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Severus Snape and the Whomping Willow Incident



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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:53 pm
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Severus Snape and the Whomping Willow Incident

Hi. This is my first Fan Fiction. I hope you like it. Feedback is much appreciated, whether it is about how to eeemprove my Eeenglish or how to improve my story.

Summary: This is the story of Severus Snape's sixth year at Hogwarts. What I have tried to do, is to fill in the gap between "Snape's Worst Memory" from his fifth year, and the point where he is lured into the Whomping Willow, and nearly killed by werewolf Remus Lupin. In the mean time, we also get to know the Marauders, Regulus Black, Bertha Jorkins and the mysterious Florence. It is also a the story about Severus' first experience with the Death Eaters.

Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me. All the names, places, etc., are the property of J.K. Rowling. I'm just playing with them because I love them. Please, Jo, don't sue me, I have no money.

Warning: This story contains some violent parts. (Severe bullying and some domestic violence.)


Severus Snape and the Whomping Willow Incident.

Chapter One.


It was the Monday morning on the first day of term after the holidays, and Severus Snape was making his way across the Entrance Hall towards the Great Hall for breakfast. Yesterday’s journey on the Hogwarts Express hadn’t been too bad at all, although it was always a bit dull now after Lucius had left school. He had gotten on really early, before hardly anyone else was there, and found a compartment at the very back of the train, where he had sat down, pretending to be asleep when the hordes of students entered the train. That way he didn’t have to answer if anyone spoke to him, and he was left alone in his compartment apart from two fourth-years, who fortunately had the sense to leave him alone.

As the journey went on, he had been able to read a fair few chapters of a very interesting book called “Magical Self Defence – 101 Threatening Situations and How to Get Out of Them Alive”. Earlier in the summer he had been a bit worried about his Defence Against the Dark Arts OWL result. Defence was by far his favourite subject, and he would easily have achieved and ‘O’ in it, he thought- However, certain events beyond his control had made it quite difficult to concentrate during his practical Defence OWL, and he had been afraid this would have ruined the whole thing. He was therefore very relieved at the end of July when his marks arrived: At least he had managed an overall ‘E’. He was a little bitter about this, surely he’d have managed an ‘O’ if the practical exam hadn’t gone so badly, but still, an ‘E’ was at least sufficient to get him into the NEWT level Defence class.

Severus was actually looking forward to this year in a way, with the prospect of NEWT level Defence and everything. “Hopefully the ones who choose to do NEWT level classes won’t be as slow as the people I have had to endure so far”, he thought to himself as he walked the last few steps towards the door into the Great Hall. Severus often found the slow progress that his class was making with the curriculum very annoying. He was always at least a hundred pages ahead and impatient to get on with things. Hopefully NEWT classes would move a little faster.

Severus opened the doors into the Great Hall. Although it was still rather early, he was sorry to find it quite full of students already. At the teachers’ table, however, was only Professor Kettleburn, half way through wolfing down a bowl of porridge. Severus took a quick left turn, intending to try to reach the Slytherin table without being noticed by too many people by walking along the wall at the bottom end of the house tables. But it was already too late.

“Oi, Snivellus!” a familiar voice called out behind him. “Are you wearing trousers underneath your robes today, or is your family so old fashioned that they won’t let you?”

Several people laughed at this, and he could feel the laughter sting his neck like a thousand little arrows. Determined not to turn around, he carried on towards the Slytherin table, letting his hair fall in front of his face like a curtain to hide its red colour. He did in fact normally wear trousers under his robes. It was just that it had been very, very warm that day back in June, when they had had their Defence Against the Darks Arts examinations. Only when it was too late, he had learned that there was something called “shorts”. “Shorts” were a type of Muggle clothing that had never been worn in Severus’ home, and he had in fact never even heard of it before the word had been thrown at him by Sirius. Evidently, he was supposed to wear these “shorts” underneath his robes on days when it was too hot for trousers. He had decided that from now on, he would rather endure the heat.

“Have you washed your knickers yet, Snivellus?” Sirius tried when Severus didn’t respond. Knickers, Severus thought. At least it had been boxers, not knickers! He had hoped that the school would have forgotten about this embarrassing incident over the summer, but no, of course they hadn’t. And those who had would have Sirius and James to remind them of it.

“You know, I could get a House Elf to come here to wash them for you right away, do you want me to take them off for you again?” James laughed.

This was too much for Severus. He wheeled around and snatched his wand out of his pocket, and within a second he had hit James squarely on the chest with a Reductor Curse that burnt a hole through his robes.

“Argh!” James shouted. But before Severus had the chance to do anything else, both Sirius and Peter Pettigrew threw themselves at him, and pinned him up against the wall. Sirius pointed his wand towards Severus’ forehead.

“Try that again, and you’re dead, Snivelly!”
“Dead, am I?”
“Yeah! Just wait!”
“No, no, don’t kill him just yet, Sirius” came James’ voice as he slowly walked up to them. “We aren’t through having fun with him yet. How about ... a Hair Greasing Jinx? Oh no, I forgot, his hair is so greasy already that you wouldn’t see the difference. Or... how about the Bat Bogey Hex?”

James raised his wand, but before he could do anything, there was a cry of “expelliarmus” behind him, and Severus felt his wand fly from his fingers and into Professor Kettleburn’s hand along with the three other wands.

“No fighting, boys!” he said in a fatherly manner. “You may collect these from the staff room before class. Now, please go and pick up your timetables from the table over there.”
He indicated an extra table that stood in front of the staff table, which was full of stacks of parchment, before leaving the room.

James was clearly angry about being deprived of his Bat Bogey Hex, because as soon as the professor had left, he punched his fist into Severus’ stomach.

“That’s for telling the teacher”. “
I haven’t told anyone”, Severus tried to say, however this was rather difficult as James was hitting him on the same spot again and again, Sirius and Peter still pressing him against the wall, until he lost his breath.

At the moment when he started to see little, black stars dancing in front him, James suddenly stopped, and all three walked quickly out the door. Severus leant against the wall. Now he noticed what felt like a hundred pairs of eyes all giving him quizzical looks, as if they were waiting for some kind of speech from him.

“What are you looking at!” he shot at them, before he strode out of the circle and sat down at the Slytherin table.



Last edited by Norbertha; March 30th, 2005 at 7:17 pm.
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  #2  
Old August 31st, 2004, 6:40 am
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The first class of the year turned out to be Apparition. So after having gotten his wand back, Severus found himself in Hogsmeade Community Centre, where he had been taken by Madam Hooch along with the rest of the class.

Unfortunately, this class was to be taken with the Gryffindors. He saw James and Sirius at the very front of the class, clearly eager to get started.

Severus took a place at the very back, as Madam Hooch said: “Now, Apparition. As you may remember from your first year, flying is rather difficult to start with ...”

Too true, thought Severus, remembering the complete fool he had made of himself at his first flying class, and hoping that this class wouldn’t turn out to be as big a disaster.

“... but, just as it is with flying, Apparating is no trouble at all once you get the hang of it. But you need to concentrate. A Ministry official from the Apparition Test Centre will be coming up in June to test you, and if you pass, you will get your licence.”

Madam Hooch continued to lecture them on all the potentially dangerous situations that could occur if you didn’t do the Apparition correctly, to much whispering and giggling from the class. Severus felt annoyed at how immature most people of his age were.

“There’s no wand waving involved in the art of Apparition, and no incantation, just pure concentration. Now, what you need to do is relax every muscle of your body, and focus on the very atoms that you’re made of. Empty your minds, now – you will have plenty chance to catch up on the holiday news at the break time” Madam Hooch said, and Severus snorted inwardly – the last thing he wanted to do during break time was ask his classmates how their holidays had been, and he doubted anyone would feel the need to ask him, either.

“It might actually be easier if you lie down on the floor”, Madam Hooch continued, “Just until you’ve gotten the hang of it. Once you’re fully skilled, of course, you’ll be able to Disapparate and Apparate without these lengthy preparations, but until then...”

The class reluctantly lay down on the floor.

“Now, empty your minds.”

Severus found this difficult at first, but after a minute or so, he actually managed it by concentrating very hard on imagining a certain shade of dark blue, and nothing else.

“Then, feel all your muscles relax.”

Severus did this as well, trying not to wonder how many students would have fallen asleep by the end of the class.

“Now”, said Madam Hooch, “imagine that your body, your whole body, is going pale. It’s going paler and paler, until it’s nearly see-through. Then, concentrate hard on the place you want to go, which we will make just where you are laying, to start with. Feel yourselves dissolving. Feel each and every atom of your body detach, and send them to the place where you want to go.”

As Madam Hooch stopped talking, it went very quiet, as everyone was concentrating hard to dissolve their bodies. After several minutes hard work, nobody had made any progress. Severus concentrated so hard that he lost all sense of time and place.

Suddenly, he felt a very weird sensation. He felt blurred. And then he flickered. He definitely flickered! He had to hold back a cry of joy, as he opened his eyes excitedly, heart beating fast.

But at that very moment, somebody else actually did cry out, but this was a cry of horror. It was James. Or rather, it was James’ upper half. At once, everybody stopped concentrating, and sat up to see what was going on.



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:05 pm.
  #3  
Old August 31st, 2004, 10:33 am
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Link to the feedback page for Severus Snape and the Whomping willow Incident: http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=33894


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  #4  
Old August 31st, 2004, 7:26 pm
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“Aaaaargh!” was all James could manage to say, as he looked down on the place where his legs normally were.

The noise level in the room was rising fast, and everybody was moving closer to get a good view.

“Quiet! Quiet!” Madam Hooch said. “James, we need to establish where the other half of your body has gone, so that we can get the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to retrieve it, and send it back here. What place were you thinking about?”

James muttered something inaudible.

“Say that again, please?” said Madam Hooch.

“The Shrieking Shack” muttered James, a little louder this time.

“The Shrieking Shack? Why were you thinking about The Shrieking Shack?” asked Madam Hooch, clearly puzzled.

“Not sure,” said James, looking down and blushing.

Severus was wondering about this, too. Why on earth would James be thinking about the Shrieking Shack?

“Well,” said Madam Hooch, “now you’ve seen what can happen if you don’t concentrate properly. Excuse me, I’ll just go through to the other room and use the fire. Don’t go anywhere in the meantime, and don’t try to Apparate again while I’m away. OK?”

As soon as Madam Hooch was out of the door, about ten people tried to ask James what he was thinking about the Shrieking Shack for, all at once. But James refused to say.



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:06 pm.
  #5  
Old August 31st, 2004, 9:07 pm
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In the Gryffindor common room that night, a whispered conversation took place between James, Sirius and Remus Lupin – with little Peter tagging on, trying his best to be included.

“This was ... not very fortunate, James”, said Remus. “You shouldn’t have let the others hear you mention the Shack, I’ll bet you anything that someone is going to poke around there now, as soon as they get the chance.”

“What was I supposed to do, then? Live the rest of my life as a torso?”

“No, but... you could have asked Madam Hooch to speak to you in private, or something.”

“Yeah”, said Sirius. “That was a bit stupid, mate. But we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled from now on. Don’t worry, Remus. If I see anyone sneaking around the Shrieking Shack, I’ll deal with them so thoroughly that they’ll keep silent about it for the rest of their lives!”


I would much appreciate some feedback. Here's the link: http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=33894

Chapter Two.

When the time came for the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year, Severus headed directly for the Shrieking Shack. After the Apparition fiasco, poor James’ upper half had had to be levitated back to the school by Madam Hooch, while the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad went up to the Shrieking Shack and retrieved his detached legs. Apparently it had taken quite a while for them to find somebody that would volunteer to enter the building, as they were all afraid to be attacked by the violent spirits rumoured to live there. But in the end, they had managed to retrieve James’ legs, and take them up to the hospital wing, where they were firmly attached to the rest of James’ body again.

Although this story had caused general amusement around the school for a few days, most people had forgotten about it by now. But not Severus. He still smirked about it every time he saw James, to James’ great annoyance. This also had the benefit that it had somewhat taken the edge off James’ all-too-frequent attacks on him, although Severus feared this blessing wouldn’t last.

Therefore, he was determined to find out what this Shrieking Shack business was. Were his arch-enemies up to something dodgy? Severus had never been up close to the Shack before, but now that he was standing just outside it, he could see that it would be rather difficult to find out anything, because the doors and windows were all blocked up. Which was all very funny, since the house was only five or six years old, as far as Severus knew. The house sounded empty. The violent spirits, or whatever they were, were clearly out somewhere enjoying themselves.

Careful not to be seen, Severus tried the door. As he had thought, it was locked. He then climbed up on a tree root, and tried to look through the window. There was a tiny gap between two of the boards that were nailed to it, and through it Severus could see a dark room and the dark outline of a few pieces of furniture.

Deciding that this would not lead anywhere, Severus jumped down. When his feet landed in the mud, he noticed the ground he was standing on. And it was all covered in animal footprints. Most of them looked like a dog’s – or was it two dogs, one a bit larger than the other? And there were also some marks from cloven hooves. And all seemed to lead from the Shack and down the slope, or else up the slope and into the Shack.

Thoroughly puzzled, Severus tried to follow the footprints, but lost track of them when the ground changed from mud to heather further down the slope.

Making a mental note to come back later on, Severus went back down to Hogsmeade, where he promptly bumped into Regulus Black.



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:08 pm.
  #6  
Old September 3rd, 2004, 6:40 pm
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Regulus was a third year, and a little suck-up at times, but somehow a
lot more likeable than his older brother Sirius. Plus, he was in
Slytherin. "Hi, Severus!" he said, "I've been looking all over for you!
Just thought you might like to know that Lucius is in town. He's sitting
in the Hog's Head Inn." Amused at the fact that Regulus had run all
around Hogsmeade to tell him this, Severus started heading in the
direction of the Inn, Regulus at his heels.

The streets of the village were packed with students, and Severus felt
stared at. Every time he had to pass a knot of students, he could feel
their eyes on him.

It didn't help, either, that Regulus kept chattering non stop. Severus was walkin as fast as he could, and little Regulus was jogging along beside him, going more and more out of breath as he was trying to tell Severus some rediculous story about Lucius coming up to Hogsmeade to recruit members for some political party.

After a short while, he burst in through the door of the dark inn. He spotted Lucius right away, although Lucius did not notice him - he was far too busy snogging Narcissa Black.

There was an incredibly large number of Balcks in this school, Severus thought. There was Narcissa, her sister Andromeda, stupid, little Regulus and his snot-rag of a brother, Sirius, and until recently there had been their cousin Bellatrix as well.

Relising that Lucius probably didn't want to speak to him just now, Severus started to withdraw towards the door. But Regulus, apparently hoping for praise or something from the older boy, went straight upto the pair, and started to speak to them.

"Hi, Lucius! Hi, Narcissa! Guess who I ran into? Severus! Maybe you could tell him about that ... that... that thing, you know."

Severus tried not to laugh - he was guessing that Regulus himself was very keen to hear about this political party, or whatever it was, but that Lucius couldn't be bothered to speak to him, so he needed Severus to get Lucius to tell him, so that Regulus could listen in. Narcissa gave her cousin a scorching look.

"Buzz off, Reg," she said. But Regulus clearly wasn't intending to leave, so eventually, Lucius gave up the thought of resuming his snogging, and asked Severus to sit down.

Lucius had apparently been very busy lately: He had been carrying out dangerous business. He took on a kind of secretive manner as he said this - maybe to appear even more interesting and intimidating to Regulus. But Severus knew what Lucius was speaking about: After Lucius had left school, he had become a trusted companion of the man who termed himself the Dark Lord.

Regulus shivered exitedly as Lucius told his stories. Even Severus had to admit it was fascinating.

"There is no time for being cowardly or foolish around the Dark Lord", Lucius said. "He accepts only the strongest and the cleverest. There are few that are accepted into his inner circle."

At this, Regulus gave an exited, little gasp.

"Are you in his inner circle yet?" Severus asked Lucius.

"Nearly, yes", said Lucius. "He's considering me. And," he added, "I wouldn't be surprised if he'd consider you too, in a couple of years."

Severus noticed how Narcissa was looking very admiringly at Lucius.

"He might", Severus said.



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:13 pm.
  #7  
Old September 4th, 2004, 7:16 pm
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Later that night, on his way down to the Slytherin common room, Regulus Black was stopped by his older brother.

"I saw you in Hogsmeade today with Snape", he said accusingly. "You're not friends with him, are you?"

"Me? I... No, I just..."

"Well," said Sirius, "I know you're both in Slytherin and everything, but even in Slytherin some people are worse than others, if you know what I mean. What were you doing with him, anyway?"

"Nothing, I just saw him coming down the hill from the Shrieking Shack, and I just ..."

"From the Shrieking Shack?"

"Yeah, but I don't know ... I mean, I don't really know him, I mean, I'm not friends with him or anything, I just..."

"You just chose to spend your weekend with him anyway? I see, I see. Well, I can't say I understand your taste, little bro, but this friendship of yours might come in useful after all..."



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:14 pm.
  #8  
Old September 10th, 2004, 6:38 pm
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Chapter three: Florence.


A slight drawback, in Severus’ opinion, about taking NEWT classes, was that since a fair amount of students had left school after achieving their OWLs, those who were still there had to take most of their classes with students from other houses.

Defence lessons, for example, the Slytherins had with the Ravenclaws. This week Professor Merryman, who didn’t suit his name at all, was showing them a small book bound in black leather, with white writing on the cover.

“This,” he said in a grave tone, “is a Black Book. I have donated it to Hogwarts library myself – it used to belong to my great grandfather up in the Orkney Islands. This is not truly a black book anymore, of course, because the Hex that was once on it has been broken. By myself”, he added proudly.

“Now, Mr. Snape, can you tell me why Black Books are illegal?”

Severus knew this perfectly well. He often spent break times in the library, especially now that he was allowed into the restricted section. The library was also the perfect hiding place if you wanted some peace.

“Black Books are illegal for two reasons”, Severus answered. “Firstly, Black Books contain collections of Dark curses. All the three Unforgivable Curses were first described in a Black Book. Secondly, Black Books come with a hex. The effect of the hex is that you can never get rid of the book once you own it, unless you sell it for more than you bought it for. People have tried to get rid of Black Books in various ways: One wizard tried to throw it over board deep at sea. But when he came back home, the book was still lying on the kitchen table. A Muggle that owned one, tried to give it to a Bishop to bury in the garden of his Manse, only to find it back in his sitting room the next morning.”

“That is entirely true. Ten points to Slytherin, Mr. Snape.”

As Severus had been speaking, he had noticed how one of the girls had been looking at him. But the thing was, she wasn’t looking at him in a nasty way. No, she was looking at him with a soft smile on her face.

Severus didn’t know her particularly well. She was in Ravenclaw, and her name was Florence.



Last edited by Norbertha; March 29th, 2005 at 9:11 am.
  #9  
Old September 11th, 2004, 2:13 pm
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The lunch hour came, and Severus was walking down the stairs, wondering what that faint smile from Florence had been about. He decided that it would probably be better not to ask her too directly about it – after all, he barely knew her.

Intending to stop by the toilet before lunch, he went across to the far side of the Entrance Hall, where a group of Gryffindors were spilling out of a corridor.

Suddenly he noticed that he was surrounded. James was standing in front of him, blocking his way ahead, while Sirius and Peter were behind him, blocking any escape route in that direction. He also saw Remus hovering in the distance.

“Ah, it’s Snivellus!” said James. “Washed your knickers yet?”

All three laughed, but fact was, his underwear would soon be needing washed if they didn’t let him go to the toilet. This was all very inconvenient.

“I seriously doubt it,” Sirius replied. “He hasn’t washed his hair, so why should he have washed his knickers?”

Severus had washed his hair, it was just that it went greasy again within hours no matter what he washed it in.

“Hee, hee, we surely got his mouth washed, at least,” Peter s******ed.

Severus really needed to get out of this situation. He slowly started to edge his left hand towards the pocket where his hand was.

“Do you really have time for this, Potter?” he said, trying to distract him. “I thought you would be too busy snogging with that mudblood girlfriend of yours, Lily Evans?”

Lily was not at all James’ girlfriend, and James was truly frustrated about this, as Severus fully well knew. He nearly had his hand in his pocket now, and James was looking furious.

But just as he was about to pull his wand out, Sirius jumped at him from behind.

“So you think I’m blind, eh, Snivellus? You think you can fool me, eh?”

And with the combined force of the three of them, Sirius, James and Peter managed to push a struggling Severus into a nearby broom cupboard, and close the door. And as he sat up, Severus heard the sound of something large being placed in front of it. The sound of many pairs of feet told him that the rest of the school was heading for the Great Hall, and apparently no-one had seen what had just happened to him, or else, more likely, no-one cared.

The situation was now getting desperate. He tried Alohomora, but of course it had no effect at all on the huge thing that was blocking the door. All he could do was wait, and hope for someone to find him.

So Severus waited, all the while trying to forget that he was nearly bursting. Calling far help was out of the question. Slowly the corridor went quiet.

After what felt like most of the lunch hour, Severus heard a single pair of feet outside. The situation was now so urgent that Severus decided to make himself known to whoever it was outside. He said a semi-quiet “Hello?”

“Hello?” replied a girl’s voice, and then, “Oh my gosh, are you still in there?”

So she had seen it happen. And what was more, Severus now recognised the voice, and dearly wished he had kept silent – it was Florence.

The next thing he heard, was Florence saying “locomotor statue”, and then the door opened.

“Oh, Severus,” Florence said, “I didn’t know you were still in there! I saw Potter and Black attack you, but I never thought they would leave you in here for the entire lunch hour! I have seen them pick on you from time to time, but I never realised they would go as far as this! Do they often do this kind of thing to you?”

Florence seemed far more upset about this than Severus felt himself.

“Er, yeah, sort of...” he admitted awkwardly.

Severus was far more embarrassed about Florence finding him here, than Potter, Black and Pettigrew shutting him in here in the first place. Plus, he was about to burst still, and Florence didn’t look like she would stop speaking for a while yet.

Deeply embarrassed to admit this, Severus said to Florence: “Look, Florence, thanks for getting me out of here, but I really need to the toilet, so do you mind if I don’t hang around to chat just now?”

“Er, no, sure,” Florence said.

“Well, then,” said Severus, “I’ll maybe speak to you later or something.”

He quickly averted his eyes and headed off.

Instead of coming to class that afternoon, Severus shut himself in his dormitory, turned the lights off, drew his blanket over his head and put on The Draculas on max volume.



Last edited by Norbertha; March 29th, 2005 at 9:12 am.
  #10  
Old September 14th, 2004, 7:21 am
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Little Regulus had now started avoiding his brother. Every time he saw him, Sirius would demand a report on what Severus Snape had been doing, and in particular if he had been trying to sneak out to Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack again.

“I don’t know”, Regulus said, “I don’t know!”

"Then find out,” his brother told him firmly.


*

Later on in the evening, Severus was sitting a a table in the corner of the Slytherin common room behind several stacks of books, trying to concentrate on his homework.

But instead of writing the essay on Multiple Vanishing that they had been given by Professor MacGonagall, he had found himself brooding on how to get him own back on Black and Potter.

If they could only do something really, really bad – something that would get them expelled!

But then again, he didn’t really want to be in the receiving end of this terrible act that would get them expelled, either.

Or would it maybe be worth it? He had endured so much now, over the last five years that he could surely take it – come what may.

Severus was just starting to wonder how he could secretly trick or provoke James and Sirius into hurting him seriously – perhaps he could make them push him off the Astronomy Tower? They were always nicking his possessions and dropping them down there during class anyway, so why not his whole being? – when he suddenly heard what a group of fifth-years were speaking about at the neighbouring table.

They were speaking about Rubeus Hagrid, that ridiculously tall man who was working as Game Keeper.

Severus had heard these rumours about him before, but never really paid much attention to them, but now something suddenly clicked in his mind: He wouldn’t have to sacrifice himself at all; he could get his tormentors expelled for an entirely different reason.

A grin appeared on Severus’ face. According to the rumours, Rubeus Hagrid had been expelled in his third year for illegally breeding or else just setting loose a giant monster inside the school, with the result that one student had been killed. The older students liked to scare the first-years with this story, but Severus had never believed it to be true. But hadn’t he seen animal footprints in the mud outside the Shrieking Shack? And hadn’t he heard James speaking about the Shrieking Shack too? Maybe – maybe – what if this dream-team, these overlords of arrogance, Black, Potter, Lupin and Pettigrew, were secretly breeding some kind of animal species up in the Shrieking Shack? Or else, they could be doing experiments on animals, trying out experimental or illegal spells on them, perhaps. And all the while using the Shack as their hide-out.

But this would surely mean that they would need to have some means of getting there outside Hogsmeade weekends as well. Were they perhaps sneaking out after dark? Severus knew this would be very risky. But he also knew that this gang liked to take risks, so he wouldn’t put it past them.

If he could only get them caught at this red-handed, they would be expelled for sure, and it wouldn’t have anything to do woth him at all.

Very pleased with his master plan, Severus looked up, and saw Regulus Black enter the common room.

“Regulus! Come here,” he said, and beckoned him towards him.

*

Little Regulus was lying awake in his bed that night, worrying about the tricky situation he was in. He felt like some kind of bizarre double agent. Not only was he supposed to report to Sirius on what Severus was up to, and whether he was trying to nose around in their business again, but now he was also supposed to spy on the Marauders for Severus. And he couldn’t decide who to obey or disobey, he felt equally intimidated by both.



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Last edited by Norbertha; December 7th, 2004 at 10:28 am.
  #11  
Old September 14th, 2004, 10:22 pm
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Chapter Four: The birthday party.


It was now the 15th December, a Saturday, the last weekend before the Christmas holidays, and a Hogsmeade weekend. And just to top it all, it was Severus’ birthday, and Lucius had sent him an owl to say that he was coming up to Hogsmeade again. They would be meeting in the Hog’s Head Inn this time as well. Lucius had praised their Firewhisky, and Severus was keen to try some, now that he was 17 and finally allowed to.

He was walking down the path past the Quidditch pitch when somebody called his name behind him. Expecting nothing but badness, he pretended not to have heard.

But the person called again, and it was a girl, and she ran up to him and said “hi”. It was Florence.

A tingling sensation was now spreading in Severus’ stomach.

“Are you going down to Hogsmeade?” she said, and Severus was tempted to reply “obviously”, but he didn’t want to be rude to her, so he restricted himself to a simple “yes”.

“Where in Hogsmeade is it you’re going?”

“The Hog’s Head.”

“Why are you going there and not to the Three Broomsticks?”

“It’s less crowded, and I’m also meeting up with Lucius Malfoy and perhaps a few others to try the Firewhisky there.”

After having said this, he was forced to admit: “It’s my birthday, see.”

Wondering how Florence would take this piece of news, and all the while being very concious about the fact that last time Florence had spoken to him, he had been locked up in a cupboard, Severus looked at Florence’s face. She was smiling again, a warm, bright smile. She had long, brown hair and brown eyes, and her cheeks were rosy with the cold air.

“Is it really? Well, happy birthday, then! Are you having a party in the Hog’s Head?”

Severus wasn’t sure whether Lucius had meant it to be a party or not, so he said “Sort of”.

Then he heard how quiet it suddenly went after he’d said this. Maybe Florence was expecting him to thank her for rescuing him out of the cupboard?

But then, that would mean speaking about the whole cupboard affair, something that he wasn’t particularly keen to do. Still, he should perhaps say something nice to her.

Making up his mind quickly, he said: “Would you like to come?”

For some reason Florence was looking quite embarrassed by this question, but she said “yes, please”. So the rest of the way down to Hogsmeade Florence and Severus walked side by side, a decent distance apart.

Unfortunately, Florence started firing personal questions at him.

“Lucius Malfoy, is he your friend, then?”

“Yes.”

"But he left school last year, I mean a year and a half ago, didn’t he?”

“That’s right.”

“So it must be really lonely for you now, then? I mean, I hardly ever see you with anyone. You always seem to be on your own.”

So she had been watching him, Severus thought, annoyed. Yes, it was true that he spent most of his time alone, but he actually preferred it that way, since he had nothing whatsoever in common with most people of his age. He generally found his peers extremely immature, or shallow, or both, nad he simply couldn’t understand how they could be so deeply interested in things like robe fashins or broomstick makes – or each other.

“Are you lonely?” Florence pressed on.

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

Oh, why did girls always have this urge to play the counsellor?

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you.”

“But Black and Potter and Pettigrew –"

Oh, here it came, of course, she had to mention it at some point.

“ – It’s horrible what they do to you. Just horrible! Have you told Dumbledore what’s going on?”

“No.”

“Why not? You should. You shouldn’t let them get off with this!”

“I am quite capable of defending myself, you know,” Severus said, but he didn’t think it sounded as convincing as he had hoped.

“Oh, I don’t doubt that, but they are three people, and you are just one, it’s not fair at all! How long has this been going on for?”

“A while.”

“Yes, but how long?”

“Five and a half years, if you must know.”

“Five and a half- ever since first year, you mean? Oh, Severus! You should tell Dumbledore, you should definitely tell Dumbledore, he’d sort them out for you.”

“I don’t need anyone to sort anyone out for me, thank you,” growled Severus, intensely regretting now that he’d asked Florence to come to the Hog’s Head with him.

“But what do your parents say to all this? Why haven’t they contacted Dumbledore?”

“Listen, Florence. I’m sorry, but if you are going to speak about this all day, I’m afraid I am going to have to ask you to leave. You see, I am intending to enjoy myself on my birthday, and this isn’t a particularly enjoyable subject for me.”

Florence blushed red as brick, and quickly said “I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to – I just thought – I’m sorry.”

They walked the rest of the way to the inn without saying a word.


*

When they entered the dark room, Severus immediately saw that there was no Lucius there. But he’d surely be there soon, he thought, and went up to the bar, where the funny barman with the long beard was busy pretending to be reading the Daily Prophet. Severus tell he was pretending because of the deliberate and exaggerated way he was moving his eyes, and his whole head back and forth with them.

Severus cleared his throat quietly, and the barman looked up.

“You’re the one they were looking for!” he said abruptly. “Black, greasy, shoulder-length hair, pale skin and a large, hooked nose. Yes, you’re the one indeed! There’s a message here for you.”

Severus felt like punching the barman on the nose for this description of him, but instead he picked up the note that he was handed. It read: “Severus, We went to the Three Broomstick after all. Hope to see you there. Lucius.”

Severus sighed, and turned to Florence. “The others have changed their minds and gone to the Three Broomsticks after all.”

“All right”, she said, before they turned around and left for the other inn.

The Three Broomsticks was crowded as usual, and, also as usual, Severus felt as if on display as he was making his way across to the corner table where Lucius was sitting with Narcissa Black, Amadeus Nott and Patrick Parkinson.

“Hello, Severus!” Lucius said happily, “And happy birthday!”

“Yes, happy birthday,” said Narcissa, and the other two also quickly added “Yes, happy birthday,” “Yes, happy birthday, Severus.”

Lucius shifted his chair to make room for Severus between him and Patrick. Then he spotted Florence, who was standing a few paces away, looking uncertain.

“Er, is this lady with you, Severus?”

Severus wasn’t sure what to say, so he looked around at Florence, who said “Er, no, er, well, yes – we just met on the way here, and Severus said he was going to the pub, so... I’m in his Defence class, see. I’m Florence, by the way.”

Severus was very grateful that Florence hadn’t made it sound as if they were together in any way, and neither had she burst out with anything about that stupid cupboard. Maybe she had some sense after all.

Lucius now acted like a gentleman, and drew up an extra chair for Florence, and soon Madam Rosmerta came over.

“And what will it be here?” she asked, looking at Lucius, as the oldest one there.

“Four Firewhiskys and one Butterbeer, please,” Lucius ordered without even asking the others.

Then he seemed to remember about Florence, and asked her politely: “And what would you take, Florence?”

“A Butterbeer as well, please,” Florence said.

“So that will be four Firewhiskys and two Butterbeers, please, Rosmerta,” said Lucius, and when she came back with the drinks, he paid for them all without so much as looking at the change.


Severus looked down at his glass of Firewhisky. The liquid in it was dark brown and amber-like, and it seemed to shimmer with an inner glow. It was smoking like a freshly brewed potion, and the smell from the smoke was piercing his nostrils.

“Cheers, Severus!” Lucius said, and lifted his glass.

“Cheers,” Severus said, grinning, as he lifted up his glass too, and all the boys drank a gulp of the smoking liquid, while Florence and Narcissa sipped some of their Butterbeer.

A burning sensation immediately spread in Severus’ throat, and he could feel it going like a warm wave through his body. He could also feels his cheeks glowing uncharacteristically pink, but he enjoyed it.

Suddenly it didn’t matter any more that the pub was packed full of students. He was here with good friends to enjoy himself, and that was all that mattered.


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Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:35 pm.
  #12  
Old September 15th, 2004, 7:18 am
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As the afternoon wore on, and evening came, Severus enjoyed himself more and more. In a way, he liked being seen in public with a group of friends for a change, a group of friends that were all buying him drinks and cheering him.

And there was Florence too, she was sitting next him, and she didn’t look like she was wanting to get away from there in a hurry, either. Neither had she asked any more embarrassing questions, and Severus found that she was actually quite interesting to talk to. It turned out that Defence was her favourite subject too, followed by Potions, and she was just telling him about her trip to Albania last summer, where she had seen another one of those Black Books in the library of an ancient castle, when a friend of hers came over to their table.

The pub was almost empty now, and Severus suddenly realised how late it must be, for Florence’s friend – a rather short and mousy-haired girl – was saying: “Are you coming back up to the castle with me, Florence? Filch’ll be getting angry if we don’t go back soon.”

“OK, Bertha,” Florence said, and got up, but she was looking a bit disappointed too.

When Florence had left, Severus looked round at Lucius to see if they were going to leave as well. But Lucius said: “We’re not leaving yet, are we?”

“But Filch...” Amadeus Nott began.

“Ach, Filch, that old clown. Let him get angry if he wants.”

This was easy for Lucius to say, of course, since he had left school, and could do what he liked.

“But I’ve got Quidditch practice tomorrow morning as well,” Amadeus persisted. “I should really go.”

“Yes, so have I,” Patrick backed him up.

“Go if you like, I’m not stopping you, but the night is still young, you know,” Lucius drawled in a manner that clearly told everybody that Lucius enjoyed being considered a grown-up.

As Amadeus and Patrick left, Lucius ordered another round for himself, Narcissa and Severus.

“Let the cry babies go to bed early, we are here to enjoy ourselves. Cheers, birthday boy!” he laughed. “And cheers, my love,” he added to Narcissa, before he went on: “So, who’s she, then?”

“You mean Florence?” Severus said suspiciously.

“Yes, Florence.”

“She’s in my Defence class.”

“Do you like her?”

“Depends on what you mean by ‘like her’”.

“You know what I mean.”

“She’s nice enough.”

“Good looking too, eh?” Lucius teased him.

“I suppose.”

“She’s not in Slytherin, is she?”

“No, she’s in Ravenclaw.”

“Well, that’s not the worst house to be from. She could be worth checking out.”

“Mm,” Severus said, wondering whether Lucius were right, and if yes, how this could be done.


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Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:37 pm.
  #13  
Old September 16th, 2004, 5:21 pm
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It was very late by the time Severus was walking back to the castle. The grounds were dark and wet, and he was feeling slightly dizzy and tired, but very happy.

Narcissa and Lucius had stopped by the winged boar gate for a goodnight cuddle, so Severus had left tham to it, and was now approaching the massive front doors, hoping not to bump into Flich or any other person, ghost, cat or poltergeist.

He carefully opened one of the doors, and slipped inside. As soon as he was in, he heard footsteps. As swiftly and silently as he could manage, he jumped in behind a statue.

A single pair of feet was walking across the dark Entrance Hall, clearly not trying too hard to avoid being heard. So it must be one of the staff, Severus thought.

But it wasn’t. As the figure came nearer, he saw that it was Remus Lupin. Lupin was walking rather fast, directly towards the front doors, and out.

“This is strange”, Severus thought. If he were up to something dodgy, he would surely make a bigger effort not to be seen or heard by any of the teachers?

Severus was just about to follow Lupin outside to find out what he was up to, when he heard more footsteps. But this time it sounded like mote than one person, maybe two or three.

“This will be the rest of their little gang”, he thought, as he watched from behind the statue. He could still not see anyone, but he heard the footsteps coming nearer all the time.

It sounded like the people were just feet away from him now, and he squinted to try and see them through the darkness, but he couldn’t make them out at all. Was it just the dark, or was he drunk? Severus tried to think how much he had had to drink – Was it just the two glasses of Firewhisky? No, it must have been three at least, maybe four.

The sound of footsteps seemed to pass him now, and then he heard the front doors open and close again. A strange thought hit him: What if these people – Potter, Black and Pettigrew, no doubt – had some means of making themselves invisible?

Exited, he jumped up from behind the statue, intending to follow them. But as he got up, his head started spinning, so that he almost fell, and he had to grab the head of the statue to support himself. “Watch out there,” it said sleepily.

When he had steadied himself, he carefully walked over to the front doors. There he stopped to listen for a moment, before he peered outside.

It was completely silent, and nobody was in sight. It was raining – an icy December rain that would hopefully turn into snow soon. The moon was just about to come up behind the dark hills, and it cast an eerie glow over the scene.

Where on earth had they gone? If it had only been snowing instead of raining, he could at least have followed their footprints.

While Severus was still thinking about this, Narcissa Black suddenly appeared around the corner, and he jumped at the sight of her.
“Oh, it’s you,” he whispered.

“Did you think it was Filch?” she smirked.

“No...er, yes,” Severus said, preferring to keep to himself what he had just seen – or not seen.

“Better be really quiet now,” she said. “Come on.” And without speaking another word, they tiptoed back to the Slytherin common room.

*

On Sunday morning, Regulus Black was on his way up the stairs from the dungeons, when he was held back by Severus Snape.

“Have you done what I asked you?” Severus hissed.

Regulus shuddered. He didn’t have anything to tell Snape about his brother and his friends, he had no clue what they were up to.

“I need more time,” he whispered. “Just give me ‘til after the holidays.”

“All right. I expect a good report from you when we come back, then.”

And with that, they parted.


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Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 5:41 pm.
  #14  
Old September 17th, 2004, 2:48 pm
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Warning: This chapter describes domestic violence. Please don't read it if you fear it might upset you.

Chapter Five: Christmas


The time was half past twelve p.m. on Christmas Day, and Severus was sitting in his bed amongst his newly opened presents. Downstairs he heard his mum busy preparing dinner for her family and for uncle Baltazar and auntie Pricilla, who were coming over. His dad was in the kitchen too, busy looking over his wife’s shoulder, telling her how not to do the cooking.

“Don’t make the sauce too thick, now,” he heard him saying. “My brother doesn’t like thick sauce.”

Severus tried to block them out and concentrate on the book that he was reading instead. It was a Hogwarts library book – he had got a special permission from Madam Pince to take it home over the holidays, pretending that he needed it for a Defence Against the Dark Arts project. The book was called “The Ancient Art of Invisibility” and explained every known way of making a person or artefact invisible.

Another good thing about being seventeen, was that he was now finally allowed to do magic over the holidays. He had initially borrowed the book to see if he could figure out in what way Potter, Black and Pettigrew might be making themselves invisible. But he had soon forgotten about that, and found himself focusing instead on how to make himself invisible to spy on them.

He had found a charm in there called the Disillusionment Charm that he wanted to try and practise. It had the benefit of not requiring any illegal or expensive ingredients, like the Invisibility Potion he had read about did, nor did it sound very advanced. He felt certain that he would easily manage it with a few hours of practise. The only drawback was that it wouldn’t make him truly invisible, it would just make his body mimic the background. But it would hopefully do.

He propped the book up against the headboard of his bed, and the got his wand out. The book said to tap himself on the head with his wand, and he was just about to try that, when the doorbell rang with a cling-clang-clung.

Suddenly remembering that he was supposed to dress up for the Christmas dinner, he hurried through to the bathroom, where he quickly washed his face and put on some of “Mr. Rosey’s Anti-Perspiration Potion for Wizards” under his arms. Then he combed his hair and performed the Shaving Spell that Madam Pomfrey had taught all the boys in fifth year. He then rushed through to his room, where he put on his best robes, which were black with dark blue linings.

As he did this, he heard his father making loud conversation downstairs:

“Merry Christmas, Baltazar, Pricilla! How nice to see you! Lucie and I have been so looking forward to this. And Severus too. Where is he, Lucie? Severus! Come down here!”

Severus ran down the stairs.

“Why aren’t you down here when the guests arrive? Say hello to your aunt and uncle now.”

“Merry Christmas, Uncle Baltazar. Merry Christmas, Aunt Pricilla,” Severus muttered, and stared at the floor as he was being kissed on the cheek by auntie Pricilla.

“Oh, he has fairly grown up since last time I saw him,” Pricilla squeaked, and uncle Baltazar also measured him with his eyes, before he turned to his brother again, and asked:

“Is he doing well at school, Brutus?”

“Not bad, not bad. He’s inherited his father’s sharp mind, I dare say. Ha, ha, ha.”

Severus was feeling very annoyed at being spoken about in third person, as if he was seven years old, and not seventeen.

“But please come through. The dinner is waiting for us in the dining room. After you, Pricilla.”

Even though Severus’ parents weren’t particularly well off, Brutus Snape still spoke as if he was living in a mansion. The house was an old two storey stone house with high ceilings and bay windows, sitting on its own on a little rise. It could perhaps have been posher if it had been better kept, but as it was, it gave an impression of crumbling glory.

The family did not own a house elf, so it was Lucie Snape that was now serving turkey with thick gravy and bread stuffing. Severus could see his father narrowing his eyes as his wife was pouring gravy onto his plate, and he felt his stomach clench. He knew there was going to be trouble later.

“What were you serving that thick gravy for! I told you my brother doesn’t like thick gravy! You’re a complete disgrace! A disaster! An embarrassment for me!”

Brutus Snape’s temper was flashing like a thunderstorm as soon as the guests were out of the house. Lucie Snape had taken refuge to the kitchen, where she was sitting on a chair, her head buried in her arms on the kitchen table, crying.

Severus was lurking in the doorway, unsure what to do. He wanted to protect his mother, to defend her from what he knew was coming next. But on the other hand, he knew how dangerous it would be to get in his father’s way when he was angry.

“How dare you make a fool of your husband and son by showing such incompetence!”

Oh no, please don’t get me involved, Severus prayed. Sensing danger, he started to withdraw slowly, hoping that his father wouldn’t notice him. But he did.

“Boy! Where do you think you are going!”

“Eh, nowhere, father.”

“Come here. Stand there. There. Yes. Now, why weren’t you down here when the guests arrived?”

“I... I was getting changed, father.”

“And why hadn’t you changed already?”

“I was doing school work.”

“Doing school work, indeed! Didn’t I tell you to get changed and be ready before one o’clock? Didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did.”

“So why didn’t you do it?”

“I... don’t know.”

“No. You never listen to your father, do you!”

And with that, he smacked Severus on the cheek. It hurt as if it were on fire, but Severus didn’t move a single muscle.

“Brutus, please... It wasn’t his fault, Brutus... Please...” he heard his mother crying. Severus wished she wouldn’t. He knew her pleading would only infuriate his father even further.

“He’s got to learn to respect his father!”

“But he did get changed, and he did come down.”

“Don’t you dare to contradict me! You’re a fool! You are even more useless than a house elf! Never, ever contradict me again!”

Severus now had to watch his father lift his mother up by the shoulders, shaking her violently.

“Never, ever contradict me again, do you hear me? Do you hear me!”

He threw her hard on the floor.

“Do you hear me!”

He kicked her in the side.

This was too much for Severus to watch. He could feel himself getting in a rage that almost matcher his father’s.

“Lay off her!” he bellowed, and with all his might, he pulled his father away from his mum, and went in between them. He could hear his mother crying and gasping on the floor behind him.

“Get out of the way, boy!” his father shouted.

“No! I won’t let you hurt her!”

“Get out of the way now!”

“No!”

“I’m warning you! Get out of the way!”

“No!”

Brutus hit Severus hard on the cheek again.

“This will teach you!”

He hit him again. Severus then felt himself being lifted up, just as his mother had been, and thrown hard against the wall, where he sank down to the floor. When he looked up, he saw his father towering over him, silhouetted against the white ceiling. He saw his father’s hand descending on him like a bird of prey before it struck him. Severus could hear the sound of bells ringing in his ears. And as his father struck him again and again, he drifted off to another place and another time.

There was a ruin of a small chapel on the shore, about half a mile from Severus’ home. When he was little, he had often played there. The grass was high inside it, and growing in between the stones of the old walls were lichen and foxgloves.

This old chapel was Severus’ secret place. He had used to go down there on his own, just slip out of the house quietly when his father was in a bad mood.

And at the times when he hadn’t been able to escape, he would dream that he was there, playing in the friendly shadows of his chapel. Then he wouldn’t hear his father raging at him, and never did he feel his hands hitting him. He was in a different world.

Sometimes the chapel was his castle, and he was the great wizard Merlin himself. The snails that lived there were his pupils, always begging him to teach them the secret of his greatness. As Merlin he could turn into any animal, and go to any place. He was in every corner of the world, creating wonders, fighting dragons. He could cast any spell, and all the world obeyed him. Home in his castle, he gathered grass, foxgloves and seaweed and brewed the most wonderful potions, potions that would cure any disease, potions that would make him immortal and invincible. The castle was his realm, the shore his own, happy kingdom.

There was a loud bang. Severus’ heart jumped. Breathing fast, he opened his eyes, and looked around. The kitchen was gone, and so were his father and mother. Instead of their yelling and crying, he heard seagulls. And instead of the stone floor of the kitchen, he was sitting in high, damp, yellow grass. He was in the old chapel. He saw clouds drifting above him where the roof was missing, and he could smell the salty dampness of the sea.

How on earth had he ended up here? The last thing he remembered, was that he had been drifting into a day dream as his father was beating him. But this was no day dream, it was definitely real.

Then it dawned on him: He must have Apparated here without meaning to! Yes, that was the only thing that made sense. Now that he thought about it, he realised that what he did when he went into a day dream, was actually very much like what Madam Hooch had taught them to do in their Apparition classes. And he had been thinking about the chapel, mentally transporting himself there.

For a second or two, Severus was really pleased with himself – he had never Apparated such a long distance before, his previous record was two inches across the floor.

But then, with a shudder down his back, he realised how much trouble he would be in when he got home. Apparating without a licence was of course illegal, even if he hadn’t meant to do it. And his father was angry already. Maybe he could just Apparate to Hogsmeade, now that he had broken the law anyway, and spend the remainder of his holidays there? That would give his father some time to cool off, at least. But then again, all his books and things were still in the house, he would have to get hold of them somehow. So perhaps the most sensible thing to do would be to run home as fast as he could, and admit what he had done, since his father was bound to find out in any case.

But then again, he was of age now, after all, and he didn’t want to go and confess and be punished like some little child either. He had had enough of that. From now on, he would stand up against his father. He would never let him treat him like a child again.

Having made up his mind, Severus got up, and went out of the little ruin. As he emerged onto the shore, he saw two young Muggle boys there, busy feeding turkey bones to the seagulls at the waterfront. Both of them looked round at him suspiciously, and one of them said: “What are you dressed up all funny for?”

“What’s happened to your face?” the other one shouted.

“I think he’s been in a fight,” the first one suggested.

Severus now noticed that his nose was bleeding, and that his left cheek was very sore.

“Hey! Have you been fighting?” the second boy called out, and when Severus didn’t respond, he concluded “Weirdo.”

As Severus walked away from the shore and up the hill towards his house, both boys were shouting “Weirdo! Weirdo!” after him.

Severus turned the knob of the front door, and found his father waiting immediately inside it, while his mother was hiding in the background.

“There you are!” he said. “Where have you been! An officer from the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol has been here, he just left a minute ago, and he informed us that you have Apparated without a licence. So! Explain yourself, boy!”

Severus drew a deep breath, then said: “I won’t deny that I Apparated without a licence. However, I didn’t mean to. And I will not accept you calling me ‘boy’. As you know, I am of age now, and I expect to be treated like an adult.”

Severus could see the rage glowing red behind his father’s eyes, and he would have been afraid that his father would get his wand out and do him serious damage, hadn’t it been for the fact that he knew his father was nearly a Squib, which was why he preferred using his fists rather than his wand.

“So you expect to be treated like an adult, do you?” he said, with the air of someone holding the lid down on a pressure cooker. “In that case, I have a little something for you here.”

He handed him a sheet of parchment.

Amazed that he had not been hit yet, Severus took the parchment and opened it. It was a fine. The parchment told him that he was to pay twenty Galleons to the Ministry of Magic for Apparating without a licence, or else spend two days in Azkaban.

He looked up at his father, and saw an evil grin on his face.

“And where are you going to get twenty Galleons from? I’m certainly not paying that fine for you, if that’s what you thought. After all, you’re an adult now. Have a nice time in Azkaban!”

And with that, he closed the door.

“Good,” Severus thought as he stood on the front steps with the fine in his hand, “I can pay my own fine.”

And without looking back, he flung out his wand arm, and stepped onto the Knight Bus.

“Diagon Alley,” he said firmly.



I would really love some feedback. http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=33894



Last edited by Norbertha; December 6th, 2004 at 9:20 am.
  #15  
Old September 24th, 2004, 8:01 am
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Chapter six: Potion making in Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley was dark and quiet when he got there, and almost all the shops were closed. After all, it was nearly seven o’clock on Christmas Day. Christmas decorations had been put up in every window and strings of holly had been strung from roof to roof. As he had used all the money that he’d had in his pockets for the bus, Severus needed to find some kind of job before nightfall. He still had a week left of his holidays, surely there must be someone here in need for some extra help over the holidays that he could earn twenty Galleons from.

He wandered slowly through the deserted street. In the very far end of it, he saw a light in an upstairs window. The window was above a small apothecary shop, and a sign on the door read: “Closed. In emergency, please ring the doorbell.” Well, Severus thought, this was maybe not the kind of emergency that they were probably thinking of, but he decided to try the doorbell anyway.

The door was opened by a middle aged witch.

“Good evening, my dear,” she said. “Please come in. What can I do for you?”

Severus stepped into the shop, which was now lit by an oil lamp above the counter.

“I was actually wondering…” he began, but before he could finish his sentence, the witch had seen his face under the light, and her expression instantly changed into a look of horror.

“Oh, deary me, what has happened to you?” she exclaimed.

Deciding that it was probably best not to lie if he was going to ask for a job here, Severus answered truthfully: “Er, my father beat me up.”

“Oh dear. Wait, I’ll find you something that’ll help.”

She went behind the couter, where she rummaged through a chest of drawers. After about thirty seconds, she emerged with a handful of cotton and a bottle of some yellow liquid. She wet the cotton it it, and then dabbed ot gently on his face. It felt cool and soothing.

“You’ve been bleeding,” she observed. “Is your nose broken?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Let me feel it.” She touched his nose gently. “No, I think you’ve been lucky, it’s not broken. But.. Have you got anywhere to stay for the night? I suppose you’ll not be too keen to go home.”

“Eh, I was actually wondering if you would need someone to help you in the shop over the holidays? I could stay in the Leaky Cauldron.”

“Oh. Well, yes, I suppose we could do with some help. If you come upstairs, I can ask my husband about it. But I’m sure it’ll be alright.”

She opened a door to the right, and Severus followed her up a creaky, candle-lit staircase, and into the warm and cosy flat upstairs.

“Who was it, Isabel?” a voice came from an armchair by the fire.

“It was a young man looking for a job, Magnus. I’m sorry, I think I have forgotten to ask you your name.”

“Severus Snape, madam.”

“Well, Severus. This is my husband, Magnus Hartley, and I am Isabel.”

“So you are looking for a job?” the man said.

“Just for the holidays,” Severus hurried to assure him. Isabel went over to her husband and whispered something to him.

“And on Christmas Day,” Severus heard him saying, and he saw him looking at him quickly, wide eyed. The wife nodded and whispered something more. Then the man came over to him.

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen, sir.”

“And have you learned how to brew potions at school?”

“Yes, sir. I got an ‘O’ for my Potions OWL last summer.”

“Very well, very well. I could do with some extra help.” The apothecary smiled at him, and little sunrays appeared around the corners of his eyes. “I’m working on a rather tricky task, you see, and perhaps you could help me solve it. But not now. It’s late. How about you have some supper with us, and then I’ll explain the task to you in the morning.”

The supper turned out to be one of the best Severus had ever had. Mrs. Hartley had made bread and butter pudding, which she served with cream, and to drink there was hot chocolate, also with cream. The whole atmosphere in the house was warm and welcoming, as if not just the occupants, but the whole flat was embracing him.

Severus could hardly speak. He had to swallow his bread and butter pudding again and again. It had been so long since anybody had been so nice to him. At home there was always some sort of trouble, and school was no better either. But this couple was so overwhelmingly kind. It was as if the intuitively understood. They didn’t need to ask him any questions at all, they already knew. And without speaking it out loud, they told him “It’s alright.”

*

On Boxing Day Severus woke up at nine to the smell of eggs and bacon. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley had given him a spare bedroom to stay in. It was painted yellow and seemed to be filled with sunshine even though the sun was still behind the neighbouring houses. Although Severus’ favourite colour was definitely not yellow – it was black – he actually liked this room. It somehow made him feel calm and happy.

He curled up under his warm blanket, lazily wondering what his parents were doing now. Hopefully they would have settled again – his father’s anger generally came in blasts, followed by a calm period.

Then he suddenly remembered that he had nothing to wear, apart from his dress robes from the day before. Perhaps he could try to conjure something? He stretched for his wand, which was lying on top of the bedside cabinet. At least he’d need some clean underpants, he thought, so he decided to try to conjure that first.

They had only just started to work on conjuring spells with Professor McGonagall, but Severus knew the trick was to concentrate hard enough on the thing you were trying to conjure, while at the same time saying the incantation and doing the correct wand movement.

He closed his eyes, and tried to visualise very clearly a pair of clean underpants, as he said the spell.

There was a soft pop. Severus opened his eyes. Before him on the floor was a pair of underpants. Grey ones. In fact, they were an exact copy of the pair that he’d had on that day – that day – the ones that had been exposed for the whole school to see, and worse. The sight of them made him so angry that he promptly Vanished them again. He’d just have to try again and concentrate on some different looking pants, that was all, he told himself.

He raised his wand again and said the spell. This time the pants that appeared were red with yellow umbrellas. No, no, no, Severus thought, then vanished them and tried again.

On the third attempt, the pants that appeared were quite reasonable looking: green with no pattern. Relieved, Severus picked them up from the floor and put them on instead of his old ones.

He was just starting to wonder what to do next, when there was a soft knock on the door. He quickly wrapped himself in his blanket, before he said “Come in,” and Isabel Hartley’s face appeared in the door.

“Good morning! Have you had a good night?”

“Yes, thank you,” Severus said, half embarrassed by being seen wearing nothing but a blanket.

“Look, I’ve got some clothes for you here that I wondered if you could wear. There are some robes and some Muggle style clothes that you’ll need for your task today. Magnus’ll explain more over breakfast. Just come through when you’re ready.”

She winked at him before she put at stack of clothes down on his bed and left again. Severus looked through the clothes. There was everything he needed, and some things that he wouldn’t have thought he needed if Mrs. Hartley hadn’t said. Among these last items were a winter coat saying “Adidas” in large, reflective letters across the back and a blue, knitted hat with matching gloves.

“It looks like I’ll be going on an outdoor mission into the Muggle world today,” Severus thought to himself, and he soon discovered he was right.



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 6:01 pm.
  #16  
Old October 1st, 2004, 8:33 am
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As the three of them were eating a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast, Mr. Hartley explained to Severus what sort of job he had in mind for him.

“You see,” he said, through a mouthful of food, “I normally close the shop for the holidays. But there is still plenty to do, because when the shop is closed, I do research! Just now, I’m researching a particularly tricky potion. It’s a potion meant for Lycanthrophy patiens.”

“Werewolves?” Severus said.

“Werewolves, yes. They’ve been researching it for years up at St. Mungo’s, but never found a cure. But I’ve got this idea, see, and if I could only get it to work, it would be fantastic. I had a lady here again only the other week, she’s been coming by for years. Her son’s a werewolf, poor boy, and she doesn’t know what to do for him. I have given her every potion that I know of that could possibly ease his pain, but nothing seems to work. But this time, I’m sure I’ll find the solution!”

“That’s what you always say,” his wife smiled at him.

“Yes, but this time it’s different,” Mr. Hartley persisted. “I’ve got a brilliant idea, even if I do say so myself. If I could just trigger the right reaction in the potion… And I’m pretty certain this can be done by inserting two metal rods into it, charged with electricity.”

“What is electricity?” Severus asked, trying not to sound stupid.

“Electricity is a force trapped in a box. Muggles use it for all kinds of things. These boxes are called ‘batteries’, and this is what I’ll ask you to do, Severus: Go to this shop in Muggle London and buy me a battery.”

He wrote the address down on a piece of parchment and handed it to Severus.

Severus had mixed feelings about this mission. On the one hand, he wasn’t too keen on Muggles at all. They all found him strange, and he found them even stranger. But on the other hand, this was a kind of quest, almost, and Mr. Hartley had trusted him to carry it out. It was this trust that Severus liked more than anything. Mr. Hartley had spoken to him like an adult and given him some real work to do for his money, not just some silly, made-up task. So it was with a certain pride that he stepped out onto the icy pavements of Muggle London.

The Muggle street running parallel to Diagon Alley was, to Severus, a confusing and rather surrealistic mix of cars, pedestrians, buses, prams, tacky Christmas baubles and Santas, neon lights and posters advertising incomprehensible products. He walked a few paces along the pavement, not sure which direction he was going in.

A shop to the right was called “Boots”, he saw, but he was rather puzzled to see that the shop did not sell boots or any kind of shoes at all. On the contrary, it sold shampoo and other kinds of bathroom products. An exhibition in the window showed a poster of an attractive, young woman with long, blonde hair, and the caption read: “Try Vella shampoo for greasy hair today. Guaranteed improvement in less than one week.” In front of the poster were three plastic bottles, which also read “Vella – shampoo for greasy hair.”

“Who on earth would deliberately make their hair more greasy?” Severus thought, disgusted. He turned away from the window, and nearly bumped into a young man wearing very high boots and trousers that were too wide for him at the bottom, who looked as if he used this shampoo regularly, or else had combed his hair with axle grease.

“Hey, watch out, man!” he said.

Severus looked at him, perplexed. The boy was just about to walk away when Severus came to his senses.

“Wait!” he said, and took the piece of parchment out of his pocket. “Could you please tell me where I could find this address?”

“Gerald’s Garage,” the boy read. “You’ll need to take the underground for that. Just take the blue line to the second last stop. Then, as you get out of the station, take the first street on the left, and you’ll see it. It’s a good garage. I’ve had my Vespa fixed there before. They’ve got all sorts of equipment too, really cheap, they’ll get anything for you there, anything, just ask. Hey… What’s that you’ve written the address on? Papyrus?”

“No, just normal parch… uh, paper.”

Severus’ heart was suddenly pumping rather fast.

“That’s not normal paper, mate. It’s all yellow and funny. Oh, is it that unbleached, environmentally friendly type?”

“Yes, that’s it,” Severus hurried to say.

“Aha. Good for you, mate. I don’t support them capitalist, mass-consumptionist pigs, either. Where did you get that paper from?”

“Er, just down the street there.”

“Right. I’ll maybe buy some of that. Well, good luck with your car!”

“Thanks!” Severus said, as the boy left.

Severus needed twenty seconds or so to calm down and get his pulse back to normal after this bizarre conversation and his near breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. Then he started to look around for an underground station. He had been on it once before with his mother, four or five years ago, on the way to visit his granny at St. Mungo’s. His granny had died a few weeks later.

Almost immediately, Severus spotted a sign further down the street saying “underground”. He headed directly for it. Inside the station, there were stairs going down, deep into the ground. The stairs were moving slowly downwards. Severus remembered that he’d been rather surprised to see this magic-like trick performed by Muggles the first time he’d seen it. He also remembered that on the same occasion, he had been yelled at for standing on the left hand side of the stairs, so this time he made sure to take a place on the right, behind an old lady with a poodle.

The stairs descended deeply into the ground, and Severus was reminded of the Hogwarts dungeons. Soon, too soon, he would be back in those dungeons. What new humiliations would the spring term have in store for him? Plenty, surely. But this time, he had his plan. Although it was working rather slowly at the moment, he felt certain that sooner or later he would succeed in getting James Potter and Sirius Black expelled. And with the Disillutionment Charm his plans would hopefully proceed a bit faster, even if that useless child Regulus failed to cough up any information for him.

He had reached the ticket office, where an old man behind the desk was looking extremely bored. “Go on,” Severus told himself, “I can do this. It’s no harder than buying a ticket for the Knight Bus.” Checking that nobody was watching him, he took out the Muggle money that Mr. Hartley had given him. Then he realised he had no idea how much the underground cost. It surely couldn’t be very expensive. He looked down at the notes in his hand. Two of them read “twenty Pound Stirling,” while the third one read “ten Pound Stirling”. Maybe the ticket price would say on a sign somewhere? He didn’t want to hand the ticket man far too much or far too little, that would raise suspicion. Perhaps he could pretend to be foreign? But then again, he didn’t speak any other language particularly well. He knew a bit of Latin, but that wasn’t much use among Muggles.

Just as he was thinking this, he was passed by a rather hefty couple. They went straight up to the ticket desk, where the man said in a broad American accent: “Can we get tickets for the subway here?”

Severus had a sudden idea, and quickly went up and joined the queue. Pretending that he was part of their group, Severus kept close behind the two Americans, and watched them as they bought their tickets.

“Two, please,” the man said. “Do you take Dollars?”

“No, sir. Thirty pence, please.”

The man started rummaging through the pockets of his trousers, clearly with no success. Then he started on the pockets of his trench coat. This seemed to be made of nothing but pockets. On the outside alone, there were four. In the fourth one, the American man found two small coins, one silver coloured, and one copper. But this was obviously not enough to make thirty pence, because the man started to rummage feverently through his inner pockets as well. Severus could see little drops of sweat running down his neck, and he laughed silently to himself: Clearly it wasn’t just wizards that were unfamiliar with British Muggle money. After several minutes, the man finally found a note in one of his inner pockets, which he slammed down on the counter with a broad smile.

“There!”

“Thank you,” the ticket man said without smiling back. He took the note from the counter and counted out a handful of change which he gave to the American man along with his two tickets.

Severus now moved up to the head of the queue. In the broadest American accent he could muster, he said “One, please,” and held out the ten Pound note.

The ticket man sighed.

“Do you not have any change?”

“No, sorry.”

“Alright, then.” He took the note, and now it was Severus’ turn to receive a handful of change, along with a ticket.

“Thank you.”

He turned around to see where the American couple had gone, and spotted them by the ticket barriers, feeding their tickets through a narrow slot. Severus remembered this from the time he’d been on the underground with his mother. He quickly followed the Americans and fed his ticket through the slot.

Inside the gate, he started looking for the blue line. Severus was clever enough to realise that “the blue line” meant a route, and not any kind of painted line. It took him about five minutes to find it, fortunately without having to ask anyone. Well inside the train, he counted the number of stops on the map. There were eleven stops between the station he was at and the second last one. Throughout the journey, he counted each stop carefully, so that when he got off the train, he was a hundred percent certain that this was the right place.

Out on the street again, Severus started looking round for Gerald’s Garage. What was it the boy had said again? The first street on the left? Severus looked left, and saw the street forking out in a kind of y-shape. Which of the two streets was it the boy had meant? He’d maybe better ask again, he thought, so he went up to an old man, who was about to unlock a shining, black and very different looking car.

“Excuse me, sir,” Severus said, “Could you please tell me the way to Gerald’s Garage?”

“Certainly,” the car owner smiled. “It’s about five minutes walk in that direction.” He indicated the left fork.

“Thank you,” Severus said, and was about to leave.

But the car owner continued: “Excellent garage, yes, an excellent garage indeed. As you can see, I am the lucky owner of a T-Ford. They don’t make these beauties any more, of course, and over the years it had become more and more difficult to find spare parts for it. But not after I started taking it to Gerald’s. That man is a genius! He can manage to get any part for any car in the world! He can fix anything, including cars that other garages have given up on! I don’t know how he does it!”

He patted his car on the roof, as if it was a dog. Severus was only mildly interested in this conversation, but he nodded and said “aha” and “you don’t say” at the appropriate places until the man was empty at last, and shut up.

“So it’s this way, then?” Severus said, hoping to be able to get away.

“Yes, about five minutes’ walk, on the left hand side of the road.”

“Thank you sir.”

At last, Severus headed off.

It took him less than five minutes to find the garage. It was surprisingly small. From all the praise he’d heard about it, he had been expecting something huge. But Gerald’s Garage was quite ordinary looking. When he went in through the front door of the shop, a bell sounded “ding ding”, and almost immediately a man in his thirties, wearing a boiler suit, emerged from behind the counter. A cap on his head read “Gerald’s Garage” in red letters, and a name tag on his chest read “Gerald Favel”.

“Hi, I’m Gerald,” the man said, unnecessarily, and shook Severus’ hand. “And what can I do for you? You name it, we do it, is our motto! No problem too big, no damage too severe, no car make too obscure!”

“I was actually just wanting to buy a battery.”

“Right!” Gerald said, without looking even slightly disappointed. “What make is your car?”

“Er, Vespa,” Severus said, remembering the make that the boy had mentioned.

Gerald looked at him. A kind of glittering had appeared in his eyes, and the corners of his mouth twitched for a fraction of a second, before he returned abruptly to his normal manner again.

“No problem. We have a wide selection of batteries here. Are you looking for a powerful, good quality one?”

“Yes.”

Severus was still puzzled about what that look on the man’s face had meant. Surely he hadn’t said anything wrong? The greasy haired boy had definitely mentioned the name Vespa. Gerald now went over to a shelf, and came back with a kind of white box, which was clearly rather heavy, since he was carrying it in both hands.

“And will you be paying in Pounds or Galleons?” he smiled.

It took Severus two or three seconds to realise what this sentence meant.

“Are… are you a wizard?” he spluttered out.

“Yes. But ssssh.” Gerald held a finger up to his lips and winked.

“But… But how… Why…”

“It’s very handy, really. People say this is the best garage in London. And it is! I can get hold of parts for cars that went out of production decades ago – I just Conjure them!”

“But isn’t that illegal?”

“No, not at all. It’s illegal to charm Muggle artefacts. But my car parts aren’t charmed. They are the exact same as their Muggle counterparts. It’s just the method of production that’s different.”

Gerald laughed. Severus, however, was dumbstruck.

“You’re surprised? Not all wizards keep themselves to themselves, you know. There are more wizards than you think that take advantage of their advantage, so to speak. It’s big business, this, you know. I’m not a great mechanic, really. I know the basics, but I’m not brilliant. But with a little magic…”

“But how did you know…”

“… you were a wizard?” Gerald finished the sentence for him. “I can spot a wizard miles away. It’s like when super intelligent people immediately recognise each other, or people who have been ill-treated, or whatever. You always know when someone is like yourself.”

Severus was unnerved. Not only had this man spotted him for a wizard right away, he also knew two of his other traits. Was it a coincidence, or could he read minds? No, surely not, the bruise on his cheek must have given him away. But how could he know that he was a wizard? Severus felt naked and exposed, and very uncomfortable.

Gerald laughed again. “I can see it in your eyes, if you like. And,” he winked, “Vespa is not a car make. It’s a type of scooter. Now, what were you really planning to use that battery for?”


I would really love to hear from you if you have read the story so far. I would also love to hear from old readers again. The feedback page is here: http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=33894



Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 9:41 pm.
  #17  
Old October 7th, 2004, 8:18 am
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Norbertha  Female.gif Norbertha is offline
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Severus returned to Mr. and Mrs. Hartley’s shop with the heavy car battery that afternoon feeling rather sheepish. “Here’s your battery,” he muttered, as he dumped it on the table in Mr. Hartley’s laboratory. The laboratory was situated in an old shed in the back yard, and Mr. Hartley had rigged up a huge cauldron there, which was steaming with purple smoke.

“Good!” Mr. Hartley said through the clouds of vapour. “And how is my friend Gerald? I haven’t seen him for ages!”

“You knew all along that he was a wizard!”

“Of course Gerald is a wizard, did I forget to mention it?”

“But why did you give me Muggle money to pay him with?”

“Oh, he prefers that for his business. He deals mainly with Muggles, you know. So – how is he? Is business booming as usual?”

“I think so.”

“Good, good. Now. This battery. What do you think, should we give it a go after dinner?”

When Severus and Mr. Hartley came back to the shed an hour and a half later, the cauldron seemed to have cooled off a little, since it wasn’t steaming anymore. Instead, the potion inside it was gleaming and glittering with purple sparks. Mr. Hartley bent over it and sniffed it.

“Ah, this is looking promising.”

“Shall I get the battery?” Severus asked.

“Yes, please,” said Mr. Hartley, and Severus went and picked it up from the table, along with two lengths of copper wire and two metal rods that Mr. Hartley had left there.

“Now, if I have understood this right…” Mr. Hartley said to himself, as he started fastening each metal rod to the copper wire.

“And now, if I insert this into the potion before I …”

He carefully inserted the metal rods into the purple potion with two soft splashes. The ends that were connected to the copper wire were sticking up.

“Severus, could you please hold the cauldron steady when I connect the battery? I’m not sure what the reaction will be, and I don’t want the potion to spill. But, by all means, if it hurts, let go.”

Severus nodded and gripped the iron rim of the cauldron.

“Are you ready?”

Mr. Hartley held the two ends of the copper wire over the battery between the thumb and forefinger of his dragon hide gloves. Severus wished he had gloves too.

Bracing himself mentally, he drew a deep breath, as Mr. Hartley counted “One … Two … Three!”

A charge like nothing he had ever felt before went through Severus’ body. There was no way he could hold on to the cauldron; before he could even think, he had jumped several feet backwards, then he fell as the room exploded in purple liquid, steam and golden sparks.

Severus came to his senses again a few seconds later. When he opened his eyes, he saw that the room was splattered in potion from room to floor. There were bits of broken glass everywhere, mainly from the jars that had been stored on shelves along the walls. Several of the shelves had been knocked over in the explosion, and some of them were now reduced to piles of splinters and rubble. The table lay on its side under a broken window. The cauldron alone seemed unaffected. Apart from being empty, it looked as if it hadn’t been touched, sitting upright in the middle of the whole scene of destruction.

Suddenly a thought struck Severus like a bolt of lightening: Where was Mr. Hartley? He got to his feet gingerly. His knees were feeling a bit unreliable, and a strange prickling was going through his skin. On the back of his head a sore bump was developing.

“Mr. Hartley?” he whispered. “Mr. Hartley, are you there?”

Severus started looking through the debris of one of the shelves, which had fallen and smashed on the spot where Severus thought the battery and Mr. Hartley had been. He was feeling more and more nervous. Mr. Hartley wasn’t replying. If he was under there, he must have been knocked out cold. Or worse.

Severus was nearly starting to panic now. He was throwing the bits of smashed wood and glass aside, calling out louder and louder: “Mr Hartley! Mr. Hartley!”

“What’s happened?” Isabel Hartley appeared in the door.

“The potion exploded! And the shelves fell over, and he was buried under them!”

Severus and Mrs. Hartley looked at each other for a second that lasted an eternity, and each could see the fear in the other’s face.

Suddenly Mrs. Hartley drew a sharp breath, as if she was mentally shaking herself to her senses. She pulled her wand out of her skirt pocket and aimed at the pile of rubble. Severus quickly stepped out of the way, before Mrs. Hartley said “Reparo” in a shaking voice. The shelf immediately flew back together, and revealed an unconscious Magnus Hartley.

Isabel ran over to him and bent down over him.

“Magnus!” she cried, “Magnus, wake up!”

“We’ve got to take him to bed,” Severus whispered. For some reason his voice wouldn’t work right. Spells and incantations were flashing through his mind – did he know a spell that could help Mr. Hartley? Vingardium Leviosa, perhaps? No, that would just lift him up, not transport him. But how about Locomotor? Yes, that would maybe work. Although he had only used it on things before, not people. But he vaguely remembered having read something once about it being used on unconscious humans. What would the incantation be, though?

“Locomotor Homo!” he tried desperately. Nothing happened.

Da** it, he thought, it must be the wrong incantation. All he had ever learned about Latin conjugations was racing though his head. Locomotor Homus? Homis?

“Locomotor Man!” he tried, why not, when Locomotor Trunk worked on his school trunk. But “Locomotor Man” clearly didn’t. Sometimes there was just no logic in magic.

“Will he be alright?” Mrs. Hartley sniffed. Severus didn’t know what to say to that. Surely Mr. Hartley would be alright? But how were you supposed to say so to his crying and worried wife without sounding like you didn’t mean it?

But before he could say anything, the solution popped into his head: The Conjuring Spell! He could conjure a stretcher, and then Locomotor it! With all his might, he concentrated on picturing a stretcher, as he said the spell. And with a pop, a perfectly sized and shaped stretcher appeared on the floor before him. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, he thought – he seemed to have mastered the Conjuring Spell now. With a Vingardium Levoisa, he lifted Mr. Hartley onto it. And then, with a Locomotor Stretcher, he carefully carried him to his bedroom, Mrs. Hartley running ahead to open doors.


***********


Mr. Hartley remained in his bed for several days. The family healer came along to mend his broken bones. After that, Mr. Hartley insisted that he was well enough to get back to work. His wife, however, wouldn’t let him get up too soon. (Severus wondered is she was related to Madam Pomfrey). This resulted in Severus being given the responsibility to open the shop again on the third day of Christmas, while Mrs. Hartley kept running back and forth between him in the shop and her husband upstairs.

Severus had never really thought of himself as being particularly good with potions. He remembered Florence saying it was her second favourite subject. Severus liked the subject too, and he had received an ‘O’ for it. But he had received ‘O’s for almost all his OWLs. Now, having been given the task of looking after an apothecary shop, however, he realised how much he liked the subject. And what more: He discovered that he could manage the shop quite easily, and he enjoyed it. Sometimes the customers would ask for potions that could be found ready made on the shelves. But sometimes there would be a customer who would need to have a potion specially made, and it was these tasks that Severus enjoyed the most. Every evening, after the shop was closed, he would go to work in the repaired shed and brew potions that customers had ordered. The Hartleys had a large collection of books containing potion recipes, from the ancient, leather bound “Moste Potente Potions” to the modern paperback “Home Healer for the Whole Family”. And Severus pursued them all, often working till past midnight, brewing potions that would heal infected snake bites, cure verbal diarrhoea, ease growing pain or cure Butterbeer addiction. It almost made him feel like he was back in his chapel, playing his old game again, and he wished he could stay with the Hartleys forever, and never go home or back to school. But he knew the day would be here very soon.

In the evening of the second last day of his holidays, Severus was having supper with Mr. and Mrs. Hartley in their warm, old-fashioned kitchen. Mr. Hartley had finally been allowed up again by his wife, and was now eager to get out to his shed to work on the Lycantrophy potion.

“I think I know what went wrong,” he said eagerly. “I reckon the rods shouldn’t have touched the bottom of the cauldron. And with the Azakia extract … It probably reacted with the copper dust I put in it, and caused the explosion when the electricity was added. It would probably work better if I reduced the amount of Azakia extract … or copper … What do you think, Severus?”

Severus didn’t answer at first. He was sitting with his head in his hands, staring blindly into the air in front of him. Tomorrow would be the day. The day when he would first have to go home, then travel back to Hogwarts.

A film was playing before his eyes. It was the same film again that had kept coming back to him for the last six months. It was the day of his Defence Against the Dark Arts exam. Like the potion, it too had had to do with werewolves. He was sitting by the lake, thinking through is answers. Had he remembered to mention the difference between a werewolf and an Animagus? But then Black and Potter were suddenly there. He was closed in by a circle of people. Curious eyes. Laughing mouths. The laughter was ringing in his ears. They were like seagulls, screeching, laughing, screaming with joy as they pulled their meal to pieces. There was nowhere to escape to. Nowhere to hide. He felt himself being torn apart by the hundreds of birds, beaks, screeching, screaming. He was screaming.

“Severus, are you alright?”

Mr. Hartley leant forward and touched his shoulder.

Severus jumped.

“I… Yes… Yes, I’m alright.”

“Are you … thinking about what it’ll be like when you come home tomorrow?”

“That too.”

“I see.”

Mr. Hartley went quiet for a few seconds. Then, apparently in an attempt to change the subject, he said: “Are you looking forward to going back to school, then?”

Severus looked away. He felt his throat tighten.

“No?” Mrs. Hartley said softly.

“I…” Severus began. But he couldn’t speak. He couldn’t speak about these things. He didn’t want to be seen crying.

“You don’t need to speak about it if you don’t want to,” she said.

“You know, you have been a very good assistant. Both with the shop and with the research,” Mr. Hartley said.

“Yes, the customers are very pleased,” Mrs. Hartley agreed. “Some have been asking if you would be working here permanently. I said we might ask you to come and work for us after next year.”

“Yes, that’s a good idea, my dear,” Mr. Hartley nodded. “Then you could help me invent potions again, maybe we could start developing new potions more professionally!”

“I … I don’t know.”

“You don’t have to decide yet. But I wondered if you could help me with one thing before you go. It was this Lycanthropy potion – Would you rather reduce the amount of Azakia extract or the amount of copper?”

This question finally caught Severus’ attention. He had been thinking of something while he’d been working in the shed, when Mr. Hartley had been ill.

“How about replacing the Azakia with Monkshood?” he said, “You know – Wolfsbane?”


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Last edited by Norbertha; December 6th, 2004 at 9:26 am.
  #18  
Old October 14th, 2004, 7:57 am
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It was snowing heavily when Severus got off the Knight Bus outside his house shortly before noon the next morning. He had already been to the Ministry and paid his fine. And what more – he had been to Gringotts and made a quite significant deposit to his bank account. The Hartleys had decided to pay him quite a bit more than the 20 Galleons that he needed, so now there was actually some gold in his vault, which was unusual. “It might come in handy later, maybe I could stay at the Leaky Cauldron for part of the summer holidays instead of coming back here,” he thought with a savage pleasure. At least, today’s visit to his home was going to be very short, he hoped. He would just get his stuff and go. He had already booked a seat on the Knight Bus to go to Hogwarts later on. With a deep breath, as if he was getting ready to dive into a cold lake, he took the key out of his pocket, unlocked the front door of his house, and went inside.

“Severus! Where have you been all this time! I’ve been worried sick! I thought you were dead! I thought you were never coming back! Your father has been worried too. He’s been out looking for you every day!”

Lucie Snape was looking like she didn’t know whether to smile or cry.

“He has? All I heard was him wishing me a nice time in Azkaban,” Severus said in an ice cold voice.

“Severus, darling. You know he didn’t mean that seriously.”

“So why did he say it, then?”

“He was just angry, he wasn’t thinking.”

“Yes, he was angry because he had just beaten us both up. He should be the one to go to Azkaban, not me!”

“You haven’t been to Azkaban, have you?”

His mother was looking horrified now.

“What if I have?”

“Oh, Severus! Please tell me you haven’t been in Azkaban! I would have paid that fine for you, of course I would, I could still do, if you need it, of course, as long as Brutus doesn’t know …”

“Where is he?”

“Out. Not sure where he was going, he never tells me.”

Upon hearing that his father was out of the house, the ice cubes that had been floating around in Severus’ stomach since the morning, suddenly melted. A wave of affection came over him, and he hugged his mother, wrapped his arms around her, and let her wrap her arms around him.

“It’s alright, mum. I haven’t been in Azkaban. The fine is paid.”

“But how …?”

“I got myself a holiday job in Diagon Alley.”

“Oh, Severus,” his mum said for the second time, and squeezed him tighter. “You’re fairly growing up, aren’t you?”

She looked at him affectionately.

“What kind of job was it?”

“In an apothecary shop.”

Instead of looking delighted, Severus saw that his mother was frowning slightly.

“Not with Mr. and Mrs. Hartley?”

“So what if it was with them?”

Severus was feeling confused and annoyed now. The warm feeling inside him was quickly cooling again. He let go if his mother, and took a step back.

“It’s just that …” Lucie was looking uncertain. “Don’t tell your dad it was with them, alright?”

“And why shouldn’t I?”

“I’m not sure if he would like it.”

“Why not?” Severus said, but he thought he knew the answer already. The Hartleys were too friendly with Muggles and people that his father would call “as good as Muggles” – Gerald Favel, for example.

“I can take a job wherever I want! It’s none of his business!”

“Of course you can, I just thought it would be better if you didn’t …”

“He can say what he likes, I don’t care!”

“But Severus, please, you know what he’s like when he’s …”

“Look, mum. I’ll just go upstairs, grab my stuff and go, alright?”

He turned around quickly and swept up the stairs without waiting for an answer.

Severus had nearly finished packing his trunk when he heard the front door being opened downstairs. Both his parents’ voices were now coming from the hall, and he guessed his mother was telling his father that he was there. He put the last two books on top of the pile in his trunk and closed it, before he went out to face the inevitable.

Standing on the topmost stair with his trunk beside him, Severus looked down at his father. Brutus Snape was staring back up at his son with a stony expression on his face. His wife was looking nervously from the one to the other.

“Son.”

“Father.”

There was a tense pause of several seconds. Severus’ father continued to look at him, and Severus didn’t want to be the first one to avert his eyes.

“You are home.”

“Obviously.”

There was silence again. Lucie Snape was twisting her hands nervously.

When his father didn’t say anything else, Severus lifted up his trunk and walked very slowly and deliberately downstairs, still carefully retaining his father’s gaze with his own. He reached the door and opened it slowly. Without looking back, he crossed the threshold.

“Goodbye, darling,” he heard his mother whisper.

He slowly turned around to look at her, and gave a single nod in return.




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Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 9:44 pm.
  #19  
Old October 22nd, 2004, 9:15 am
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Chapter seven


The time was coming up to half past five when Severus entered through the winged boar gates of the Hogwarts grounds. It was pitch dark, and the trees were rustling. A thin layer of snow was covering the ground.

Severus could hear his stomach rumbling. There was a pain in his shoulders, too. The pain intensified as the school came closer.

When he was younger, Severus had often suffered from a stomach ache. He remembered being sent to see Madam Pomfrey about it in his second year, but the matron had been unable to find the cause. The last two or three years, however, his stomach pain had pretty much ceased. Instead he had developed this pain in his shoulders, and he did not know what caused it. Madam Pomfrey had had his eyesight checked, and it certainly wasn’t that.

He was nearly there now. His hands were balled up to tight fists inside the sleeves of his robes, although Severus did not notice. The pain that had started in his shoulders, had now spread to his neck, and was sending rays and stings down his back.

As quietly and shadow-like as he could manage, he slipped through the front doors. Inside, he looked around the Entrance Hall to see who was there. Luckily, the only person present was a Hufflepuff girl, who was hurrying across the hall in the opposite direction and was taking no notice of him. Severus hurried down to his dormitory, where he dropped off his trunk. His stomach was rumbling loudly now. Thankfully, dinner was due to start soon.

A few minutes later, Severus entered the Great Hall. There were quite a few students there, and more were arriving. He was reminded of the first day back after the summer holidays. This thought was promptly accompanied by a sharp stab of pain between his shoulder blades. He glanced quickly up at the staff table and saw both Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall there. Which meant that he was safe for now. Still, as he was walking past the other house tables towards the Slytherin table, he felt like an antenna, finely tuned in to pick up any whisper of “Snivellus”.

*

Little Regulus Black was watching Severus Snape eat his dinner from the opposite end of the Slytherin table. He noticed how the older boy was not speaking with anyone. Instead he was looking over at a girl with long, brown hair, who was sitting with her back to him at the Ravenclaw table. She seemed to be around Severus’ age. Regulus didn’t know who she was. He was glad, though, that Severus seemed to have something else on his mind, other than trying to interrogate him about his brother. He knew he would soon be asked to come forward with more information. But he was not sure how much he wanted to tell him. He had found out a good deal over the holidays, but did Severus deserve his service?

*

“What’s in it for me?”

It was dark in the dungeon below the Slytherin common room, but a strip of light from a nearby stairway fell across the little boy’s face and revealed a cheeky expression. Severus glared at him.

“What’s in it for you?” he repeated in a silky tone. “Let’s see. Either you disclose your information, and enjoy my gratitude,” he made a short pause for effect, “or you choose to remain silent and suffer my displeasure.”

Severus could see that Regulus’ jaw was tight now. The little boy was staring at him like some small animal trying to look intimidating in a hopeless attempt to scare off an approaching predator. Severus laughed a cold laugh.

“Well?”

“The thirteenth,” Regulus finally said. “They are going out on the thirteenth.”

“That’s better. And where is it they’re going on the thirteenth?”

“Don’t know. The Shrieking Shack, I think.”

“Just as I thought.”

The days coming up to the thirteenth January were moving so slowly that Severus wondered whether somebody had put an Impediment Jinx on the calendar. He had it all planned out: When the thirteenth finally came, as soon as their lectures were over, he would sneak out to the Shrieking Shack, find a hiding place with a good view, and wait there till they arrived. Patrick Parkinson had been so kind as to lend him his camera – he was hoping to get some photo evidence, just in case he couldn’t get Potter and his gang caught by a teacher red handed. He had also found a useful spell in a library book: The Teleaudium Charm, which would extend his hearing range by up to three times his normal hearing, depending on the acoustic conditions. He had mastered the Disillutionment Charm perfectly, there was no way they would spot him unless they were very close up. This was it. In a few more days now, just a few more days, that arrogant big-head Potter would be expelled, along with his conceited friend Black the pretty-boy.

The morning of the thirteenth of January finally arrived clear and frosty. The post owls arrived half way through breakfast, as usual. An Eagle Owl just missed Severus’ bowl of porridge, and landed instead on his tea mug, which fell over and spilled black tea everywhere, which caused the owl to take off again and land on the back of his chair instead. Severus recognised the owl as Lucius Malfoy’s. He was somewhat surprised to see it. What was Lucius writing to him at this time for? The next Hogsmeade weekend was ages away still, and Lucius, like himself, was normally not a fan of general chit-chat. So it must be something important.

Severus ripped the envelope open. The note inside it read: “Meet me by the oak tree on the edge of the Forbidden Forest at seven o’clock tonight. Lucius.” Da*n it, Severus thought. This might well spoil the plan. Would he still be able to catch Black and Potter after whatever it was that Lucius had in mind? How early would he need to be by the Shrieking Shack? It had been quite late last time, on his birthday, when he had thought he’d heard them in the Entrance Hall. So he might be able to catch them still, even after having met up with Lucius. Knowing that he had no real choice, Severus scratched “OK” on the back of Lucius’ letter in his spiky handwriting, before he sent the note back with the Eagle owl.

Severus was watching the Gryffindor table closely over dinner that night. He saw Potter, Black, Lupin and Pettigrew huddeled together near the bottom end of it. They were laughing and whispering excitedly together. Every now and then one of them, usually Pettigrew, would cast a glance up towards the staff table, as if to check that no-one was overhearing them. Lupin was the only one amongst them that was a bit more serious looking. He was laughing with the others, but his laughter seemed somewhat half hearted. Maybe he was getting cold feet, Severus thought. Lupin was a prefect, after all. Probably he was torn between his duty to put a stopper to his friends’ rule breaking and wanting to take part in it.

When they left the table, Severus followed them at a safe distance. He saw Potter glance up at the enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall, and then look at his watch. He must have got some sort of information from this, because he then said something to Black, upon which Lupin said “ssh!”. After a nod from Potter, they all disappeared up the marble staircase. So they were going up to Gryffindor Tower, Severus thought, relieved. This would mean that he had some time yet. He quickly slipped out the front doors and ran through the dark grounds towards the Forbidden Forest to meet up with Lucius.

Lucius Malfoy was waiting for him under the big, old oak tree, as he had said. He was holding an envelope in his hand. He greeted Severus with a nod.

“I hear you made good use of your Christmas holidays?” he said with a sly smile. Severus wasn’t sure what he meant.

“We are pleased with you.”

We?

“And we will be even more pleased once you tell us what you know.”

Severus was now completely lost. What on earth was Lucius speaking about? And who were “we”?

“So,” Lucius continued, “I suppose you have seen this?”

He took a newspaper cutting out of his envelope. It showed a picture in Gerald Favel, the garage owner, and the caption read “missing”. Severus went on to read the short article that followed.

“Gerald Favel, 34, owner of Gerald’s Garage in London, was reported missing from his home on Wednesday night this week. When ministry officials arrived at Mr. Favel’s house at six o’clock on Wednesday evening, they found the house empty, with traces of a possible fight. Mr. Favel’s garage was likewise searched, but no clues to his whereabouts were found. Anyone with information regarding Mr. Favel’s whereabouts for the last week are urged to speak to the Ministry of Magic.”

Severus looked from the newspaper cutting to Lucius, trying his best not to show how shocked he was.

“Tut, tut, tut,” Lucius laughed, “what clumsy clots. Leaving traces in the blood traitor’s house like that. Could have done a much better job myself. Anyway – I might get my chance soon. So – I hear you spent your holidays with a certain pair of … what shall I say … Muggle lovers?”

Severus merely looked at his friend through narrowed eyes. He suspected that this conversation was moving in a dangerous direction, so it was better to remain silent until he knew more about where this was going.

“Very good, very good,” Lucius continued. “Clever – making yourself useful over the holidays. I always knew we could trust you, Severus.”

Lucius gave Severus a true smile – something which he very rarely did. This made Severus feel that he ought to say something.

“I know who Gerald Favel is,” he said.


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Last edited by Norbertha; November 19th, 2004 at 9:48 pm.
  #20  
Old October 28th, 2004, 8:32 am
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The moon was fully risen by the time Lucius left. It shone round and white above the hill at the back of the village, and Severus saw the squint outline of the Shrieking Shack silhouetted against the dark sky. He could hear a faint howling through the darkness. The wind was picking up, and the trees were rustling, their bare, black twigs shuddering. On the ground was a thin layer of ice that made a crunching noise when he stood on it.

Severus took his wand out. Holding it carefully up to his left ear, he whispered “Teleaudio”. He did the same thing with his right ear too. The difference was instant and amazing. It was as if balls of cotton had been removed from his ears, or as if the volume had suddenly been turned up after having been set on minimum for a long time. The howling was distinct and clear now. Had it come closer, or did it just seem so due to his improved hearing? The sound seemed to be coming from the direction of the village. With the swift stealth of a bat, Severus glided in between the dark trees of the Forbidden Forest, and set his course for the village.

He could hear his own footsteps crunching loudly, trees were whispering and hushing, and owl was hooting, he could hear every rat, every weasel, every little creepy-crawly rustling and rummaging as he hurried through the forest. He was keeping to the edge of it, just out of sight from the path that led up to the castle. The trees were like black pillars holding up the moonlit ceiling of an ancient temple.

At the edge of the forest, just where the forest started to turn into village, Severus stopped behind a tree. He’d better out the Disillutionment Charm on himself, he thought, before he risked entering the village. He got his wand out again, and tapped himself on the top of his head with it, while he whispered “Disillutio!”. A chilly sensation spread down his body, and when he looked down on himself, he saw that both his skin and his clothes now had the exact colour and texture of the tree he was hiding behind. He was ready.

Very carefully, he peeped around the thick, black tree trunk, and received a shock. No more than thirty feet away from him, a pair of yellow eyes were gleaming in the moonlight. The eyes belonged to a gigantic, black dog. It was hard to see the outline of its ragged fur in the dark, and it would have been difficult to spot, had it not been for its eyes vividly reflecting the moon. It was standing completely still, sniffing the air. Slowly, its head turned. Its yellow eyes were now looking directly at Severus. Severus’ heart was beating fast. Had he been seen? He pressed his back against the tree trunk. He could hear the dog’s breath wheezing and sniffing. He didn’t know why, but there was something about this dog that frightened him, almost as if the dog knew that he was not supposed to be there. He heard the dog’s crunching footsteps coming nearer, its breathing was close and silent now, it could only be feet away, just on the other side of the tree. Severus hoped that the dog couldn’t hear his heart hammering. He held his breath.

Like an enormous, black shadow, the dog crept around the tree trunk. Severus could see its long, white teeth. Its eyes were shining on him like two bright torches. “Please,” Severus prayed, “please, don’t let it see me …”. He was almost invisible, but he would still, of course, smell of human. The dog was just inches away from him now. Severus didn’t know why he was so scared. Scared of a dog. Slowly it stretched its nose out and sniffed again. This was it. It was bound to have smelled him. Should he reach for his wand?

But before he had made up his mind, a funny, high-pitched bark broke the air, and along with it came the sound of hooves against the hard surface of the street behind him. The dog suddenly turned, its attention fixed on the new sound. It stood still for a fraction of a second, before it bounced away towards it.

Severus allowed himself to breathe again. “That was close,” he thought, before reason caught up with him: Close to what? Still leaning against the tree, he peered out onto the quiet street again. Next to the black dog stood the most beautiful stag he had ever seen. Its profile was straight backed and proud, its antlers were like a crown, dimly reflecting the moonshine. The stag flickered its head, almost as if it were nodding, and set off towards the hills in a gracious gallop. The ragged dog took one last look in Severus’ direction, before it followed.

It was nearly half past four in the morning when Severus finally sneaked in through the front doors of the castle. He had spent six cold hours looking around for Potter and his gang, mainly waiting outside the Shrieking Shack, well hidden. But there had been no sign of either of them, nor had he seen that dog again. He was shivering, and his muscles were aching after sitting still for so long.

He kept along the walls of the Entrance Hall – he was still Disillutioned, so as long as he made sure that he had a backdrop, he was pretty much invisible. He would hate to bump into a teacher now. Or worse, Filch. The only trouble was to get across the gap of open space where that corridor – the one with the broom cupboard – let out from the hall. He would have to cross it, or else walk along to the very end of it.

Severus squinted around in the dark. There was nobody around, as far as he could see. He decided to risk crossing the corridor. With a soft swish of his robes, he ran across, and reached the opposite wall, where the entrance to the stairway that led down to the dungeons was.

He had just reached the other side when a bright light suddenly shone on his face. The light was dazzling him, he couldn’t see where it was coming from. It took him a second or two to realise that the light was actually coming from a wand tip – Minerva McGonagall’s wand tip.

“Illutio!” she said. A hot sensation spread across Severus’ body, and with a thrill of horror he realised that he had become visible again.

“I suppose you have a good reason for being up at this time of night, Mr. Snape?”

“No, professor,” he muttered.

Professor McGonagall was looking sad.

“I am disappointed with you, Severus. I didn’t think you were the kind of student that would sneak around at night like this.”

Severus could see Professor McGonagall clearly now. She was wearing a dressing gown and a hair net, and she didn’t seem remotely embarrassed by it.

“I am afraid I will have to give you a detention for this. Tomorrow night, eight o’clock, in my office. Oh yes, and ten points from Slytherin. Now, go to bed and get some sleep, so that you stand a chance during the lectured tomorrow. I’ll be testing all my sixth years this week, so you’d better not miss anything.”

And with that, she strode off, and left a rather subdued Severus to slouch back to his dormitory.

*

“I tell you, it was him!”

Sirius’ eyes were almost sparkling with rage as he whispered furiously to his three best friends through gritted teeth. The three others were looking back at him through the grey twilight of the secret tunnel. They were all in human form now, and all were looking either furious or worried.

“How do you know it was him?” James asked.

“I can recognise that smell any time.”

“The smell of grease and dirty underpants.” s******ed Peter.

“This isn’t funny, Peter!” Remus said in an uncharacteristically tense voice. “We could have been caught, we could have been … I could have …”

He swallowed.

“This will not go unheeded,” James said in a stern voice.

“No,” agreed Sirius, his eyes narrowed. “I will see to that. That greasy little git will regret that he ever tried to spy on us!”




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