The Sugar Quill
Author: Christina Teresa (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: For the Love of Hufflepuff, Part 1: Death Eaters, Inc.  Chapter: Prologue
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author's note: "For the Love of Hufflepuff" is just for fun and is not intended to infringe upon any copyright owned by J. K. Rowling, Scholastic Press or Warner Brothers Pictures. Original story and characters © Christina Teresa, 2001. Rated PG-13 for language, violence and sexuality. Many thanks to my favorite Texans, Yolanda and Rick, for all their help (Yo, I couldn't have done it without you!). Comments are encouraged and appreciated: csteresa@yahoo.com

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Prologue

Fifth-year Slytherin, Severus Snape, waited as his Head of House and Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor, Professor Rupert Balin, paced the length of his office and back.

Over the last five years, Severus had been in his office half a dozen times, but he never ceased to be fascinated by the objects that filled it. Professor Balin collected medieval Muggle instruments of torture. Thumb screws, pincers, skull crushers, and things he couldn't identify covered the walls.

Professor Balin, was a tall, middle-aged man with a sharp wit that could quickly turn nasty. He seemed to enjoy watching students squirm-- even his own Slytherins. "Professor Clayton tells me you're the most talented Potions student he's ever had."

"Thank you, sir." That wasn't what Snape expected. What about the Pettigrew incident?

He settled himself behind his desk and leaned toward Snape as if speaking confidentially. "There's an old friend of mine who could use someone with your expertise when you leave Hogwarts, but he's certainly not interested in a wizard who doesn't understand that there is a time and a place for everything."

Here it comes.

"McGonagall tells me that you performed a Body-Bind Curse on Mr. Pettigrew for which she not only gave you detention, but deducted fifty points from Slytherin, as well." Balin paused as he regarded Snape with those piercing blue eyes, seeming to take his measure. "Severus, you must learn to curse more discreetly. Better to bully students who are friendless. I'm sure Pettigrew ran to Potter, Black and Lupin before going to McGonagall. And don't be shy about using Memory Charms when necessary." The older man broke out in a wicked grin. "Though having your victims remember the terror you caused them is half the fun, eh boy?"

Snape could hardly believe what he was hearing. He and his fellow Slytherins had always known Balin to be ruthless, but this was too good to be true.

Balin's smile faded. "In other words, do what you like, just make certain you don't get caught. I'll be damned if we loose the Inter-House Championship to Gryffindor again this year because of your carelessness. Have I made myself clear?"

Snape's mouth curled in a smile. "Crystal, sir."

***

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