A/N: "Restoration" is the third part of my "Hufflepuff" trilogy. Though it
is not necessary to read "Part One: Death Eater's Inc." to enjoy it (though
that's where we first meet the evil Professor Balin; his 'pet', Isela; and the
spirited Muggle nurse, Miss Robbins), I do strongly suggest you read "Part Two:
The Badger and the Serpent", or you will be totally lost. This story takes place
during Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts. Rated PG-13 for violence and language.
"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, 2001-2002.
Thanks to Yolanda and Zsenya for their help and encouragement.
Chapter One: Snape's Christmas Nightmare
Peter Pettigrew, better known to his allies and enemies as Wormtail, stamped
his feet in the snow, trying unsuccessfully to warm himself. He gazed briefly
at his companion and thought longingly, I bet she knows how to keep a man
Isela (Wormtail didn't know if she even had a surname) had been one of Voldemort's
followers while he was still a Hogwarts student, but you couldn't tell by looking
at her. She was darkly exquisite with long, silky, black hair and a voluptuous
body. Despite the tremendous energy she undoubtedly used to keep herself young
and beautiful, Isela was one of Voldemort's deadliest Death Eaters. She was
also haughty and cruel; she usually looked at Wormtail (when she look at him
at all) as if he were a pile of owl droppings. True, he was short, balding,
and dumpy, but Wormtail had hoped that tonight he could prove himself worthy
of her favors. So far, things weren't going very well.
Isela pulled her black cloak more tightly around her. "This is an outrage!
The most important night in the history of Dark wizardry and here I am playing
babysitter to a rat." She dug in her robe pocket and pulled out a vial of green
liquid with a thin leather strap tied around it. "I could be torturing Muggles
right now. It is not fair!" She jerk her head towards Wormtail. "Well, get on
With a faint pop, Wormtail transformed himself from a short, bald, dumpy
man into a fat, pathetic looking rat. Through his beady rat eyes, he saw Isela
bend down, then he felt her tie the vial around his neck-a bit too snugly for
"Don't forget, you worthless rodent, if you fail, Voldemort promised me that
I could kill you myself." Isela flashed him a perfect, contemptuous smile. "I
suppose there is a bright side to everything."
He was half tempted to run up her leg and frighten her for once, but he had
work to do. Despite Isela's complaining, Wormtail's task was by far the most
important of this historic night. His Master had trusted him with it and Wormtail
was determined he would not fail.
He scurried underneath the great wrought iron gates and ran across the snow
covered grounds of the great country estate. It took him several minutes to
find an opening he could squeeze himself through, but as soon as he did, he
wasted no time in finding the owner's renown wine cellar.
Wormtail's timing couldn't have been better. Right on schedule, the house-elf
came down the cellar stairs and went to pick a bottle of rare port off the shelf.
As the house-elf used the tea towel around its waist to wipe the dust off the
bottle, Wormtail transformed back into his pudgy human form, purposely startling
the creature. The house-elf let out a little yelp, the bottle slipped from its
hand and crashed to the floor. The house-elf was torn between alarm at the stranger
standing before him and panic at the smashed bottle of port on the floor, but
"Master give Twanky clothes for this," said the house-elf, twisting its tea
towel in its hands in distress. "Master say one more broken bottle and it be
clothes for Twanky." The creature then regarded Wormtail with accusing, tear-filled
eyes. "You is a bad wizard, you make Twanky drop bottle!"
Wormtail was particularly thankful for the fact that house-elves were notoriously
stupid. Twanky was no exception. Wormtail put on his most sympathetic expression.
"I'm sorry I made you drop the bottle, Twanky. I just so happen to have a magic
potion that will make the bottle good as new. Would you like that, Twanky?"
The house-elf nodded vigorously, eyes wide with hope.
Wormtail had planned on putting the Imperius Curse on the house-elf in order
to force it to put the poison into the bottle, but he hoped this would work
just as well. It better or Voldemort will have me killed. He squatted
before the broken bottle, opened the vial of green liquid gingerly and poured
it on the spilled wine, careful not to splash any on himself. He then took out
his wand and pointed it at the glass shards. "Reparo!" The bottle was instantly
repaired. It's contents, including the poison, were sealed inside.
The house-elf picked up the bottle gleefully. "You is a good wizard! Twanky
not get clothes Christmas night!" Now that that crisis was over, Twanky's tiny
brain turned its attention to the other issue of a stranger being in its master's
house. The house-elf pointed a finger at him. "You not supposed to be here.
I tell Master." Twanky turned to go up the cellar stairs, but Wormtail grabbed
By the time he had performed a powerful Memory Charm on Twanky, the house-elf's
mind was half destroyed. He was forced to use the Imperius Curse after all so
that Twanky could serve its master for the very last time. With a pop,
Wormtail once again became his rat self. He followed the house-elf up the stairs
to its master's dining room to watch the fun.
After Snape left Voldemort and returned to Hogwarts, he locked himself in his
dungeon room and took a dose of Dreamless Draught mixed with Firewhiskey in
a vain attempt to block out the pain of what he'd done. He also hoped futilely
that the potion would prevent the nightmare he knew would invade his mind as
he slept. He had no idea who Voldemort intended to use his poison on, but Snape
had no doubt it would be front page news in the Prophet tomorrow.
Years ago, when Severus first agreed to spy on Voldemort and his Death Eaters
for Dumbledore, he had done it in hopes of redeeming himself for the sins he
had committed in Voldemort's service-the naïve hope of a young man. Unfortunately,
he had been forced to commit acts just as heinous in order to play his part.
Dumbledore was not a stupid man, he must have had some idea of what Severus
had been forced to do, but the old wizard never pressed for details. Necessarily,
Snape's heart hardened as he realized that redemption was beyond his grasp,
but a little bit of that senseless hope remained. That was the reason he felt
the pain he did when forced to commit these evil acts, but his heart never hurt
as it did tonight. He usually carried his guilt in his stomach, so why the heartache?
There was just one answer to that question: Veronica and her inexplicable faith
in him. When she told him he was one of the good guys, she believed it
and she made him believe it too, if only for a moment. When he looked into her
eyes he saw hope for his redemption and faith that his soul was eminently redeemable.
How did she do that? Was it unique to her or did all Hufflepuffs believe in
such silliness? She was like a child in so many ways. As he drifted off to sleep,
Severus sincerely hoped that she would never completely grow up.
When he found his dream self in the ward of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical
Maladies and Injuries, Severus groaned. Why can't she leave me alone?
'She' was Miss Robbins, the Muggle nurse Snape had killed when he was first
initiated into the Death Eaters. She, or rather her spirit, had been the reason
why Snape had left Voldemort's service; she was the one who had led him to Dumbledore.
Ever since that fateful night, Miss Robbins had invaded his dreams every time
Severus killed-even indirectly, like tonight. She made sure he looked into the
eyes of every one of his victims. What Snape could never figure out was Miss
Robbins trying to keep his hope of redemption alive or was she trying to quash
The hospital ward was filled Voldemort's many victims, not just the ones Snape
was responsible for. He traversed the ward in search of Miss Robbins and finally
found her at the bedside of Cedric Diggory. They were playing a game of wizard
Diggory looked up at him with surprise. "Oh, hello, Professor Snape. You-Know-Who
get you, too?"
Snape shook his head. "No, Mr. Diggory. I'm just visiting."
Miss Robbins, still in her white uniform and starched white cap, turned around
and regarded Snape with that irritating, all-knowing, enigmatic smile of hers.
"I'll be with you in just a moment, Severus."
"Take your time, please," he grumbled. As Snape waited for them to finish their
game, he took a good look at Diggory for the first time. His gray eyes held
the same look of hope and faith that Veronica's did. Perhaps all Hufflepuffs
did look that way. Not surprising he never noticed before. Slytherins generally
dismissed Hufflepuffs as dull-witted worker bees-and they weren't the only ones.
Snape thought guiltily of Veronica's 'Spares' speech and felt he had to say
something to Diggory to make up for it. "Mr. Diggory…Cedric, you're sorely missed
by your classmates-and the faculty. I just thought you'd like to know."
Both Cedric and Miss Robbins stared at Severus open-mouthed. Snape's lip curled
in a snarl. "What are the two of you looking at? Can we get on with this, Miss
Robbins? I haven't got all night."
Miss Robbins excused herself and led Severus through the ward to her tea and
biscuit cart. She continued to stare at him in amazement.
He sighed heavily. "Can't a person say something nice without everyone making
an issue of it?"
"Not if that person is you," Miss Robbins replied as she poured a cup of tea
and put a few biscuits on a china plate. "I've known you for years, Severus,
and that is the first time I've ever heard you say something kind. Why the change?"
He had no intention of telling Miss Robbins about Veronica, so he put on his
best sneer and snapped, "Can we stick to the reason why I was brought here?
Just show me who I killed this time, so I can get the hell out of here."
Suddenly, Snape heard someone bellow, "MISS ROBBINS!"
The nurse rolled her eyes and jerked her thumb over her shoulder in the direction
of the call. "That is the reason why you were brought here tonight."
The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but Severus couldn't quite place it.
Miss Robbins glowered at Snape, her hands on her hips. "As if I didn't have
enough work to do, you send me a bloody politician!"
"Politician?" Guilt mixed with a good dose of fear traveled from his heart
into its usual place in the pit of his stomach. "Which politician?"
She handed him the plate of biscuits, but held onto the cup of tea herself.
"Bed 863-I'd better go with you. You can tell me if this git is even half as
important as he seems to think he is."
Severus looked down at the plate of biscuits as he followed Miss Robbins to
bed 863. He only looked up when the bed's occupant said his name.
"Snape? What in the devil are you doing here?"
Great gods, no. Snape raised his head and looked into the eyes of Cornelius
Fudge, Minister of Magic; the ex-Minister of Magic.
"Here's your tea, Mr. Fudge," said Miss Robbins irritably as she handed him
the cup and saucer. A few drops spilled on his pinstriped pajamas. "And I'll
have no more yelling, do you hear me? You're disturbing the other patients."
Fudge brushed the spilled tea off his pajamas and blustered, "Do be more careful,
Sister! I wouldn't be forced to yell if you would spend less time playing chess
with that Diggory boy and more time doing your job. I've been waiting for my
tea for half an hour."
"If you don't change that nasty attitude of yours, you'll wait two hours next
time," she retorted. Miss Robbins then grabbed the plate of biscuits from Severus
and plopped them unceremoniously in Fudge's lap.
If Snape hadn't been in shock, he would really be enjoying this.
"How dare you speak to me in that manner?" cried Fudge. "Severus, I demand
that you tell her who I am!"
Snape was startled back into full awareness and turned to Miss Robbins. "Mr.
Fudge is…was our Minister of Magic; the equivalent of your British Prime Minister."
"Well, I don't care if you're the bloody Queen of England," she told Fudge
angrily, "you'll wait your turn like everyone else." She marched away and Severus
followed, as grateful as she was to leave Fudge's side.
"You know, Severus, I am really getting tired of this," Miss Robbins said.
Her tone had an anxious edge to it Snape had never heard before. "It's bad enough
I have to deal with the likes of Fudge, but when I have to take in a lovely
boy like Cedric-" her voice broke as she blinked back a few tears. "I thought
your friend Dumbledore was going to kill Lord What's-His-Name and stop all this."
"We're working on it," Snape said without enthusiasm.
She put a friendly hand on his arm. "Speaking of, when are you going
to stop sending me more patients?"
Severus almost said, 'You sound like Veronica', when Miss Robbins pointed to
"Friend of yours?" she asked, a big grin on her face.
Snape looked up and saw Veronica in her blue flannel pj's, with the big yellow
ducks in pointed green wizard hats, flying through the hospital ward on her
new Nimbus Two Thousand Two. The patients clapped as she did flips and turns
before flying around Severus and waving. Snape broke out in a wide smile as
he watched her. He was just about to compliment her on her fancy flying, when
panic hit him. He turned to Miss Robbins and grabbed her frantically by the
shoulders. "Tell me Voldemort didn't kill Veronica!"
The nurse put her hands on his arms and gazed at him reassuringly. "She's fine,
Severus! She's just dreaming. You must have been thinking of her and she decided
to come visit." Miss Robbins regarded him with a sly smile.
"Don't look at me that way," he growled. "She's just a friend."
Miss Robbins shrugged. "Whatever you say."
Veronica flew back to the pair and landed. She seemed only vaguely aware of
Miss Robbins and the hundreds of patients lying in their beds. She took Severus
by the hands and bounced up and down a couple of times like a little girl.
"Let's play a game of two-man Quidditch, Severus. I'm sure Madam Hooch would
lend you a broom if you asked very nicely."
One corner of his mouth curled up in an affectionate smirk. "There's no such
thing as two-man Quidditch, Veronica."
"Well, there is now," she replied. "I just made it up. Please say you'll play."
Miss Robbins grinned. "I like her."
"No one asked you," Snape retorted.
Miss Robbins snapped her fingers.
Suddenly, Severus and Veronica were no longer in St. Mungo's, but were in Voldemort's
lair-a cold, stone room deep in the bowels of an ancient building. Miss Robbins
was nowhere to be seen. As he did last night, Snape reached in his pocket and
withdrew a vial of green liquid and put it in Voldemort's outstretched hand.
He felt Veronica tug on his arm. Her brow was furrowed with distress and her
eyes were filled with fear. "Let's go, Severus. I don't like the kind of games
Severus gently took her by the shoulders. "Veronica, you need to go home; you
shouldn't be here."
"Neither should you. You're one of the good guys." Veronica threw her arms
tightly around him. This time Severus wrapped his arms around her and held her
Voldemort's red eyes narrowed, his deathly pale face twisted with anger. "Are
you one of us, Snape, or are you one of them?"
A white mist encircled Voldemort and the Dark Lord morphed into Miss Robbins.
"What'll be Severus? I suggest you make your decision before she does get hurt."
Severus woke up with a start, bathed in sweat. Damn it! When will this nightmare
Veronica awoke and tried to grasp onto the quickly fading memory of the strange
dream she just had. Something about her trying to get Severus to play two-man
Quidditch. What in the hell is two-man Quidditch? There was darkness,
too, but she couldn't recall specifics. It was probably just a product of worry.
She assumed the 'something' Severus had to do last night involved Voldemort.
She was certain he was safe, but would feel much better when she saw him later
today. She had planned on returning to Hogwarts last evening, but she had had
one too many glasses of her father's Christmas punch, so she decided to stay
over at her parents' cottage. It was small and her mother drove her a bit mad,
but it was home.
She sat up in bed and gazed happily at her shiny new Nimbus Two Thousand Two
propped up in the corner of her old bedroom. Her parents and brothers had been
understandably impressed when she flew in on it yesterday afternoon. Veronica
had told them Professor Dumbledore had given it to her as a sort of bribe to
get her to stay on as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, but she wasn't
quite sure they believed her. Severus was right, she was an extraordinarily
Perhaps she shouldn't have lied, but she wasn't ready to explain Severus to
them quite yet. For them to truly understand their friendship, she felt she
would finally have to tell them about what Balin had done to her. She placed
her hand over the Dark Mark he had burned into her just above her heart. Soon,
but not yet. Veronica jumped with alarm when she suddenly heard frantic
banging on her bedroom door.
"Vee, sweetie, wake up! Wake up, Vee, something terrible has happened!" It
was her mother. It sounded like she was crying.
Veronica sprang out of bed, threw on a robe and followed her mother into the
parlor. Her father was there listening to the wireless as he clutched a copy
of the Daily Prophet in his hands so tightly that his knuckles were white.
Her mother took Veronica's hand and put her other arm around Mr. Stanley's
shoulders as they all listened to the WWN report:
…at least a dozen attacks have been reported all over Britain. Two members
of the Muggle Parliament along with their families have been killed. The most
shocking news of this tragic Boxing Day, of course, is the death of the wizarding
world's beloved Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. It is still unclear who
or what exactly killed Mr. Fudge, but WWN correspondent, Polly Goodcroft, reports
that she has never witnessed such a gruesome scene in all her years as a journalist.
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing the unmistakable symbol of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-the
Dark Mark-above the houses of each and every victim. The Ministry of Magic has
yet to make an official statement, but Ministry sources warn that the Christmas
Night Massacre is likely just the beginning of a new reign of terror…
Veronica pried the Prophet from her father's hands. On the front page
was the Headline: 'MINISTER OF MAGIC MURDERED! YOU-KNOW-WHO TO BLAME!' The picture
accompanying the story was of an hysterical Mrs. Fudge and a very confused house-elf.
Oh, gods, please, Severus, tell me you had nothing to do with this.
Just then, a Hogwarts owl tapped on the Stanleys' cottage window with its beak.
Mrs. Stanley quickly let the owl in and it promptly dropped a letter in Veronica's
hands. The owl flapped its wings and puffed out its chest importantly. "Mum,
"Certainly, dear." Mrs. Stanley wiped her eyes and motioned for the owl to
follow her into the kitchen for some food and water. She appeared grateful to
be doing something other than listen to the dreadful news.
Veronica broke the red seal and ripped the envelope in her haste to pull out
the letter. It was from Dumbledore. Her hands shaking and her heart pounding
in her chest, she read:
By now, you have no doubt heard about last night's tragedy. Unfortunately,
I must ask that you cut your holiday short. Your presence is required at Hogwarts
immediately. Come straight to my office as soon as you arrive. Please extend
my apologies to your parents.
She breathed a massive sigh of relief when she read the next line:
PS: Severus is safe.
"Who's Severus?" her father asked. Veronica hadn't noticed that he was reading
over her shoulder.
"Just a friend," she said quickly. "Dad, I've got to go."
Mr. Stanley gave her a loving squeeze. "I know, sweetheart." He took his daughter's
face in his hands. "I just want you to know how very proud we are of you. I
just hope Dumbledore doesn't expect you to do anything too dangerous. Please
"Oh, Dad, don't worry. It's not as if I'll be taking on Voldemort single-handedly.
At best, I'll be a consultant."
Her father winced slightly at the sound of the Dark Lord's name, but didn't
comment. Veronica had spent years trying to break her family of the 'You-Know-Who'
habit with some success.
She hugged him and place a kiss on his cheek. "Just remember those Defense
Spells I taught you. And Dad, be sure to recharge the wards around the house."
"Now who's worrying unnecessarily?" he replied, trying to sound lighthearted.
"Who in the world would want to hurt us?"
Veronica just smiled sadly and rushed to her room to dress. The only bright
spot in all of this was that the one person who would want to hurt them was
safely locked away in Azkaban. She just prayed Balin would stay there.