Today had been harrowing day. The students had been irritating as usual and been docked the usual number of points. Professor Severus Snape wiped his forehead wearily as he sat at the dinner table. Yet again, he had had to clean up the mess of an exploded cauldron. Yet again, he had had to save the students from an early death because of their own lack of concentration and inability to follow simple instructions. How much would it take to make them understand that a recipe that specifically called for one cup of rattlesnake venom does not require two and a half? Especially when there were huge red letters at the bottom of the page warning "Important: do not change amounts in any way." After all this, they still had the gall to say "But professor..." It was enough to drive anybody mad.
A flapping sound made everyone look up. A solitary express owl had flown in with a letter tied to its feet. Everyone pointed and all the students started chattering. After all, normally the post came with breakfast, and it was rare that a parent used an express owl that would deliver at any time of day. Some looked at it with worried expressions, others with outright fear. What if it was bad news?
Instead, it came closer and closer to the Head table. Oh no. Thought Snape. It looks like the letter's –
Plop! Mine. Finished Snape. It had landed neatly in his lap. Immediately, all the students stared at him. He shot them a sneer and stood up. "I will read this in the privacy of my chambers. Please excuse me." This, he directed at Dumbledore.
As Professor Snape walked out the door, he heard the whispers of two students who said
"Wonder what that is."
"Don't know, but I hope it's something bad."
"Whatever it is, it couldn't be anything good. Nothing good ever comes to him. Why should it? He hasn't done anything —"
Snape left the Great Hall. Entering his chambers, he sat down at the spartan desk and looked apprehensively at the letter. He ran a quick scan to detect any curses that might be attached. Seeing none, he opened it and read the opening.
Professor S. Snape
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dear Professor Snape,
I'm writing this letter to thank you.
He lifted an eyebrow but was intrigued enough to read on.
Last night, at the International Society of Potions Research and Development gala, I was
awarded two honours: my doctorate degree of Potions Analysis and the Crystal Cauldron award
for the doctoral thesis project most likely to benefit Wizard-kind . I was also awarded a position
as the head scientist at the ISPRD research laboratories beginning immediately. Why I am I
telling you all this?
Years ago, when I was a first year student at Hogwarts, you gave us your introductory
speech on the "subtle science and exact art of potions making". Back then, when all us eleven-
year olds were simply too young to understand. I will admit it Professor, that even I, a dedicated
Ravenclaw, giggled and joked through some of your classes. I'll even admit that even I was
angry as you yelled at us for not getting the recipe exactly right. But, this all changed when I was
in my fourth year.
Perhaps you don't remember it, but the incident was the turning point of my life. That
day, one of the younger students unknowingly ate some peanuts, something she was deathly
allergic too. I was talking to Madam Pomfrey when you brought her into the hospital wing. You
then rushed off to your office again. I thought then that you were being cruel and heartless,
abandoning a young eleven-year-old. Madam Pomfrey and I worked to keep her alive but we
almost lost her as she started to swell and hyperventilate. Then, you came back in, with a
smoking goblet. You forced the liquid down the girl's throat and immediately, she stopped
choking. You left right after we were sure she was better.
Before that day, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. I had thought about this
and that, about going into the Ministry or maybe working in a store. But that day, what I
witnessed changed my life. I knew then that whatever I did, it would have something to do with
Potions. I too, wanted the ability to help people immediately, to relieve pain and suffering. Why
then, didn't I become a MediWizard? I considered but then I thought, I enjoyed the complex
problem solving that went on in the laboratory. I liked the systematic approach, the cold clear
logic that was the key to every potion. I also wanted to reach out to help more people, and create
something that would help others even beyond my lifetime.
Now that I had an actual long term goal to work towards, I immersed myself into my
potions studies. I tracked every new development that happened in the academic potions journals
and performed experiments see for myself what the outcomes would be.
Looking back, I now realize that the bad temper you displayed really stemmed from the
frustration of not being able share the beauty of this art with any of your unappreciative students.
I didn't understand until now, that the yelling and threatening were really for our own good, that
because of them, we all worked harder in your subject than anything else and learned so much
You were my inspiration, Professor Snape. Where I am today is all becuase of you. Every
accomplishment I do, every ounce of recognition I receive is all thanks to your teaching when I
was your student. What else can I say?
With sincere thanks and appreciation,
Isabelle de Wynter, P.D.
Snape looked up from the letter. It was a comfort to know that besides Dumbledore, there was a
non-Slytherin who did not hate him. Yes, this was the first letter anyone had ever sent him, that
expressed appreciation for what he did. Standing up, he tucked the note carefully into a little
wooden box and double-locked it for safekeeping. After all, even a Slytherin professor could use
a bit of cheering up at times.
Please review! It truly makes my day.
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