly…child friendly.
The children stammered for a while (he was with his two little friends, a smarty pants and a ginger-nob. (I at that moment resolved to never learn their names, just to spite them). Finally the smarty-pants confessed that she went looking for the troll and the two boys came to save her. Potter’s ego almost hit the ceiling when she said that, but I think I was the only one who noticed. I could see it sort of growing and bulging until it suffocated everything around it, but when I mentioned that to McGonagall later she looked at me as if I was quite mad and then hurled a rock at me.
The worst part about it all, though, was that for most of smarty-pant’s confession, Potter, I am quite certain, was ogling my feet. McGonagall has been spreading rumors about them even to the children! I very pointedly whipped my robes in front of them and sneered at him. Having sexy feet is such a burden…Though, now that I think of it, it’s quite possible that Potter was only noticing the blood running down my leg…but I doubt it.
The end result was that Gryffindor was awarded five points. I’m pretty sure that McGonagall only did so few points so that I wouldn’t explode. She was sort of eyeing me nervously the entire time; I think I must have looked exceptionally sour. Then after the students left, I yelled:
“Last one out has to clean up the troll!” and McGonagall and I ran like rhinoceroses, pushing and shoving and grunting out the door while Quirrel blinked stupidly at us. I don’t know how he ever managed to get it out and I’m not bothering to ask. He might start to think I am actually interested in his life, which would be an irreversible tragedy.
I will finish with these closing words:
I hate Harry Potter.
A/N—Um, I committed a sort of sin this chapter. I mixed the movie and book worlds. I know that Harry doesn’t notice Snape’s leg until later on (in the book), but I couldn’t resist Snape thinking Harry was interested in his feet…Hope you’ll forgive me!
Chapter 7: This Snape is Bananas
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The year finally got into the swing of things and I was bogged down by endless work. Grading papers and such. Sometimes I forgot why I took that job, but then I remembered that I loved…or at least I enjoyed…well, I had an inclination for…it was necessary that…well, nevermind. No, I really had no good reason at all to remain there. I hated children, I hated colleagues of any kind, I hated castles, I hated breath mints, I hated potions, I hated education, and I especially hated tapestries. I did love the color black, though. That is something…I’m not quite sure where that fits in, but I’m sure I’ll find its pertinence eventually.
My job dissatisfaction did not, however, interfere with my ability to do my work. I faithfully glared at students, made inspirationally sarcastic comments about their handiwork, and confiscated weapons. Like quills, for example. The students had the nerve to protest. They said:
“But professor, we’re merely taking notes!”
“How am I supposed to finish this assignment without a quill?”
“Quills are allowed, you know!”
“Yeah, we need them, I’m sure you understand.” Blahblahblah. Excuses excuses. Those impertinent little fools. They all deserved years of detention. Dangerous weapons, quills. Who was it that said the pen is mightier than the sword? No matter. It’s very true.
After my success with quills, I moved on to hats. I crept up behind and snatched hats off of those foolish enough to wear them. It was quite amusing. I would hide the stolen hat behind my back very quickly and they would whip around and see me there. Not one had the nerve to accuse their professor of stealing a hat, so they all blamed their friends, whom I would then give detention for stealing. Quite an entertaining game, I must say, and all of my own invention. A professor must have some educational way to amuse himself.
Unfortunately, I was on my sixth hat when a Hufflepuff named Billia Shee said, in one of those loud and obnoxious voices, “Professor Snape, why did you take his hat?” Just as she said that, the boy whose hat I’d stolen looked up at me, with the hat still in my hand. The surrounding group of students turned to stare, as if professors stealing student’s hats was something unusual and interesting.
Luckily, I had the presence of mind to get out of the situation. I bore down on the boy and said, “How dare you wear a hat in this school?”
“But Professor—“ he (Dean Thomas, a thoroughly stupid First Year Gryffindor) said.
“It’s the dress code, Professor!” said his friend, “They make us buy them before term starts! Besides, you’re wearing one, too.”
I ignored her and went on, “Outright promiscuity! Indecency! Direct and intentional disobedience! I don’t think you can even comprehend the gravity of your situation—“
“It’s a hat Professor!” Thomas said, “There’s nothing promiscuous about it. I don’t know what you’re—“ Unfortunately, at that moment five hats fell out of my sleeves with a great thump onto the floor. Everyone just stared at me. I stared back. It could have gone on forever, I tell you. Just staring, staring…staring…staring…About a half an hour later I moved to sweep dignifiedly out of the hall when the dungbombs I had been saving for McGonagall fell out of my socks and bounced around the students’ feet. I continued to glare around at them severely as I crawled around the floor and tucked every last dungbomb back into my socks. No point in just leaving them there. The students began to gape at each other. I heard one say, “Is this really happening?” And the other replied, “Highly unlikely.”
I then stood up, still with the utmost dignity and severity, took a sweeping bow, turned on my heels, and ran. Sadly, just before I turned the corner my hat flew off and the three peaches and a banana that I had been saving from breakfast stumbled out. I retrieved my hat, trying to look casual, but I glanced back and there was still a gaggle of students, looking like the possessed, just sort of ogling me. As if they didn’t have lives of their own, which, now that I think of it, is probably true.
That fiasco put me in a rather foul mood, so I limped around the castle looking for guilty faces when, wouldn’t you know it, I spotted three simpering little Gryffindors...well they weren’t simpering, really. It’s just the word simpering has this wonderful negative ring to it; I can hardly resist using it now and again. But in any case, I marched right up to those foul creatures (because it was Potter, Weasley, and Granger, of course) and confiscated Potter’s library book. It was Quidditch Through the Ages. Just because he’s going to be Seeking at that stupid game tomorrow doesn’t mean he can just waltz around with any old Quidditch book. The nerve.
Even worse, during class that day he did not for one moment look away from my feet. The little pervert. I am very seldom creeped out, but his obsession with them is getting to be a little much for my nerves. I think I have figured out a way to walk without letting my shoes poke out from under my robes, but I’ll have to wait until my limp goes away to try it out.
Oh yes, and I had to meet Harry one final time before the day was out. He decided to spy on the Staff Room. Filch and I were attempting to change my bandages (and failing, but I don’t want to go to Madam Pomfrey until it has been confirmed by at least three sources that she is not madly in love with me), when I saw these little eyes peeping through the door looking at my feet. I dropped my robes quickly. He tried to shut the door when he saw me.
“POTTER!” I yelled, though I didn’t actually know it was him yet. I just figured that first of all he is the only student I know who is obsessed with my feet and secondly, it is a safe bet that the only nosy idiot who would go poking around the teachers lounge and then have the ability to get caught would be descended from James Potter. Turns out I was right. He tried to mumble some excuse or something, but I couldn’t hear because I was too busy yelling, “GET OUT! OOOOOUT!”
He was just lucky I was in a good mood.
Chapter 8: Composure, Curses, and, of course, Conniptions
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Big, important things were happening in the world of Hogwarts, but really quickly I must get the most awkward moment of my life off my chest:
I was in a rather foul mood (and by rather I mean INSANELY), the cause of which I will explain later, so I was stalking about the castle (which involves a quick, angry walk and the occasional prance-and-leap combo plus imposing eyebrows) when I stalked right into a suit of armor. It promptly picked me up over its head, spun me in a circle, and threw me into a nearby classroom. This, believe it or not, was not the embarrassing part. That came when I stood up, straightened myself out, and turned around. And there was McGonagall. In a pale pink leotard. Doing a headstand.
"Oh! Excuse me..." she said, but she stayed upside down, with an almost serene expression on her face.
I went into shock. I swear to you. I didn't know what to do, which is just great because I always know what to do. Always. Until now. At worst I could have at least burst out laughing. Jesus Jiminy Christ, the old bag's taken up gymnastics and I can't even come up with a chuckle. I just gaped for a second, but she couldn't see me because she had already closed her eyes in a sort of headstand-trance.
"Ah..." I stuttered (and under normal circumstances it is impossible to stutter over the word "Ah").
"I--hmm. Ah...muck," I said slowly, so she could understand me, "Hem! That's right there, well...yes. There."
She then opened her eyes very slowly and looked at me--but not at my face. At my feet. Yes, the feet thing again. And yet I still couldn't do anything. I believe I said, "Cah!" rather loudly and then tripped over what I would love to say was my own foot, but in all honesty was absolutely nothing. I wasn't even walking. How do you trip when you aren't moving? Pure talent, I suppose.
So I said to myself in my head, "Composure, Severus, composure. Composure, composure, composure."
It almost worked, too. I turned to her, stuck my nose up, and said, "Com-pose-ure." And walked out.
But just before the door shut, she called, "Severus!"
I stuck my head back in. I should have just run. Why didn't I just run?
"You have toilet paper on your shoe."
Then I ran, but only until the next hallway where I checked my shoe and, sure enough, this was not just toilet paper, this was an entire roll. It had been trailing me along all day apparently, because as I looked around I saw it running down the hall and turning corners and crisscrossing everywhere. I shook it off (which took a full ten minutes) and stormed back to my dungeon. No more stalking for me.
Oh, right. Well that same day was the first Quidditch game--and of course it just had to be Slytherin versus Gryffindor. You see, normally I despise sports and those who play them, but I make a special point about Slytherin Quidditch. We have a name to uphold that goes much farther than Quidditch, but at the same time includes it, and so of course we'd better win if Dumbledore doesn't want me in conniptions for eternity. So I always show up to the game against my deeper wishes.
I knew this game would be particularly painful because Potter was playing--as Seeker. I had no idea how bad it would really be, but I prepared something to amuse myself just in case. I charmed a box to throw peanuts at him and set it in the stands the night before (after Filch let me out when I threatened to stop brewing him that excellent face cleanser I invented).
It worked the first part of the game (though I'm not sure he noticed--thick as he is. Next time I'll try throwing giraffes and see if that perks him up a bit.). But then the funniest thing happened. I was looking through my binoculars (to see if the peanuts were hitting, of course--as if I would honestly follow the plays of a Quidditch game) and I noticed that all the peanuts that were already in the air seemed to be having seizures. They were all whizzing around and lurching and looping. Along with everything else in that area--including Harry.
I looked around me and no one else seemed to be noticing. I knew it was a Mobili Curse, I could tell from the way the peanuts were moving and how it targeted a whole area. So then, I am ashamed to admit, I began to chant the counter curse. I don't really know why I did it, but I maintain that it was to save the peanuts.
Also, I could see Quirrel in the row above me trying to counter it as well, and failing miserably. With every word he said, Harry seemed to lurch even more. That incompetent mess of an ugly purple turban. I had no idea how he got that job, but I had a pretty good idea of how he would lose it. One day he'd be too scared and quivery to leave his bed and Dumbledore would have to fire him and make ME the Defense teacher, and make ME Deputy Headmistress, and make ME King of the World!...
I mentioned this offhandedly to Dumbledore sometime before I made a fool of myself in front of McGonagall. He was actually the root of all my angry stalking.
"Dumbledore!" I had said as I barged into his office. Well actually I had been hiding in his cabinet, sitting in his Pensieve (hoping that sitting there wouldn't forever give him a memory of my rear), and I jumped out at him at the exact moment when I knew he was just relaxing in his chair taking a sip of tea (which we all know is actually gin in a teacup). He spluttered it all over the place and made quite a scene. He's very gifted at calling up amusing profanities at the spur of the moment. Unfortunately he also has very good reflexes, so while he spluttered and carried on, he managed to put me in a killer body bind.
"What do you WANT Severus?" he spat (literally).
"Mm-hmmhmm. Mmm mhhmmm hmm hmmummhmm. Frmmummhmm--" He took me out of the body bind, "I saved Potter and Quirrel couldn't even do it and why haven't you fired him?"
"Ahhh, Seeeveeerrrrrrussss..." he has this habit of elongating words at only the most annoying times possible, "Whhhhy do you thinnnk you saaaved Hhhharrrry?"
"Peanuts!" I screamed, "And don't you try to make anything else out of it!--"
"And would you cut that out?"
"That's better. I didn't come here to listen to your rubbish. I came here to prove a point." And believe it or not, he actually listened. Probably because he had never heard me make that much sense before, "Today at the Quidditch game, both Quirrel and I were trying to save Harry, but when I did it the broom steadied and when he did it, the broom went nuts. If he can't even defend a single student then why does he get that job when I, being perfectly competent, have never been allowed it?"
"Stop it!" I squeaked.
"Oh, right, sorry." He cleared his throat, "Ah, Severus, perhaps there was only one of you who was trying to save the boy..."
"I was trying to save him Professor! Maybe I don't like him, but there are times that you have to push aside grudges if you want the peanuts to fly and no one to die--Hey! That rhymes!" I believe I giggled, but I prefer not to think about it. You see, I can handle many things, but alcohol is not one of them and I can't deny that I had visited Trelawney's "secret" stash before I went to the Headmaster.
But anyway, Dumbledore continued on, "Yes, you did save Harry, but did Quirrel?"
"No! That's what I'm trying to tell you! He's useless!"
"Useless to who?"
"Maybe he is being useful to someone else."
"By being incompetent."
"At the game!"
"I don't know!"
And then silence. I had a lot to think about.
"Headmaster?" I said about a minute later.
"I still don't get it."
"Ahhhhhh, well. Perhaps this is something I'll have to let you figure out on your own," he said. I hate it when he does that. So cryptic, and who does it help? No one. All this self-discovery stuff is so overrated. Why don't you tell me the ending before it happens so I don't have to be so surprised that I wet myself?
"But why can't you--" I began, but was cut off when the trapdoor beneath me opened and I fell eleven stories down to my dungeon. Ever since Dumbledore discovered that his rooms were right above mine, he'd been getting enourmous blooming enjoyment out of listening to my screams. I think it made him feel like he had a purpose in life (which he didn’t).
So that's when I changed my robes and went out stalking. I had to change my robes because someone set me on fire during the Quidditch game. And even then I was still able to save Potter. I was almost at the end of the incantation when I smelled the smoke, so I finished quickly and then stamped it out, but not quickly enough to save my robes.
It really was an eventful day.
I refuse to talk about the end of the Quidditch game lest I start blaming myself for how it turned out. If anyone had ever found out that I helped the boy who won the game, I would never have heard the end of it! The students gladly would have lynched me! I would have been outcast for life! I would never have been able to come back to the school ever again...
Actually, none of those things are sounding very bad at this moment.
Chapter 9: Love, Hormones, and Other Household Pests
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During my tenure at Hogwarts, I made a point of never getting personal with my students. If I knew anything about them, it was their names and maybe their parents. If they were in Slytherin, I might greet them in the hall, and if they were not, I religiously ignored them. I never willingly started a conversation nor hinted that I would ever want one started...And yet it seemed I had entered an alternate universe on that cold, November day because suddenly I became the number one confidante of three little brats.
On said day, Carlin Emery, a fifth-year Gryffindor girl came to me after class.
"Professor, I'm so confused—“ she began.
"If you had paid any attention at all during my lesson then perhaps you would—“
"Adrian Pucey likes me. I know he does. And I think I like him too, but you see I'm not really sure what to do because my friend Genesis—you know Genesis—well, she likes him too. Only I've liked him longer, but she's my best friend in the whole world and so I just can't—I don't—I don't know what to do!"
I would have interjected sooner, but I believe I went into shock. I realized my mouth was hanging open. I quickly closed it, sneered, and said:
"Even if I had any interest at all in this drivel, I wouldn't be able to help you." I thought it was blunt and to-the-point.
"Well, it's good to know that at least you can try, Professor," she said, and continued, "Because really it's the hardest thing in the world."
The hardest thing in the world! Could she honestly believe that? I tried to show her how shallow she was, but ended up saying, "If your problems were the hardest, then I'd be a happy place right now!" I know it made no sense, but any fool would have known what I meant.
She paused, then said tentatively, "Well, I'm glad you're happy.” She seemed to think for a second and then went on, “And I know it's a little silly, but I think I'm in love with him."
"I'm going to have to ask you to—"
"Have you ever been in love, Professor?"
"Have you? Been in love?" she persisted. Her great big brown eyes kept opening wider and wider as she looked at, earnestly and infuriatingly.
"For God's sake, leave this instant. I am not interested in discussing any topic with you, not to mention one so personal—and therefore thoroughly boring—as love." I stalked into my office (I know I swore not to stalk anymore, but sometimes I can't help it), but she followed me in before I could close the door.
"I shouldn't have asked such a personal question and I'm sorry," she said, "But what should I do?"
"GET OUT!" I yelled, waving my arms, "OUT OUT OUT!"
"He's so nice, but I guess he isn't worth a friendship where—"
"OOOOUT! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO—"
"And I can't really imagine it working out, either—"
"LEAVE ME AT ONCE OR YOU SHALL HAVE DETENTION FOR A WEEK!"
"He snorts a little when he laughs," she giggled, "And when he's thinking I can always tell because he bites his lip and pulls at his hair. He's been thinking a lot lately—"
"DETENTION!" I roared, "DETENTION FOR A MONTH! FOR THE LAST TIME, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN TEENAGE HORMONES!"
That snapped her out of it, at least a little. But in truth nothing can penetrate a Gryffindor skull.
"Okay, Professor. I'm sorry Professor. I'll come by tomorrow at eight for my first detention. Oh—and thanks for listening." And before I even realized that she had set the time and date for her own detention, she was gone, taking her big brown eyes with her.
Well, thinking that this was merely an isolated incident, I put my head between my knees and thanked God it was over. I may have passed out after that. Death I can face, pain I can handle, but teenage romance—that and bubblegum flavored ice cream—can put me off food for days. And I'm not much for Filch's singing voice either. Or smiling.
I knew very well that I lived in a school and therefore must, now and again, encounter holding hands, kissing, and the like. Actually, one of my very favorite pastimes was hiding behind bushes on lovely spring afternoons, when you can almost see the hormones flitting about in their horrible useless sort of way…And believe me, I had it down to a science:
Step One— Leap out suddenly upon the unsuspecting couple.
Step Two— Say some variation of "Well, well, well, isn't this romantic?"
Step Three— Watch gleefully as they jump apart looking like guilty house elves—and often blush the color of my Elmo nightdress.
Step Four— Savor the awkward silence. Taste, live, breathe it!
Step Five— "20 points from (insert House(s) here) for making me lose my lunch."
Step Six— Prowl away merrily, feeling as if I have a purpose in life...
Ah, I can't wait for spring...
Right, but anyhow, the Carlin fiasco nearly ended me. Then the next excruciating day, at lunch, there was a knock on my door. I yelled, “One moment!” and I quickly put away my bubbles (you know, the little ones you blow through a bubble wand), “Come in!”
Adrian Pucey entered. At first I had absolutely no recollection that in front of me was the object of Carlin’s affections. But my happy forgetfulness was soon robbed when he said:
“Professor, I am in love.”
Then I committed the hugest error of my career. I hesitated.
I knew at the time that I shouldn’t have, but you see Pucey is a Slytherin and, though not very bright, he’s a damn good Quidditch player and…well, I just felt for a moment that he may have needed my help.
Naturally that moment did not last long.
He took advantage of my hesitation to continue his speech (for a speech it became). I tuned most of it out, for I was in a sort of daze. One of my very few flaws is that I cannot handle emotional situations.
I vaguely remember him going on about Carlin, her smile and eyes. If I remember correctly, the “butterflies of his soul” came up a few times as well as the words “Love distills desire upon the eyes, love brings bewitching grace into the heart,” which I never plan to hear again, not even if my life depends on it.
At the end of his lengthy discourse I said curtly, “I told her yesterday, and I am telling you today. I am nO-ot—(my voice cracked with perfectly horrendous timing. I pretended it didn‘t happen)—going to put up with this. Not even with students from my own house. If I listen to too much more of your teenage prattle, I will expire at the age of twenty-three.”
“H—how old are you now, Professor?”
“Thirty-one,” I said, glaring at him in a gentle and soothing manner, “So you see how serious it is.”
His pride had been hurt a bit, I could tell. My heart danced (literally) with joy as he turned to leave.
But no, Fate hates me, so he looked back around, hopefully, pathetically.
“Carlin talked with you as well? What did she say?”
“She talked at me.” And I said the next part very angrily, bearing down on him, hoping to scare him off, “She is madly in love with you, but her loyalty to Genesis is stopping her!”
To my mortification, his whole face lit up like some demented lamp and he hugged me. Hugged me!
All I could do was splutter helplessly at him, and you can hardly blame me.
He let me go eventually, smiling like a loon. And, spouting out a few more professions of love (hopefully not aimed at me), he left me in blissful, traumatized silence.
He hugged me. A student. Touched me.
I huddled under my desk for over an hour.
When I again regained the courage to venture outside my office, I ran into McGonagall. And when I say ran, I mean she literally ran into me. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing sprinting all over the place, and I will assume it was just because she was helplessly attracted to me and went a little overboard. Though really I don’t think I’ll assume that at all, seeing as the very thought made me die, just a little, on the inside. I’m really a very sensitive person in some ways, and the idea of Minerva McGonagall being attracted to anything is very offensive to my nerves—mind—being, even. I hope I am never forced to think on it again.
Anyhow, once we righted ourselves and healed minor injuries, I tried to make her understand how violated and truly upset I felt.
“Minerva,” I began, “Adrian Pucey spoke words of love to me, encroached upon my personal space, and then touched me inappropriately.”
She stared at me calmly, turned calmly around, and walked calmly away. When she turned the corner, I jumped as these preposterously shrill hoots and snorts echoed down the corridors, coming from the hall that she had just turned into. I ran to her aid, figuring she had been attacked by a herd of baboons (students). But no. The old opossum was making the whole racket all by herself. Sprawled across the entire floor, flailing like an untrained hippopotamus—she was laughing. Laughing! At my heartfelt confession, too!
I turned her into a big thorny lizard and ran, only just barely sniffling, away.
Chapter 10: Holiday Havoc and Christmas Cavorting
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I got into the Christmas spirit, as I always do, by killing all the Heating Spells in the dungeons. It’s a failsafe way to discourage any Christmas companions, who might be thinking the season will turn me into a sort of chummy person. Madam Pomfrey’s mistletoe assault from the previous year was still heavy on my mind.
Unfortunately, this meant I had to pull out the long underwear, the long woolen cap, and the even longer warm fuzzy slippers. My students blessedly never notice the change, however, because their body heat becomes too low to do anything more than shiver and occasionally say “Brr!” I actually put this phenomenon to music once during my 6th year class, and the effect was quite nice. Shiver, brr, shiver shiver, brr!...Very soothing, actually.
Holiday could not come fast enough, however. It began to seem that I could not shut the door on the back of Harry Potter, before he galloped back in again, eagerly awaiting another one-hour period of pretending to concoct potions while secretly gazing pervertedly at my feet. To some extent I actually hoped he was distracted by my feet, to give him some excuse to make potions that atrociously.
The first day of holiday finally came, and so I assumed Dumbledore and I would go through our annual, traditional First-Day-of-Holiday Duel.
It always started the same way, in the same hallway, right before breakfast.
“Severus,” he would say. He would do it all slyly too, with his head sort of waving about and his eyes pointed in different directions, in an alarming attempt to be nonchalant and disinterested, “Are you heading anywhere this Christmas? A relative’s, perhaps, or someone more…intimately connected?” His eyes would then refocus and spit out revolting blue sparkles at me, in that way that he has.
You see, most years I reply “No” until his insinuations grow too much for my delicate nerves to bear and we begin to throw Christmastime spells at each other. Then every year I mercifully let him win, aged and weak as he is.
(One of my better moments was collapsing histrionically upon the floor, with my arms flung out, calling out in a broken, tragic, yet never over-done voice, “Twill serve”—ala Mercutio—before lying down with one hand over my heart, trying not to breathe visibly. To my dismay, Dumbledore trundled over and eventually said with mild interest, “Hmm, he seems to be dead,” and wandered away. I was naturally forced to get up, put the old codger in a full body-bind, and explain to him in a loud, clear voice that perhaps he did not love me enough.)
That day, however, I decided to mix up our dreary routine, so I said, as brightly as I could muster without slitting my own throat, “Yes, I am going away, actually, Headmaster! I’m visiting my boyfriend Arty in Mould-on-the-Would!”
I turned and was just thinking how best to billow my robes down the hall when I heard a terrible thump from behind me. I jumped around, thinking that perhaps the senile old Headmaster had decided to stick with tradition anyway and throw a few jinxes at me, but what I saw was something entirely different: Dumbledore, flat on the floor, glasses askew, fainted dead away.
I briefly considered reviving him. Briefly.
Upon turning the corner, I tripped straight over a student and landed on my face. Some sick being watching down on Dumbledore and I seemed to think that, if we refused to duel with each other, well then just knocking us down a couple of times would suffice. I righted myself (which took two tries and some hollering because somehow the hem of my robe had got stuck inexplicably in my collar).
The student who had been the cause of my suffering said quietly, “I wish it didn’t hurt this bad,” which I took to be some form of apology, so I turned to her, willing to be understanding and let her get off with one or two detentions, when I realized that she had not been talking to me at all. She sat there, selfishly crying to herself over some topic that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I had nearly broken my neck over her unnaturally large knees.
I was about to shout and yell and make snide comments to my heart’s content when I made a second realization: Sitting before me was Genesis Evan, the third (and apparently weakest) link in the revolting love triangle that I had somehow been wormed into knowing all too much about. She was crying and that meant she probably wanted to…talk…
I fled. Well, really, I made a valiant attempt at fleeing, but was regrettably hindered by Evan’s simple act of grabbing a fistful of my robes and blowing her nose on them, which, yet again, caused me to crash to the floor.
I was livid.
“Professor, I can’t take this anymore.”
But apparently not livid enough to bother her one way or the other.
“It hurts so bad. My best friend, and the love of my life—together!…How can I possibly feel this much? Professor, will you help me?”
I was about to refuse her with impressive language and dramatic hand gestures when she exclaimed:
“Carlin Emery and Adrian Pucey! The Most Perfect Couple in the Universe! Who cares what happens to tiny, insignificant Genesis Evan?”
Then it struck me, as she again began to sob, that she had a lovely surname. A little short, by a letter or two, but lovely just the same. I thought a moment.
“Perhaps I cannn help you,” I said, elongating the “n” just in case I wanted to change it to “can’t” at the last second.
She stared up at me, amazed. “Would you really, Professor? Would you help me ruin their lives? And make Adrian love me?”
“I suppose,” I said, trying to be nonchalant, doubting if I had ever talked this long with a student before and wondering what on earth sort of hitting-the-fan spit in Merlin’s old white tangly beard I had gotten myself into.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” she said, throwing her…arms…around…me. I staid very still and quiet, hoping I could just sort of blend into the scenery until she forgot I was there. This strategy didn’t work very well, surprisingly. Yet it eventually must have ended because I remember very clearly sprinting back to my dungeons with my hands over my face (not advisable), muttering about everyone being out to get me.
With a whole train-full of students gone, however, my mood could not be kept down for long. I admit I caved into the Christmas spirit a bit (meaning that on Christmas I indulged in a good amount of spirits, of course). I even watched Fred and George Weasley charm two snowballs to bounce off Quirrel’s turban without punishing them. They were very surprised to see a third snowball materialize mysteriously out of thin air and bounce along happily with the other two.
“Severus,” said a voice from behind me. I hastily, guiltily shoved my wand into a bush (and just as hastily retrieved it when I regained my senses).
“Yes?” I said, as smoothly as one could do when one had just leapt into a bush. I turned around.
It was Dumbledore.
“I would like to talk to you about the Mirror of Erised.”
“I always thought it was pronounced the Mirror of Erised.”
“No, no, it’s always been the Mirror of Erised.”
“Well, I’d prefer if in my presence you’d call it the Mirror of Erised.”
“Very well,” he said with an unnecessary amount of huffiness, “I’d like to talk with you about the Mirror of Erised.”
“Well you’re taking an awfully long time about it, aren’t you?”
“Severus,” he continued, “I was hoping you would help me move it down to the you-know-where in order to protect the you-know-what.” Of course he said it in such a manner that allowed me no choice in the matter, in that infuriating way that bosses have.
I stared at him for a moment.
“Excuse me if I’m wrong, Headmaster, but doesn’t that mean we have to traipse down past a million fortified, virtually impenetrable enchantments, all with a one-ton mirror—what? Strapped to our backs?”
“Well, yes, that’s why I’m asking for your help.” He blinked at me innocently.
“You had to think of this now?!” I asked.
“No, no, I’ve had it planned since last June, when we agreed to take on the you-know-what.”
“On a side note, Professor, for all this roaming about shouting You-Know-Who’s real name any old place, you think you could call a bloody rock by its proper name.”
“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself,” he said wisely, apparently oblivious that this didn’t help his case very much.
I decided not to let myself get distracted, however, “Right. So then—it’s been planned since June, but what? The Mirror’s just arrived?”
“No, no, it’s been delivered since May! A present, you know, from a very old friend. She left a note to the effect that she believed that when I looked into the mirror I would in all likelihood realize that she had been my deepest desire all my life.”
“And was she?”
“On the contrary. She didn’t appear at all.”
“And what, may I ask, did appear in the Mirror?”
“Oh, a rather large theme-park where I walked arm in arm with a doting husband—er, companion—and was wearing this marvelously tailored plum, velvet suit. We were eating ice creams and gazing at a fading sunset—you know, the kind where the clouds go all fuzzy and all the brilliant, beautiful colours blend together in a sort of—“
“Professor!” I gasped, grasping desperately for a change of subject, “The weather has been lovely lately, hasn’t it?!”
He looked mildly down at his boots, one-foot deep in snow, and said, “Well, yes, I suppose, if blizzards are your kind of thing. But I much prefer breezy summer sunsets, you know, the sort of ones where the light dances away as the sky melts lovingly—“
I quickly remembered why we had been talking in the first place.
“Headmaster!” I interrupted just in the knickers of time, “You were saying—the Mirror in May, the plan in June, and the Stone came in July, so…”
My fists suddenly clenched, and I found that one eyebrow had arched menacingly up and would not go back down again, “What, pray tell, was the reason you decided to insert the mirror once it became virtually impossible to do so?”
“Well,” waffled the old man, “I thought it best to, you know, leave it around, say, in an unlocked, empty classroom near the library. You know.”
I did not know, however. I did not know one bit. In fact, I was in such an utter state of not-knowing that I turned around and unknowingly punched a stone column.
Dumbledore chose that moment to wander rather quickly away, calling over his exceedingly vexing shoulder, “I could use your help sometime in January! The Mirror could use a little more time to sit in the unlocked classroom…you know…”
A/N--I just want to take this moment to thank all my scrumptious reviewers who have been so supportive and more often than not completely hilarious throughout the chapters. You guys seriously keep me going! I love to hear what you're enjoying and what makes you laugh. It brightens my day a hundred times over!
So, yeah...Sample review that perhaps I'd like:
"Wow, JuicyJuice, I just peed myself laughing, and I love you. Will you marry me? I'm off right now to recommend this fabulous story in the Recommended Stories forum--under Humor AND Severus Snape!"
You know you want to...
But seriously thanks. You guys are THE BEST. More on the way soon, I promise.
Chapter 11: Quirrel v. Grease Lightning
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“Professor Sna—eep! Erm—well, eh—excuse me—hem.”
It was Filch, interrupting my daily goodnight lullaby to my shrine of Lily Potter (conveniently located in the center of the Slytherin Common Room—and very handsomely made, if I do say so myself).
I finished my song and turned around.
Filch for once seemed at a loss for words, however, and merely beckoned for me to follow him, his mouth hanging open in a very unseemly manner, staring at me uncertainly. I humoured him and followed, not forgetting that if I had had the stomach for that sort of thing, Filch would probably have been my “best friend” at Hogwarts. After all, what are friends for but to mend your leg after you sing to a three-headed dog and clean up your dung-bombs after you throw them at your fellow professor?
Anyway, once Filch had finally recovered the power of speech, he said, “Y—You—You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyone was wandering around at night, and somebody’s been in the library—Restricted Section.”
I ignored the fact that I had never asked him anything of the kind and (thinking perhaps the man had finally lost it) replied soothingly, “The Restricted Section? Well, they can’t be far, we’ll catch them.”
I obligingly wandered around a bit in search of the wandering student who I was beginning to doubt even existed when I stumbled upon a very curious room.
It was curious because it held not only the Mirror of Erised, but also Harry Potter’s head, floating in midair, apparently disembodied. Speech was shocked out of me, and I crept in silently to observe the phenomenon—it was dark, but clear as day in front of me—his head, staring unblinkingly into the Mirror, as if it had realized after all those years of getting carried along on shoulders that it did not need a body after all.
I instinctively looked into the Mirror to see if I could see what Potter desired most when I realized a very interesting fact: when I looked into the Mirror, Potter disappeared entirely, body and head. I stared longingly at this enticing image of a Potter-less world for a while and then near-floated contentedly back to bed.
It was only when I woke up that I realized I had missed the chance to punish Potter. I believe I opened my eyes shouting something along the lines of, “Merlin’s chizpurfle's flesh-eating-slug’s saggy left pantleg!”
There also may have been tears involved.
I went (only barely sniffling) to Dumbledore’s office, triumphantly strutting, knowing that this time he would see reason; Potter would be gone for good. The Headmaster seemed to have different ideas, however.
“Headmaster, I saw Potter out after hours last night.”
“And yet you did not reprimand him? What an admirable Christmas spirit you have, Severus!”
“I…well, I forgot to, given the circumstances. But in light of this you must think it absolutely necessary—“
“What, may I ask,” interrupted Dumbledore impertinently, “was he doing out so late?”
“Staring like the possessed into the Mirror of Erised, if you must know, but that’s not the…” I trailed off, distracted and more than mildly disturbed by the over-wide grin that had spread over Dumbledore’s face; it beamed out so acutely that it seemed to be trying to kill me. “Is something wrong, Professor?”
He merely whooped and pumped the air with his fist.
I chose that as a fitting time to leave. Potter could be expelled later. I valued my life.
To vent the frustrations of my droll and disappointing life, I planned to take a stroll in the bright morning snow. Nothing ever goes the way I plan, however, because on my way out of the castle I managed to cross paths with Mr. Quirinius Quickly-Ruins-My-Day Quirrel.
It was a little more complicated than that, actually.
I saw him at the end of the hall, thought quickly, and dove into a nearby Christmas tree. I then tried to think Christmas-tree-ornament thoughts, but got a little distracted praising myself for my excellent reflexes and bodily strength. It takes a lot of muscle tone to cling to a tree trunk, after all. And a lot of resilience to handle all those prickly needles and branches in sensitive places.
But Quirrel must have a sixth sense, because he somehow noticed my presence, despite my highly skilled concealment. Perhaps he’s a better wizard than I thought he was.
“Severus, w-what are you doing up th-there hugging a Christmas t-tree?”
I stayed, still as the grave. How was I supposed to know that he wouldn’t think it was a me-shaped Christmas ornament?
“Er—Severus? Why are you in that tree?” he repeated, more slowly this time.
The game was up, so I slid down the tree (very painfully), turned to Quirrel, and said with much grace, “Life is full of mysterious questions. Why do you wear that hideous turban, for example?”
In my mind I thought, “SICK BURN, PLUM HEAD!”
He stuttered something unintelligible for a long while. I took the time to pluck pine needles from my body parts.
“Yes!” I eventually interrupted his drivel, “That’s nice, but if you’ll excuse me, I was on my way to take a nice long solitary walk.” I turned on my heel and jogged in the opposite direction. No time for billowing robes or striding, not with Quirrel. With Quirrel it’s run or suffer accordingly.
To my utter vexation, just as I thought I was safe, I noticed a medium-sized purple turban jogging along beside me. And, worse, beneath that turban was Quirrel, smiling at me like the possessed, stuttering the words, “W-well, I was j-just about to t-take a walk myself! P-perhaps I’ll come with y-you! How r-ref-fresh-shing!”
I slowed to a walk. I was panting too hard to think up a viable exit strategy. Before I could even say a word, Quirrel took my arm and dragged me through the nearest exit into the snow. Yes, he literally linked arms with me. And I think I heard a giggle as he did it.
It’s safe to say that that didn’t last for long. It’s also safe to say that Quirrel soon lay turban-deep in the snow.
He brushed himself off, looking vaguely perturbed, but not at all as discouraged as I would have hoped, and said, “Well, that’s no w-way to s-start our walk. But sh-shall we?”
It took all my self control not to say “No we shan’t,” and deck him again.
“Well, S-Severus,” he began, “Very strange, this whole Philosopher’s Stone s-situation. Our school sh-shouldn’t b-be a safe-hold f-for all the valuable, dangerous magical ob-bjects in the c-country. I f-felt v-very put upon having to c-create protection for the th-thing, didn’t you?”
I sighed like an insolent child (why did I have to walk with Quirrel of all people?) and reluctantly responded, “Not particularly.”
“W-well, d-did it take p-particularly long for y-you to create your obstac-cle to p-protect the Stone?”
“Why yes, it did, actually, but I rather enjoyed the process.”
“What was the process?” Quirrel asked quickly, stutter-free.
I was beginning to feel slightly better about this walk; I had been dying to talk with someone about the ingeniousness of my protection for the Stone. It had killed me when Dumbledore put me under strict instructions to tell no one…
“Well, you see I made a potion that…” I paused. Strict instructions to tell no one. I eyed Quirrel for a moment, and then thought of the way to annoy him the most.
I widened my eyes innocently and continued, “Quirinius, I don’t think we should be doing this.”
“This, here. It’s not right.”
I began to lean very close to him, “You and me, here, alone, talking about personal things…You could be trying to take advantage of me.”
“I w-wouldn’t t-take advantage…” He looked slightly alarmed.
“And you know, if we did…But we can’t. We need protection.”
“Protection?” he gaped at me in horror.
“—the Stone needs protection. We can’t just go around blathering our protective spells.”
“Oh!” he looked rather relieved, “So…s-so yours was a spell w-was it?”
“Not telling!” I lilted.
“Come n-now, old fr-friend,” I think he tried to smile reassuringly, but it came out more like the grimace of a dying person, “I’ll tell you m-mine. B-between teachers, w-what could h-happen?”
“You know that doesn’t work, right?”
“Of c-course, my ap-pologies,” he said, bobbing his turban around. For some reason it came out a bit like a snarl.
We were now walking by the lake, and I wondered if swimming in the freezing water couldn’t be better than spending quality time with Quirrel.
I wasn’t about to put in an ounce of effort with the quack, so he again chose the topic of conversation:
“How are you today, S-Severus?”
“Miserable, thank you.”
“…And what did you use to p-protect the Philosopher’s Stone?”
I shot him a withering glance. Or I would have if a bug hadn’t just flown into my eye. I don’t know what bugs were doing buzzing around in the snow—I thought they were meant to fly South in the winter or some such. Perhaps it wasn’t a bug, perhaps it was a medium-sized rock, or a small cat. It felt a bit like a small, angry cat, in my eye. So anyway, chances are I just blinked and squinted and dripped tears at Quirrel, but it was a withering-glance attempt, anyhow.
“Are y-you alright, Sev-verus? D-did you j-just w-w-w-wink at m-me?”
“Oh, honestly!” I said, and forcefully shoved him into the lake. I was in a good deal of pain, after all. I wasn’t responsible for what I did.
But that very night, it all came clear to me.
I woke up at 2:48 AM, removed my nighttime moisturizing gloves, and wrote the following note:
I have you figured out. Meet me behind the greenhouses at 13:00 on Wednesday. You cannot hide from me.
For I knew then; I just knew. What can I say? I am a remarkably sharp person. If any man or woman slips even the barest hint in front of me, he/she is a dead man/woman.
(Incidentally, I am also a die-hard feminist and woman’s rights activist, ever since McGonagall mentioned that she would see to it that I was no longer a man if I ever made a “kitchen” joke ever again. Perhaps the fact that she was holding my head underwater in a toilet at the time made her seem very, very serious.)
But Quirrel trying to get at the Philosopher’s Stone?—Who would have thought he had the nerve? No matter. I would see to him. They didn’t call me Grease Lightening back in my school days for nothing.
Chapter 12: Middle Aged Women
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I was practicing my pennywhistle (merrily, I might add), when someone banged my door down. I nearly swallowed the thing (I call him Pennymeister). Of course it was Trelawney calling—in all her glory, sweeping and bangling and fraying. That's what she always looks like to me—a great mess of cloth and jewelry—so much that I usually avert my eyes for fear that she'll suddenly unravel and expose herself. Well, today her big bug eyes were wild and she looked the closest to unraveling that I've ever seen her.
"The cards!" she spluttered, "They have Seen!" And in her excitement she promptly spilled the deck of cards all over my office floor. She blinked at the mess, perplexed, but only momentarily, "Ah well, I remember perfectly," and then her madness seemed to seize her again, "Panic! Murder! Deceit! Honour! Loneliness! Fear! Happiness! Torture! Death! Love! Destruction! Bedclothing!"
She was in such a state, I can’t even describe. I said, “And this list is…”
“For…” (She scooped up the cards…well, at first she tried to do it with her wand, but ended up setting them on fire, so had to do it with her hands). She began flipping and shuffling madly.
“A dungeon---A man—,” she said, “Potions—dark in appearance—power—wears robe size seven—enjoys the Dark Arts, pink cadillacs, and long walks on the beach—“
“Enough! I understand—it’s me. Now if you’ll kindly leave.” And then I shoved her out the door and slammed it in the most chivalrous and polite way as one could ever do.
You see, I am always polite to Trelawney. There was one embarrassing incident with me listening at doors that I’d rather she not mention. She is insufferable, though…and if I wasn’t quite mistaken, she’d been reading my personal ads as well.
Worrisome. Very worrisome.
Ah well. I comforted myself by returning to Pennymeister.
Unsurprisingly, I was again interrupted by an old, unpleasant bag with nothing better to do. This time McGonagall.
She waltzed right in. No knocking, nothing. I had four Alohomora-proof locks, yet somehow these women always seemed to get past them. Well, in McGonagall’s case it may have been because I had propped the door wide open to let in the breeze, but that is not the point.
She began, “Severus, I doubt—“
She stepped on one of Trelawney’s cheap bangles—apparently she had shed them as I had, shall we say, escorted her from the room. We both observed the floor. On it were two filmy little scarves, a ring and a few bracelets. All of them hideous, naturally.
McGonagall cleared her throat, a glimmer in her eye that I could not like.
“Trelawney’s been here I see.”
“Yes,” I said, on edge. She was up to something.
As she fought a smile unsuccessfully, she said, “And what, precisely, was she doing in your office that would require the –er—shedding of clothing?”
I nearly died. For a moment I thought I had. But once I realized that I had not been so lucky, I gathered what was left of my dignity and will to live and said, “Now really, I—you—I will not even—” She snorted triumphantly.
I could stand it no longer. I hexed her through the door. It must have been an Itching Curse because she was scratching pretty badly as screeched, “That is it, Severus! I’m going to Dumbledore!”
She sounds a bit like a cat dying when she screams. Perhaps that explains her Animagus.
Anyway, she ran off. I yelled, “Sniiiiitch!” after her, but I don’t know if she heard me. Someone yelled, “UGLY HERMIT!” back, but that couldn’t have been meant for me.
I sat there fuming until there came a knock at the door.
“Come in if you must,” I called, thinking it was Dumbledore.
I was surprised to see Avery, ready to spill his heart out once more, I assume. Unfortunately the first thing that caught his eye, lying on the ground, was McGonagall’s hat that had gone flying off as she flew through the door. Even more unfortunately, it was very distinctly McGonagall’s, with her unmistakable ugly feather sticking out like a couple of misplaced toes. His eye then went immediately to Trelawney’s jewelry—again, unmistakably hers. He raised his eyes to me, red faced behind my desk. He could barely suppress his smile.
“Been busy, I see, Professor. Perhaps I should come back later,” and he chortled out the door and down the hall.
I leapt up, slammed the door, and just when I finished locking all the locks, someone knocked on the door again. I ripped it open.
It was Dumbledore.
I didn’t invite him in. We both knew that he would follow me in anyway no matter what I said. As I stepped back into the room, my foot got caught in McGonagall’s horror of a hat. I threw it into the fire. (The ugly mutant feather was, naturally, fireproof—as unconquerable as McGonagall’s Jelly-Leg Jinx).
Dumbledore shut the door behind him.
“Please sit down,” he said. I very nearly exploded. How dare he invite me to sit down in my own office? It’s my office and I’ll sit whenever and on whatever I like. I’ll sit on him if I have the notion. But he's always been a pompous old madman…
He conjured himself his own chair. I only keep one chair in my office—keeping more might encourage people to stay. But of course Dumbledore never takes a hint, not if you whacked him over the head with one.
“Aaaahhhh, Severussss,” he began, “I have had quite exciting accounts of your day. Not a small amount of minor injuries to middle aged women, eh? And yesterday! Suggestive language and angry outbursts towards Quirrel?” His eyes weren’t even twinkling anymore. They were more like little blue strobe lights.
If he expected me to speak to him—ever—he soon thought again.
“I think you have unsettled anger, dear, and I know how to fix it.”
He called me dear. He did. My ears blew off my head and started doing little cartwheels in the air. Or that’s what it felt like anyway--And that’s why I thought I heard wrong when he said:
“Poetry, Severus, is the only sure way to target and release anger,” he paused, and suddenly seemed to come out of his imaginary little world. He added, “And if I do not have three poems on my desk by next Tuesday, Trelawney has several stargazing nights in the next month and I know she needs a companion…Severus? Are you…alright?”
“I…er…just feeling a bit…just lightheaded sir…I’m sure it will…pass…”
And I fainted.
What else was I to do?
I awoke in the Hospital Wing. Dumbledore was sitting next to me serenely, peering down over his bottom-shaped glasses (oh come on—two little “half moons,” we all know what that looks like).
I instinctively pulled the sheets over my head and whispered, “Headmaster, I know we have some…artistic differences, and I understand that I am sometimes a bit difficult, but now is the moment of truth: I am in a desperate situation. And I need your help. Please. Will you help me?”
“Naturally. What is it, Severus?”
“You cannot let Madam Pomfrey see me.”
“Alas, she has already seen you.”
“Yes, but—that’s not the point! She can’t see me awake! She—you see, she…likes me.”
He merely sighed and said, “Ahhhhhhh, to be younnng and in lovvvve…”
“Headmaster! She’s around sixty-seven years old!” I glared at him through the sheet, “Please, you really have to get me out of here! You have no idea how bad it gets—“
“Alas…” he said. He often says “alas” with no real meaning attached to it. Then he said, “Yes, I will help you. On one condition.”
“Anything!” I gasped. I heard high-heeled footsteps not far away.
“You must referee the next Quidditch match.”
“No idea. Madam Pomfrey just expressed her wish to see you on a broomstick, so I may as well gratify her. She expressed other wishes as well, but they aren’t particularly fit for conversation…”
“Fine! I’ll do it! Just get me out!” I whipped the sheet off my head and pranced out of bed, a bit like a dashing leopard, landing on all fours.
“Madam Pomfrey!” called Dumbledore, pointing across the room, “Quick, look over there!”
She turned and looked away as I leapt onto Dumbledore’s back and he sprinted me piggy-back-style out of the room.
All I can say is: desperate times call for desperate measures.
“But—Dumbledore—“ I panted, as we ran together as far away from the Hospital Wing as possible, “I don’t know—the rules—of Quidditch!”
He wasn’t even breaking a sweat or panting in the least (and how he managed to procure a sweat band and jogging shorts in that short time, I’ve no idea). He turned to me, still running, and said, “Oh, not to worry! Just fly about and shout ‘Penalty!’ every once in a while. No one will know the difference.”
I nodded. Now I would just have to learn how to ride a broomstick. How hard could it be to mount the winds and master the skies?
Chapter 13: Love Letters, Poetry, Well-Timed Insults, and Other Literature
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“Harry didn’t know whether he was imagining it or not, but he seemed to keep running into Snape wherever he went.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone
I didn’t know if I was imaging it or not, but I seemed to keep running into Harry Potter wherever I went—in the classroom, in the hall, by the Lake, on the Quidditch field, in the Quidditch stands, under the Quidditch stands, in the bathroom, in the staff bathroom, once even in the girls bathroom (an innocent mistake on my part, don’t ask), in Dumbledore’s office, in my office, in an entirely empty office, in the greenhouses, behind the greenhouses, behind the man-eating stump behind the pile of manure behind the greenhouses, in Hagrid’s hut, under Hagrid’s porch, under a particularly large pile of snow nearby Hagrid’s hut, behind Hagrid’s hut, behind Hagrid, in the Great Hall, in the kitchens, on the Astronomy Tower, in Flitwick’s class, in the large cabinet in Flitwick’s class, and, most sickeningly, once, in my dreams.
At first, it was easy to be horrible to him. It was simple to say, “Potter…what an unpleasant surprise,” or, “My pet troll’s grandma could improve upon that potion,” or, “Is it difficult to see with your nose so high up in the air?” or “The Boy Who Lived, it seems, lives…and does very little else. [insert sneer here].”
They just sort of came to me.
But even Masters of Wit such as myself need a break every now and then to gather their thoughts. With so many constant meetings with Potter, my hilarious and biting remarks began to run thin. It was very difficult. Especially since “your mum” jokes would have been a violation of my very heart, soul, and being (and those, unfortunately, are my very particular specialty).
At first it wasn’t so bad. I resorted to saying things like:
“Comb your hair.”
“I hope your fat head will fit through the door.”
And “Bite me.”
But eventually I lost all inspiration. I was, to be frank, an embarrassment to Sebastian “Snappy” Snape’s illustrious name. I began saying things like:
“You have glasses. That’s funny.”
“I was friends with your mum.”
These really are the times that try men’s souls.
And it didn’t help that I was more or less attempting the impossible at the time…
“For the last time, Severus! You can’t ride a broomstick and cover your eyes at the same time! You need your hands for steering, for Dung’s Sake, and your eyes for—for seeing! I don’t know how Dumbledore expects you to referee the game in this state—You’ve got no more’n two weeks to get it right!”
Madam Hooch liked to hear herself talk. She had no real other reason for speaking. No one was interested. I hadn’t even asked her to teach me how to ride a broomstick, she just sort of appeared every time I gave it a go.
I wonder if that is how annoying I am while the students try to brew potions. I do hope so.
Anyway, she simply would not leave me be, and—aside for the two times when she saved my life—she made trying to ride a broom a very vexing experience.
(On a side note, I also think her alarmingly yellow eyes can shoot fire.)
Really, it’s not my fault a cleaning item is a shoddy and insufficient means of transport (I tell my broom as much every day—it makes me feel better). After all, the thing weighs about as much as my left arm (that’s the weaker one—the right one is in all likelihood much heavier, and rather impressively muscular, if I do say so myself).
I don’t know what Hooch was whining about anyway. After two weeks of intense training, I could hover about ten feet in the air on my broom, and sort of drift slowly about. It was mostly the wind pushing me, but still. I thought it was an accomplishment. Now if I could only learn to yell “Penalty!” and drift at the same time, I would be a natural referee. I don’t know what Hooch expected—to make a professional out of me, possibly.
She also had this strange habit of hexing me every time I referred to her as “Hoochie-Mama.”
Truly mind boggling.
Tragically, Dumbledore began getting on my case about those poems I was supposedly meant to write for him—to release my inner anger or some such poppycock. See, at the time I had thought he was joking a very sick, sick joke. He, on the other other hand, had thought he was serious.
He even threatened to dock my pay:
“I will dock your pay,” he said.
“Poetry-writing was not in my contract,” I retorted smugly.
He smiled his most frightening of smiles at me and said, “Actually…”
He began to rummage in his desk drawer.
I was flummoxed and baffled. Woebegone and flabbergasted. Befuddled and perplexed. Who knew that the fine print in my teaching contract had read: “The employee will produce any literature, for publication, school use, or otherwise, at the discretion of the Headmaster”? I certainly hadn’t. If I had known, for example, I would have instead become a toilet cleaner.
As I stormed back to my office, I cornered Flitwick and pinned him against the wall.
“Has Dumbledore ever made you write poetry to relieve anger?” I demanded.
“No,” said Flitwick, “Though he did once make me write a reflective novella using only the second-person with nature symbolism to relieve heartache. And an operetta to relieve back pain.”
I nodded and set the man back down.
If Dumbledore wanted poetry, he would get poetry, but first, I had some pressing matters to attend to. Quirrel, you see, had stood me up on our date, where I had intended to threaten him and scare him turbanless. He had ignored the angry, intimidating note, so it was time to take a different tact:
I cannot hold it in any more. We are twin souls, burning together in the dark, destined to be together, and I love you—madly, passionately, with all my feeble heart. Please meet me in the Forbidden Forest in Lover’s Pasture under the beech tree after the Quidditch game next week—even if you are not yet ready to open your heart and kindle the bright, burning flame of love.
Love and everything else I own,
Your Secret Admirer
I know it may not seem like it now, but in my youth I was a big proponent and avid writer of the Love Letter. And anyway, that would at least ensure his arrival. I sealed the envelope with a kiss and sent it. I hope to all heavens you did not believe I was serious about the kiss thing. Anyone who would believe that is a filthy, unhealthy, imbalanced person.
I drew forth another piece of blank parchment. Really, how hard could poetry be?
One hour (and eight limericks that started with the words “There once was a man from Nantucket…”) later, I was at wit’s end.
But I knew what I needed to do. It was time—time to access my deep emotions—time to delve into the inner Severus and bleed my heart onto unfeeling paper. Time to let go.
First, in rhyme:
On a midsummer’s morning, your hand held my own,
But the very next day, I felt so alone,
That the world seemed to chill me with bitter ice cold,
But I swore to myself that before we were old,
I would come unto you with my heart on my sleeve,
And you’d take me back and we never should grieve,
But alas, oh alas, it never could be,
Because you had to go and marry James Potter.
Excellent. Then, in haiku:
The Boy Who Lived stinks
Which reminds me a lot of
Al Dumbledore’s face
And lastly, in limerick:
There once was a man from Hogwarts-School-of-Witchcraft-and-Wizardry,
Who liked Potions and Charms and sometimes-even-Lizardry,
But he got in with the Dark Lord
And things got kind of awkward
And now all he does is wallow-in-his-own-misery.
What can I say? I’m a natural.
A/N – Certain choice insults in this chapter generously donated by Sweet Ignorance, gryffindorseeker, and PotterWritter, and then lovingly adapted by me! Thanks guys.
And on a separate note, it’s time to get excited because the Quidditch game is NEXT!
Chapter 14: Snape the Ref
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Float, turn, float, drift, turn.
Why was this so much harder with hundreds of people watching?
There was a gasp from the crowd and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Hufflepuff Something-or-Other (possibly Wanderer? Finder? Hitter? Bleeper?—All those names are so confusing) ram straight into one of the red players.
“Penalty!” I shouted, dodging a cannon ball that looked like it was in a bit of a hurry (the effort of which lost me my balance and almost slid me off my broom).
“On who?” called someone impetuously. I thought for a second. Really, I didn’t know which team to call it on. The team who had been attacked or the attacker? Was a penalty a good thing or a bad thing? I didn’t know that either. Ah well. Best guess it is, then, I thought. A Gryffindor had been hit…therefore…
“Penalty on Gryffindor!” All the Hufflepuffs cheered for reasons beyond my understanding. Perhaps they have a self-destructive nature.
The game continued on and I sacrificed paying attention to the game for the bare act of survival. Amazingly, I only endured two near-death experiences.
The first was when a little golden bird-like walnut flew up to me and alighted on my shoulder. That itself threw off my balance so severely that I yelled “Mayday!” and began to spiral dangerously towards the ground. I righted myself just in the nick of time, and lo and behold the little golden creature was still on my shoulder. It liked me, apparently.
I took it in my hand. “What are you?” I cooed.
Then the strangest thing happened.
One lightweight Hufflepuff (who seemed to have no job in the game besides wandering about) took a vicious dive at me. In my panic I lost my golden bird, and the lunatic nearly knocked me off my broom.
“Penalty!” I shrieked as I again death-spiraled towards the very solid-looking ground.
“On who?” they yelled.
I feared for a moment that those would be my last words, but a gracious gust of wind gave me the extra split second to come to a wobbly halt. I was now about three feet from the ground and nowhere near the action of the game. I wondered if that mattered, and found I really didn’t care. I pointed upwards and zoomed faster than I would have liked into the sky.
I could have sworn I heard Madam Pomfrey screech, “Work it, baby!” from the stands.
I focused on my precarious balance, which unfortunately involved my mouth hanging open in concentration. I was attempting a sort of turn-like motion when a huge scarlet thing went whizzing past me and whipped its robes straight into my open mouth. I nearly swallowed a bit of them in my shock.
It was Harry Potter. And his robes, his disgusting robes, had been in my mouth. I gagged and basically dive-bombed the ground. By some miracle I managed to land more or less on my feet.
I spat bitterly on the ground, that robe taste lingering persistently in my mouth.
People were cheering for some reason, and all the players had landed. I didn’t know or care why. Quidditch is beyond me.
“Professor Snape!” yelled a Gryffindor, Oliver Wood, “Aren’t you supposed to call the game?”
“THE GAME!” I called, and spat again, possibly even more bitterly. He just looked at me.
Dumbledore, who had been coddling and chatting with his favourite student, Mr. I-Place-My-Robes-In-Unsuspecting-Mouths-Potter, wandered over to where I was standing on the pitch. By that time I had conjured a toothbrush and was frantically brushing away.
“Excellently done, Severus!” Dumbledore warbled.
“Nhhever againhh,” I said through the toothbrush, glaring at him. “‘Fhhat was shuh hhworsht hour uff mhhy life.”
Dumbledore chuckled, “Why, Severus! That game couldn’t have lasted more than five minutes!”
I checked my watch, saw he was right, and consciously chose to deny it anyway. It was impossible that that torture had only lasted five minutes. Utterly impossible.
I considered throwing my toothbrush at him, but chose instead to ask with mild curiosity, “Who won the game?”
Dumbledore gave me a strange look, but said, “The Gryffindors, of course.”
I shrugged. I was quite frankly just happy to be alive.
In all the excitement, I almost forgot my very important post-game business. Luckily, I had written on my hand, “In the unlikely event of your survival, please proceed to the Forbidden Forest after the game to harass, intimidate, and shame Quirrel.”
When I saw that, I nearly squealed with glee. The time had come.
I made a quick stop to change into my Intimidation Robes, hexed Adrian Pucey as he approached me to critique a love letter, and then sprinted out the front door of the castle towards the forest.
Quirrel was waiting dutifully in “Lovers Pasture” just like the letter told him to. He had also donned a sort of pin-on flower and sprayed on some sort of cologne evidently made to attract trolls. I took one last gulp of breathable air and went in for the kill.
“Quirrel,” I said.
He jumped about a foot in the air. Stealthy approaches are my specialty.
“S—Severus!” He chirped, “If you d-d-don’t mind I’m a b-bit busy r-right now. You see, I’m m-meeting someone.”
“You are indeed. You are meeting me.”
He stared at me in repulsion, revulsion, and, best of all, terror.
“Well, you know I d-don’t feel that way about y-you,” he said (rather tactfully, to his credit).
At that moment there was an alarming crash above us, as if some fool on a broom had just collided full force into the towering beech tree above us. Quirrel and I were showered with leaves. I, however, would not be distracted.
Quirrel twitched at the noise and then continued, “S-so I d-don’t know why you wanted t-t-to meet here of all p-places, Severus…”
“Oh, I thought we’d keep this private,” I said icily, “Students aren’t supposed to know about the Philosopher’s Stone, after all.”
“You c-can’t win my heart th-through the Philosopher’s S-stone,” he mumbled, “I told you, I don’t feel that w—“
I interrupted him. He was clearly missing the point, and I had to get out of there before his cologne killed me.
“Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid’s yet?”
His twitched again, his favourite activity.
“I-I don’t know what you—“
“You know perfectly well what I mean.”
An owl hooted loudly above us. I must have been imagining it, but it sounded like someone in the tree said “Whoa!”
Then, inexplicably, a handkerchief with the embroidered initials “HP” fell on Quirrel’s head. I couldn’t think whose it could be, and I had something very important to say, so I plucked the handkerchief off of him and said:
“I know what you’re after, Quirrel. But I can’t talk about this with that stench, so you’d better magick it off. Go on, do your little hocus-pocus. I’m waiting.” I sort of gasped for some lingering clean air.
Really, I couldn’t help it. That cologne was making me dizzy and lightheaded and quite possibly clogging my lungs.
“B-but I d-d-don’t—“
“Very well,” I said, choking a bit. I couldn’t really breathe anymore and I was worried about my health. I had to get away. “We’ll have another little chat soon, when you’ve had time to think things over…and decide where your loyal…ties…lie…”
I threw my cloak over my nose and ran.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far. After about ten feet I slumped against a tree in a dead faint. Cologne is a powerful thing.
A/N--I'd just like to recommend that you re-read or follow along with the book's version of these scenes, if time and resources permit. I made them coincide very exactly, with (I think) hilarious result. Thanks as usual for reading and being such supportive reviewers! I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did!
Chapter 15: The Mirror of Erised
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A/N--Sorry this was so short, more to come!
“The day has come!” Dumbledore announced, standing outside my door in one of his particularly irritating ways.
“What day has come?” I asked with venom, still in my nightgown. It must have been four in the morning.
“The final piece—the final enchantment—the final…touch.”
I just glared at him.
“The mirror,” he said eventually with exasperation, as if it had been so obvious. “We’re going to put the Mirror of Erised in with the Philosopher’s Stone before everyone wakes up!”
He gave me a perky smile that I longed to wipe the floor with.
Instead I searched for my less-fluffy slippers and trundled out after him into the dark hallway. Dumbledore didn’t always seem like a sharp tack, but I had been at the wrong end of his Ear-Hair Jinx enough times to know not to argue.
We found the empty classroom that held the Mirror of Erised. Dumbledore hadn’t been exactly prompt about moving it.
Dumbledore bent over it and began to tug at its base.
“Alright, Severus, just get ‘round the other side and we’ll hoist it on the count of three.”
I stayed where I was.
He gave a great pull, and though the mirror didn't budge, he did manage to fall over backwards and knock his glasses askew.
“Ahem,” I said, “Wouldn’t it be more expedient to use magic, sir?”
He stared at the mirror a bit like it had betrayed him and then said, “Clever, dear Severus! Just the reason I brought you!”
He took out his wand and levitated the mirror. We began to walk, and I followed him, making sure that he kept the mirror level. For some reason he liked to pretend that he and the mirror were having a dance as we walked, and I had to check him many times to keep him from smashing the thing into a wall.
“I think Quirrel is trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone,” I said conversationally, more to distract him from his dance than anything.
“Ahhhh yessssss. Well, wellllll,” he said. Which was so unhelpful I almost imploded.
“Well, what do you think of that?” I asked.
“Quite, quite,” he said serenely.
“Do you think he’s trying to steal the Stone?”
“Well, is he or isn’t he?”
“Perhaps.” He nodded wisely. “Relatively. Quite.”
Dumbledore was the master of uncertainties, and I acknowledged myself outwitted.
“Alright, have it your way,” I said.
I sighed. “Let’s not talk anymore. You’re shortening my life.”
We kept walking.
Finally he stopped, smack in the middle of the Entrance Hall.
“Headmaster?” I said, “Shouldn’t we be going to the third floor? Past the beast and all?”
He chuckled, “Ah, no. How inefficient and silly. Follow me.”
He proceeded to a regular-looking door just left of the main staircase. He opened the door and levitated the Mirror through (with difficulty, since apparently it had to waltz through with him) and then we entered. The room was empty but for a little red light sitting on the floor right in the center—or—could it be—?
“Dumbledore? Is that…the Philosopher’s Stone? Right there?”
“But of course. Where did you think we were going?” He peered at me as if I were a bit dim.
“But—don’t you think—are you—but you…”
“Won’t you help me with this, Severus?” he said, ignoring my flabbergastation.
I dazedly helped him place the Mirror in the exact center of the room, and stared at him as he picked up the red stone and performed a few incantations on it and the mirror. He performed one last spell and the Mirror sort of absorbed the Stone into its glassy face.
“Come,” said Dumbledore, and we left the room together.
“Er…I don’t know how to ask this,” I began, “But…don’t you think it’s a bit…dangerous? Couldn’t anyone just walk in there and take the Stone? I mean, what’s the point of all those enchantments on the third floor if you can just—“
“Ah,” the old man interrupted, staring at me, “Quite.”
I must have made my About-To-KILL-You Face because he quickly continued:
“Don’t worry, Severus,” he said, “No one will find it. It’s too obvious.”
“Right,” I said, twitching a bit, “And one last question. Why did you need me for all this if all you had to do was open a dumb door?”
“Oh,” he said, “I enjoyed the company. So kind of you to offer.” Though of course we both knew I had done anything but offer.
He grinned at me and sort of zig-zagged up the stairs towards his office.
I stood there for a minute and then turned around to look at that door. Was he joking? Was a panel of wood all that really protected the Philosopher’s Stone? And in the middle of the Entrance Hall?
I tried the knob on the door. It was unlocked, just as I had suspected. This was total madness. I magically locked it for good measure, and went back to bed. It wasn’t my problem if it was stolen, after all. I was just in this to annoy Quirrel. And Quirrel, after all, was probably too dimwitted to find a door anyway. He’d probably just smack right into the frame and be done with it.
Chapter 16: The Love Doctor is In...Trouble
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Carlin Emery had detention with me every Saturday for the entire year, for sheer impertinence and downright Gryffindority. Adrian Pucey had detention with me this particular Saturday because he had stolen my secret hair product recipe. And then Genesis Evan showed up—more or less just to make my life difficult, but mostly because I figured it would fulfill my promise of “helping” her “win” her “love.”
It did “not.”
The whole four-hour detention was a gag-fest of furious under-the-table leg-rubbing from the love-birds (and a surplus of hyphens, apparently). (Incidentally, another excellent reason I shall never enter into a serious relationship: I have very sensitive legs.).
And then of course Genesis had to sit there crying like a garden hose onto all the adolescent Horklumps she was supposed to be de-molding, which wouldn’t have been such a tragedy if she hadn’t drowned all the weaker ones. Natural selection at its best. If I hadn’t stopped her they probably would have started construction on an ark and paraded around two by two, discussing the end of the world in horklumpian.
After about two hours of this, Genesis marched up to my desk with what can only be called crazy-eyes, and said through gritted crazy-teeth:
“Professor. This is does not count as helping me.”
I looked at her, mystified.
“Miss Evan, you don’t understand,” I said, speaking slowly and clearly so she could understand, “True love is watching from a distance as your soul mate nuzzles with someone else, usually an abnormally large prat. And then it’s only true true love when they get married. And have a baby boy.”
She nodded thoughtfully.
“I see what you mean, Professor.”
“Good. Now you go give that a try.”
For the first time in years I felt as if I had actually taught something useful.
Genesis sat back at the table and again began to cry, but this time with much more purpose. Carlin and Adrian giggled together, leg-rubbed, and ignored her. Much better. Mission accomplished.
About an hour later, I was grading Potter’s essay and trying to find a few synonyms…
“Professor?” Genesis was again at my desk, interrupting my thesaurus-like mind. “I don’t like this plan anymore. With all due respect, I would like Adrian Pucey to love me. Forever.”
“Unfortunately, Miss Evan, a Love Potion would lose me my job. Alright, I’ll do it.”
“But wait—I never even asked—“
“Fine! If you insist! I said I’ll do it!”
Carlin and Adrian both looked up curiously as I grabbed Genesis’ head and plucked a hair from it.
I let go of her head. We all just looked at each other a moment. It was awkward.
I rescued the moment by gallivanting into my storeroom, waving Miss Evan’s hair about nonchalantly, like this was something I did every day. I think I fooled them. After all, I am a Spy Extraordinaire.
To be honest, I already had some Love Potion in stock. I had been considering either ridding Madam Pomfrey of her mortifying crush on me, or torturing McGonagall in some delectable way. As soon as I took the bottle off the shelf, it occurred to me that giving some to Pomfrey with a little of McGonagall’s hair in it would achieve both these noble purposes.
“Shame,” I muttered, looking longingly at the pink bottle. For a tortured moment, I considered breaking my promise to Miss Evan. But then the image of that horrendous leg-rubbing filled my mind, and I knew what I had to do.
I wandered casually out of the storeroom, making circles on the ceiling with my eyes so as not to make eye-contact with anyone.
“Are you alright, Professor?” asked Genesis.
“I think he’s having a seizure,” said Adrian.
“I’m perfectly fine!” I snapped as I, with less-than-impeccable timing, fell face-first over a chair in my path. (In my defense, it’s difficult to make circles on the ceiling with your eyes and walk and carry a large glass bottle simultaneously.)
(If you were wondering, the bottle was fine. My entire store of potions is Dumbledore-proof.)
I righted myself, ignored their extremely rude staring, and uncorked the bottle. Somewhere along the way, I had lost Genesis’ hair, and so I sauntered over to their table, now making expert triangles on the ceiling, and plucked another one from her head.
In retrospect, the fact that I dropped a strand of her hair into a huge bottle labeled “Love Potion” should have been a tip off for the happy couple. But they are not Spies, after all. And all’s well that end’s well.
Even if it didn’t precisely “end”…”well.”
After their detention, I spent an hour or five developing what I believed would be my best catchphrase ever. The articulation of said catchphrase shall blow your mind and drop your jaw at a later point in the chapter.
I then took the Love Potion down to the kitchens. I knew it would take some of my best Spy work yet to convince the house elves to let me pour the potion in the pumpkin juice.
It took a bit of time to actually get to the kitchens, seeing as I was such a Spy that every time I passed someone on my Most Secret of Missions, I would have to go back to my dungeon and start all over again. I finally did a run where no one spotted me, realized I’d forgotten the potion, doubled back to get it, and then did yet another run where no one spotted me. Success.
When both the potion and I were safely in front of the kitchens, I sneakily tickled the painting of the pear and then sneakily slunk through the door. The house elves were running around like mice and the kitchen was loud and steamy in preparation for dinner.
“Hello,” I said surreptitiously.
“Hello, sir,” squeaked one wrinkly elf, stopping to bow low.
“Hello,” I whispered to him.
“Hello,” he said again.
“Hello!” I roared back. This house elf was obviously not a Spy.
I then noticed a large vat across the room labeled Pumpkin juice—Slytherin.
“Goodbye!” I called as I dropped to the ground and rolled expertly across the floor. (I lost my momentum after about three feet, stood up, and had to walk the rest of the way, but I think the elf was still impressed. His mouth hung open for a good minute and a half, anyway.)
The pumpkin juice vat loomed before me. This was the hard part. I had to fish the bottle out of my trousers without any of the elves realizing where exactly I was rummaging. It wasn’t easy. But they don’t call me Grease Lightning for nothing.
One nearby elf that resembled an old bandicoot was eyeing me curiously at that point, so I distracted her by pointing past her and yelling, “Look! You’re short!”
I was so busy laughing at my own uproarious joke that I almost forgot to uncork the bottle and pour it into the vat behind my back. I did eventually, but I was in such a rush and it was so difficult to hoist it over my shoulder without looking that a lot of it splattered on the floor and down the backs of my legs. It looked a bit like I’d urinated myself, but all Spies must make Sacrifices.
Having achieved greatness, I jogged briskly from the kitchens.
I felt so elated with success that I played an impromptu round of Paint-the-First-Year with myself.
I then went to dinner where I spent the majority of the meal giggling every time Avery took a sip of juice and giving Miss Evan the wink-and-thumbs-up at two-minute intervals. I wanted to do one-minute intervals, but I was simply too much of a pro for that sort of tomfoolery.
The next day was Sunday, and I decided to sleep in. I deserved some glory rest. But, of course, as is the story of my life, I was forced awake at the ungodly hour of two o’clock in the afternoon when something that sounded like a hippogriff began pounding down my poor defenseless door.
I clumped over to the door and ripped it open.
“What?" I snarled in what I imagined to be a fearful lion-hawk-like way.
It was McGonagall, looking as usual like a cross between the Grim Reaper and Ebeneezer Scrooge. Of course she spared no time for hellos and how-de-do’s, just began shouting in my face:
“Severus, the Slytherins are all running about in packs! They’re revolting!”
“Yeah?” I said, “Well the Gryffindors are more revolting!”
She squinted at me with the sharp scissor-like points of her eyes.
“That is not what I meant. Severus, have you heard anything about a Love Potion?”
I grabbed two pumpkin pasties pumpkin pasties off the table and quickly stuffed them in my mouth, to avoid answering, and also to mask my obvious guilt with a smokescreen of sprayed crumbs and protuberant cheeks.
She brushed a few crumbs off her horrifying hat, and continued in a disturbingly persistent manner:
“I doubt a pumpkin pasty will stop me. The students show distinctive signs of being under the influence of a love potion. Do you know anything?”
I chewed at her rebelliously. She would get nothing from me.
“Speaking of love,” she said dryly, “I am in love with you.”
I choked and hacked and spat my half-chewed pasties into the fire. I was considering hopping on in there myself in a sort of cleanse-by-fire gesture when I heard a sort of creaking and snuffling sound from behind me. I knew that sound all too well. It was McGonagall’s alarming attempt at an infectious laugh.
Her maniacal plan had worked. Now there was no warm, soft, crumbly pumpkin pasty in between me and the truth.
But I had a secret weapon.
“Now,” said MickeyG, “Let’s have an adult discussion about this. You must know all the students in this school that are capable of brewing a Love Potion. Let’s hear them.”
And it was at that moment that I unleashed the Catchphrase, the words of wonderment, which would echo epically for generations:
I said, “Well, well, well. Mayhaps this is quite a conundrum.”
McGonGon looked satisfactorily befuddled.
“What—Severus—that—that doesn’t even mean anything!”
“Mayhaps. Well, well, well. This really is quite a conundrum.”
It worked equally well the second time. She huffed and puffed and tried to blow the little piggies’ house down.
I didn’t want to end her little life with a third repetition of the Catchphrase, however, so I pretended in a very Spy-like manner to go along with her little conversation.
“So how do you know it is a Love Potion?” I said, making my Ravishing Researcher face for the occasion.
She responded in a very strange manner.
“Er—well, I just know because—I…you see…” she humbugged, looking suddenly supremely uncomfortable. At first I thought that my Ravishing Researcher face was distracting her, so I switched to a more Disinterested Prime Minister vibe, but she continued to stutter:
“I just think…er, well, it’s possible…they show signs, er…”
“What signs?” I asked, rescuing her from her own awkwardness, now sporting my Valiant Fireman face.
“Er...scratching their arms? Howling?” she looked at me apprehensively. And then it clicked.
“Minerva. You don’t know the symptoms of love do you? You wouldn’t know them if they pole-danced in your sink while you were trying to brush your teeth!”
She pursed her lips until they disappeared, as her face turned a charming eggplant colour. I had hit the nail on the money of the head and gotten the cigar to boot.
Then she muttered, “What’s pole-dance?”
“Don’t change the subject. You are the most loveless person anyone has ever seen with their eyeballs!” My Triumphant Bus Driver face only enhanced my glory.
She glared at me.
“No,” she said, “I have often felt love…expand…my shoulders. Love has washed me many times with…loving feelings. Many men have said Italian words of the loving…birds…to me. I love a lot! I love…er—“
But I never found out what she “loved,” because little miss Italian bird lover turned on her heel and went galloping for cover.
With luck, her humiliation would keep her away from me for at least a week.
Unfortunately my little Beacon of Victory dwindled a tad when my eyes wandered downward and I realized that the entire interview had been conducted with less trousers and more my green froggy pants. I looked up and then looked down again, just to be sure, but it was still true.
If McGonagall failed to notice that little wardrobe hiccup, I said to myself, I will find God and become a born-again whatsit.
A/N—First off, “pants” mean “underpants” in England. Thought I’d get that straight.
And second, look who’s back! I told you I’d never leave you! Thank you for being so patient with me. I will try to be much better about this story this summer. No more three-month breaks or anything. You know I love you fabulous readers. I’d just rather write nothing at all then write something I’m not happy with…you know.
But I’ll stop blabbing. Please tell me what you thought of this! And I will get on that next chapter…but not now, as it’s two in the morning…but soon…
Chapter 17: The Hogwarts Zoo
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The truth was that the Slytherins had been herding about in packs all day. Sometimes (by mathematical probability only) even the things that come out of McGonagall’s mouth are bound to be true.
And they were all looking for the same person: Genesis Evan. To be honest, it was a bit off-putting; the lovesick are never the most stable people to be around. Some of them were walking into walls, starry-eyed and drooling all over the carpets, some of them were starting fistfights which more often than not ended in the Battle of the Love Metaphors, and, worst of all, Adrian Pucey himself was standing at the top of the Entrance Hall stairs, moaning out some song he had written about her and waving a tambourine about at random intervals.
I wandered the halls, observing the spectacle. This wasn’t my responsibility, anyway. It’s only your responsibility if it can be traced back to you.
Two amorous Slytherins passed me.
One sighed for an obscene length of time and then said, “I don’t even know who Genesis is, and I still love her.”
The other said, “I know. I’ve been dating Andrew for four years, and I still love her.”
It suddenly occurred to me how confusing this whole fiasco must be for girls who had formerly assumed they were of the heterosexual persuasion.
As I watched Draco Malfoy comically try to tackle both Crabbe and Goyle at once while shouting, “Quit coveting my soul twin! She’s mine!” I felt a vague pang down in my stomach area.
I instantly leapt into the air as if bitten. Had I just felt guilt?
But no, it was merely hunger. I hadn’t eaten all day, after all.
Upon determining this, I beamed out my most relieved and charming of smiles.
(A passing First Year looked at me, screamed, and went bounding off in the opposite direction. I admit I am out of practice in the charming department.)
I stopped smiling and walked into the Great Hall for some guilt-free repast. I sat down in my usual place and was piling half a heart attack’s worth of bacon on my plate when I felt something rubbing against my knees. I kicked it just in case it was McGonagall.
“Ow!” said the thing.
Not McGonagall. Interesting.
I then twisted down and stuck my head under the table in what I hoped to be a suave and dignified manner. I instantly came nose-to-nose with Genesis Evan, hiding under the table, looking distinctly like a panicky squirrel. (But she had to scoot back a bit so my nose could have all the space it liked. It is not large, just big boned.)
“Professor,” she whispered, “you have to give them the antidote! All of them! I don’t care! They’ve been chasing me about all day!”
“But this is what you wanted,” I said, a bit miffed that she didn’t appreciate the fruits of my labours.
At this moment, Dumbledore’s head popped down from the other end of the table. It wiggled about a bit and then said wisely:
“Be careful what you wish for—you just might get it!”
We both turned and glared at him. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it. I should be used to it by now.
“How do you know everything that goes on in this bloody school?” I demanded.
He just wiggled a bit more and then said, “Mayhaps,” and whipped his head back up again.
I then realized many things at once:
1) He had stolen the most sacred word of my Catchphrase, rendering it utterly useless.
2) He had most certainly not been in the Great Hall when I had entered it. And,
3) From the way his head had been hanging upside-down, he had either been hanging like a bat from the ceiling, or laying stomach-down upon the Staff table.
I shuddered in rage, and a bit of stray admiration.
“Professor!” Miss Evan interrupted my spasms, “You have to give them the antidote! You’ve made a huge mess with this whole potion thing.”
It was now her turn to be glared at.
“I mean—“ she faltered under my razor-sharp gaze (they call me Razor Gazer, or at least they will when I’m Prime Minister), but then continued, “Well—I just—it’s over a hundred people, you know, in love with me, when I just wanted...one…”
I removed my head from under the table, cupped my hands to my mouth and yelled in a mock-confused voice, “Genesis Evan! What are you doing under the Staff table?”
With the sound of a rhinoceros, and many benches and tables being knocked over, a flock of gooey-eyed Slytherins and one excitable Hufflepuff galloped with impressive speed and agility to where I stood.
“Nooo!” shrieked Miss Evan from her former hiding space.
The noise only excited them further. They began to burrow and push under the table, shouting things like, “Marry me!” “Darling!” and “I’ve found you, my snickerdoodle!”
I sauntered casually away with my plate of bacon and my pride. No one criticizes my Spy Tactics without getting accosted by a heap of students, let me tell you.
I visited the Staff Room, hoping for some peace and quiet, but found that things were not much better there. First of all, when I opened the door, the first thing I saw was Quirrel’s face, which even the Grim Reaper himself agrees is an Omen of Ugliness and Boredom.
So I tried to make a smooth 180-degree turn by making a sort of figure-eight motion, casually swinging my arms, and shoving bacon in my mouth all at once, but I was arrested in this attempt by a shockingly unnecessary noise coming from inside the Staff Room (also by choking for a moment on a bit of bacon).
The noise was McGonagall, who was apparently getting my attention these days by making a sort of mooing sound. I stared at her as I discretely hacked up the bacon. She was sitting in the armchair next to Quirrel. A more horrifying thought occurred to me: Had she been trying to get Quirrel’s attention?
“Oh, hello Severus!” she said brightly, and did a bit more high-pitched mooing:
“Mah-hoo-hoo,” she cackled with a huge smile pasted across her ancient face, “Moooo-hoo-hoo!”
Even Quirrel looked alarmed, and when something gets through Quirrel’s hippo-skull, you know it must be extreme.
“Oh Quirinius!” said McGonagall, still brightly, “I love your turban. Moohoo-hoo! And your iguana, I love your iguana. What a lovely iguana, that I love.”
Not this again. If she was trying to prove to me that she was capable of love by flirting with Quirrel, she was even dafter than I had formerly pinned her. I think even Quirrel himself was coming to terms with the fact that no one would ever love anything that was even within ten feet of him.
She did a bit more mooing and some upsetting eyelash blinkety-blinking. (I will remind you that she is at least seventy-three.)
“Oh!” I said, smacking my forehead in earnest realization, “She’s trying to giggle! That’s what the mooing is!”
My academic discovery went unappreciated. Quirrel understandably did not look particularly relieved, and McGonagall went instantly from giggling schoolgirl to murderous marmoset.
I don’t know why it always surprises me when I’m hexed out of a room, but there I went—sliding on my back out the door and down the hall. I saved myself from any shame by flipping over and doing a few impromptu push-ups once I’d stopped sliding, as if I had meant to be on the floor the whole time, and not because of Minerva’s late-onset menopause.
My arms sort of gave out on the second push-up, however, so I had to cover up my cover-up and pretend to be washing the floor with my hands. It wasn’t my best work, to be honest. I just crawled around on my hands and knees with an invisible sponge, muttering “Out, damn spot,” then eventually realized that no one was looking anyway, and got up rather anticlimactically.
This school was all too much for me. It’s not my fault she never learned how to giggle, or that she emerged from the womb (circa the fall of Ancient Rome) already a persnickety old pensioner. At least exams were starting in a week, I thought. That would cheer me up immeasurably.
I receded back to my dungeon with my metaphorical tail between my legs.
I only made one brief stop on the way, to ogle at a rather nauseating display.
Remember the Pucey-Emery-Evan love-triangle? Well, there they all were, standing about in the hall for everyone to see, apparently involved in a tearful group-hug.
“We’ve all hurt each other very much,” said Adrian Pucey, “Let’s be friends again.”
What a revolting turn of events.
There is only one person to see in times like these. I limped down to Filch’s office. (Limping always gives one an air of veteran bravery and worldly knowledge).
I have learned from experience that barging in upon Filch without advance warning is a very bad idea. Not a Talking-to-Dumbledore Bad Idea, but a Marrying-Sybil-Trelawney Bad. Idea.
The first time I walked in without knocking, my very first year of teaching, I interrupted the only mildly-disturbing scene of Filch gently shampooing Mrs. Norris while crooning her a little song.
The second time, they appeared to be somehow playing charades. And (at least he seemed to think) she was miming the phrase, “I love you,” with her tail and left paw.
The third time, they were both crouching on the floor, watching a fish as it gasped and flopped around until it died.
The fourth time, still on the floor, both gnawing on one, apparently raw, fish.
The fifth, and last time, Filch was asleep, curled up on his desk, as Mrs. Norris sat in his chair and, I swear on McGonagall’s gargantuan fireproof hat, petting him.
So to avoid a similar incident, I sang my customary, “I’m walking down the hall” song, and then shuffled, stomped, and throat-cleared for a while outside his door before knocking.
Knock, knockity knock knock. Knock knock! (I succumbed to the knocking song. It is an irresistible force of nature. You know exactly what I’m talking about.)
“Come in!” Filch growled pleasantly.
I opened the door in that carefree, innocent way I have. I proceeded into the office, still guileless and naïve.
Then I looked up. At my so-called “friend.”
“Argus!” I said instantly.
“What?” he said, peering at me.
“We’ve talked about this.”
“About those mad things you do.”
“Yes—what about them?”
“Just—Please remove Mrs. Norris from your head until I leave. I can’t concentrate.”
“No, not Mrs. Norris.”
“It’s Mrs. Cat-is-a-Hat today.”
“I’m cold, see.”
Mrs. Cat-is-a-Hat opened one lazy eye from atop his head and glared at me for disturbing her slumber. The pair of them could be very disquieting at times.
“It’s very cold in this dungeon,” he further explained.
“I don’t care. It makes you look like Quirrel.”
That perked them up.
Mrs. Norris meowed out something that sounded distinctly like “Not Quirrellll!” as Filch shoved her off his head and pitched her across the room into a wall.
“Point taken,” he said.
Mrs. Norris bounced off the wall, landed on the ground, and then slunk under a cabinet in shame. Quirrel is not the most popular of people around here.
I sat down and glared at them to relax me.
“Well, I have something that will cheer you up,” Filch snarled, kindly.
“What is that?”
“Potter had detention in the Forbidden Forest last night. And he almost died.” He tried to laugh, but just sort of coughed more energetically than usual.
“I think I need to hold a Laughing Seminar for faculty and staff,” I said.
“What?” he asked. (He has miserable hearing. I may or may not have once accidentally set off a firework rather near his right ear, and then I may or may not have done a rather poor job of modifying his memory. He may or may not still fervently believe that he met the real Santa Claus that day.)
I spoke louder, “I said, that’s excellent news. What happened?”
“Well, I can’t understand a bleedin’ word out of Hagrid’s mouth. But I think, if I heard him right, Potter was either shellacked by the Fuhrer of unicorn blood, or he was attacked by the Dark Lord with baby spuds.”
“You probably heard him right, then,” I said.
But Filch just nodded thoughtfully, and did not understand my Ultimate Wit.
“Severus Snape,” Dumbledore’s voice boomed loud and clear over the loud speaker, “Please see the Headmaster immediately. Severus Snape.”
I articulated a few choice statements expressing exactly how I felt about Dumbledore, got up, turned around, realized that Hogwarts had no loud speaker to begin with, and walked full speed into Dumbledore himself, who had been looming there behind me for goodness knows how long, pretending to be a loud speaker—with realistic resonance and crackling and all.
I expressed a few more choice statements.
“Please leave my mother out of this,” the Headmaster said, still sporting that serene smile that really should be reserved only for bubble baths. Or perhaps his retirement. That’s what I’m saving my serene smile for, anyway.
“Severus,” he went on, unperturbed by the teeth-grinding, eye rolling fiasco that was my face, “We need to talk.”
I mumbled something very quietly. Even I didn’t know if I was pretending to be hard of hearing (ala Filch), or just a non-English speaker.
With a bit of agile eye-contact avoidance and some exuberant shrugging, I began to worm my way closer and closer to the door.
But, alas, it was not to be.
Dumbledore’s behind-the-back arm pin has been improving.
Chapter 18: End With A Snape
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Dumbledore herded me up to his office, like I was some sort of sheep. Though I’m not sure where he got the shepherd’s cane on such short notice. Perhaps it was an impulse buy.
Along the way, he hummed some horrible tune, waved his cane about, and refused to answer any of my sensible questions.
I asked, “Headmaster, am I in trouble?”
And, “Why do you need to talk to me?”
But when I asked, “May I please at least use the toilet first?” I was rewarded with a loud, resounding, “NO!” right in my face.
And then more shepherding and humming, naturally.
“How did such a personage as you become Headmaster?” I asked, politely.
“Usurping, mostly,” said the madman, “With a bit of secretarial work on the side.”
A few wits after the end of my wits, we arrived at his office, which is the only room in this castle that’s madder than he is. (All those little whirring machines in it, by the way, look all magical and important, but are mostly just the product of Dumbledore’s brief foray into modern art. If you are ever unfortunate enough to ask about them, you will be subjected to a lecture on post-modern-urban-industrialism, full with visual aids and the occasional role-playing.)
Anyhow, Dumbledore waddled into his office, still wielding the shepherd’s cane, and deposited himself behind his desk. He then peered at me over his glasses with a look that was almost sane.
I proceeded warily into the office. If he was experiencing a brief moment of sensibility, I was not going to be the one to miss it.
“You wanted to talk to me, sir?”
“Yes, I wanted to remind you that Love Potions are strictly forbidden in the castle.”
“Well, you can’t prove anything. Is that all?”
(I inwardly marked that day down in History, as the Day We Exchanged a Few Lines of Rational Dialogue.)
“No that is not all,” he continued, “I’m going to London.”
“Methinks…once a day.”
“Alas, yes. Until methinks I should come back.”
“But…why?” (I inwardly cursed him. We had been doing so well with the conversing coherently.)
“Because there have been some strange happenstance happenings in this castle. I may be needed here at any moment.”
“So if you think you will be needed here, then why don’t you just stay, and not go to London at all?”
He glared at me. I saw his hand twitch towards that secret button that he has that opens the trapdoor that very often drops me free-falling down to my dungeons. So I leapt rabbit-like onto his desk, just as the trapdoor opened right where I had been standing.
I crouched (frog-like, now) there on his desk, smiling triumphantly down at him.
“Alas,” he said (for once using the word in its right context), “That usually succeeds. Alas, nice reflexes.”
“I know,” I said, thanking my daily yoga for making all this crouching so easy for me, “Now, Dumbledore, why exactly do you need to go to London in the first place?”
He just stared at me blankly. He was so blank that he even forgot to turn the twinkles on in his eyes. They were just normal blue for once. Staring…staring…staring…
“Ha!” I said, climbing down from his desk, “You have no reason to go to London! So it was all a char-AAAAAAAAAAH!”
Alas, I had forgotten that the trap door was still open. So down I fell. Down, down, down, and then bounce bounce as I landed on my bed, shouting angry hyperbolic metaphors and similes at no one, as the culprit chuckled to himself eleven floors above.
Or did he?
I heard a high-pitched “Wheeeee!” from above my head, and I dove off the bed just in time to see Dumbledore crash-land right where my face would have been.
“Forgive me for my intrusion!” he said (rather big words for someone who was bouncing on a bed with their five-foot-long hair-and-beard combination all standing up on end), “But I forgot to mention that you must inform me if you see anything suspicious while I’m gone!”
“Alright,” I said, “But I still postulate that it would be more efficient for you to remain here.”
Dumbledore stopped bouncing and sat down on the bed, conjured up a dictionary from midair, looked something up, and then said, “Oh really? Well then I postulate that Quirrel will try to steal the Philosopher’s Stone!”
“What? What did you say?”
“Hmm, alas. Oh, nothing, nothing…”
He hopped off the bed and began to rummage through my closet.
“Oy, get out of there—Headmaster? What did you just say? Did you just say that Quirrel was going to—?”
“Aha!” he said, emerging from my closet with my second-favourite umbrella. (You know, the one with the different coloured slices, like a big bright rainbow orange.)
This very effectively distracted me from any questions I had about Quirrel.
“That’s mine!” I hollered, in a genuine panic, and began to chase him.
We ran out the door and down the hall.
“Give it back!”
I was gaining on him, so he turned his head back and yelled, “Voldemort!” just so that I would have to stop and take the customary flinch that must always accompany the Dark Lord’s name. This flinch slowed me down just enough so that he could speed ahead and out of sight, umbrella still tucked heartrendingly under his arm.
It was a dirty trick, but it worked every time.
So Dumbledore went to London every day that week. He would send himself an “Urgent Message” from the “Ministry,” every morning at breakfast (you could tell he sent them because they were printed on his customized purple stationary with the watermark of his face on it), and then yell something like “Oh my! The Ministry! How important!” and then set off with superfluous pomp and circumstance and, inexplicably, my poor, wounded umbrella tucked into his Weird Sisters’ rucksack.
It was really all very tragic and unpleasant.
And then, every day, he would return at some arbitrary time running around the halls, barking nonsense like, “Harry’s gone after him, hasn’t he?” and “No sooner had I reached London than it became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just left!” and other such waffle, until someone or other rounded him up and locked him back into his office.
Episodes like this are rather common with Dumbledore. It gets hard to feign concern after a point.
This behaviour continued all the way into exams, right until the very last day, in fact. But by that time I couldn’t be bothered with it. The year was almost over. There was no stopping my buoyant cheer.
I divided my time between prowling, stalking, and surreptitiously humming, “The Final Countdown.” I had already made the executive decision to skip grading exams this year, and just award the student with my standard formula:
+10 points for a having a pronounceable name
+10 for tolerable looks
+10 for being in the Right House
+10 for never speaking to me in class
+10 for never speaking to me ever
+10 for sitting in the front row
+10 for having those scary-type parents that might owl me if I give too low a grade
+10 for not having those scary-type parents, and thereby having hope of becoming a tolerable person in the future
+10 for looking like a murderer (no point in me taking any risks)
+10 for imitating my hairstyle
+10 for attending the exam
+15 for existing, just so that I don’t fail everyone and look suspicious
+100 if I like you (this has yet to happen)
…all out of 100.
It’s a very effective system. You’d be surprised how few complaints I’ve received.
I imagine that every teacher has his or her own similar grading system.
Quirrel’s would probably be something like +100 if you are an iguana.
Flitwick’s would be +100 if you are shorter than me.
McGonagall’s would be +100 if you actually earned a 100, which is why we call her The Cat in the Hat, behind her back.
Or at least I do. And, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, I am more or less a trendsetter around here.
Anyway, I was walking the halls on this last day, thinking with excitement upon the “END OF TERM COSTUME! AND CHOCOLATE! PARTY!” that had been advertised on flamboyantly coloured posters all over the school and was to be taking place in the staff room that night, and considering carefully my many costume options, when I stumbled upon a very irksome scene.
Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger, forming a triangle of annoyance in the middle of the hallway.
“—It’s tonight,” Harry was muttering excitedly, “Snape’s going through the trapdoor tonight—“
I was rather busy observing that Potter’s forehead is far too small compared to the rest of his face, but I did hear my name. I immediately puffed with indignation. But of course, none of the miniature blockheads noticed my indignant puffing.
“—He’s found everything he needs,” he continued, “And now he’s got Dumbledore out of the way. He sent that note, I bet the Ministry of Magic is going to get a real shock when Dumbledore turns up.”
“But what can we—?”
I stepped very suddenly (and dramatically) into the light.
I meant to say something very cutting and snarky, but I blanked a bit and just strangled out, “Good afternoon!” at the last second.
They stared at me.
I regained my snarkiness.
“You shouldn’t be inside on a day like thisss,” I said, lingering on the “s” for effect. And it was very effective.
But then, at the worst possible moment, I suddenly and unstoppably beamed out the most shiny and charming of smiles. I had got it! My costume! It was perfect!
Potter interrupted my blissful thoughts.
“We were just…”
“You want to be more careful,” I smoothly interrupted him right back, “Hanging around like this, people will think you’re up to something. And Gryffindor really can’t afford to lose anymore points, can it?”
Harry blushed like a schoolgirl. They all began shuffling suspiciously away, but I remembered something else:
“Be warned, Potter—any more nighttime wanderings and I will personally make sure you are expelled.”
I was taken then by a powerful sneeze, but I cleverly turned it into what sounded like “Good day to you!” (in a sneezy sort of way), and walked quickly away.
I needed to hurry if I wanted my costume to be ready in time for the party. I was on a mission.
I crept down to the kitchen, and stole a string of garlic cloves. Then I crept up to Dumbledore’s office, and stole one of his purple curtains (Dumbledore was out again on one of his pretend “Ministry Missions”). But, mind you, even when he’s not there, stealing from Dumbledore’s office is never easy. Fawkes set me on fire three times before the curtain came down properly.
I, only mildly singed and smoking, then went straight down to my dungeons to concoct my hilarious disguise.
Three hours later, I emerged victorious, with the string of garlic around my neck, and a purple turban wrapped expertly around my head (turbans are harder than you think to affix). I was walking innocently towards the staff room, pondering whether or not to steal also Quirrel’s horrendous clog-like shoes, just for effect, and practicing my stutter, when someone shouted from behind me.
I began to run, thinking that Quirrel was near, and not wanting to spoil my costume just yet. But to my astonishment, I found myself suddenly Immobilized.
“Quirrel!” the person said again. I heard them run up behind me.
And suddenly, with fury in his eyes, and his wand pointing at my chest, the quiet Third Year Hufflepuff Cedric Diggory was in front of me, shouting melodramatically in my poor immobilized face.
“I know what you’re trying to do, Quirrel! You’re trying to Steal the Philosopher’s Stone! I’ve figured you all out. That’s why you’re throwing that staff party—you’re trying to distract the teachers while Dumbledore’s conveniently out of town. Well, I won’t let you! Stupefy!”
My last thought, before the spell hit me full-on in the chest, was something about garlic.
I awoke, some interval later, and before I even registered my surroundings I shouted, “I do not resemble Quirrel!” for anyone who cared to listen.
It turned out that no one cared to listen, and that I was still in the exact same corridor Diggory had left me in.
I got up and ran to the Staff Room, hoping desperately that I hadn’t missed the whole party.
When I arrived and ripped open the Staff Room door, my heart fell into my knees. There were no decorations, no costumes, not even any chocolate. And there was only one, endlessly unnecessary person, sitting in an armchair, probably memorizing a textbook.
“Minerva—“ I began.
She looked up and screamed. Then she threw her book to the floor, and began brandishing her wand in my face.
“Quirrel! Dumbledore said you were dead!”
My first instinct was to bite her. But I resisted.
“It’s me!” I said, “Can’t anybody tell the difference?”
I ripped off my purple turban, which in my hurry I had forgotten I was wearing.
“Severus?” She looked positively befuddled. “Why on all of God’s green and blue earth are you dressed like Quirrel?”
“It was my costume,” I said sadly, “I got waylaid on the way to the costume party. I was going as Quirrel.”
She looked at me in alarm.
“You realize the costume party was three days ago?”
“Three…days…I was left lying in a corridor for three days?” But then suddenly something she had said earlier hit me full-force, “Quirrel’s DEAD?”
“He had You-Know-Who in his turban,” she said simply, as if that was any explanation at all, “He tried to steal the Stone. Amazingly, Potter, Granger, and Weasley held him up long enough for the Headmaster to intervene.”
“Dumbledore killed Quirrel?”
“I think not. I believe Potter killed him with his fiery hands,” she said, which, again, was just as good as no explanation at all.
“So in a similar vein, then, Minerva, do you think I could get Potter expelled for being a murderer?”
“Severus, do you not understand the implications of this?” she snapped.
“The Dark Lord!” It all clicked, “He’s alive! And Quirrel is dead! Oh, this is far too much for me…”
I sat down in what may have been a mild swoon. I sat there for a few minutes, and Minerva began looking a bit uncomfortable.
“Severus,” she finally said, “Are you…sad?”
“No,” I lied, “I just miss him a little.”
“You?” she asked incredulously.
“I hated him so deeply…You don’t find someone like that every day.”
“Well, then, I’m sure you’ll find someone else to fill his place,” she said awkwardly, and by the time I looked up to reply, she had skedaddled out the door.
So I conjured a quill and paper, and wrote the following carefully-crafted eulogy:
We are one and the same.
We both worked for
You were like
My worser half:
I was cool
And you were naff.
Your purple turban
Smelled really bad
And now that you are dead
I am sad.
When I emerged from the Staff Room, people were all heading in packs towards something.
I stopped one student.
“Where are you going?”
“The End-of-the-Year Feast, of course! But—why are your eyes all red and puffy?”
As I hemmed and hawed, another student popped in helpfully, “Yeah, and why do you smell like garlic eggplant?”
This is why I hate students.
I just gracefully clonked their heads together, removed my garland of garlic, and proceeded to the feast. As I walked, I reconciled myself to the fact that I’d been Stunned and abandoned in a hallway for three days. At least it made the end of the year come faster.
I passed Cedric Diggory on the way, and resisted the urge to vomit on his head. He did not even spare me a look; apparently he had never realized his grave error. I solemnly swore at that moment to never let him have a moment of peace while he resided in the same building as me.
I sat down at the feast. I did not care how many points Dumbledore shoveled onto the Gryffindors. I did not care who won the House Cup. I did not even care that Madam Pomfrey was rubbing my leg with her own under the table. I only cared about one thing.
When Dumbledore stopped rambling at the students, and the feasting ensued, I shouted across to him:
“Dumbledore! If you knew all this was going to happen, then why didn’t you stop it?”
“Why, elementary, my dear Watson!” he quipped. He then chuckled, took a sip of juice, choked on it, wheezed for a while, and then got the hiccups.
I stared at him in utter frustration, but he didn’t seem to plan on saying anything more.
Madam Pomfrey’s leg was wandering dangerously, so I kicked it and resumed my meal.
This year was not going on the Top Ten List.
A/N—Yes, this is the finale! The grand exeunt of Year One! I can't believe it's over. So I just wanted to thank you all for how great and supportive you’ve been, putting up with my slow updating, and my sheer ridiculousness. Every single one of you made this possible. Every single review keeps me writing. I had endless fun, and I hope you did too!
Extra HUGE thanks to everyone who nominated me for a Dobby! This is lame, but it literally brought tears to my eyes.
So…liked this story? VOTE P^5 FOR BEST NOVELLA!
(Don't ask me why it's "novella" of all things.)
And lastly,Year Two (Severely, Severus) is UP! Please check it out!