control, Severus looked back, “Six
o’clock Monday evening, Potter.” He
shut the door with a snap, swore, and strode, unseeing, down the sidewalk. Why
couldn’t Dumbledore have sent an owl with this message? It would have been
simple enough, “You begin remedial potions with Professor Snape at 6pm on
Monday.” I could have explained the real intent then. Severus had done no better arguing against this visit
than he had against being the one to teach the magic. He shook his head.
What did telling the
little prince in person accomplish? Did the boy care that I have come to London
personally to tell him on this, my last day of the Holidays? Or even that I
would be giving up my free time to teach him? No, he did not! What was it to
him that people inconvenienced themselves? How many Slytherins would have
jumped at the chance to learn Occlumency? Not Potter of course. He looked as
if he’d been given bedpan detention. He wants to defeat the Dark Lord, but
only if he can have fun doing it. No work, mind you.
really noticing the direction he was going, Severus turned the corner and
whipped past the alley where he usually Disapparated.
than Potter was Black. He sat there and betrayed Dumbledore’s trust by undermining
the decision. Not that it was the first time he discounted the Headmaster’s
advice. How many times have I publicly supported one of Dumbledore’s foolhardy
schemes after fighting against it wand and spell in private? And almost killed
in the process sometimes! Black could have protested without the boy
listening. That dog is the worst of ungrateful fools! After all he’s done,
with absolutely no remorse, to completely disdain the headmasters esteem.
that matter why are we using Grimmauld
Place at all? It was filthy
with dark magic when we got there. Was and is! Infested with everything from
simple pests to evil spells. Black doesn’t begin to understand how important
it is to rid the place of them.
Severus snorted. Dark Arts in themselves could be useful, but the Black
family obviously didn’t know where to draw the line. He shuddered at the
thought of eating or sleeping in that place. Black probably does think it’s
just house cleaning. The children had no idea Molly Weasley was teaching them
defense against the dark arts last summer. She possibly didn’t realize it
thoughts sometimes do, his made an abrupt turn. Arthur and Molly are all
right, even if their brood is more than a handful. Most of them have amazing
potential. If the twins don’t take O’s on their Potions NEWTS I will
personally hex both of them. I’ve given them enough extra homework. Why didn’t
the damn Sorting Hat put them in Slytherin? Or if not them, Percy? There’s a
Slytherin for you! What I might have done with him in my house. No doubt that
family of Gryffindors all believe that dark wizards come from Slytherin and
would have dropped dead if the Sorting Hat had placed any of them there.
Snape paused. He’d
walked himself out of anger if not breath. He’d come much farther by foot than
usual, but walking felt good, and he continued. Muggles were giving him
askance looks. He wasn’t sure why, he didn’t think he looked any stranger than
most of them.
He looked twice at
one woman. For a moment he’d thought it was Dolores Umbridge. As if the
Order didn’t have enough trouble, Hogwarts had to get a power-hungry bureaucrat
with almost less magical powers than Filch! He was starting to get angry
again. He thought of his Slytherins, eager to please her for her power, but
begging him for Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons. Dunderheads!
Dumbledore didn’t put someone – anyone-- in that position! The man knows every
witch and wizard in the world. He must have had a contact somewhere!
well, at least he didn’t pull me out of the Potions dungeon. What little time
I have to myself is best served there.
Suddenly the thought of Umbridge teaching his Potions classes made him ill. She
knows less about Potions than she does about Defense Against the Dark Arts.
He stopped and
looked around. Walking had felt good, but he was attracting attention and he
did have another errand, his real reason for being in London. Just as well
to have worked the anger out before arriving. It would have made things worse
to go with a temper. He found a place to Disapparate, and stepped out of
sight. Severus popped into the usual spot in a side alley, and strode carefully
out to the street and up to the decrepit building.
He spoke to the
chipped mannequin in the dirty display window and in a moment found himself in
the reception area of Saint Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and
Injuries. He walked past the Inquiries Desk and stepped over to a small Floo
station below the portrait of Dilys Derwent. Although not looking at him, she
made the “all clear” gesture. Severus tossed a handful of dust into the flame
and contacted the Mediwitch in the Spell Damage Department.
that everything was prepared for his arrival, he left the lobby. His black
robes billowed as he strode down the hall to the stairway. Used to clearing a
swath in crowded hallways, he didn’t so much notice people moving out of his
way, as he expected it. He paused at the designated door on the fourth floor,
spoke the entrance spell and stepped in.
Lockhart started for him, holding a stack of autographed pictures. From across
the hall, Severus could see the cursive was improving. He fixed Lockhart with
a scowl. There was a flicker of not quite remembered recognition and Lockhart
turned away. Even in his current state, Lockhart knew how to make it look as
if he had merely changed his mind.
glanced down the ward. The Longbottoms were, as usual, behind a screen. It
seemed quiet at that end. He’d been assured they were not expecting visitors.
He glanced at another screen, which had been set up for his arrival to provide
privacy for a fourth resident.
Snape, it’s good to see you back so soon.” The Mediwitch said, hurrying to
nodded and carefully handed her a vial from his pocket, “A slightly different
brew. The Healer will let me know how it does?” He muttered softly
of course,” she answered just as quietly.”
she expecting me?” he asked, his voice louder now.
of course. Agnes always looks forward to your visits! Everything is ready.”
gave her a tight smile and walked over to the screen. Taking a deep breath, he
took a small tin of biscuits from his pocket and stepped inside. The woman with
the fur-covered face barked a greeting and reached her hand to him.
moved to the chair at her bedside, took her hand and said, “Hello, Mother.”