'I shall be staying with you for a while.'

The black clad man had pushed past and it had taken Father Ted only three days to decide that he was not, after all, going to challenge him about it. Although he would be having a word with Father Felix Felices.

Whoever he was.

And he had insisted on the restoration of the housekeeper Mrs. Doyle's power of speech. Father Dougal remained mercifully silent. Father Jack just stared at him as if he wasn't quite sure what he was seeing. Or perhaps if he was in fact seeing him. Severus Snape was distinctly odd.

'So are you on holiday?' Father Ted had ventured.

'No.' This accompanied by a glare of such ferocity that Ted had hesitated before continuing.

'I was wondering if you would do something for me. You see I've to attend a wake. It'll look really bad if I don't go and I may be back late and would you make sure that Father Jack's alright? It's just he has a bit of a tendancy to stray.' It had all come out in a rush.

He'd decided to take Snape's answering sneer for a yes.

Accordingly it was now just on four in the morning and Ted was just getting in after a bracing and extremely indirect walk. Father Dougal, having obtained a reputation for wit and sagacity, by dint of saying nothing all evening, had fallen asleep under the table and Ted had left him there.

This left Father Jack. With a sort of free floating, all purpose, Catholic Guilt, Ted knew that he should feel bad about something but whether it was leaving Father Jack with Snape, or the other way about, he was undecided. As early morning light flooded the hallway, Ted decided that it was time for a nightcap and a last toast to the Dear Departed.

Some weeks previously Ted had been given a gin bottle containing a clear liquid. It had not, of course been gin, neither had it been water, but a highly illegal distillation the sweet name of which no one dared whisper within fifteen miles of Father Jack. Father Ted had found a large glass jar containing peaches, tipped out the preserving liquid and refilled it from the gin bottle. Thus, disguised as food, Ted hoped to keep his treasure. He had covered the jar with dust from the top of a stack of religious tracts and hidden it at the back of the larder. It had still been there two days ago and Ted was hopeful.

As quietly as ever a drunk can, Father Ted crept into the kitchen. Quickly he found his prize and set it on the kitchen table where slanting light from the window illuminated the contents.

Definitely not peaches.

Peaches weren't black. Peaches, except under the most unlikely of circumstances, did not resemble a dead crow. Father Ted switched on the light and picked up the jar and then dropped it immediately.

He felt his knees giving way. With utter horror his eyes came down to the level of the table top. Being dropped had disturbed the contents which now swirled lazily within. One tiny hand extended slowly toward the glass.

'Drink,' said Father Jack.


Author's notes.

The wonderful 'Father Ted' belongs to Hat Trick Productions.

For 'potcheen', or more correctly 'poteen', read 'moonshine'. Blame this on 13 Ravens. I suggested that Snape's clothing were reminiscent of a priest's. I had in mind Torquemada. She suggested Father Ted.