Severus Snape walked briskly in the cool spring air, reveling the feeling of being outside. He was amazed at how good it felt just to be out of that quarantine room and walking somewhere, anywhere else. Sure, the last week of it had passed swiftly with Harry and him both recovering easily from their illness. He reflected on how much he had actually enjoyed the company of both the boy and, strangely enough, Sirius Black. They had left down all of the barriers that had been up before and the threesome had chatted, played games, and generally enjoyed each other's company. He had to admit that it did feel very good to sign the papers with Harry – having himself as Harry's official guardian was not something he would have expected at all but now that it happened he was finding himself enjoying being a substitute father for the boy. But when did Sirius Black become anything other than an accursed enemy? It was bad enough when he had to talk about Lily in front of the man, but Sirius had never even mocked him for it, and was now acting as if they were on some level some sort of friends. Snape would never figure out these Gryffindors.
Forcing himself to stop thinking of Harry and to focus on his task, he would need all his wits about him to complete his next task. Lupin had outdone himself to get a hair off of a ministry official that worked with prisoners for him, he would not waste his shot in getting this done. Dumbledore could detain the official at Hogwarts to discuss his daughter's progress for a while, but not indefinitely. Taking a fortifying swig of the polyjuice potion, he entered the Ministry.
"Afternoon, Smuthers," the guard greeted him as he entered. "I didn't expect to see you today."
"Just a routine inspection," Snape answered. "When was he going to be transferred again?"
"He's all done with his Veritaserum questioning," the guard answered. "I believe he's going to Azkaban tomorrow."
"Hmm," Snape answered, but secretly very relieved as to his timing. Sirius and he had conferred and realized that Azkaban couldn't hold Pettigrew just as it couldn't hold Sirius – it didn't account for unregistered animangas. And, since exposing Pettigrew as an animangas would almost certainly expose Sirius, that wasn't an option either. So, they had made a plan for how to prevent Pettigrew from ever becoming free again. It soon became clear that no containment was going to work without the knowledge of his animangas form, so really that left them with little choice. Though the thought of a quick death did not seem to be adequate punishment for the harm he had caused, they also agreed it was better than risk having him get out again and cause havoc – including possibly helping Voldemort again. Even if he were sentenced to be kissed – and there was tons of appeals left to him before that happened – it was likely he would escape before his sentence could be carried out.
"That must be why I was sent then. May I see the prisoner?"
"Sure thing," the guard gestured him down a hallway, and then stopped in front of Pettigrew's cell.
"What's this then?" Pettigrew asked, looking mulish. "Another interrogation?"
"Just a check," Snape answered in a bored voice. "The ministry wants to check on your level of wandless magic before you're transferred to Azkaban so appropriate wards and measures can be taken. It's painless, I just need you to place your hand in mine, palm up, and I will perform a spell."
"I'm not in particular humor to do what the ministry wants," Pettigrew growled.
"I can do it just as easily with you petrified," Snape answered in the same bored tone. "And I might forget to unpetrify you for a few hours."
Grumbling, Pettigrew complied, sticking his hand through the bars with his palm up. His hand rested on Snape's hand as Snape performed the check.
"Power levels are quite low, actually," Snape announced. "I don't believe this prisoner is much of a threat."
"Should be easy, then," the guard agreed. "He hasn't given us too much trouble magically speaking, he's just a bit of an ass."
"I am a servant of the Dark Lord!" he hissed. "He will avenge me!"
"Shut it," the guard threatened. "You don't want me to have to come in there again."
"Thanks for your time," Snape told the guard, ignoring the outburst from the deatheater and turning to leave. He wanted to be well away before the topical potion he'd transferred to the back of Peter's hand began to work, because when it started it was quick and brutal. "I'll file the report."
"No problem," the guard replied.
Snape glided away, missing the robes he could normally flick behind him. The further away he got, the more he was able to breathe. Unless caught red-handed administering the poison, it was unlikely someone would suspect poison with this particular potion – it would look like he had heart failure and unless a particularly savvy Auror noticed the red patch on his hand where the potion was administered, then it was unlikely to be investigated further. Once out of the ministry, Snape carefully removed the protective film over his hand and banished it, along with any traces of the poison. It was done.
AN: This brings us to the end of the first installment of the Quarantine saga. Yes, I say first installment because I am indeed working on a sequel. The sequel will be different in many ways but also have the same idea of a quarantine. Stay tuned.
I have also had a recent run of trolls, and have written a short one-shot and let Snape deal with it for me. If you're interested, it's a story I just posted called, "Snape and the Troll Classroom."