J K Rowling owns all the rights to the books and the amazing characters she created. I write only to satisfy my imagination and use my creativity and make no money from my writings.
NOTE: I apologize for not writing anything for a while but, there was Christmas, the plague going around which I still have, Peeves was misbehaving and the weather is BAD. Will try to do better.
Chapter 10 – Life in the "Inside"
Mercifully, for Narcissa and Draco, the proud, spoiled child was convinced – for now – of the seriousness of the situation and although it physically pained him to do so, he agreed to behave, but only after asking if his mother was positive that even if Potter and Longbottom somehow managed to die during their Hogwarts years (or shortly thereafter), what were his chances of becoming the next Lord Black. Since Draco had been taken to Gringotts, two ghosts, much more frightening than the Hogwarts ghosts in Draco's opinion, became visible with the elder one shouting out "NO" in an eerie and chilling voice. Draco was then introduced to Lord Arcturus and his cousin Regulus.
Nothing had ever terrified Draco as these two ghosts and it took all of his Malfoy control not to scream, soil himself or faint while being chastised and having the "law" laid down for him. When things couldn't possibly get worse, they did, as Arcturus informed the now quivering boy that he had to swear allegiance to…Harry Potter…and a piece of parchment was handed to him containing the oath he had to give on his life and magic. He would become a vassal to Potter but also Longbottom and was not allow to harass the Mudblood Granger. Would life even be worth living in such a world? Then, he fainted, sincerely hoping this was just a very bad dream.
As expected, when the Aurors brought the three boys home, Arthur had to cancel the spells on his wife but not before he had the Aurors inform Molly exactly why the children were expelled as well as making certain Molly knew that Arthur's job and her freedom were at risk. The boys had admitted that their mother had urged them to do what they did as "We are Dumbledore's supporters through and through and we MUST help him be restored to what is rightfully his and those who caused his unlawful, shocking, slanderous and totally uncalled for downfall MUST BE PUNISHED."
The boys had also mentioned (since they were under Veritaserum) all of the perks the family had lost and of the rewards they would be receiving in the future if they obeyed and supported Dumbledore. The Twins didn't want to participate in the "train incident" but were threatened and forced by their mother – but not their father as he didn't know about it – and thus had no choice unless they wanted to be disowned and cast out of the House of Weasley.
Just so there was no "confusion" a written document was given over listing everything that had been done, on whose orders and the reasons for the punishments and warnings given to Arthur and Molly. She was then released to sign the document after she read it and thus, theoretically, would adhere to the terms and conditions of the House of Weasley. Before the Aurors left, the Auror in charge stressed that Arthur would hold onto the boys' wands and they would only be allowed to use them when they were given lessons which needed a wand and that ALL Weasleys, including Bill and Charlie who lived and worked outside of Britain, would be watched.
However, the moment the Aurors had cleared the Burrow, Molly started her screaming fest about how they would still support and restore Dumbledore back to power, NO ONE would tell her how to raise her children and demanded that Arthur turn the wands over to her, as well as anything else that came to mind. The diatribe had been longer, more bitter and wrathful than Arthur expected but he listen anyway. However, Molly didn't think he was listening, and learning as well as he should be to what the Weasleys were really going to be doing, so she got his attention by slapping his face and demanding he pay more attention. Gentle man that he was, something snapped in Arthur and the next thing he knew, he had slapped her back. The fat was in the fire now.
The three boys were shocked by the slapping but were more alarmed at the physical fight that their parents engaged in and Arthur actually winning by stunning his wife. There was silence for a moment while Arthur caught his breath and the boys took in what had happened, but then Ronald (naturally) asked "Are you going to revive mum to cook dinner? I'm really hungry." The Twins just looked at each other and shook their heads but Arthur, totally against his nature was still so angry that he lashed back at Ronald.
"If you are that hungry, cook something yourself – without burning down the house – or make a sandwich or beg food from the Diggorys or Lovegoods because…" he stopped to take a much needed breath "I am seriously considering…divorcing your mother…for shaming and endangering House Weasley." He then left the house (after taking Molly's wand in case one of the boys decided to use it to revive their mother) and took a long walk to clear his head and decided what he was going to do. His life was now in shambles and it was all due to Albus #*$#&^#&^* Dumbledore. He would now have to decide how he was going to save his family from the fate Molly had saddled them with and if divorce was the only way to do so.
He truly wished he had a friend to turn to for advice but realized that since his marriage to Molly and the loss of his own brothers, the only "friends" he had were either killed in the war or were staunch Dumbledore supporters. The people at the Ministry who he associated with and were on good terms were merely acquaintances. They didn't do things outside of work, didn't accept the invitations he gave them to come to dinner nor did they invite him and Molly over for a meal, to parties or what passed for entertainment for wizarding couples. His family was all he had and was now in danger of falling apart.
He had never felt so alone and confused in his life. He had to do something but didn't know how or what to do, only that it had to be done as soon as possible.
Severus Snape was slowly getting used to living in his new prison. He was used to living in prisons, starting with the horror of his father's treatment, being bullied at his Muggle primary school which paled in comparison to the bullying he received at Hogwarts from the Marauders as well as constantly watching his back in Slytherin House. Then he was trapped between the Dark Lords Voldemort and yes, Dumbledore, who he always considered, but at this time especially, darker than Voldie had ever been. Hogwarts had become a prison as he was forced by Dumbles to work teaching dunderheads if only to avoid Azkaban. He knew that he had been spelled, hexed, charmed, obliviated and totally controlled by Dumbledore and forced to make oaths on his life and magic to do the things Dumbles had forced him to do as Azkaban always lurked in the distance and definitely there was a strong guilt charm placed on him concerning Lily.
It wasn't the first time he had asked the Void (which was what he called God for want of a better name) WHY ME? As usual, he received no answer. His life had been a failure in every way. His intellect, magical power and other talents had been wasted, not by him but by those who controlled his life in one way or another. There were times when he thought about ending it all but Dumbledore's spells had made it impossible to do so. While Dumbledore had a use for him, he was forced to live and work for the old fiend and do whatever he commanded, especially things rather dark. As the self-proclaimed and universally acknowledged "Leader of the Light" Severus Snape knew some, but probably not all, of the darkness Dumbledore really practiced. But as the Leader of the Light, he could not be seen to get his hands "dirty" and had minions like Severus do such work for him. Snape really didn't want to know what dark magic the old coot did do on his own but he wouldn't be surprised if he probably did things that would chill even Voldemort's soul.
But now, the unbeatable Albus Dumbledore was sitting in Azkaban, no doubt plotting how to get out of prison and getting back all of his positions and power. The last thing Severus had heard, Dumbledore was in the "better" part of Azkaban. Few people knew that Azkaban had more than one level of punishment. Level one was a small group of cells which held the short-timers, meaning those who went to Azkaban for a few weeks or months and where the likes of Mundungus Fletcher usually ended up. The cell had a stone bed but a respectable mattress, linens, pillows and blankets which were changed monthly. You had a chamber pot which self-cleaned and a small sink with towels and soap. Your uniform was changed once a month and the male prisoners were given a shave once a week. You could receive and send mail but the Dementors came around once a week for five minutes. You had two meals a day but only water to drink. You could have visitors once a month with the exception of a reporter or any other writer.
Level three was where the most dangerous, degenerate, dark, evil and those serving a life sentence were confined. The conditions were too horrible to mention.
Level two was in between one and three and this was where Dumbledore now resided. Despite all that had been revealed about him, he still had some loyal supporters, had done some good things like defeating Grindelwald, discovering the 12 uses for dragon's blood, etc. Also his great age was factored in as this was a punishment and the third level would have seen him dead within a month or less. It was similar to level one except he could receive mail – after the Aurors inspected it for secret messages and spells – but couldn't send any except once a month and then only to a relative or a legal representative and the Aurors read and checked it before it was sent.
However, since he was Dumbledore, he had the great privilege of being allowed to have books to read and parchment and ink so that he could write notes and perhaps eventually pen a book or paper and thus still be of help to Magical Britain. The books and any writings had to be approved by the Warden and a good explanation had to be given as to why Dumbledore needed a book. Also, his many followers sent him presents from sweets, biscuits, a subscription to the Daily Prophet and books. Again, everything was carefully inspected by the Aurors and Warden but he was allowed unheard of concessions and special treatment.
However, nothing is perfect and one of the rules concerning prisoners was the weekly shave and monthly hair cut to prevent vermin from spreading. Thus, much to his horror and despite his demands, for the first time in many decades, Albus Dumbledore got a haircut and a shave! It totally changed his appearance and his protests even chased away the Dementors for a while.
His optimism kept him going as he knew some of his followers would be moving heaven and earth to free him – one way or another. Meanwhile he had books, writing materials and hope which was more than the three others had – and all thanks to him.
Minnie and Poppy had accepted their fate as it was no use crying over bound magic and because they knew that Dumbles would never release them from the oaths he had forced them to take. They were given a cell together so that was some comfort in their now ruined lives. After five years they would be released and re-evaluated by the Wizengamot as to whether their magic would be unbound. It was a given that they would not be getting their former positions back nor receiving their hard-earned pensions. All they had to do was to survive.
When Dumbledore became Headmaster, he had not only changed the curriculum but many other things – to save money the school always desperately needed. The staff had very comfortable private quarters, a house elf servant, their food and drink supplied and the PRESTIGE of being a teacher at Hogwarts, which according to Albus was worth more than money. Therefore, no staff member had received a raise since Dumbledore took over and the few new staff hired since the 1950s were given a very frugal salary since all of their necessities were supplied and now they had all that wonderful prestige!
Although the cost of living rose, the salaries remained the same and clothes had to be replaced, necessities such as single malts and firewhiskey purchased, presents were given to friends and relatives, holidays paid for and all of the other things which made life livable. There wasn't much left for savings, especially after taxes to the Ministry of Magic was paid – and they were always going up.
The teachers had only their pensions for their old age or retirement, and Minnie and Poppy had lost them.
Poppy had more hope than Minnie as at least she had money stashed away. She had received an inheritance when her mother and a great auntie died and before their deaths, they had opened a Muggle bank account in Poppy's name and slowly deposited as much money as they dared into that account so the Goblins wouldn't know about it and for Poppy's inheritance tax to be much less. By the time both witches had left this mortal world, there was a very tidy sum put away.
When she could, Poppy spent her galleons for the "benefit" of some favorite and trustworthy Muggleborn students. She exchanged her galleons for their money and at a much better rate than the ruinous one of the Goblins, and then deposited the pounds in her secret account. Since the students were obligated to deposit their pounds at Gringotts to pay their tuition, usually they used Poppy's galleons to purchase school supplies and for spending money. It wasn't much but it gave some help to the Muggleborns and Poppy.
Minnie kept her small savings hidden at Hogwarts but now even that was lost. It was very well hidden and hopefully if she ever was allowed to return to Hogwarts for a visit, it could be retrieved. Basically, she would have nothing left except the small cottage she had inherited from a maiden aunt, on her father's side. She hadn't been there for years as she rarely had time (or the funds) for a holiday due to the extra work Albus always forced on her. At times, she hoped she didn't survive prison as she had nothing to go back to.
Both witches were given work to do with Poppy aiding the prison medical staff (one very old, slovenly and uncaring Muggle nurse who had every intention of letting Poppy do most of the work) while Minnie was assigned to the laundry. She would be allowed to tutor some of the younger inmates who were basically undereducated for some reason but it would be after she completed her shift. She didn't know if she would have the physical or mental energy to do so but would "think about it."
Out of the four prisoners, only Severus Snape was fitting in. As with all newbies, four bullies tried to intimidate him. Since Snape was highly educated, thin, pale and thus probably a wimp, four large, brutal "lifers" cornered him in the shower. It will not be mentioned what they said or intended to do to him, but one may guess.
They thought it would be easy but were quite surprised to learn: (1) he could easily outthink them; (2) he wasn't as weak as he looked and he had taken numerous Muggle self-defense lessons in his free time as well as having skills in school yard fighting; (3) he had studied some esoteric magical defenses in a rare book he found and was self-taught and wanted to try them out (they were dark, of course); (4) he absolutely refused to be browbeaten by such filth; and mostly importantly (5) he was Severus Tobias Snape, Potions Master, an intellectual, Death Eater, spy, greasy dungeon bat, possibly a vampire (as the students thought) and generally a mean SOB and since his graduation from Hogwarts he vowed that he would never again be bullied!
Dark Lords didn't count as - well they were Dark Lords – plus everybody has a boss, had to obey governmental and societal laws and put up with things they didn't like BUT that didn't mean one had to be a slave to these overlords, even if only in the privacy of one's mind!
Two of the bullies tried to pin his arms behind his back but Severus was too quick for them and none of the four knew what hit them only that they lay bruised, bloodied and had the occasional broken bone. Snape finished his shower and went off to his cell to sleep.
It had been other prisoners who found the four incapacitated bullies and reported them to the guard. Surprisingly, it was Severus who was punished despite the Warden believing him. "It's for your own safety until they cool down. You'll be in solitary for a month."
Now just about everybody detests solitary confinement, but not our boy Sevvy. Despite the lack of books and things to do, he quite liked it. He slept a lot to make up for all those sleepless nights (and days) and since there was no students, Voldemort or the biggest pain in the ass, Dumbledore to interrupt his snooze, he had the first good night's sleep in years for the next 30 days.
When awake, he practiced his defense lessons and did a bit of Muggle exercises. Then he did something he also hadn't had the chance to do for a long time – he thought. Mostly it was about potions and new ones he had wanted to experiment with but with Dumbledore's nagging, manipulations and downright irritating him for his amusement (because he could) he had no free time to conduct any research that wasn't ordered by Dumbledore. Due to his prodigious memory, he was already doing the work in his mind.
He also thought about his misspent life. Well, he didn't misspend it – others did, due to their manipulations, control, jealousy and agendas. However, as soon as he was released (and hopefully his magic was unbound) he was going to start anew, preferably by leaving Britain. Poppy wasn't the only one with a Muggle bank account. Severus had started one after he received a patent for a potion he invented only to have Dumbledore "convince" him to donate all proceeds to the Order of the Phoenix. Since then, anything he invented was patented under an alias. He wouldn't receive personal credit, just the money and Albus couldn't get his hands on it if he didn't know about it.
When his month of "peace" was over, he was taken directly to the Warden's office and given a warning. "I hope you have learned your lesson and will cease to cause any trouble" he said sternly. The Warden had been informed that this Snape fellow was special and of interest to the government but not why. He was to look after the strange man and see that he came to no harm, but it seemed Snape was just full of surprises.
"Warden Dutton, why was my confinement cut short?"
"It wasn't - you served your thirty days."
"Hmmm. I guess it's true that time flies when you are having fun."
"What do you mean by having fun?" the Warden asked.
The man explained how he spent his time, got caught up on sleep, etc., much to the shock of the Warden.
"Is there any chance I can do another thirty days?"
"WHAT!" the Warden screamed. "No one likes solitary. Are you…crazy?"
"Not as much as some individuals I am acquainted with. I found it stimulating to be alone with my thoughts for a while. No doubt I will be assigned some labor to do?"
"Of course. Since you are a chemistry teacher you can help out in the Infirmary and tutor those prisoners who are trying to better themselves. Does this meet with your approval?" the Warden asked sarcastically.
"I agree to such employment BUT, please be warned that I was the one attacked by four over-sized bullies who definitely meant me harm and although I managed to…dissuade…them from harming me, I was the one punished. Therefore, please be advised that I will defend myself if attacked, so I suggest you warn the inhabitants behind these walls to leave me alone."
That ruffled the Warden's feathers but before he could give a nasty reply, Snape asked "Do you know why I am incarcerated here?"
"No. The government wouldn't brief me except for saying you were…unique. What did you do – murder people at your school?"
The man said nothing, he just smiled. It was the most discomforting smile the Warden had ever seen and he didn't want to know what the man had really done. He had seen what this man was capable of turning the tables on the four bullies, severely damaging them, and then finishing his shower and calmly returning to his cell to sleep.
He would have the guards carefully watch him to prevent further incidents from happening.