|I assure you I did not beg for the job
Author: Possum132 PM
A perspective on that scuffle in the kitchen at 12 Grimmauld Place in OOTP. Molly Weasley is nice, Sirius Black is nasty, Severus Snape is nastier.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Severus S. & Sirius B. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,959 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-18-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2759447
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I assure you I did not beg for the job
This vignette isn't part of the seven part series that starts with "Why Snape never eats here" – it's just a speculation on the confrontation in the kitchen that followed the night that Arthur Weasley dozed off, got sneaked up on, and bitten. However, if you read the series you will get a better feel for the particular version of the Potterverse in which the story is set.
Chapter 1: Molly Weasley
She's bustling about the kitchen, she hasn't said anything to the children in case it doesn't happen, but she's got her fingers crossed that Arthur will be getting out of St Mungo's today. She thinks, of course, it's the new St Mungo's, they had to move the hospital out of Diagon Alley into bigger premises right in the middle of Muggle London years and years ago, even before the war against Voldemort ... and then she remembers the war, Gideon and Fabian fought like tigers and died like heroes. Of course they were in the Order but she wasn't, not with three children underfoot and the twins on the way. She was pregnant with the twins when Gideon and Fabian died ... Gideon and Fabian, George and Fred, she hadn't wanted to burden the boys with their uncles' names, old fashioned pureblood names, but she had wanted to remember her brothers.
She remembers the trial, Mad-Eye Moody says that it took five Death Eaters to kill her brothers but the only one they ever caught was Antonin Dolohov ... and he wouldn't talk at his trial, just sneered and snarled and swore, so she doesn't really know what happened. She'd like to ask Severus Snape if he knows anything but she never will, that would be rude beyond imagining, and she never stares at his left arm, unlike some of the others ... and who would give a child a name like Severus? Such a harsh, cruel sounding name, that's a real old fashioned pureblood name, and why does Remus insist on calling him Severus, can't Remus see that he hates it? Professor Snape likes it when Albus calls him Severus, and he tolerates Minerva calling him by his first name, but to everyone else he prefers to be "Snape".
She remembers Dolohov's trial as if was yesterday, it was held in Courtroom Ten before the full Wizengamot, she and Arthur had excellent seats - of course Albus was there although he'd excluded himself from participating in the judgment on the grounds of personal friendship with the murdered men - and he'd been so kind to her. She thinks, I knew Snape was a Death Eater before he showed Fudge the Dark Mark, that revolting Rita Skeeter told me at Dolohov's trial, she asked me, how did I feel about Bill - he was about to start school that year - being taught by a ex-Death Eater? And I told her that if Albus Dumbledore was prepared to vouch for Snape, if Albus was willing to have him under the roof of Hogwarts, that was good enough for me – and good enough for Arthur, too!
And then she remembers the first time that she met Snape, it was at Bill's graduation ... Bill had been a prefect and Head Boy, twelve OWLs and even better results in his NEWTs ... and she'd been a bit taken aback - strict, severe Professor Snape, Head of Slytherin House, is just a boy himself, he wouldn't even be thirty. And she'd thought, it's not much of a life for a young wizard here at Hogwarts, surrounded by a lot of kids, and everyone else on the staff is so much older, I hope there are a few young people in Hogsmeade for him to spend some time with ... and then she'd thought, Snape must have been only a teenager when he fell in with Voldemort, just a silly boy, not much older than my Bill, who's off to London to train as a Gringotts curse-breaker.
She thinks, now it's true that Bill didn't like Snape when he was Hogwarts, still doesn't like him – and that's not surprising, Snape doesn't make any effort to be likeable - but Charlie and ... Percy ... never had any problems with him, and as for Fred and George, well, I've had more owls from Hogwarts about them than all the others put together, and at least he managed to drum the essentials of potion-making into their heads! It's not that the twins don't have brains, they just won't apply themselves, but somehow they passed OWL level Potions, and they can thank Professor Snape for that. Not that anyone ever does thank him, oh, they're glad enough to hear his reports, but no one ever seems to think of what he has to do to get that information – or what will happen to him if Voldemort finds out that he's spying for Albus. Voldemort would kill a traitor in the most horrible way ...
And then she thinks of how Voldemort would kill a whole family of blood-traitors, she remembers the Boggart in the writing desk, remembers how it turned into dead Weasleys, the whole family, one after another ... but she pushes that unpleasant memory away and gets back to the business in hand, thinking, I must get this kitchen sorted out before I leave tomorrow, it was an absolute pigsty when I walked through the door. Really, I know Sirius hates being cooped up here, but he could keep the place in better order, that poor old house-elf is quite mad and incapable of doing a thing ... and he could do something about the garden, it's a jungle out there, thank Merlin it's the middle of London and there are no gnomes.
She sets some dishes to wash themselves in the kitchen sink, and starts tidying the pantry, thinking, Sirius is up in Buckbeak's bedroom again, in a fit of the sullens, he will miss us dreadfully when we're gone, especially Harry. It's hard on Sirius, he was in Azkaban for so many years, Harry was just a baby when he went to Azkaban and Harry is fifteen now ... and everyone says that he's the living image of James, with his mother's eyes. Of course it's difficult for Sirius to understand that even though Harry has done so much, been through so much, he's still a boy – and he's not James, even if he looks like James, talks like James, plays Quidditch like James.
Poor Sirius, it's lonely for him here, Mad-Eye and Tonks drop in from time to time, and Remus stays as often as he can, but Mundungus Fletcher is the only regular visitor and that – she sniffs – is because he's pinching the silver! She's so cross, she mutters out loud, oh yes, every time that mangy old half-blood leaves here there are fewer teaspoons ... But she's a little shocked at what she's said, because it isn't very nice to comment on whether someone has a Muggle parent, and she remembers Mrs Black's shrieks, stains of dishonour, filthy half-bloods, blood traitors, children of filth. No, it isn't nice at all, and there are still plenty of pureblood families who don't approve of mixed marriages ... and then she thinks, I might have half-blood grandchildren myself one day, the way the twins hang around that pretty girl in the paper shop in the village who thinks that their card tricks are almost like real magic. A Muggle daughter-in-law, oh dear, don't know how I'd cope with that, a Muggle-born girl like Hermione would be fine ... but a Muggle - and what if the children are Squibs?
She remembers the cousin that no one ever liked to talk about, the Squib cousin, she's a bit vague about what happened to him, he'd ended up living in the Muggle world as an accountant or something, and she wonders if that's where Muggle-borns come from, if the Muggle-borns are descendents of Squibs in which the magic has unexpectedly reappeared, though she's heard stories that some Muggle-borns are really half-bloods. And then she thinks, I'll get Arthur to have a word with Fred and George about treating Muggle girls with proper respect, I know how some wizards behave with Muggle females, but not my boys, they're not like that – but I will ask Arthur to have a word with them.
Muggles! I suppose they're alright, Hermione's parents are lovely, but sometimes I wish Arthur wasn't so obsessed with Muggle things, fellytones and ecklectricity and that wretched car – a fifty Galleon fine, and Merlin knows it was a struggle that year, with Ginny starting at Hogwarts - and Arthur's career died the moment he let it be known at the Ministry that his dearest wish is to find out how aeroplanes stay up!
But now she's angry, Cornelius Fudge is an idiot if Lucius Malfoy is his idea of a wizard with proper wizarding pride, and the Ministry is still a hotbed of pureblood prejudice, full of people who think that Albus Dumbledore is a Muggle-loving old fool - no wonder Arthur has been stuck for years in a dead-end job, in that dreadful little cupboard, sorting out regurgitating toilets for Merlin's sake – when he had the marks to get into the Auror Corps, if that's what he'd wanted!
And then she thinks of what Percy said about having to struggle against Arthur's reputation in the Ministry ... Percy sent back his Christmas jumper and he hasn't even been to St Mungo's to see his father! Oh Percy ... with ambition like yours, perhaps you should have been Sorted into Slytherin, and that would have been a shock, I don't mind admitting that, a Weasley in Slytherin, but I think we would have managed, I hope we would have managed, I hope we wouldn't have treated you the way that Sirius' family treated him because he was Sorted into Gryffindor. And Slytherin House has only got such a bad reputation now because Voldemort is a Slytherin, it wasn't like that when I was a girl, I had cousins in Slytherin ... and there are Slytherins in the Order, Mad-Eye is a Slytherin, and so was Dorcas Meadowes, that's why Voldemort went to the trouble of killing her personally.
She finishes in the pantry – she's got quite a collection of hideous half-full opened jars of something or other that have grown fur, they'll be going straight into the rubbish, that's the sort of thing that attracts Bundimuns because they feed on dirt and food scraps, and she's found a horrid dead rat in what looks like a Muggle rat trap behind a bag of potatoes – and starts thinking about something a little bit special for dinner. Tomorrow is the last day of the Christmas break and the kids will be catching the Knight Bus back to Hogwarts so if Arthur gets out of St Mungo's today it will be their last opportunity to be together as a family until school finishes in June ... it's not absolutely definite that Arthur will be leaving hospital today so she didn't want to get the children's hopes up, but she wants to be prepared. Something simple, but tasty ... roast chicken, everyone loves that, with loads of roast pumpkin and potato and steamed green vegetables, and a treacle tart - and her treacle tart is better than a Hogwarts treacle tart, and that is saying something!
The front doorbell rings, and she thinks – Arthur! She hurries up to the front door, opens it, and her face falls with disappointment ... it's only Snape. What can he want? There's no meeting of the Order scheduled, so what can he want? And then she remembers her manners, remembers that she ought to thank him, Hippocrates Smethwyck says Snape Flooed down from Hogwarts the first chance he got after Arthur was bitten and spent hours with him discussing poison antidotes – she would have sent an owl straightaway to thank him but she'd been so flustered, so worried about Arthur until they found something to stop the bleeding. So as they walk down the hallway she murmurs her thanks and asks him if he wants to stay for dinner, Snape never eats at Grimmauld Place, not since the evening when Sirius got him to show the Dark Mark to Tonks, that sounded a bit nasty, that didn't sound funny at all even though Sirius and Mad-Eye were laughing so much about it, but she makes the offer anyway – but he can't stay long, he just needs to speak to Harry for five minutes. Very odd, really, because Harry will be back at Hogwarts tomorrow, why can't it wait until then?
She shows Snape into the kitchen and to her surprise, Sirius is there, lounging in a chair - he must have heard the doorbell ring, too. She thinks, this is going to put Sirius into an even more disagreeable mood, Sirius is so unpleasant about Snape, the things that Sirius says about Snape when he's had a bit too much to drink and the children have gone to bed! And those nasty nick-names, Snivellus, Snivelly, I don't like those at all. Not that Snape didn't needle Sirius a bit over the summer, asking him how the cleaning was going ... I don't know what went on between them when they were at school together, Remus hints that it was pretty bad, but I wish they'd stop acting like a couple of teenagers and remember what Albus said to them – they're both on the same side now. And I really wish Sirius wouldn't harp on about Snape being a Death Eater so much, it's cruel - his own brother made the same mistake and he regretted it, too, and perhaps that's why he hates Snape so much, Regulus Black is dead and Severus Snape is alive. And if Snape wasn't a Death Eater, Albus wouldn't have a spy, wouldn't know what Voldemort is up to, wouldn't be able to feed him false information ... we're lucky to have Snape on our side.
She leaves Sirius and Snape in the kitchen and goes to fetch Harry, he's in the boys' bedroom, playing chess with Ron, watched by Hermione, Ginny and Crookshanks, the twins must be in their own room, up to who knows what mischief ...
"Harry, dear, could you come down to the kitchen?" she says. "Professor Snape would like a word with you."
Harry is engrossed in his chess game, he's egging one of his castles on to attack one of Ron's pawns, but he does at least register that she's said something.
"Squash him – squash him, he's only a pawn, you idiot. Sorry, Mrs Weasley, what did you say?"
"Professor Snape, dear. In the kitchen. He'd like a word."
Harry looks startled, all the children look surprised, and Crookshanks wriggles out of Hermione's arms and pounces on the chessmen, sending them running for cover and squealing at the top of their voices.
"Snape?" says Harry, blankly.
She thinks, really, children these days, when I was at Hogwarts it was dinned into us, "sir" or "Professor" at all times …
"Professor Snape, dear," she says reprovingly. "Now come on, quickly, he says he can't stay long."
Harry sets off down to the kitchen, she follows him, and then she hears the front doorbell ring again – and this time it is Arthur, in his striped pyjamas with a mackintosh thrown over the top. Bill is with him, but he'd felt strong enough to Apparate from St Mungo's to Grimmauld Place, and this is wonderful news. She calls up the stairs, "George! Fred! Ron! Ginny! Down here at once, Bill and your father are here!" The children come tumbling down the stairs, Hermione with them, and after a good deal of hugging and exclaiming, they drift towards the kitchen to tell Harry and Sirius the good news.
Arthur opens the kitchen door and they all walk in. "Cured," Arthur announces brightly to the kitchen at large. "Completely cured!"
And then she takes in the scene, Sirius and Snape are looking towards the door with their wands pointing into their faces, and Harry is immobile between them, a hand stretched out to each, trying to force them apart. She can feel the aggressive magic swirling around them, can see the expressions of loathing and contempt on their faces, and she's really afraid. This isn't just hexes in the corridors, this isn't just a scuffle between teenagers, this is a duel between two grown men, two powerful wizards, and she's very glad that Arthur is here to handle it.
"Merlin's beard," says Arthur, the smile sliding off his face. "What's going on here?"
Both Sirius and Snape lower their wands, Snape pockets his wand and sweeps past them without comment, but the expression on his face is frightening, there's murder in those black eyes, and she remembers the hints that Mad-Eye has dropped about Snape's Ministry file, the hints about unpleasant things in that file. But she thinks, Albus trusts him, he won't tell us why, but he trusts Snape and he wouldn't have him at Hogwarts if he was dangerous – would he?
At the door Snape looks back. "Six o'clock, Monday evening, Potter."
She wonders briefly what this means, extra Potions lessons, perhaps, because Harry will surely be following his father into the Auror Corps and for that you need NEWT level Potions ...
Sirius glares after Snape, his wand at his side.
"What's going on?" asks Arthur again.
"Nothing, Arthur," says Sirius, breathing heavily as though he had run a long distance. "Just a friendly little chat between two old school friends." He smiles, "So ... you're cured? That's great news, really great."
"Yes, isn't it?" she says, leading Arthur into the kitchen and settling him on his chair.
She thinks, this isn't a good time to say anything about how Snape helped find a cure for Arthur, not with Sirius in this mood, I don't want to stir him up again, and I don't want Arthur upset, I don't want him any more worried than he is already - so all she says is, "Healer Smethwyck worked his magic in the end, found an antidote to whatever that snake's got in its fangs, and Arthur's learned his lesson about dabbling in Muggle medicine, haven't you dear?"