Disclaimer: I own nothing, and intend to pilfer nothing. JK Rowling and Warner Brothers own this franchise, I however, am temporarily borrowing it.


Nightmare. Hell. Sheol. Whatever you wish to call it, dear reader, I am sure that this would fit my description perfectly. Their little droves and hordes are swarming around me, mashing into me, spreading far and wide their adolescent secretions.
I looked at Albus in what I hoped was a plaintative way, mind you that plantative is not my specialty, but he only winked infuriatingly, tipping his noxious blue hat in my direction. I glared furiously at him, but this made his smile broader, wider, sunnier. Qualities, I am quite sure, would not become me.
The Great Hall looks even more massive, the old sorting hat increasingly faded, sat atop the old, fragile bench, its wrinkles twisted and contorted into a sinster grimace. The children stood stiffly in front of it, looking very much like guilty convicts, awaiting their imminent execution. I supressed a grim smile as one of the girls burst into tears at the stress. Which reminded me, oddly enough, of Hermione Granger's testy time at Hogwarts.
I frowned, preturbed and annoyed that such an invasion of my inner peace would be shattered. I pictured her as she way, standing here so many years ago, her clamorous hair and unfortuantely large teeth, trembling from head to toe. She, Potter and Weasley, the Dream Team, and at times, if she and Weasley weren't getting on, the Dynamic Duo. I snickered into my goblet, causing Hooch to look at me with more than friendly concern.
I remembered, suddenly, that old Professor Vector had departed and a new teacher was to take his place. I wondered idly who it might be, as I picked at my food. Non nourishing fare, as I had feared. Far too starchy, and I glanced briefly over at a first year's overhanging rear end. When he turned, I nearly choked again. The child looked eerily, frighteningly like Neville Longbottom.
The Headmaster looked down at me (his chair being conspicuously higher than the rest of the professor's) and followed my gaze. Ah yes, our own Trevor Longbottom, he said quietly, tucking a particularily vile piece of bean sprout into his napkin. Good gods, Albus, he didn't.....procreate?, I asked, shocked that Longbottom would have the wits to perform the most instinctual of functions. Albus nodded and gave me a stare far less mirthful than his first, For the boy's sake, give him a chance to prove himself before you unleash your wrath at his father upon his unfortunate head.
But...he named his son after his toad, I sputtered, not knowing whether to be thoroughly amused or disturbed at this fact. Ah, well, our Neville never did have the most sound judgment, he said sagely. I nodded mutely, finding myself inconveniently tongue tied. I suspected this had to do with Albus and his limitless knowledge of wandless magic, but I said nothing.
The Great Hall, when filled with children, is simultaneously invaded with the unsavoury sound of many hundreds of people sloppily eating. Slupring, gulping, spitting, swearing. It was enough to drive a recluse such as myself completely mad. I rubbed my temples, praying that this level of din would not be the norm for each meal. Hagrid glanced at me sympathetically, Bit o' the start o' the term jitters, there, eh Severus?. I nodded, hoping that I could somehow manage both a plaintative face, and spiteful glare in the same instant without looking foolish.
He nodded appreciatively, Noise gets to be a bit o' a bother to me , too. Never gets used to the size of thise place. He took an enormous swig from his goblet, then gestured for me to look beneath the table. I saw, clasped in his impressively large hand, an equally impressive bottle of Firewhiskey. I was tempted to just wrench the thing from him and alleviate the stirrings of a migraine, but instead, my infrequently employed conscience reprimanded him. , I said quietly, seeing as Dumbledore was already battling away about his quidditch theories with Hooch, Hagrid, you can't bring that in here. Are you mad? I know that giants are not reputed to be of oggling intelligence, but surely even you must know.... He waved the comment away, choosing to disregard my rather hateful remark about his kind. Ah, well professor, I find myself all flustered, it bein' the first day an' all. I just thought a bit o' the old medicine would set me right, he rumbled. Hagrid, you've had enough medicine'. Put the bloody thing away before the students see you carrying on, I snapped, shoving his hand shut.
His large eyes immediately welled with tears the size of spoon heads. Oh, you're right, professor. I'm bein' a bit of an oaf, is all. Just.....just that around this time I got me Norbert...and...then...I.....had to let him go!, he wailed, throwing up his napkin. He put his face in his hands, and I awkwardly sat there, not knowing exactly how to approach the subject of his unnatural attachment to the horrid, slimy thing.
It then immediately occured to me that others might wonder the same of Albus' apparent liking of me. Norbert and I were no different; we have tendencies to breathe fire, are unpleasantly reptilian, have impenetrable hides and have the same amount of dislike aimed at us by our fellow kinds. Still, being likened to a dragon is better than toad, I thought, remembering Neville's unfortunate son.
I also remembered that Lupin was set to finally, permanently accept the position of DADA. I stabbed my meat overzealously in rage. Suddeny, Albus tapped his glass and the hall fell silent. He rose to his feet, looking resplendent and gaudy in the same instance. His robes, bright enough to stunt my unaccustomed eyes, glowed and shivered with every move. His beard was even more magnificent, it being the closest shade to pure, unadultered silver I had ever seen. I was suddenly filled with an insane urge to go up and tug on it, much like a child at Christmast time, bouncing upon a Santa's knee. I felt like smacking my head against the table.
He spoke at length, his eyes noncomitally browsing the tirades of students. Students, first years, welcome to Hogwarts (here is where the silence broken. Bloody children can't even let him finish before they started cheering like drunken merrymakers). Perhaps, for those who have not already heard the news, and those who are new, we have two new additions to our prestigious faculty. To permanently (and he emphasized this) fulfill the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts, is on of our own alumni, Professor Remus Lupin (to my disgust, a great and frenetic cheer rose from the insufferable Gryffindors). And to honor our brilliant, but sadly deceased Professor Vector, Ms. Hermione Granger.
I quickly felt my world slipping out of focus. I gripped the table, hoping to gods that the name he had just uttered was somehow interchangeable with someone. Anyone! But, I saw her rise, a furious flush to her cheeks, and bow slightly, looking amazed at the ruckus her own house was causing. Even the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws had been infected with this overeagerness.
Hagrid was weeping again, and I was suddenly entrapped between a brutish, sobbing giant, and a slightly sadistic headmaster who would surely usher me into her all too revengeful arms. For a moment, I sympathised with Hagrid. I felt like weeping too.





A/N: Sheol is Hebrew for hell. Nymph's Reply, very witty poem written as a reponse to a rather bland, archetypical pastoral poem written in the 1600's.