With thanks to Carrie for holding my hand and laughing in the right
places, and to Jo, Sherry, Liz and Kathy for all the encouragement. It wouldn’t
have been written without you!
Wake Up and Smell The Coffee
staffroom outtake to follow ‘Nil Desperandum’ Chapter 6.
The door to the Hogwarts staff room flew
open and a furious figure with hair of pink feathers strode in. The door
slammed behind him and the entire room went silent, watching as he snatched a
cup from the table and filled it with steaming black coffee. He took a long sip
and then turned, glowering at the rest of the room, daring them to comment on
his unusual appearance.
“Canary Cream, Severus?” Minerva McGonagall
extended a silvery tray heaped with biscuits in his direction. Her lips twitched
when she saw the livid expression on his face.
“Ha! Ha!” he retorted bitterly, and took
another drink from his cup.
“Oh, don’t be such an old grouch,” a
silvery-bearded Persephone Sprout chuckled from the chair nearest the window.
“You’ve had worse things than this happen to you. Remember the time when Fred
and George Weasley enchanted that cauldron to vomit all over you every time you
went near it? It took you a full fortnight to work out how to get rid of that
Snape grunted and sank into an ancient
leather armchair by the fire. A couple of tiny pink feathers broke loose and
drifted slowly downwards.
“How long before this wears off?” he
grumbled. “This morning’s lessons have been a complete waste of time. The
Hufflepuff O.W.L. class thought it was hilarious.”
“I can’t imagine it’ll be much longer;
Potter’s only a first year,” Minerva said bracingly. She chuckled suddenly,
“Although I could quite get used to this new look. The leathers alone would
cause quite a stir at the next Wizengamot gathering.”
Before anyone had a chance to respond, the
door swung open again, and a whistled rendition of ‘Diamonds are a girl’s
best friend’ wafted through the air. Remus Lupin crossed the threshold and
struck a pose, his golden lamé evening gown swishing seductively around his
ankles. He grinned at the rest of the staff.
“The heels are killing me,” he confessed,
hobbling slightly over to the table to get his own coffee. “I can’t believe
witches actually voluntarily wear these things. Still,” he glanced down at his
chest, “it could have been worse; at least she didn’t think to give me
Minerva McGonagall choked on her tea and
sent it spraying everywhere.
“Oh, it’s all very well for you to laugh,”
Snape turned on her. “You didn’t get lumbered with this progeny of Potter’s in
your house. I swear she’s been in detention every night since she got here.”
“I think it’s only fair that you get your
turn,” Minerva smiled sweetly back at her colleague. “Not only did I suffer the
joys of Fred and George Weasley, but I also had her grandfather and Sirius
Black to contend with when they were here. And that’s not to mention her
parents’ propensity for getting themselves into dangerous situations. I think I
deserve some time off after all that.”
“Hope Potter seems to have her entire
family’s trouble making instincts concentrated in one small person,” Severus
grumbled. “At least you had a milder form spread across a few decades.”
Remus raised his eyebrows. “She’s not a bad
kid,” he commented. “To be honest, I’ve never seen her behaving like this at
“Oh yes, at home,” Severus snorted
derisively. “Spoiled rotten, I’m sure. The joys of having teenage parents.”
“Not really. She’s been very sheltered from
the outside world, but given what Harry and Ginny have been through, I can’t
say I blame them for that.” Remus collapsed into a chair and gave a great sigh
of relief. He leaned forwards and began rubbing his ankles to get the
circulation flowing again. “If I had to put money on why Hope’s behaving like
this, I’d say it’s because she’s unhappy.”
“Being placed in Slytherin must have been a
shock for the poor girl,” Professor McGonagall murmured, arching an eyebrow at
the others behind Snape’s back.
“More like a shock for Slytherin,” Snape
groaned. “I’m going to be grey or bald before I’m done with her! She’s only
finished her first week and I’m tearing my hair out already.”
“Don’t get your feathers ruffled,”
Professor Sprout chuckled.
Snape shot her a withering glare. “Potter’s
got another six years to go at this school, presuming I resist the urge to
murder her outright this year.”
“Perhaps you should talk to her, Severus?”
Minerva’s voice quavered on the brink of laughter. “Try and be a sympathetic
head of house and get her to tell you what’s bothering her.”
“Sympathetic?” Snape practically howled in
outrage. “Sympathetic? The bloody child’s a menace. In a week she’s
managed to break about fifty school rules and turn the staff into extras from a
pantomime in the process. You’re a hell-raising hooligan, Lupin’s next port of
call is the Miss Witch beauty pageant, Persephone looks like she’s auditioning
for a part as one of the seven dwarfs and I’ve been turned into a
cross-dressing flamingo. You want me to be sympathetic?”
The assembled teachers burst out laughing,
their hysteria worsening as Hagrid passed beneath their window on his way back
down to his cabin, singing softly to himself.
“Don’t worry. About a thing.
little thing gonna be all right”
“It’s clever, you’ve got to give her that!”
Minerva McGonagall chuckled, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Not many first
years would be able to pull this off.”
“There’s talent there, all right,” Snape
said gloomily, “but you try and make her use it in class. I was expecting
trouble when I found out she was sharing a dormitory with Rachel McNair, but
nothing as bad as this. Even detentions aren’t a deterrent. She’s very obliging
and quiet during them, and then she goes out and does something worse. It’s as
if she doesn’t care.”
“Maybe she doesn’t,” Remus said quietly.
All heads turned to stare at him, suddenly serious now. “Hope asked Minerva
about a re-sorting, and I’m sure she’d have been expecting to be in Gryffindor.
If you ask me, she’s decided that she’d rather not be here at all than to be
stuck in Slytherin.”
“Marvellous. Simply marvellous!” The
sarcasm dripped off Snape’s tongue. “She wants to be expelled. As if having the
fiend from hell in my house wasn’t enough, she’s only going to get worse.
What’s she going to do next? Turn all the house elves into can-can dancers?”
“She could always use a good switching
spell and change the common rooms around,” Persephone Sprout suggested
cheerfully, and twirled her lengthy beard with her fingers. “That way she could
be in Gryffindor without any of the hassles. If the mountain won’t go to
“Then Mohammed will be put in detention
until there’s an anti-switching spell on the Slytherin common room,” Snape said
“Spoil sport,” Remus Lupin was heard to
mutter under his breath.
A rumble of thunder seemed to be coming
nearer, and as the staff room door opened again, a very bedraggled Sybill
Trelawney squelched in with the rain cloud still hanging heavily above her
head. She poured herself a cup of tea and perched on one of the upright chairs
at the table, letting the drizzle puddle around her feet.
“Any signs of things brightening up?” Remus
“I’m afraid not, dear boy,” the Divination
teacher said with a heavy sigh. “It looks as if this inclement weather may be
continuing for some time.”
At these words the cloud’s greyness seemed
to evaporate, and it shrank back quickly into full fluffy whiteness. There was
a distant sound of bird song and the glow of soft sunshine radiated down on the
dripping form of Sybill Trelawney. She looked a little startled, but proceeded
to drink her tea.
When she’d finished, she turned her cup
upside down and rotated it several times upon the saucer. Snape gave an audible
“You’re not in your classroom now, Sybill.”
She took no notice, but peered at the
clumps of tea leaves within her white porcelain cup. Her eyes widened,
magnified to the size of dinner plates by her huge spectacles, she gasped aloud
in horror and her hand fluttered dramatically up to her throat.
“So how’s the Quidditch season coming
along?” Remus interjected. “Got your team sorted out yet, Minerva? Severus how
“A terrible fate is about to befall someone
in this room,” Sybill said in a hushed whisper.
“Oh dear!” Professor McGonagall said,
sounding quite delighted by the concept.
“The fates are nothing to be trifled with,”
Professor Trelawney’s awed voice now showed traces of irritation. “You should
not be so disbelieving.” Professor Trelawney revolved the tea cup again in her
hands, peering intently at it and went back to her mistiest of voices.
“Severus, my dear, you must beware a form of darkness that has never before
been seen. It forms a shroud around you, luring you to your doom.
“There’s a surprise,” Snape drawled.
Sybill Trelawney looked up at him sharply.
“This is something to be feared. A terrible event looms in your future?”
“Hope Potter?” Remus suggested to muffled
laughter from the other staff.
“The things you fear will worsen in time…”
“Worse?” Snape spluttered. “How can it get
“Think about her family background,”
Professor McGonagall said, and her lips pursed themselves together. “Her mother
was pregnant during her sixth year. Just imagine in a few years hence…”
Minerva’s voice drifted off and Snape turned a sickly shade of pale, “… you
could talk to her all about the practical application of method.”
“Sex education; vitally important,” Remus
agreed, nodding his head solemnly.
Severus stared at the two of them with
undisguised horror, and several pink feathers moulted from just above his
forehead. Minerva rocked back and forth in her chair, barely able to control
“Can you imagine Severus teaching that?”
she chuckled helplessly. “Take one male and one female, add precisely twelve
kisses and remove clothing. Leave ingredients to simmer for fifteen minutes,
agitating every now and then…”
Snape smiled wryly.
“I’m sure your Gryffindor first years have
their own variety of idiocy, like they always do. I’d give it until the end of
the week before I catch some of them out of bed being all brave and noble in
some corridor or other.”
“Without question,” Minerva agreed,
“although you do appear to be winning hands down on this particular
competition, especially with Hope Potter on your side. I wonder if it’s
possible for Slytherin to end up with minus figures in the house points.”
“I’m sure we’ve enough talent even to
withstand what a liability like Potter can do,” Severus said, with a casual
shrug of his hands. “What I don’t understand, is what did I do to deserve
having her as one of my problems? Why didn’t I get a nice, easy, pliable child
to deal with; the offspring of the Dark Lord would have been a picnic in the
park by comparison. Potter’s father was arrogant enough, her grandfather was
worse…” He paused and put his head in his hands and groaned. “How old
does that make me feel? I was at school with her grandfather!”
“Believe me, it’s worse when you’ve taught
her grandfather,” Minerva smiled, tossing her shining mane of hair back over
her leather-clad shoulder. “And, as you well know, this is nothing compared
with what James and Sirius used to do.”
Remus chuckled, long and low in his throat.
“No, I remember a time when they charmed every suit of armour in the castle to
make amorous advances on the Slytherins. You got quite friendly with that one
on the fourth floor, didn’t you, Severus?”
The Potions Master glared venomously at
him. “She’s not there yet, but give her time. I’m going to have to talk to the
Headmaster about her, I suppose.”
“Might be worth owling her parents first,”
Professor McGonagall suggested. “From what I know of their family, she’s very
close to her father. He might be able to suggest something.”
Remus’ eyes clouded over. “Be careful
there, Severus,” he warned. “Ginny’s not having the easiest of pregnancies. Try
and get hold of Harry directly if you’re going to contact home.”
Snape nodded curtly, but before he had a
chance to reply, there was a frantic hammering at the door.
Professor Sprout levered herself out of her
chair and wandered across to see what the disturbance was. A frantic Gryffindor
student was battering hard on the door to gain attention, panic written across
“P-Professor,” the tall blonde girl
stuttered. “Is Professor McGonagall there? Oh! You’ve got to come quickly.”
“Whatever is it?” Professor Sprout cried in
surprise. The other staff got to their feet, Lupin wobbling slightly as he
balanced precariously on his stiletto heels.
“I was…” the girl began.
“Which of you lot did it?” a furious roar
came down the corridor and the Slytherin head boy bounded into sight. “You’ve
got a bloody nerve…”
“That’s enough!” Snape growled and the boy
fell silent at once, glowering at his Gryffindor counterpart. “What happened,
“They’ve been into out common room and
nicked all the furniture, Sir!”
“Don’t be ridiculous. It was you stealing
ours,” the girl retorted.
“Or a good switching spell?” Lupin
suggested, a small smile tugging at his lips.
“Potter!” Snape breathed furiously under
The staff hurried to the door as one to
deal with the chaos that was now erupting into the corridors from the two
houses. Shrieks, and yells and explosions rocked the school.
“Just one thing, Severus,” Minerva said.
She caught hold of the silken sleeve of Snape’s negligee and drew him to one
side before they left. “Can I borrow your nightie next Thursday?”
Snape paused, and stared searchingly at his
colleague. His usually stern face twitched into a grin. “Only if I can have