"You killed Professor Snape!" Malfoy bellowed as Harry walked into the Great Hall for breakfast. The whole room fell silent, and expectant eyes turned upon him.
"I have an alibi for the last 24 hours." Harry said quickly, but then he smirked at Malfoy. "But please, elaborate."
The morning post arrived before Malfoy could continue, and Hedwig swooped down with a letter, landing on his shoulder.
It was a howler. Harry nudged it open with the tip of his wand.
"I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" Sirius' voice boomed. "SNAPE'S IN THE HOSPITAL WING AND YOU LOST MORE POINTS IN A DAY THAN I MANAGED IN A YEAR. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, KIDDO." It burnt itself to pieces.
A great cheer erupted around the room, and Fred and George set off some fireworks that exploded in red and gold sparks. People ran over to him, clapping him on the back; Oliver Wood and another sixth year boosted Harry up onto their shoulders. Harry accepted their tributes, as was his due.
There was a loud bang, and all the fireworks vanished; the Weasley twins booed their dismay. Dumbledore was standing at the podium in front of the teachers table.
"If I may have your attention." Reluctantly the room fell silent, and Harry jumped back down to the floor.
"Professor Snape is merely suffering from a brief illness. He will be back to teaching classes in no time, as I'm glad you will be happy to hear."
"What a let-down!" Someone from Hufflepuff yelled, and sniggers echoed around the room.
"Now, if you could please return to your breakfast in an orderly and well-mannered fashion, that would be much appreciated."
Despite their disappointment in discovering that Snape was still alive, all the Houses bar Slytherin were celebrating, and Gryffindor didn't even care that Harry had lost over five hundred points for keeping a basilisk in the school (amongst other things). He was being treated like a hero, and while he felt vaguely guilty he was also smug that he'd finally gotten to Snape.
In fact, he felt like a true son of a Marauder. Following the Howler, Sirius had written him a long and flowery letter singing Harry's praises. So, of course, that meant it was time for another prank.
"Harry, they're saying Snape's in the hospital wing because of you! He had an aneurysm." Hermione exclaimed. She'd been late to breakfast, and had missed the announcement.
"I know, isn't it great!" Harry replied. Hermione recoiled, and Harry thought back on his last sentence.
"What, no!" She cried.
"I know, isn't it awful!" Harry corrected, crossing his fingers behind his back. Hermione narrowed her eyes at him, but didn't say anything. "So… I've been thinking…"
"Oh no." Hermione groaned. Harry huffed.
"Rude." He muttered. "Anyway, I've been thinking, that with a little help from Fred and George..." He wiggled his eyebrows at Hermione, who sighed.
"Prank time." She said, sounding about as unenthusiastic as Ron faced with homework.
"Prank time?" One twin said, popping up next to Harry.
"Sound like our kind of thing." The other twin said, from next to Hermione. They grinned, and Harry grinned back.
Severus had been out of the hospital wing for two days, with instructions to keep his blood pressure down. He fumed at the utterly useless advice, stalking back and forth within his quarters. At least it gave him an excellent reason to quit his job as a teacher once the Dark Lord was finally dead.
Severus patted the vial of basilisk venom hidden in his front pocket. He'd had Albus instruct Potter to extract it, the one good thing to come of the entire situation. The boy had barely been punished! He'd been all for letting Filch get out the thumbscrews.
Pain lanced up his side and Severus hissed, clenching his left forearm with his right hand.
The Dark Mark was burning.
Severus flooed Albus. "He's calling."
"Good luck." Albus said, a solemn look in his eyes.
Severus flooed to the Three Broomsticks, then apparated to Little Hangleton The Dark Lord's wards prickled as he passed through them, testing him for the Mark. He swept up three dusty stair cases, the once red velvet runner tattered and worn, and into the master bedroom. The Dark Lord was sitting as his desk, looking as if he'd just forced himself from bed.
"Ah, Severus. You have my potions? How was the first week back with those miserable little cretins?" He drawled.
Severus bowed, and the Dark Lord graciously allowed him to his feet. "I have your potions, my lord." Severus said. "Dumbledore and his ilk are as annoying as usual, and Potter is being his normal spoilt self."
"They'll get theirs… all in good time." The Dark Lord hissed and he fingered his wand. Severus took a deep breath, and handed the Dark Lord his first potion.
"Blood Replenisher, Pepper Up, Strengthening Potion, and a Nutritional Supplement." The Dark Lord swiped each potion from him and drank it down quickly, grimacing at the taste. Severus clenched his hands behind his back as he handed the last one over. He could feel a bead of sweat forming on his brow.
"Very good, Severus… you are my most faithful – ARK!"
The Dark Lord was clutching his throat, the empty vial of basilisk venom in his hand.
"Expelliarmous!" Severus cried, and snatched the Dark Lord's wand away as he fumbled with it. The Dark Lord – Voldemort – stared at him incredulously.
"Severus?" He croaked.
"All your horcruxes have been destroyed!" Severus gloated. Voldemort paled, and his eyes bulged.
"Nooo!" Voldemort gargled, collapsing to the floor. "It burns, it burns!" He hissed, writhing about and scratching at the carpet, his breath coming laboured pants. Severus watched with distaste, and vague amusement.
"Mummy!" Voldemort cried. And then he died.
Severus took his time walking back down the stairs. He was admiring his forearm; pale, unmarked skin, a little red, perhaps, but it was free from the vile design that had covered it for so many years. He sent off a spell that would alert the aurors to trouble, and sat on a bench in the garden and waited.
A girl with bubblegum pink hair and a loud voice arrived with Kingsley Shacklebolt.
"Voldemort's body," Severus said carefully, "is in the master bedroom of this house."
The girl's hair turned bright green, and her jaw dropped. Shacklebolt, luckily, was more professional.
"Go get Madam Bones." He snapped at the girl. Severus recognised her now; Nymphadora Tonks, mediocrely good at potions for a Hufflepuff.
Severus proceeded to engage in a staring competition with Shacklebolt that he knew he was going to win. He'd stared down Voldemort, Albus, and Minerva. Shacklebolt simply wasn't intimidating. Shacklebolt sighed as if he'd realised that, and looked away.
Madam Bones, Nymphadora Tonks, four other aurors, Minister Fudge, Rita Skeeter and her photographer arrived. There was an extremely put upon expression on Madam Bones' face.
"It was merely a potions mishap," Severus began, "gone awfully wrong…"
YOU-KNOW-WHO GONE FOR GOOD!
INTERVIEW WITH THE HEROIC SEVERUS SNAPE
THE POTIONS MISHAP THAT SAVED US ALL!
By Rita Skeeter
Upon arriving in Little Hangleton, a small muggle village in Yorkshire, I was greeted by the hero of the hour, Severus Snape. He looked at me, and I swore I could feel him gazing into my very soul, his fathomless eyes so full of emotion it made me shiver.
He painted a striking figure, dark robes draping off his broad shoulders that set off his roguish good looks and smouldering charm. Of course, dedicated journalist that I am, I knew I needed to dig deeper than superficial impressions to discover the truth about You-Know-Who's defeat.
RS: "How did you come to know the location of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?
SS: "As recorded in the transcripts for my trial in '81, I have spent the last twelve years working as a mole for Albus Dumbledore. When He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named regained a body, I returned to his side as a spy and he thought me his most faithful. Unfortunately, I swapped out a simple Nutritional Supplement for a vial of Basilisk Venom I was carrying around with me, quite by accident, and so he perished."
RS: "By accident!" I was in shock when the daring Professor Snape finished his story. "Surely you don't mean to tell me that you mistook Basilisk Venom for a Nutritional Supplement by accident."
SS: "That's exactly what I said." I fanned myself; Severus was so brave he hadn't even meant to defeat You Know Who; it had just happened! I found myself to be flustered by his very presence. Finally, I pulled myself together in order to ask the question we've all been wondering:
RS: "Did he have any final words?"
SS: "He merely expressed his regrets that he did not get a chance to spend more time with his family."
A motto that I think we would all do well to adhere to, I'm sure my kind readers would agree!
RS: "And what are you going to do with your life now?" Severus had only just turned down Minster Fudge's offer of a position with the aurors, and my own suggestion that he hire me to write his biography.
SS: "I'll finish the term at Hogwarts, then retire somewhere no one like you can ever find me." I laughed gaily.
RS: "You wound me!" I joked, throwing him a coquettish glance, which he seemed entranced by.
SS: "I'd like to." He muttered, and I chuckled. Severus was such a joker!
Me, myself and I have formed a special sort of bond with Severus Snape, and I can tell that's he's going to be a regular heartthrob. Ask yourself, ladies; has your hubby ever defeated a Dark Lord? Severus Snape has! And he's still at Hogwarts until Christmas. But get in line: I saw him first!
Albus smiled to himself as he set down the paper, and twirled his beard around his fingers.
"Pigs will fly the moment Severus Snape is declared a hero!" Harry Potter announced, as he burst into the Great Hall. The students fell silent, waiting with baited breath as they watched Severus fume, and Harry grin.
Moments later, the screaming began as all the work Harry and his friends had put into their latest prank paid off, and hundreds of pigs flew into the Great Hall, white feathered wings letting them take to the air.
"POTTER!" He heard Severus bellow, followed by the sound of giggling children fleeing the room.
"Save us, my devastatingly dashing hero, with your roguish good looks!" Minerva cried. Albus shot her a disapproving look even as Severus huffed and stalked away from the staff table.
"Was that really necessary?"
Minerva grinned. With a flick of her wrist she expanded the article and pasted it to the wall for all to read.
"I am feeling rather flustered." Pomona added, a gleam in her eye. A flying pig swooped low overhead and she banished it without bothering to look.
"I rather think I'd suit coquettish." Filius squeaked.
Albus sighed. He checked to see if Severus was still in the room; he wasn't. Then he brandished his wand, and conjured a fan for each member of the faculty, including himself.
"To Severus Snape, the hero!" Albus flicked the fan open, and waved it, allowing the breeze to blow his beard over his shoulder.
"I think he's finally snapped!" Minerva not so subtly whispered.
Albus merely smiled. Perhaps he had.
Thanks to everyone who stuck with me through this story! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.