QLFC again! Round 4 this time :) I had to write about the Carrow family, and as we all know, I have a lovely morbid fascination with these guys. So, twist my arm. ANYWHO, off we go! More Great Deeds is coming soon. :)

31 August 1997

Alecto Carrow had really thought she was well and truly shot of Hogwarts on the day she'd left in her sixth year, twenty-five years ago. It wasn't as though she had any particularly bad memories associated with the place—quite the contrary, she'd enjoyed her time there so much that old corpse Dumbledore had kicked her right out, revealing just how much of a hypocrite he was. He could bleat all day about tolerance, but hex one stupid, gloating Mudblood in his precious school, and out you went—

"Bollocks," Amycus muttered. He had gone to open the boar-topped gate to the castle drive while Alecto waited. "Now what?" he demanded with a snarl.

Amycus had been the good boy in the family—he'd graduated before Alecto had gotten thrown out, which meant that he'd been serving the Dark Lord for all of seven months longer than she had, but he never let her forget it.

"I don' bloody know, do I?" she snapped. She scowled up at the outline of the castle, illuminated by the dying sun. "Where's Snape, then?"

"An' how am I s'posed to know that?" Amycus asked sarcastically. He yanked back the left sleeve of his robe.

"You idiot," Alecto snapped. "We just left Malfoy Manor, an' you wanna tell him we can't figure out how to get into the stupid school?"

The sense in this statement stopped Amycus, and he lowered his arm. "Well, what's your great idea, then?"

"Late for your first day, Professors?" said a drawling voice. They both looked around; Snape was approaching them from the other side of the gate, his wand drawn. "Tut, tut, I'm afraid this will never do."

"Shove it, Snape," Amycus barked. "Let us in, will ya?"

"I believe you mean, 'headmaster'," said Snape in a silky tone. He came to a stop and surveyed them through the bars of the gate, tapping his wand against his palm idly.

"Yeah, right," Alecto said, stepping forward and glaring up at him. "Shove it, headmaster."

Amycus snorted with laughter, and Alecto chuckled as Snape's face turned an ugly shade of purple. He bared his teeth. "The pair of you would do well to remember that you are here to serve in my endeavors to keep control of Hogwarts for the Dark Lord," he said coldly.

"Oh, no, no, no," said Amycus, raising a hand and waggling one finger at Snape.

"We heard about how you was treatin' Pettigrew," Alecto told him. "An' that's not gonna fly with us, you overgrown vulture. We're here on the Dark Lord's business, an' you can either help us, like you been told, or stay outta the way."

Snape's expression became uglier still.

"Now, let us in," Alecto added sweetly, with a smile, "headmaster."

He raised his wand, and the padlocks on the gate snapped open, the chains slithering back so that the gate opened just enough to admit them both.

"That's it," Alecto said cheerfully, stepping through. "We're all friends here, eh?"

"I was just announcing your appointments to the staff," Snape said, recovering himself as they walked up the path to the school. "The students arrive tomorrow, I trust you remember."

"You got that list of the ones you want us to watch out for?" Amycus grunted, half a pace behind Alecto as they ascended the drive to the front doors of the castle.

"Of course," Snape replied coolly. "Though whether or not they all return to the school remains to be seen."

"Attendance is mandatory," said Alecto. "Thicknesse pushed it through on Yaxley's orders, it was in the bloody paper. It's how we're going to catch all them little Mudbloods when they show up to catch the train." She caught Amycus's eye, and they shared a grin.

"Use your head, Alecto," said Snape witheringly. "How many Muggleborns do you imagine have already gone into hiding? You really think they'll turn up to catch a train? At best, I imagine we'll arrest one or two, but no more than that."

They had reached the massive front doors of the castle, which Snape pushed open.

"The Dark Lord reckons—" Alecto began.

"The Dark Lord believes that as long as the school is purged of Muggleborn influence, then he will be satisfied. Any further arrests and inquiries are the business of Yaxley, Thicknesse, and the Ministry of Magic," said Snape, as they ascended the wide marble staircase. "The staff are assembled here. I believe you will remember some of them from your own school days…"

As they reached a door situated between two pillars bearing a pair of stone gargoyles (which eyed them suspiciously), Alecto experienced the onset of a sudden, ominous feeling. Snape was smirking as he held the door for her, and she entered the staff room.

The long wooden table in the center of the room was full, occupied, as Snape had said, by the entire staff. The only empty chair was at the head of the table, where Snape himself had apparently been sitting.

The room was dim, lit only by the fire in the grate and the few torches along the walls. Twenty pairs of eyes rested on Alecto and Amycus, who stared right back. Alecto felt her nose wrinkling at the sight of the witch who taught Herbology—and Slughorn, who caught her eye briefly, opened his mouth, and then closed it, looking away, his fat hands fiddling with the buttons of his waistcoat.

Alecto gave a derisive snort and turned to Amycus, muttering, "An' the Dark Lord thinks this mold museum needs babysitting."

Amycus laughed out loud, and a tall, thin figure rose from the table.

"Professor Carrow," said the figure, "we do not ordinarily allow staff meetings to be interrupted by late arrivals."

"Now, now, Minerva," said Snape in a placating tone that barely hid his amusement, "there is no reason to be rude to our new colleagues."

Alecto glowered up at Minerva McGonagall, whose sharp nostrils had flared and turned white at the use of the word 'colleagues.' Alecto felt a surge of hatred for her; it was unbelievable that this old hag was still alive when they'd managed to wipe out so many of the Order. She slid a hand into her pocket… maybe she could fix that mistake…

"Amycus, Alecto," said Snape calmly, waving his wand so that two more chairs appeared beside his own at the table. "Have a seat."

Amycus tugged Alecto's arm, but she didn't budge; she and McGonagall were still glaring at each other, as though two and a half decades had never happened—as though Alecto was sixteen again, and she'd just hexed Cresswell, that stupid Mudblood, for smirking about Gryffindor beating Slytherin in Quidditch.

Alecto's nerves felt raw, exposed—she hated McGonagall for making her feel like a child, and it seemed that McGonagall hated her right back.

"Alecto," Snape barked, and she broke eye contact with McGonagall, going to join Amycus. McGonagall, too, took her seat once more and pointedly directed her gaze away from where Alecto sat.

"Old bitch," Alecto muttered in Amycus's ear, and he made a noise of agreement.

"She'll get what's comin'," he told her.

Alecto drew her wand from her pocket, resting it on her knee as she glared at McGonagall's profile. Snape was still speaking, but she didn't care. "Yeah… right…"

"I heard a few Aurors used 'er for target practice a while back," he muttered in her ear. "Stunners straight to the chest. Bet you can do better."

It was Alecto's turn to smirk, and she looked at him. She felt a sudden, strange surge of power overtaking her; she wasn't a child anymore—she wasn't at the mercy of McGonagall, or Dumbledore, or anybody—the Dark Lord was in control now, and so was she. Things were finally as they always should have been.

She curled her lip and muttered, "Gimme one shot, I'll get rid of her."

"Attagirl," Amycus grunted.