*enters with Snape… doesn't look at him and he doesn't look at her, either* *stares at you* you never give up do you? I have had SO MANY requests for a sequel…
*grins* well here it is. I can't deny you something for long, can I?
However, I am SHAKING with fear that, like many sequels, it won't be as good as the previous one… so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me if you think I should continue this, because if it's not worth it, I won't do it. I mean it.
Anyhow… Chapter 1, hit play! *Snape rolls his eyes and gets something strong and on the rocks*
The Christmas holidays had passed in peace, and after the now-famous attack on Hogwarts castle, Voldemort was as withdrawn from everyday events as ever. In all accounts he could even be dead. There was rumour that he had met his demise in the Hogwarts Attack, but had had enough strength to disapparate to die elsewhere.
Fudge couldn't be happier. He was glad that this had happened during his term of office. He was glad he could add in his speech how he had always sanctioned and supported having his aurors ready for everything, thus giving Dumbledore and the Order the luxury of calling them at a short notice.
A politician couldn't have had it better. Fudge rubbed his hands as he sat behind his desk and perused the daily documents to be signed. He made a face at the one on top.
The final, formal pardon to Sirius Black, as well as the Order of Merlin second class. He was not particularly interested in the man, but he would rather the ex-convict was still imprisoned… he had made him look ridiculous with his miraculous escape from Azkaban. Fudge never forgot and never forgave anyone that had rediculized him in any way. Still, since he was proven to be such a hero, nobody remembered that particular slip-up. They did, however, remember Black's status as a member of the Order.
Fudge signed the two documents with a flourish, and charmed his verification on the document with his wand. It shone silver for a while and then the glitter was gone from the seal now featuring near his signature. Next on the pile was an even less appealing document.
Severus Snape's Order of Merlin second class. Dumbledore had implied his wish for the odious, dark man to be given a first class decoration instead of the second class one he was about to receive, but that was out of the question. If Fudge did not care about political cost and the friendship he had to upkeep with Dumbledore, he wouldn't have given Snape anything. It made his stomach churn to have to give anything to someone marked with the symbol of Evil.
Even worse than the mark, Fudge wrinkled his nose as his quill hovered over the document, Snape did not have the slightest respect for the Minister of Magic, and he made every effort possible to show it whenever they met. If it weren't for Dumbledore, Fudge would have administered the Kiss to the slime years ago.
With his lips curled in disgust, Fudge signed the document and authenticated it with his wand just as he had done with the previous ones. There will be a time Dumbledore won't be able to cover for you, you snake. I will be waiting.
The last item on his IN box was an odd looking letter. It was a lavish envelope, iridescent silver in colour. It felt nice to the touch, Fudge noticed, as he picked it up. He smiled. He always liked it when people spent extra in their dealings with him. He basked in the status his position gave him. In fact, Fudge had liked Lucius Malfoy before he was uncovered to be a Death Eater because the man had such class in all his dealings with him. Fudge did not mind letting some things go unnoticed for the man since he never neglected granting Fudge… at least some compensation. It was a pity he was now a convict.
Of course Fudge didn't lose sleep over that, either. He turned the envelope over, to see if the sender's name was on it. He saw nothing but a stylized celtic design of a serpent, moving and slithering lavishly around and through the knot. Whoever had sent him this, he had paid a lot for this exquisite stationary. Fudge smiled, puffing out his chest in pride as he carefully started peeling the envelope open. He could imagine how his assistants would wonder at the letter, how they would respect the fact that he was the recipient of it.
With the slightest pull, the envelope popped open with a pleasant rustling sound of paper. Fudge reached inside for the parchment. There was none.
Fudge started screaming. His hand felt as if burning, his flesh boiling. The silver letter stuck on his hand in seconds, fitting snugly around it like a glove.
Fudge fell from his chair, and started convulsing.
Percy ran inside, wand in hand, but by the time he had rounded the Minister of Magic's office, the man was dead. A green smoke seemed to envelope the body, rising high up over the ministry.
A skull with a snake coming out of the mouth leered over the building.
The first day back to school from the Christmas holidays was a Friday. Friday mornings were reserved for Double Potions, 5th year Gryffindors and Slytherins. Snape barged in the potions classroom, looking like he would curse any student that so much as sneezed. The atmosphere was odd and skewed. Everyone could feel that the balance had forever been thrown from what it was, at least. Snape could feel it, the Gryffindors could feel it, the Slytherins could feel it. Nobody was entirely fine with it.
Snape did not appreciate feeling unsure of what to expect.
The Gryffindors were not sure what to think of their towering, unsociable professor anymore, and more or less looked at him as if he were a walking time-bomb.
The Slytherins feared that they would now lose their priviledged position in the class, and those belonging to Death Eater families hated him more than they did muggles.
Draco Malfoy felt an odd proximity to the man. He felt they were in the same position: They both were Slytherins, they both had sided with the less obvious side, both had fooled their peers regarding their choices. Draco had kept secret that he had gone to Dumbledore a few hours before the Hogwarts Attack, and the Headmaster had not revealed the fact to anyone. In all respects, Draco had a very unappealing sense of lurking danger, should his friends find out that he had helped bring their fathers down, lock them into Azkaban, make them hunted or convicted men.
He felt a morose sympathy for the Potions Master that no longer had the protection of clandestiny.
Without so much as a word, Snape started writing the potion to be brewed on the board. His movements were so rapid and rushed that the sound of the chalk hitting against the board resembled that of firecrackers. Draco wondered if the Potions Master was in a hurry to finish so that his back would be exposed to the class for the least time possible.
On the contrary, Ron Weasley was feeling grand. He still knew he had to watch his step around the Potions Master, but the dark professor no longer represented the epitome of his childhood fears. He was officially on the Light Side, and for Ron that was all that mattered. He and Hermione had also started to get along. He had even taken to studying with her without interrupting her. She smiled at him more than she frowned, lately, and Ron simply could not find any reason not to be in the clouds.
Harry carefully felt for his root and started slicing it, his fingers guiding the blade of his knife, Sasha coiled around his wrist. She was now fully visible, which made him feel better as Hedwig was safe and he did not have to play any more charades. He had enjoyed his vacations, his first ones away from Hogwarts that he actually cherished, for he was with his godfather, loved and appreciated for being just what he was, Harry Potter, the son of James and Lily, and nothing else mattered: Sirius did not care that he was expected to be the saviour of the wizarding world. He did not care that he was blind or that his arm was scarred or that he slept with a highly poisonous coral snake at his feet—well, perhaps he did feel queasy around the snake. In all respects, things were starting to look up.
Harry bit his lip as he added the root slices, and measured the salamander oil using his finger. He poured it in the potion and stirred. If things were looking up, then why was he continually struck with such a sense of foreboding?
Snape supervised his class as they were brewing their potions. He clenched his teeth. Whatever he might have imagined about his life after his true loyalties were revealed, nothing fit his current situation. First of all, Voldemort was still alive. Second, he was alive, too. Snape had not expected to survive the unveiling of his true loyalties, in all actuality. Third, he now had to be twice as alert as he was before, because he now was a traitor Death Eater, head of the house with almost every child of his ex-fellow-Death Eaters. He glared at some of the students in the Slytherin side of the class, returning the murderous glances they were giving him. He could not even sleep without warding his chambers with wards rivalring those cast at the Dursley home to keep Voldemort out.
The thought brought September's events to Snape's mind, and he scowled, still seething in anger for what those low-life muggles had influcted on the young Gryffindor. He watched Harry stirring his potion, eerily being precise with his hands and what he was doing while staring straight ahead with his bright, unfocused green eyes. He could not pity Potter however, not had he any right to do so after all the young teenager had achieved.
His thoughts had started to take a less morbid hue as he thought about the short, private conversation he and the Gryffindor had shared that day when he was still in St. Mungo's. He would even have allowed for a small smile to play at his lips, he would even had thought everything he was putting up with and would put up with worth it, when high-pitched shouts shattered his ruminations and he had to focus on the here and now.
It was Granger that was screaming, calling for his help, while Weasley was trying to pull her away from where Harry had fallen. The blind boy had fallen off his stool, and was convulsing with pain, shrieking horribly. Arms and legs flailed, threatening to tip over the boiling potions in the nearby desks.
"Stand away from Potter!" Snape snapped, as he pulled out his wand and charmed every cauldron around the convulsing form away and in the back of the room. He rushed over, pushing the large desk violently back, giving Harry more room. All the students formed a wide circle around them.
"Weasley, call the headmaster." Snape ordered, and Ron left reluctantly. Hermione's eyes were wide with fear.
"He suddenly tipped over, Professor! Can you help him?"
"That is what I am trying to do here, Granger, if you will just be quiet!" Snape said and managed to put his hand on Harry's forehead. The lightning shaped scar was hot against Snape's palm. He looked to Hermione.
"Top right drawer of my desk, Granger. Bring me the light blue vial you will find there. Now!" he barked his order to her. Hermione rushed to fetch it, and Snape snatched it from her hands and poured it down Harry's throat, while the boy was still struggling and screaming. Harry coughed and sputtered.
The screams stopped. Harry's housemates let out their breaths, but most of the Slytherins just looked on coldly. For the first time, Draco was not one of them. Harry relaxed, going slack, trembling slightly.
"Potter, can you hear me?" Snape shook the boy gently.
"Severus, I think the students have seen enough." Dumbledore's voice from the door offered even more reassurance to everyone. Snape nodded and dismissed the class, and everyone filed out but Ron and Hermione.
"Potter, talk!" Snape ordered again in the now- empty classroom.
Harry moaned and breathed. His eyes opened idly, his mouth twitched.
"The min-minister is dead…" Harry whispered, almost inaudibly, but somehow both teachers heard him. Hermione put her hand over her mouth in horror, Ron immediately thought about Percy.
"Did you watch? Speak, damn you!" Snape shook Harry more, but Dumbledore restrained him, putting his hand on the Potions Master's shoulder.
"Perhaps we should wait until Poppy has-" Dumbledore started saying, when Harry spoke up again, in a weak, far off voice.
"Voldemort has only started…"
The sagging of Harry's head and his sudden immobility of his body implied his loss of consciousness. Snape picked him up to take to Poppy, gritting his teeth.
Nothing was more dangerous than a threatened, wounded snake. Especially when the snake in question was the Dark Lord. Snape's frustration was unrivalled.
After all that had transpired, trouble had only just begun.
Well? what do you think? should I go on, or should I take it down and pretend I never wrote this? *is nervous and hides behind Snape who sneers*