Chapter 13 : Getting Their Comeuppance
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Getting Their Comeuppance
warning-some parental spanking!
Everyone froze at the Headmaster's startling declaration. Never in a million years had any of them expected Hardbroom to get the boot, and especially not in such a public fashion. At the same time, nobody was really sad to see her go, not even James and Sirius. Remus and Frank remained with their mouths gaping. Alice gasped and almost cheered and Lily and Severus exchanged looks that meant "It's about damn time!"
Though Severus was pleased as punch to see the hag get her justly deserved comeuppance, a part of him wondered bitterly why it had taken Dumbledore this long to get his arse in gear. Was it only because Peter, a Gryffindor, had been injured that made him sit up and take notice? How come Dumbledore shrugged it off when it was Severus injured and in the Hospital Wing? He recalled Malfoy saying one night that no Slytherin could expect justice from a Gryffindor Headmaster. Was it true, that we all have to look out for ourselves, because nobody gives a damn about us, the supposed Dark Heirs of You-Know-Who? He wondered sadly.
Hardbroom looked as though she'd been poleaxed. She drew herself up to her full height of 5'8 and glared viciously at Dumbledore. "How dare you dismiss me, Albus Dumbledore? The boy was weak, I was encouraging him to work harder and you dare to put the blame for his poor health upon me?"
"Miss Hardbroom, you nearly terrorized a student to death and that I cannot accept. There is no excuse for your behavior this time. I did not want to believe what Minerva and Horace said, that you were bullying and harming students, and picking on certain ones, like Mr. Snape and Miss Evans, but now I cannot shut my eyes any longer. Leave my castle within the hour, or I shall throw you out myself!"
Hardbroom sneered, "You are pathetic, Dumbledore, taking the side of Slytherins and Muggleborns against a former member of your own House. You are unfit to be a Gryffindor!"
To her shock, Dumbledore laughed. "As are you, Miss Hardbroom! Now get you gone!"
Haldana sniffed. "I shall be glad to see the back of this . . . this decrepit old ruin. But you haven't seen the last of me yet, old man! I'll be back, and bring a lawsuit against you for slandering my Name! Just you wait! Nobody humiliates and sacks Haldana Hardbroom!"
She stalked from the room, her head held high, and the students all raced after her to see if she really was going to leave the castle.
Hardbroom was sizzling mad and Summoned her trunk with of her wand, and the rest of her belongings, which soared into the open red leather box, the lid snapped shut and she levitated it. She looked neither to the right or the left as she slammed through the double doors and stalked down the path leading to the gates.
Several students peered out the doors and watched, two of them were Severus and Lily. Lily nudged her best friend. "Psst, Sev! Why don't we prank her?"
Severus hesitated a fraction of a second. "All right. What should we cast?"
"How about a Tripping Hex?"
"Or a Bad Odor Jinx?"
"We could do both!"
They waited for just the right moment, as Hardbroom was crossing the stretch of path that meandered by the Black Lake.
Severus cast the Bad Odor Jinx first.
Harbroom's nose wrinkled. "Eeew! What's that horrid stench?"
"Merlin, what died?" Lily shouted.
"Smells like a dead dog!" Severus added, giggling.
The rest of the students began giggling.
Hardbroom spun around. "Shut up, you brat!"
As soon as she had done that, Lily cast the Tripping Hex.
Hardbroom stumbled, overbalanced, and fell right into the lake, backwards. She went down screaming and thrashed about in the water.
Her inept swimming served to draw the attention of one of the largest of the lake dwellers, Cicero, the giant squid.
The squid came up from the depths like a surfacing submarine, and one large slimy black tentacle wrapped about Hardbroom, lifting her from the water. It peered at her with one large eye.
Haldana started screaming and struggling to get free. "Help! Help! Oh Merlin have mercy, it's got me! Help! It's going to eat me. AHHH!"
The children were roaring with laughter at the spectacle and some began to chant, "Eat her, boy! Open up! Gulp down Hardbroom, hurry up!"
Hardbroom's legs were kicking in a frantic dance and she was slowly turning a strange shade of purple.
Until Dumbledore called out some command to the squid and Cicero released the former Defense teacher, letting her splash down into the lake.
Once she had her breath back, Haldana stood, her robes dripping wet, and marched out of the pond and down the path, her robes trailing water. She looked like a drowned bat and mocking laughter followed her.
"Harbroom got sacked! Hardbroom got sacked!"
Haldana stalked away, thinking about how to get revenge upon everyone, and how she had detested teaching those horrid brats. The chant of "Hardbroom got sacked!" accompanied her all the way to the wrought iron gates.
Hardbroom's sacking was the hot topic of the week, followed by speculation about who would teach the Defense position. After spending a night under observation, along with his shocked and angry parents, who had been firecalled by Minerva, Peter had been released from the infirmary. Peter told Lily, Alice, and Remus that same night that his parents had torn strips out of the Headmaster for allowing such a petty cruel tyrant to teach at the school and had threatened to withdraw him if anything like this ever happened again.
"The only reason they didn't take me home was because I begged them not to. I don't want a private tutor and to be alone again." Peter said. Then he thanked Lily and Remus shyly for trying to help save him. "I need to thank Severus too."
"Hey, what about us, mate!" Sirius asked. "We tried to help too, not just Snape."
"Thanks. I really thought I was a goner," Peter said softly. He patted the new vial of Breathe Ease which hung on a chain about his neck. "I'll never forget this again. Is it true that Hardbroom's been sacked?"
"Merlin, you should have seen it!" whooped Frank. "Cicero came up out of the lake and grabbed her and she just went totally bonkers! I damn near laughed my arse off."
"Funniest thing we ever saw!" added James.
"Somebody pranked her . . . wish it was us," sighed Sirius longingly. "It was a great one."
Lily snickered, thinking Ha! Serves her right, and serves you right too, thinking you're all that. I wonder what your mum would say if she knew what you did to Sev in Defense class? I don't think she'd be too happy.
"I wish I could have been there to see it," Peter said wistfully. Then he asked Remus to help him with his Transfiguration homework.
The next morning, the front page of The Daily Prophet ran an article about Hardbroom and her sacking, and praised the efforts of the Board of Governors in getting her dismissed. The article cited several instances where Hardbroom caused harm or allowed harm to be caused on students, and the incident with the duel between Black and Snape was one of them.
"Oh no!" Sirius wailed upon seeing his name in the article. "Mum's going to go spare! I can't believe they put that in there."
"Think she'll send you another Howler?" asked James sympathetically.
"Probably," Sirius said glumly. He picked at his waffles and bacon.
"Poor baby!" Alice sneered.
"Get ready for—the Wrath of Mrs. Black!" Lily called. "Oooh, scary!"
Frank and Remus began cracking up at that.
Sirius scowled, "Shut your pie hole, Evans!"
"You first," Lily replied, then she ignored him.
"If I were you, Black, I'd go run and hide somewhere before Mummy gets wind of this." Alice said, shaking a finger at him. "Naughty boy, wait till your mummy finds out, she'll give you a spanking worse than I did."
Her pointed comments caused everyone who heard them, which included the Slytherins, to start howling with laughter.
Black went beet red and tried to pretend he didn't hear anything.
James glared hotly at Alice and gave her the stink eye. Then Alice's cup of pumpkin juice suddenly levitated itself in the air and spilled all over her lap. "Potter, you dumbarse!" She yelled. Then she wriggled her wand at him and his entire bowl of porridge dumped itself on his head. "Take that, you wretched git!"
Several people began to clap, but Mary shot daggers at Alice and went to help James wipe the porridge off his hair. But porridge was not something that cleaned up easily, especially not in hair and Sirius said, "Leave off, MacDonald, you're making it worse. James, just go take a shower, it's the only way you're going to get the goop out of your hair."
"I can help you wash it, Jamie," Mary offered, her eyes all dreamy like a moonstruck calf's.
"Bloody Starkey!" James groused. He gently pushed Mary away. "Thanks, Mary. But I can wash my own hair."
Mary pouted, but she allowed him to get up.
As James passed the Slytherin table, Dorian called, "Oi, Potter! Nice hair! Look, it's Pudding Potterhead!"
"You mean, Pudding Pothead, don't you, Andrews?" asked Lucius slyly.
All of the Slytherins clapped and jeered.
"All right, settle down, you lot!" scolded Horace, coming over to see what all the fuss was about. "This is breakfast, not a Quidditch match. What's all this hullabaloo?"
The Slytherins quieted and Lucius said suavely, "Nothing, Professor. We were just commenting on Potter's new hairstyle, sir. Got a bit carried away. Sorry, it won't happen again."
Horace coughed, trying to look severe. "Well, do try and behave yourselves, getting yourselves in an uproar is bad for your digestion." He turned about and walked back to the High Table.
Severus was laughing quietly into his sleeve. Seeing Potter on the receiving end of ridicule for once was poetic justice. Getting rid of Hardbroom was even better. For once, it was going to be a good day.
That morning was potions for the first year Gryffindors and Slytherins. Lily was eager to learn the new syllabus that Slughorn had chosen for this term, and she was happy partnered with Alice, who was also a decent potions student. Severus was an assistant for this class, as usual. Horace told them all to sit down, waving his wand casually over Potter and Black's bags as they entered, scanning them for contraband items. But they were clean.
Severus, who was standing off to the side by Slughorn's desk, covered his mouth, yawning.
"Today we are going to be brewing a Forgetfulness Potion." Slughorn began. "Please write down the formula in your notebooks and mind you pay attention to the changes on step seven."
Lily went to fetch the ingredients from the cabinet while Alice lit the fire under their cauldron and underlined the steps she would be doing, so they each had the tasks divided up.
Lily returned with the ingredients and they began to brew.
An hour went by, and the potion was almost finished.
Slughorn went around by the Gryffindor half of the room, while Severus took the Slytherin half.
"Miss MacDonald, you have added too much fairy dust, now your potion is unbalanced. Pay attention next time to the instructions. Zero." Slughorn said, shaking his head. "See me after class."
He then moved on to Longbottom and Pettigrew's cauldron. "Hmm . . . not bad. Could be a bit thicker, you should have added more lacewing flies. The color is not quite correct, it should be a translucent green. Acceptable."
Severus paused by Wilkes and Rosier's cauldron, whose potion looked like green sludge. "Merlin, did you forget to put the fire down to simmer again? This is unusable. Professor will give you a zero."
Rosier made a face at Severus. "Suck up."
Severus gave him the finger, then moved on to Rabastan and Rodolphus' cauldron. The twins actually managed to brew the potion adequately, and Severus supposed something of his tutoring had paid off. "Pretty good . . . but you should have stirred it more in step five."
Across the room, Sirius threw in too much acacia seeds and their cauldron started to shiver and nearly exploded. Luckily Slughorn caught it in time. "Mr. Black, how many times must I tell you, measure the ingredient before adding it to your solution? Your potion is unsatisfactory and you will also receive a zero. You and Mr. Potter see me after class."
The rest of the class went smoothly and Lily and Alice received top marks, as did Remus. Slughorn dismissed everyone except for Potter, Black, and MacDonald.
"Come into my office you three. I need to discuss tutoring schedules with you." Horace beckoned them into his office, which was crammed with books, parchments and odd jars of pickled animals and expensive potions ingredients. Once he had shut the door and warded it against eavesdropping, he addressed his students. "Now then, it is plain that you three are in dire need of a potions tutor, or else you shall fail for the year. I had originally planned to have Mr. Connelly tutor you, since he is a Gryffindor and better able to get along with you, and this is a job where he can earn a bit of spending money before going off to the London Academy of Potioneers once he finishes Hogwarts. However, Mr. Connelly informed me that he has too many students to take on three more. Therefore the only other alternative—"
"No!" James yelled, his eyes wide. "Anything but that, professor!"
"No!" Mary gasped. "I . . . I won't do it!"
"Not . . .not Snivellus!" Sirius cried.
"Quiet!" Horace snapped, his eyes flashing. "Mr. Black, you shall refrain from calling Mr. Snape that horrid name while you are being tutored, and that goes for the rest of you as well. If I ever hear you call him that again, I shall personally wash your mouths out for swearing, for that is a cruel and nasty name. Furthermore, I want to hear no complaints at having Mr. Snape as your tutor. He is a brilliant potions student and can teach you what you need to know in order to pass my course. I want you to show him respect and common courtesy, for he is your last chance to earn a passing grade. Treat him the same as you would a professor."
James groaned. "Merlin! Can Snape take points, sir?"
"No, but I can and shall, if there are any complaints about your attitude or behavior, is that clear?"
"Now then, you have the following tutoring schedules. Mr. Black, you have sessions on Fridays at 2 o'clock, Miss MacDonald, you have Wednesdays at 1 o'clock, and Mr. Potter you have Sunday at 3 o'clock. Each session will be an hour to two hours depending on what you are brewing. Mr. Snape will cover each potion in my syllabus and make certain you brew them all properly. That is all. Dismissed."
He handed them all pieces of parchment and then they practically raced out of the room. The parchment was excuses for tardiness, to be given to Professor Flitwick.
"This sucks royally!" groused Sirius once they were far away from the dungeon. "I can't believe I have to see Snivellus' greasy-haired mug for two hours."
"Me either!" Mary sniffed. "I don't think he knows we've discovered soap yet, much less what a shower's for! He's so slimy!"
"Greasy git!" James added. "This day sucks!"
In Charms, Flitwick partnered a Gryffindor with a Slytherin and taught them simple Friendship Charms, which made an enemy friendly for about an hour at maximum strength, very useful in diplomatic situations and kidnapping situations. Severus quickly chose Lily, he had no wish to be partnered with James or Sirius, and be bewitched to be nice to either of them. He was sure the feeling was mutual.
"Ready?" asked Lily.
"Yes." Severus pointed his wand at her and twirled it and then flicked it, saying, "Amica Sempra!"
Lily immediately beamed at him and said, "Severus Snape, you're my best friend!"
"I did it! All those sessions really paid off," Severus cried happily.
The charm wore off in about ten minutes, its duration was short because of the inexperience of the casters. Then it was Lily's turn. She cast the charm correctly on the first try and Severus felt a soothing giddy feeling well up within him. He looked at Lily and felt a rush of warmth and good humor and he couldn't help grinning and sharing it with her. "Lily Evans, you're my best friend."
"Always," she replied, winking at him.
They were awarded ten points each for performing the spell correctly on the first try.
Glancing around, Severus saw Alice partnered with Remus, and Potter got paired with Mulciber, and Black with Wilkes. Pettigrew was paired with Amber Greer. Most of them had managed to perform the charm correctly. It was amusing to see Wilkes grin like an idiot at Black and vice versa. Potter practically drooled in hero worship over Mulciber. Lily turned and saw it and doubled over laughing.
Once all the points had been given out, Flitwick allowed them a few moments of social time.
Everyone immediately turned to discuss who the Defense teacher might be.
"I've heard that Dumbledore hired a cousin of his from Devon."
"I've heard we're getting someone retired from the Auror Department."
Severus snorted. "I already know who it is. My grandfather told me he's allowing his bodyguards to teach us Defense."
"Black Cloaks!" exclaimed Peter. "That would be wicked!"
"You're putting us on, Snape!" cried Avery.
"No Black Cloak would give up his sworn duty to teach school!"
"Liar!" jeered James.
"He's not lying!" Lily snapped. "For your information, when I stayed over at Mirrorvale during the break, Black Leif and Conor tutored me, Sev, and Dorian in Defense. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't help us out for a short time, Pothead!"
James sneered at her. "We'll see, won't we, Silly Lily?"
"Yes. And I'll enjoy making you eat crow." Lily told him.
"Professor Flitwick?" Alice called. "Do you know who will be our new Defense instructor?"
"Why no, Miss Starkey, I'm afraid I don't. But we shall find out tomorrow, I believe. Now, enough debate, it's time to get a move on."
He shooed them gently out of the room.
"I can't wait till tomorrow," Severus said, lying on the pillows on the floor of the Room of Requirement.
"Why?" asked Dorian, munching upon a pumpkin pasty.
"Because tomorrow is when Black Leif and Black Conor arrive to teach Defense for the rest of the term."
Dorian nearly choked. "You mean that rumor is really true?"
"Yes, it sure is. And I can't wait to see the look on Potter and Black's face when they realize that I'm right."
"Me either!" Lily said. "They think they know it all. It'll be good to learn spells without worrying about someone getting hurt. It's too bad they can't teach us martial arts in school."
"We wouldn't want them to do that, Lily." Severus protested. "Then we'd lose our advantage over those bullies."
"Right. I didn't think." She leaned back, her hair fanning out behind her, as she lay next to Severus, and her hand crept shyly into his own and strands of dark and fiery hair mingled together on the pillows.
They had practiced more Transfiguration that night, as well as Shield Charms, with Severus showing Lily and Dorian how to weave a tight bubble about themselves that would cause most hexes and jinxes to bounce off, often ricocheting back at the caster. But now they were tired and relaxing.
"I can't wait." Dorian said. "Finally, a decent teacher, like Professor Targus."
"Yes. Conor will be teaching the first through fourth years and Leif will be teaching fifth through seventh, since he's more focused and strict than Conor, who has more patience."
"Until the Marauders drive him to drink," Lily predicted.
"Wonder how long that will take?" mused Dorian.
Severus smirked. "Conor's tough, he'll whip them into shape. Wait and see."
"At least you won't be getting your arse kicked while the teacher watches," Dorian said sourly. "Finally Dumbledore came to his senses."
"Did he, Dorian?" Severus asked. "Or did he only act because it was a Gryffindor that got seriously injured? Has he really changed?"
"I don't know. I guess time will tell. But I'm glad we don't have to listen to Hardass anymore."
"Amen to that!" Lily said gratefully. "At least Peter's going to be all right. I was so scared when he started choking like that."
"We all were." Severus said. "Peter came up to me and thanked me for trying to help. He said if it weren't for us, he could have died or gotten brain damage or something."
"See, Snape? It pays to have friends you can count on." Dorian said, and socked Severus playfully in the shoulder.
"Already knew that, oh wise mentor," the other chuckled, and tickled the other boy behind the knee until he collapsed onto the ground, giggling hysterically.
After lunch the next day, Severus received an owl from Dumbledore.
Please come to my office after lunch and escort the Magnusson brothers to the Defense office and classroom so they may familiarize themselves with their new position and show them about the school, if you wouldn't mind, I shall excuse you from Herbology to do this, as I am unable to do so, as I have an important meeting with the Minister of Magic this afternoon. They should be Flooing over shortly.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster
PS: the password to get to the staircase is Cadbury Royal Dark
"Who's that from, Sev?" asked Lily curiously as they made their way out of the Great Hall.
"Dumbledore. He wants me to show Black Conor and Black Leif around the school, and get them settled in the Defense classroom. I'll see you at supper."
"Bye, Sev!" she waved at him as she hurried to Herbology.
Severus turned and hurried towards the gargoyle statue, which guarded the entrance to the Headmaster's office. "Cadbury Royal Dark." he whispered.
The gargoyle slid aside and Severus stepped onto the staircase, which immediately started to move.
Once at the top he knocked at the door.
"Come in, Severus, my boy!"
Severus turned the knob and entered.
Dumbledore was seated behind his desk, looking his usual cheery twinkle-eyed self. "Right on time, Severus. Lemon drop?"
"No thanks, sir. I'm not hungry, I just ate," Severus declined politely. He didn't really care for lemon drops, and there was a suspicion going around Slytherin House that Dumbledore handed out drugged candy to students so they would be more compliant with Dumbledore's policy and do whatever he wished without question.
"The Black Cloaks shall be here momentarily. Have a seat." He waved Severus to a chair.
Severus sat down, he hoped that Black Conor and Leif would come soon.
Suddenly, the fire flared emerald green, and Severus jumped to his feet, thinking the Magnussons had arrived at last.
Instead, a woman of about thirty-one stuck her head through the flames. She had dark hair piled on her head in a fancy chignon and cool patrician features, one could tell at a glance that she was pureblood, wealthy, and proud. She was also quite angry. "Headmaster Dumbledore! I need to speak with you immediately!"
Dumbledore looked up from perusing the Magical Times and suddenly his eyes lost their twinkle. "Walburga, how nice of you to drop by! Is there anything I can help you with?"
Her lips pursed. "There most certainly is! I am appalled that such . . . lack of discipline goes on in this school! Such was not the case in my day, Headmaster. I am sure you are aware of the article in the Prophet that revealed to all the worthlessness of that hag Hardbroom. Imagine my shock when I read that my son Sirius had been influenced by that harridan to attack and seriously harm the Princes' grandson!"
"Walburga, now the boy lost his temper, they were mock dueling, and Sirius just got a bit carried away. He didn't mean to harm Mr. Snape—"
"Dumbledore, this is the second time that he has caused a student to get hurt at school, and even worse our name is splashed all over the newspaper! I am so ashamed and angry right now I could breathe fire! Sirius needs no excuse to get into trouble, and here I find a teacher encouraging him to mischief, along with his hooligan friend, James Potter! I will not tolerate my son bringing disgrace to my House once again." She suddenly stepped through the flames and stood on the hearth.
Walburga was a tall woman, lean and resplendent in a purple dress that swirled to her knees, elegant with long flowing sleeves. She wore a sparkling belt of amethysts and a deep black onyx pendant set in silver. She looked every inch an aristocrat. "Dumbledore, I demand you summon Sirius here. I need to have a very pointed discussion with him."
"Walburga, don't be too hard on the boy," began the Headmaster. "He's just full of high spirits, like any boy—"
Walburga's eyes narrowed. "Headmaster, do not presume to tell me about my son. I know all too well what he's like—a charming scapegrace. I made it clear to him earlier that if he stepped out of line once more, he would feel my wrath."
Severus had backed slowly up as Walburga argued with Dumbledore. The adults were so busy talking neither noticed the slight boy slip inbetween a bookshelf and a curio cabinet, for he did not want Mrs. Black's furious gaze to fall upon him. Merlin, but Black is so dead! She's going to make him wish he never learned how to hold a wand. It felt odd, having the mother of your enemy defend you, Severus thought.
He watched as Dumbledore tried to persuade Walburga to go easy on Sirius, which only made the witch angrier. Finally, Dumbledore agreed to summon Sirius to the office and give Walburga some private time with her son.
Dumbledore quickly scribbled a note and sent it off with an elf owl.
Some five minutes later, there came a knock on the door. "Professor, it's Sirius."
"Come in, my boy!"
Sirius came into the office. "Is something wrong, professor?"
"I'll say there is, young man!" Walburga said sternly.
Sirius' jaw dropped. "Mother! What are you doing here?" Then he paled.
"Don't play stupid with me, Sirius Orion Black! You know perfectly well why I'm here."
"If you'll excuse me," Dumbledore stood up and hastily beat a retreat out of the office, knowing better than to stick around a witch as furious as Walburga Black.
Neither Sirius nor Walburga took any notice of him . . . or of Severus, still crouched inbetween the bookshelf and cabinet, his back pressed against the wall as he tried to disappear into the woodwork.
"Mum, I can explain . . . Hardbroom told me to cast the worst hex I knew at Snape," Sirius whined, starting to back away.
"Stop right there!" Walburga ordered. "That's no excuse, Sirius. You nearly killed the Princes' grandson and for what? A moment's praise from a Gryffindor bitch? I am ashamed any son of mine would allow himself to be influenced by such trash as Haldana Hardbroom, who was in school with me. She was the worst braggart and Slytherin hater in the bunch, and she did everything she could to make Slytherin House lose points and look bad. Dumbledore was a fool to hire her. And you were a fool to listen to her."
"He had it coming, Mum!" Sirius protested. "He's always following me and James about, trying to get us in trouble. He knows more dark curses than Bella! He's a greasy scummy git—"
Severus longed to come out and slug Sirius in the nose. He hoped Mrs. Black put the smug little twit in his place.
She did not disappoint him. "That's enough! We're discussing what you've done, boy, not what Snape's done. And what you did has shamed your family. I have already apologized to Vesper Prince and you know how I hate apologizing to anyone. I warned you what would happen if you misbehaved in such a fashion again."
"No, Mum, please! Don't snap my broom!"
"You're forbidden to ride it for half the summer."
Sirius sniveled. "But Mum . . .I need my broom to play Quidditch with James."
"Too bad. You don't seem to understand that what you do, or don't do, reflects upon your family. What you did was wrong, and I refuse to allow you to get away with such behavior. I am not Mavis Potter."
"Nobody would ever mistake you for her!" Sirius cried sulkily. "You're a mean, wrinkled, nasty harpy—Oww!" he yelled as his mother reached out, spun him around and delivered a hard smack to his behind.
"Don't you talk to me like that, young man! I've had it with your disrespect." Her eyes narrowing, she pulled her son over to the chair Severus had vacated and sat down.
By then Sirius was whimpering, "Please, Mum, I'm sorry!"
Walburga ignored him and dragged the struggling boy over her lap. "You've had this coming for a long time." She lifted her hand and brought it down sharply on Sirius's backside.
Her son yelled like a whipped cur.
Severus nearly swallowed his tongue. He could hardly believe his eyes! Alice had been right after all. He pressed a hand over his mouth. In other circumstances, he might have felt sorry for anyone on the receiving end of such punishment, but the fact was, Sirius had been needing a good spanking for his atrocious behavior for a very long time.
Sirius wailed and kicked, but Walburga was determined to teach her son a good lesson, and gave him a very sound walloping, ignoring her son's howls. He sounded like a puppy whose tail had been stepped on.
Severus winced and covered his ears, biting his lip hard. It was too good to be true. Finally, Black was getting just what he deserved and then some! He recalled all the times Black had teased Lily and called her a crybaby and a coward. Who's a crybaby now, huh? He snickered uncontrollably as Walburga stood her son on his feet, and Sirius put both hands over his arse, crying.
"I'll be good, Mum! Promise!"
"You had better. Because if I have to come up here again . . ." she trailed off ominously.
Sirius shook his head frantically, shifting from foot to foot.
The witch bent and gave her son a brief hug. "Behave, young man. You're the eldest son of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Try and act like it instead of some ruffian from the streets or a rowdy jumped-up squire's get like your friend Potter. I always said that boy was a bad influence on you."
With that, she turned and tossed down some Floo Powder, calling out, "Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place!" Then she vanished into the flames.
Sirius remained staring at the fire for several long minutes, rubbing his behind and sniffling. Then he whispered, "I hate you, Mother! And I wish I lived with a different family. I hate being a Black!"
He stormed out of the office, his head down.
Severus stepped out of hiding and just then the Floo flared again, and this time it was the Black Cloaks.
Leif and Conor dusted themselves off and smiled at Severus. The brothers were dressed in their normal attire of close-fitting trews, and a white shirt with billowed sleeves, over which Leif had a gold doublet and Conor a sapphire one. Both sported the black cloaks of their profession, and carried wands and small eating knives upon their belts, though Severus knew well that those were only the visible weapons. Every Black Cloak had several concealed weapons about their person, as well as being masters in unarmed combat.
"Hello, Severus. You look well. Your grandfather told us what happened to you," Leif greeted, coming over and giving the boy a gentle hug. "That harpy Haldana should never have been allowed within a dozen yards of a child, much less been hired as a Defense teacher. She has exactly the wrong attitude for teaching combat spells and she's the sort that gives all of us warrior wizards a bad name."
Conor was nodding, his normally easy-going expression hard. "She was a washout from our Academy, and that should have told your Headmaster something, since we don't turn away potential candidates unless there's something seriously wrong with them. I am glad she is gone."
"Me too!" Severus said. "Professor Dumbledore has said I'm to show you about the castle since he's gone to an important meeting with the Minister. He'll be back later to talk to you about your salary and other stuff."
"Good enough!" Leif said, clapping Severus on the back. "Lead on, Master Snape."
Smiling, Severus proceeded to do just that.
That evening at supper, Severus kept glancing over at the Gryffindor table. Potter and Black were late to supper, an unusual occurrence, as those two normally shoved and pushed rudely to be the first to table. Severus smothered a giggle imagining Black asking Potter to put healing salve on his sore bum.
Lily caught his eye and waved at him, patting her pocket. She had gotten the note he had sent her about seeing Black finally getting his arse tanned and Severus promised he'd tell her and Dorian more after supper.
Dorian nudged him. "Hey, Sev. Why do you keep looking over at the Gryffindor table? You leave something over there?"
"Sure did. His girlfriend," teased Tav.
Severus felt himself turn red. "She's not my girlfriend, Octavius."
"But you're sweet on her, right?"
Severus kept his eyes on his plate, embarrassed. "She's my best friend."
"Hmm . . . someday she might be more than that, eh Dorian?" Tav sniggered.
Dorian nodded, then started laughing.
"Aw, shut up, Andrews!" Severus poked Dorian in the ribs. Then he leaned down and whispered into the other boy's ear, "If you quit mocking me, I'll tell you what I saw today in Dumbledore's office."
Dorian winced. "I'm not sure I want to know. Was it something obscene? Like the old man dancing naked around the tea service and chanting Kumbyaa?"
Severus mimed having heart failure. "Andrews, that's just disgusting. No, what I saw was something I'll never forget."
"Tell!" Dorian urged eagerly.
Severus whispered about Mrs. Black spanking Sirius. "That's what I'm waiting for. To see if he can sit down for supper."
"I hope he can't sit down for a week," said Dorian.
No sooner had the words come out of his mouth, than Sirius and James entered. Both looked subdued rather than gleeful and Sirius conjured a pillow before sitting down next to James and Peter. Neither of them spoke to anyone at the table, though there were plenty of puzzled and knowing glances shot their way.
Dorian smirked. "There's your answer, Snape. You know, you have prime blackmail material on the little bugger now. If he starts anything with you, all you'd have to do was tell everyone about how his mum punished him just like an itty bitty baby! He'd never live it down!"
Severus raised an eyebrow. "I . . . never thought . . . you're right, though." He bit into his fried chicken leg, feeling a sudden surge of satisfaction wash through him. Perhaps this would give him the edge he'd been looking for, and put an end to Black and even Potter's so-called pranks, for him and for Lily. "Too bad I don't have any dirt on Pothead."
"Wait around long enough and keep your ear to the ground and I'm sure you'll find some." Dorian said.
"Defense is tomorrow," Severus said happily. "I'm really looking forward to that class."
"Aren't we all!" Tav grinned. "Now maybe we can win back all those points the Harridan stole from us."
"Right on! We have to get back on track, because I'm not losing to that whelp Potter and mangy Black. Slytherins always win!" Dorian declared proudly.
After supper, Lily joined Severus and Dorian in the Room of Requirement and listened to Severus tell the tale of how he had come to be in the office when Sirius and Walburga had their little "talk".
"What a coincidence!" Lily exclaimed.
"Coincidence, girl?" snorted Dorian. "It was fate, pure and simple. And now Sev has the upper hand for once and can threaten that little arse with exposure if he starts anything."
Lily looked rather upset. "Well, I have to admit I'm glad Black got what he deserved for once, but Sev . . . are you sure you ought to . . . blackmail him like that?"
"Whyever not?" Dorian frowned. "Do you think for one minute that Black or Potter would hesitate to use information like that against Sev or you, Lily, if they had it? Hell, no! It'd be all over the school by the time lights out was called. Look at what Puddinghead did when he learned about your Defense scores. He blabbed like a house elf drunk on butterbeer."
"I know, Dorian, but how does doing that make us any better than them?"
Dorian sighed. "Sometimes, Evans, you have to quit being noble and just think about giving them a taste of their own medicine. It's really the only thing bullies like them understand."
"I guess so," Lily said.
"Don't worry about it, Lil," Severus said. "If it comes to that, I'll do it rather than let them keep on attacking me. It won't matter much to my reputation, since everyone always thinks Slytherins are scum and expect us to be sneaky."
"I don't think that," Lily stated loyally.
"You're the exception to the rule," Dorian said, and playfully tugged her hair.
Lily promptly whacked him over the head with her notebook.
The next morning:
Marius set down his fork to remove the letter from the spotted owl's leg. He fed it a piece of bacon and rubbed its head before sending it on its way. Then he unrolled the scroll and read the message written on it.
Vesper paused with a forkful of scrambled eggs halfway to her mouth. "Who's that from, dear?"
"Hmm?" Marius murmured, reading rapidly.
"Your letter, Marius. Care to share with me who sent it, or is it some kind of top secret legal brief?" Vesper asked curiously, finishing her eggs.
"Oh, no, it's not anything like that. It's more along the lines of a request," Marius replied, brushing toast crumbs off of his smart blue day robe. "It's from Peter Pettigrew, senior. Apparently he's not satisfied with just having Hardbroom sacked. He claims that's not enough, that he wants to sue the pants off her for her deliberate disregard and torment of his son, Peter. He asked me if I wouldn't mind taking the case and prosecuting her. I agree with him and am considering bringing my own suit against her as well, since Severus was also hurt severely."
"We should definitely sue her arse," Vesper said shortly. "It's too bad you wouldn't let me duel her, Marius."
"Vesper, I'd rather not have to defend you on a murder charge, or see you held in prison over that stone-hearted bitch," Marius reminded her. "She's not worth the time or the effort."
"But it would have made me feel better," sniffed his wife, eating a piece of crunchy bacon. "Was there anything else?"
"Just that he's going to try and ask a few more parents if they would like to join him and perhaps Horace Slughorn and Minerva McGonagall could serve as witnesses to Hardbroom's atrocious teaching methods and disregard of Hogwarts staff rules."
"How much reparation are we talking about here, Marius?"
"Well, Peter thinks he's going to sue her for 500 Galleons."
"Let's do 1000 Galleons. Bankrupt the harpy." Vesper sounded positively gleefull.
Marius winced. "Remind me never to get on your bad side." He Summoned an ink well, quill, and parchment, then began to pen a reply to Pettigrew, senior.
So who's looking forward to the next chapter and the new defense class? Who was surprised at Mrs. Black's arrival?
For those who might not have gotten alerts, I have recently updated my stories Return to Prince Manor and previously Common Interests as well, so if you didn't know, please R & R!
One other thing-I was the victim of an act of plagerism yesterday, someone stole my story Season of Warmth, posted it on another site and claimed ownership of it. I discovered it thanks to fairy Niamh and contacted the site admins and they deleted the story and the "author"'s account. However, I was quite annoyed at the fact that it happened at all. I do not mind if you admire my work and would like to post it or a link to it on your blog, facebook, twitter, or LiveJournal account, but PLEASE contact me first for my permission, I will gladly give it provided that you CREDIT me as the author and acknowledge all my hours of hard work writing the story. Exposure is the best way for more people to get to know my writing and recommend me, but it is unfair and in poor taste to steal my work and claim it for your own, considering how much time and effort I put into it.
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