I say that a man must be certain of his morality
for the simple reason that he must suffer for it.
The time since leaving the Hospital Wing seemed to have gone past in a blur of anxious days and restless nights in which Harry’s sleep had been sporadic at best, and his mood even worse as a consequence. It was better than it had been when he first returned to Grimmauld Place, tired from the short journey through the floo and oddly uncomfortable in the old house. There had been hugs and an almost frantic doting from Molly, who had ushered him to his room for a nap whilst flashing him with seemingly uncontrollable pitying glances. Phineas had then glared imperiously down at him from his portrait, only leaving after a number of choice words from Harry who hadn’t wanted to mourn the end of the family line with the overly pretentious painting. Feeling agitated Harry had been grateful when a soft knock issued from the door and Ginny entered, having snuck up with a plate of biscuits and glasses of juice despite Molly’s orders to leave Harry alone so he could sleep. Sleep had been about the furthest thing from his mind. She had chatted aimlessly for a while, undeterred by his own lack of response, until her mother called her down and she left with a bright smile and roll of her eyes. By this point Harry had had to admit he was tired. Despite his exhaustion though, he had found himself incapable of sleeping for more than an hour at a time, waking up with a jolt and gasp of panic, shadowy figures playing at the corners of his vision. At first it had been nerve-wracking, making his attempts at rest more and more troubled with each passing night as his own fatigue and paranoia battled with each other. It was a pattern that had lasted several days and when Ron, ecstatic to have gotten his own room in the large house, found out about it he had instantly moved back in with him, and his presence had helped, to an extent. But Harry still found himself waking in the early hours with a feeling of deep-seated dread that battered his fatigue into submission.
Throwing off the thin covers that were all he needed since the heat had turned humid and sticky, Harry stood carefully to avoid the springs on the bed creaking and disturbing Ron before padding softly down the stairs. No matter how comforting his friends presence was, Harry could not make himself truly relax until he checked there was someone downstairs. More often than not Molly was the one still awake, waiting for her husband, one of her sons or an Order Member and making sure there was a hot cup of tea always available. She had taken to having one ready for Harry too, making no comment on his early morning company and just sliding it into his hands with a small, understanding smile that had Harry almost certain Remus had told her, if not the truth, then at least an acceptable, abridged version of it. Whenever he returned to bed there was also, always, a small vial of dreamless sleep sitting innocuously on his bedside table. If either Molly or Remus were aware that each was poured stubbornly down the toilet, they made no mention of it.
Over the days Harry had gotten used to Remus himself rarely being around anymore or for any length of time anyway. He had been around constantly the first few nights in an attempt to help reassure Harry, normally spending his evenings in the library where Harry would join him, frequently dozing off in one of the comfortable armchairs until Remus either woke him, or carried him back up to bed. It had been nice having the Professor around too, not that the place wasn’t frequently crawling with people, and Harry had become oddly used to it even though it had been such a short time Remus understood, and he knew; he had even made a point of always leaving the door to the Master Bedroom open too, so Harry could see for himself at a glance that he wasn’t alone.
But eventually Remus had had to return to his duties. The Order was stretched as it was, and Harry understood that everyone was needed, especially since Voldemort’s attacks had become impossible to ignore. Even if Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister, had wanted to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, he would have had a hard time denying the return of You-Know-Who given the staggering evidence to the contrary. Evidence, Harry had been aghast to learn, people had been trying to hide from him. He had only discovered by accident when he walked in for breakfast one morning to have Molly snatch a copy of the Daily Prophet from the hands of her husband and try to secrete it away. Harry had asked innocently enough if he could please read it, having been unaware anyone in the house received the newspaper at all, figuring that having owls arriving at the same time every day in delivery could be a bit of a security risk. Molly had just smiled nervously at him, wiping down the table as she asked what it was he wanted to have a look at.
Remus had shouted at Molly when he arrived back that night, the peculiarity of such an outburst further emphasised by the fact that neither had the presence of mind to erect a silencing charm, let alone make the door imperturble. Harry and Ron had sat on the stairs near the kitchen, sharing the occasional grin or wince at the comments that had gotten louder and more heated as they went on. When their past professor swore loudly and vehemently at the top of his voice Ron let out a victorious whoop in contrast to Harry’s quiet shock, vowing to get himself a pensieve so he could hear it again and again along with the mute silence that had been the only response from the formidable woman.
Remus had walked through the door a few minutes later, looking up at the pair and sighing in a mixture of defeat and shame. The newspaper held tightly in his clenched fist was rather crumpled when he handed it over as Harry took it uncertainly. ‘She won’t be hiding it from you any more,’ he had said flatly. ‘If I had known she was I would have stopped her sooner.’ Harry nodded, not certain he really want to know what was written inside now that he actually had the thing in his hands. ‘She only did it because she cares about you and doesn’t want to see you hurt anymore.’
‘I know.’ And he did know, he was just fed up with everyone deciding ignorance was what was best for him.
‘It isn’t good,’ Remus went on, crouching down a couple of steps below them, his hand gripping the railing for balance. ‘Some of it is complete and utter tripe though. Try to filter through it to determine what is and isn’t important.’ He stood up, and for a moment Harry thought the man was going to ruffle his hair or do something else equally bothersome like Sirius had always done without thinking. Actions like that weren’t second nature to Remus though, and somehow they didn’t seem quite so annoying when they never actually happened. Instead he just placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. ‘If you’ve got a minute later come and find me,’ and then he continued up the stairs, his thin shoes almost silent on the floorboards as the door to his bedroom creaked open and didn’t close.
Ron had all but snatched the paper from Harry’s hands before Remus had reached the top of the staircase. ‘Mum hasn’t let me near one of these things either,’ he declared, opening it across their laps as Harry scanned the headlines with growing anger. He had missed so much! Bridges collapsed in mysterious circumstances, taking the lives of countless muggles with them; inexplicable deaths with no apparent reason behind them except of look of fear or incomprehension. Muggleborns being more personally hunted by the swelling ranks of the Death Eaters, and across the country the leering eyes of Dark Mark gazing down whilst the glittering green snake wound itself obscenely through its open, laughing mouth. He had also had to admit that Molly may have been right in keeping it from him, as his sleep once again took a turn for the worse.
Remus hadn’t been around that night, nor had anyone else. This time Harry had a pretty good idea of where they had probably gone.
There was a painfully bright light under the door to the kitchen this night though, instead of the usual soft glow, blinking out as figures passed by on the other side. There were voices too, as Harry approached cautiously, hand on his wand and breath caught in his throat so that he was forced to let it out in a great whoosh that muffled the few snatches of conversation he could make out even more. Shouting would, possibly, have been better. More informative, certainly, as raised voices had an undeniable way of announcing their cause with little room for ambiguity. This hushed urgency, however, told him nothing and he was, for once, loath to go storming in without at least a slightly better idea of what awaited him beyond. The decision was taken away from him as the light from the crack at the floor was once again blocked out and the handle turned, the door flying open before he had a chance to move out the way. Bill looked a little stunned, framed in the light and jumping slightly at Harry’s presence before giving him a conspiratorial grin.
‘Mum thinks you’re asleep,’ he said quietly as Harry glanced past him. ‘Been banging on at everyone about keeping it down so as not to wake you. If she catches you out here she’ll have you back upstairs in a flash.’ Harry’s face fell as he looked up to Bill, pleading him not to give him away. ‘So if I were you I’d get in there now,’ Bill added, stepping past him and out the way, earning himself a look of pure, worshipful gratitude. ‘Trust me, once you are she won’t be able to drag you out for love nor money.’ Harry barely paused, fumbling out his thanks as he ran in, glancing round the occupants, most of whom had yet to even notice his presence, and not even getting halfway before he was almost knocked off his feet.
‘Harry!’ Hermione threw herself at him with a thud, causing a sudden exhalation of air that left Harry unable to respond with anything beyond a startled ‘ungh’. She buried her face in his shoulder, her wild hair tickling his nose as he hugged her awkwardly back, suddenly embarrassingly aware that she was wearing only a dressing gown thrown over her pyjamas and that a woman he recognised as her mother was standing only a few meters away. He let himself simply take comfort in knowing she was here and all right before disentangling himself as Hermione swiped at her eyes with her sleeve, leaving a damp trail across the light blush on her cheeks. ‘I’m so glad you’re all right,’ her voice had taken on the inquisitive and somewhat bossy tone she used when there was something she didn’t yet know, yet was determined to rectify. ‘I got a letter from Professor Dumbledore, and then another, less coherent one from Ron, but neither of them really told me anything. Did something happen to you?’
‘I’ll explain later,’ Harry promised as the fire flared again, this time exhaling Hermione’s father and Tonks into the throng. The Auror had her wand drawn, her hair a serious dark brown that managed to make her look much more formidable. She relaxed when she saw Harry though, winking as she shook her head until she was framed with a vibrant corona of bright, vivid yellow. Harry just rolled his eyes, grinning as Tonks slapped him on the back on the way past him and out of the room. ‘What happened?’
‘Voldemort,’ Hermione said seriously as across the room Molly flinched, evidently upset at Harry’s presence and itching to usher him out the way. It was only Remus’ warning look and the shake of his head from across the room that prevented her from doing so. Mr. And Mrs. Granger at least looked unaffected by the name but perhaps, Harry considered, that was merely because they had not heard it enough yet to fear it. ‘I’ve been following the Daily Prophet, and he’s been attacking muggleborns. We heard news he was coming for me next.’ Harry swung back round to face Hermione, shock and panic etched onto his face even as she let out an amused little laugh at his reaction; one that sounded only the tiniest bit hysterical. Kingsley Shacklebot had stepped from the fire too, looking far less cheerful than Tonks had managed and departing in the same direction as she had, his presence a further indication of how serious the threat had been.
‘Are you all right?’
‘We are fine,’ Hermione’s father interrupted them both, stepping forward with his hand outstretched, an action that seemed almost ridiculously normal given the circumstances. Despite the plaid dressing gown he wore Harry still felt somewhat intimidated though, reaching out numbly to return the gesture. ‘And we have not had the pleasure of meeting you in a number of years. Seeing you now reminds me of how much my daughter has grown in her time away.’
‘It is a pleasure to see you again, sir,’ Harry replied carefully, the manners drummed into him from childhood taking over. ‘I am sorry for what has happened to you.’
‘No matter,’ Hermione’s father said easily. ‘We are here and we are all alive, whether our home remains standing when we return is of little consequence in comparison to that’ he regarded Harry with careful scrutiny in a way that made him feel he was being measured for blame. It was a look that crawled guiltily beneath his skin.
‘How did you even find out what was happening?’ Harry asked, more to break the silence than out of anything beyond mild curiosity. The fire flared again as though to answer his question, spitting green sparks and exhaling a thin film of black soot as Snape stepped out. Mr. Granger was all ready gesturing towards his presence before Harry could speak.
‘This man was good enough to inform us,’ he began, turning to the Professor who was staring down at Harry with open hostility. He snapped his gaze up as Mr. Granger continued, a sneer of contempt in place as if to ward off what he suspected was coming. Whether he objected to displays of gratitude from a muggle, or merely gratitude in general was uncertain. Harry was inclined to believe the latter. ‘Thanks are in order, although they hardly seem enough…’
‘Get out,’ Harry growled, cutting off Hermione’s father even as Hermione gasped in shock at the hatred in his tone. Harry stepped protectively in front of her, ignoring the indignant mutterings of her parents at his rudeness. Not that it counted as rudeness when Snape was involved. Even Hermione, who frowned upon addressing any Professor, even one as unfair as Snape, with anything less than respect would understand once he had had an opportunity to explain. He just had to make sure he had such an opportunity.
‘No thanks from yourself?’ Harry growled in the back of his throat at the maliciousness behind the taunting in Snape’s words and the fact that no one else seemed inclined to want to hear it. ‘Why Potter, you wound me,’ his sarcasm rang with feigned melodrama, Snape smoothing down his robes as Harry’s eyes narrowed in recognition. He had certainly seen them enough, even if everyone else was either oblivious or merely turning a blind eye.
‘Get out,’ he repeated, louder, his voice shaking with anger that was mirrored in an ugly vase that had started to tremble on the mantelpiece, one that Remus moved swiftly and subtly to remove. ‘Or do you think it’s funny parading around in your Death Eater robes for everyone to see whilst you laugh at them behind their backs.’ Mrs. Granger gave a small gasp even as Hermione gave Harry’s arm a warning squeeze and whispered something in his ear that he was too angry to hear.
‘I do not see anyone laughing,’ Snape pointed out with far too much self-assurance, leaving Harry feeling stranded and alone and, therefore, increasingly more furious. ‘Least of all myself.’
‘You aren’t welcome here. Sirius wouldn’t have wanted you.’ Harry felt a tremor of guilt for using his godfathers name in such a way, even if it were true. Sirius wouldn’t have stood around saying nothing; Sirius would have defended Harry, would have stuck up for him and kicked Snape out on his greasy, double-crossing backside
‘Yet you do not have the authority to throw me out,’ Snape stated smugly. ‘So until that regretful day I shall continue to come and go as I please.’ Climbing, surging rage left Harry impotent to reply even as something seemed to occur to the Potions Master, who narrowed his eyes in comprehension. ‘And I do not spend what little spare time I have brewing that potion for you just to have you throw it away on a selfish whim. You will drink the damn thing in the future, and sleep through such things that do not concern you.’
‘No, I won’t,’ Harry spat, finding his voice. He stalked from the room with Hermione in tow as the few remaining occupants of the room watched him leave in shocked silence, a couple of them flinching as the heavy door slammed shut, banging violently against the frame.
There was mute, shocked silence for a few seconds before Hermione’s father was the first to speak. ‘Well…’ He looked rather rattled, forehead creased into a frown as he stared at the closed door as though debating storming upstairs to rescue his daughter from angry teenage boys both specifically and in general. ‘I can’t claim to have understood everything that has passed,’ he turned back to Snape, who was glowering ominously, ‘but our thanks are still valid…’
‘Not to mention unwelcome,’ Snape snapped impatiently, earning himself a disapproving cluck from Molly, who had recovered admirably from the outburst and was sending Remus innumerable meaningful glances. Tonks had also returned upon hearing the noise, having passed a fuming Harry in the hallway and received nothing more than a muffled grunt in response to her questioning. She took in Snape’s dark expression and promptly left once again with a jovial comment about not being paid enough; one she had fully intended to be overheard since she had erected a shield to the curse before Snape had even managed to fling it.
‘Why don’t I show you where you will be staying,’ Molly took a stunned Mrs. Granger by the arm, earning herself a scowl from Snape she deftly ignored as the man turned on his heel towards the fireplace, robes flaring around him as he forcefully summoned the floo powder from across the room. The pot narrowly missed clipping Remus arm and showering the floor in powder as Hermione’s mother cast Snape her own worried glance and she was escorted kindly, yet firmly, towards the stairs, her husband subjecting Snape to his own evaluating gaze before following.
A hand on his arm elicited another snarl from the Potions Master as he bared his teeth at the werewolf who made no move to remove the offending limb. ‘I will speak to him,’ Lupin said with what Snape considered unwarranted, not to mention completely unnecessary reassurance, as another door slammed in the distance, heralding Harry’s own arrival to his room.
‘Until you are blue in the face, no doubt,’ Snape shook the hand away, but didn’t bid an instant retreat through the warm flames that now blazed in the fireplace, replacing the floo powder on the mantelpiece. ‘Do not tax yourself on my account.’
‘It is the least I can do,’ Remus smiled disconcertingly. ‘Thank you.’
Snape let out snort of amusement that held no humour, crossing his arms in front of him, wand dangling lazily from his fingers. ‘I seem to be drowning in thanks today, don’t I,’ he drawled in a way he knew he had picked up from one Malfoy or the other, the only thanks he felt himself being that Lupin had shown the unexpected foresight to wait for the room to empty before launching into his pitiful display. Small mercies sometimes had to be wrought wherever they could be found. ‘So what is it for this time?’
He had hated Lupin in school, even before he found out the man was a murderous beast. Snape had his suspicions he would have hated him had he not been sorted into the abominable house and made such atrocious friends. Snape could have hated Lupin all by himself merely for the blasted way the man seemed intent on caring about things that were quite emphatically not his concern. ‘Harry would have been devastated had anything happened to Hermione,’ Snape rolled his eyes at the obviousness of that comment, and the way his tone insinuated this was Snape’s own reason for caring, ‘and he may not show it now, but he is grateful that you would risk your life to save her. One day he will realise it.’ Just as one day Snape would discover Black and Lupin had birthed a secret litter of pups.
‘There was no risk,’ he said firmly instead.
‘I am not an idiot,’ Lupin claimed in direct contradiction of the overwhelming evidence that screamed otherwise. He should have been a Hufflepuff, Snape considered, for his dismal façade of loyalty and understanding and trying to see the best in people regardless of whether or not the best actually existed. And Snape knew it was all an act, and a worthless one at that. People didn’t change, and Lupin had always been a coward; first following his friends blindly, now following the son with his eyes equally clouded. What he hoped to achieve with the show was anyone’s guess though. ‘You came straight from the meeting when you heard, right?’ Lupin tilted his head as if seeking approval and congratulations on deducing the bloody obvious; a satisfaction Snape wouldn’t give him as he opted for a bored look. ‘You know the Dark Lord could easily have discovered your plans.’ It was more of a chastisement than a question, and it bristled against Snape’s frustration.
‘And much as the jumped up little know-it-all annoys me, I would not have left her to die, insufferable member of the Golden Trio or not, when there was something I could do to prevent it.’ He said it coldly, holding the appreciative look he received with a challenging one of his own. The wolf seemed to have taken the hint too, as there were no further inane comments thrown out. Without so much as a nod of farewell Snape swept back towards the fireplace, the wood that had burned within it now almost completely crumpled to ash as he blasted it back to life with his wand, the flames licking the top of the hearth before settling again.
‘How are you, Severus?’ Remus asked unexpectedly and with what passed for almost genuine concern, freezing Snape mid-movement as he bit ruthlessly back down on his anger, turning slowly to the wretched man who could not just let things be..
‘It is strange,’ he answered flatly, ‘but in all the years I have had the misfortune of knowing you, I do not recall once giving you permission to use my name with such familiarity,’ Snape raised an eyebrow. ‘Get to your point, Lupin,’ he emphasised the name maliciously, lips curling cruelly, ‘and get to it quickly. I do not have the time for you to skirt so delicately around whatever issue you have.’
Remus looked momentarily unsure, as though he had been expecting a different reaction. A volley of curses, perhaps; maybe even for Snape to bear his poor, lost soul to the man since he was no doubt Gryffindor enough to believe that to be a possible outcome. It lasted only a second though, before a glint of the old Marauder stubbornness Snape detested so returned to his eyes, no doubt borne from the unfairness of the Universe not going his way. ‘Fine,’ he said with what Snape considered little grace, and there was something in Lupin’s demeanour that gave him the distinct impression the man was not yet finished. He was not to be disappointed. ‘Harry saw you, that first night he was back, when he was in the hospital wing. He saw you being tortured.’ Snape went oddly pale, his pallor sickly under the orange glow of the fire. His eyes glittered in frantic thought for a moment, assessing the statement and the situation with urgent clarity.
‘What will it take for this to go no further,’ he choked out, somehow managing to retain an unemotional flatness in his voice. Nevertheless Lupin was still regarding him with unsure bewilderment; the look of someone who had expected a breeze, but not to be blown off their feet. It eased Snape’s own disorientation at the unexpected declaration.
‘Do not play ignorant with me,’ Snape snapped as the few remaining vestiges of anxiety fled in the face of his following anger. Lupin knew, and how much had Potter even seen or heard to tell him? He had been foolish to forget the connection the boy shared with the Dark Lord; too concerned with his own pride as he pushed the memories of the farce of those lessons to the back of his mind along with the humiliation of why they had stopped. Snape narrowed his eyes in consideration of the man before him, cutting straight to the point with a bluntness only a Gryffindor could admire. ‘What will it take to have your guarantee you will not breathe a word of this to Albus.’
Remus let out a nervous chuckle. ‘What on earth are you getting at?’
‘Must I Obliviate you?’ Snape brandished his wand threateningly. He would have done it all ready were it not for the risk of having his actions discovered. Better to leave the werewolf to his own notions regarding Snape’s adamant demands than face answering why he had felt the need to hide such a thing in such an extreme way to the Headmaster.
‘No, fine,’ Lupin had taken a step backwards, hands raised in front of him in a gesture that was probably supposed to be calming but instead just looked protective. ‘I won’t breathe a word.’ Snape let out a small snort that declared he was willing to wait and see if that proved itself to be true, relaxing his wand if not his snarl. Let the man attached whatever notions of nobility and self-sacrifice he could think of, they would no doubt keep him silent better than any excuse Snape himself could muster. Besides, Lupin was the master of suffering in silence, the martyr that he was. It wouldn’t take a huge leap of intelligence for him to draw all sorts of parallels between the two of them, only a very small step of melodramatic ignorance. ‘Are you all right though?’
Snape rolled his eyes. The fire had once again burned out, offering no escape unless he started torching furniture. ‘I am quite well.’ But it had been a long night, as nights often were when called into the presence of the Dark Lord, and the early hours of the morning were starting to haze at the prospect of sleep. Lupin’s hovering, however, was clearly declaring the chances of a painless escape to be naught until he had been appeased. ‘Potter was no doubt exaggerating.’ It was a feeble excuse, but Snape could work through such things. ‘Has he seen anything else?’
‘Not that I know of.’ Lupin looked even more harried at the question and the prospect that just because he didn’t know didn’t mean there hadn’t been more subsequently hidden. It would certainly go some way to explaining the brats appalling sleep patterns, more so than the current claim that it was the fear of being snatched away in the night that was keeping the Golden Boy from his golden dreams. No Potter had ever known the meaning of fear. It was too far beneath them. ‘I will ask him.’
Snape nodded sharply once, both the gesture and his following tone indicating the end of the conversation. All he had to do was leave the immediate area surrounding the house and he could apparate to a place where there was no arrogant Potter and no officious werewolf to bother him. ‘And I will speak to the Headmaster about his resuming Occlumency lessons.’
It was too good to be true as he took three long, interrupted strides towards the door and freedom before the question slapped him accusingly. ‘With?’
‘Not myself,’ Snape growled. That had been a disaster hovering in the corner of the room just waiting for an opportunity to bounce off the walls, smashing everything in its path, although not even Snape had predicted the destruction it would leave in its wake. Let Albus attempt to spark whatever limited ability the boy possessed, Snape no longer cared for the excuses the old man had provided. Let him see the shadow of the Dark Lord in the eyes of his star pupil; it was a better choice than Snape having to face the shadow of the father. ‘But he must learn,’ Snape shook himself from his memories; clinging to the anger they left behind as further fuel. ‘I will not have him putting my life at risk with his selfish laziness and refusal to learn something so painfully important.’
‘I don’t think he wants to be taught,’ Lupin admitted with a sigh that turned Snape’s blood to furious ice.
‘What?’ he hissed.
‘He probably thinks it’s the only way he can find out what’s going on.’ The obnoxious, spoiled brat would only be concerned with his own discomfort. Never mind the precarious line Snape had walked every lesson with the Dark Lord no more than a curse scar away; never mind the lives he had risked and lost, not that Black was any great loss, with his refusal to make any real effort. Potter had probably only ever seen Occlumency as another trial he was forced to bear, another burden on his perfect life he was made to endure.
‘I think you saw to that with your rather impressive display involving the Weasley mother the other day, wouldn’t you say?’ Lupin flushed slightly under Snape’s sneer. ‘Which means that impressive excuse of his is failing to hold up any longer.’
‘There are some things the Daily Prophet cannot tell him,’ Remus argued, earning himself a scoffed reply.
‘There are many things that disgrace of a newspaper cannot tell anyone.’
‘About you, Severus,’ Lupin snapped, his boundless patience finally snapping as he pulled up one of the many strewn about abandoned chairs, his fingers playing against the grain of the wood as he spoke somewhat more tersely than in the moments before. ‘I suspect he is searching his dreams for evidence regarding you, either one way or the other.’
No wonder Lupin hadn’t brought it up sooner, Snape considered, or had words with Potter about the nature of the connection he had; he was no doubt looking for the same evidence himself. ‘Anything he manages to glean from the mind of the Dark Lord will be as biased as if he were to plough his way through the thoughts of the Headmaster, or does he not realise what my position entails,’ Remus glared as though he were the one offended, gesturing defeat, or possibly just surrender, with his hands. Snape didn’t stop though; why should he when Lupin had refused to show him the same courtesy. ‘If he is waiting for me to denounce the Dark Lord and declare Albus Dumbledore the single greatest being imaginable, he is looking in very much the wrong place.’ Remus muttered something Snape didn’t quite catch under his breath. ‘Or perhaps he is just waiting for the next show,’ Snape added spitefully as Lupin flinched at the accusation.
‘I will speak with him,’ the man repeated curtly. Snape merely snorted and he wrenched open the door.