The Most Unlikely of Endings

by Valerie Vancollie

valeriev84 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Note: This story was written before Half-Blood Prince came out. It was also written after having read one too many bashing Severus fics and at an unnatural hour of the evening/morning. So, basically, I'm expecting people to either really like it or hate it.
I wrote it in one night, put it aside and then promptly forgot about it for over a year!

Summary: Hogwarts castle has existed for over a millennia, housing the greatest wizarding school in all of Britain. It has survived countless assaults over the centuries but now, having survived the attack made by Voldemort and his Death Eaters, Hogwarts falls to the most unlikely enemy: itself.

Disclaimer: I do not own Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore or any other of the Harry Potter characters, items or situations. I only lay claim to the original aspects of the fic.

Hogwarts was in Trouble.

Big Trouble.

Trouble with a capital t.

It had all started off simple enough. Professor Snape had practically bitten off the head of a Ravenclaw student after a potions accident which had left half the class covered in a burning slimy substance that should have been a sleeping draft. Only this time he had gone too far and terrified the poor student half to death. She had curled into a ball and refused to talk with anyone save her frantic parents, and even then it was only in stutters.

Albus Dumbledore had been forced to take action as parental complaints started piling up and the Potions Master received Howler upon Howler. It seemed that now that the threat of the Dark Lord was well behind them, the witches and wizards turned their resentment to those whom they saw as having escaped justice. To those whom they were convinced had been Death Eaters. So it had happened to the Malfoy family, the members of which had successfully managed to worm their way out of a permanent Azkaban sentence yet again despite having been caught red-handed. And so it now happened to Severus Snape no matter how often his innocence was declared.

The Wizarding world did not want to offer second chances to those it viewed as traitors. 'Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater' was the motto.

In an effort to appease the masses, Headmaster Dumbledore had temporarily placed his Potions Master on leave, hoping the situation would die down. It might have worked had Snape not taken matters into his own hands. Deciding that this was the final straw, the last insult, he had bailed out and quit. Saying that he did not need to put up with the constant rumours circulated around Hogwarts about his true allegiances, nor the ever present hatred, he packed up his possessions and equipment and returned to the luxury of Snape Manor.

That's when the real problems started.

Unable to find another Potions Master willing to teach, Albus Dumbledore had been forced to hire a lower level potions professor. The result was instantly obvious as scores on the potions O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s had plummeted dramatically with less then a quarter of the students attaining passing marks. This consequence alarmed many due to the prerequisite of a good potions N.E.W.T. for many vital occupations such as Aurors. And, as if that were not enough, wizarding laws strictly stated that none but a fully qualified Potions Master could create the necessary potions required to stock the school infirmary. Resentful of his previous treatment, Severus Snape refused to continue supplying Hogwarts with the essential potions and the Headmaster was forced to once again approach those select few who had managed to attain mastery in the delicate art of potion making. All agreed to do the chore, for a price. A sizable sum of gold. Desperate, Hogwarts was forced to allot a chunk of its money towards attaining the required potions to see after the needs of its students.

The potions crisis didn't end there, however. In refusing to make potions for the school, Severus Snape also ceased supplying the Wolfsbane potion vital for the continued teaching career of Remus Lupin who had reluctantly been allowed back by the school governors due to the heroic rescue he'd preformed during the war of a group of Hogwarts students. A stipulation of his job offer, though, was that he took the Wolfsbane potion each and every month and retreated to the Shrieking Shack for his transformation. This decision had horrified and dismayed many parents but had stood nonetheless.

With Snape halting his production of the potion and the other Potions Masters either refusing to make it or charging a price so high that neither Lupin nor the school could afford it, the werewolf was instantly fired. It was in searching for a replacement teacher that Dumbledore discovered that the stigma against the Defence Against the Dark Arts position was still alive and many refused to take it. Frantic to find someone who didn't think the position cursed, the Headmaster of Hogwarts was finally forced to approach people he would otherwise have never considered qualified enough for the vacancy. A former Gryffindor with no experience accepted.

With that and a Hufflepuff potions professor yet another problem surfaced. There was no Slytherin among the staff leaving the house without a head. Unwilling to fire one of his long time staff members and having had no success in finding a suitable Slytherin to fill either the potions or the defence class, Albus Dumbledore appointed Professor Sinistra, a former Ravenclaw, Head of House Slytherin. The reaction was instant as both present and past members of the serpent house exploded with indignation. They demanded the appointment of a Slytherin to the faculty in place of one of the many Gryffindors. They said the ancient school rules required each house to have a head who was one of their own.

Upon Albus Dumbledore's public announcement that he would not fire one of his long time professors, the Slytherins stopped talking and started taking action. Half of the parents withdrew their children from Hogwarts and sent them off to Durmstrang Institute while they, along with all former Slytherin students who didn't have children attending, withdrew any and all monetary donations they'd promised. The remaining Slytherin students instantly commenced causing havoc. They constantly altered the password to their common room and refused to give it to Professor Sinistra while the wall resisted becoming a doorway to all but Slytherins. Even the Headmaster could not get it to open for him and the common room and dormitories became a safe haven for those resisting the new school situation.

Slytherins began acting out in any way they could and ignored the detentions assigned to them, retreating to the safety of their common room instead. When regular disciplinary methods didn't work, the professors were forced to begin banning those remaining members of the Quidditch team from playing and, finally, from having tryouts of any kind. Their exclusion from the Quidditch matches did not have the desired effect of restoring order among the errant house, causing instead even more raucous behaviour. Soon the house of green and silver was well into the negative points without showing any signs of improvement.

Then the expulsions started. Unable to cope, Hogwarts started expelling Slytherins in droves. Yet, when it came time to snap the wands of the leaving students, none could be found. Knowing ahead of time what was about to occur, the students had sent their wands home where their parents refused to hand them over, saying that their children had already been accepted by Durmstrang and thus required their wands.

With the departure of the last Slytherin from Hogwarts' ground went the last Knut paid to the school by any Slytherin. Surprisingly, quite a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs also pulled their financial support away from the school, saying that the diversity of Hogwarts was threatened and that without four houses the institution was no longer faithful to the image of the Founder's establishment. Each and every first year who was placed into Slytherin by the Sorting Hat was instantly called home by their parents and sent to Durmstrang, which was rapidly improving with the gold poured into it by many of the wealthiest families of Britain. Any and all non-purebloods who had managed to be accepted were expelled as the new students transferred in. The Northern European school transformed into a Slytherin, pureblood institution overnight, worrying many as its reputation as a Dark Arts educational facility grew.

Most surprisingly was the castle's reaction to a complete lack of Slytherin students. Their table in the great hall vanished without a trace, as did every single banner or flag bearing the serpent symbol. The hourglass in the Entrance Hall faded into the stonework and the common room door permanently sealed itself. The Slytherin section of the Quidditch bleachers deteriorated and fell away as did every aspect of the buildings and grounds associated with Salazar's house. Despite all efforts, progress of this process could not be halted nor even slowed in the slightest.

The most alarming issue of all, though, was the rapid failing of a quarter of the wards protecting both the school and the students. Muggles passing by no longer saw a heap of rubble, but rather a majestic castle with well kept grounds. As ward after ward and protection spell after protection spell crumbled and failed, what was occurring finally came to light. Everything Salazar Slytherin had contributed to Hogwarts was coming apart at the seams. In order to protect against having the school purged of his chosen students, the wizard had placed all his contributions under a detection spell. A spell so powerful that it sensed the presence of Slytherins. If no adult Slytherin was present, the common room would close to all but his followers and if no Slytherin was present at all, all that he'd given would be decimated.

One of Hogwarts' founding pillars was destroying itself and there was nothing that could be done to prevent it except for the return of the fourth house. Determined not to see his home collapse in on itself, Albus Dumbledore set out to find a Slytherin professor, no matter what subject. But none accepted his offer, all rejected the desperate plea to restore Hogwarts as Durmstrang had turned into a brilliant educational facility with a curriculum the darker parents approved of and which the Slytherin students had only longed for in Britain.

Then came the news which outraged many. After years of declaring that he would no longer teach (even when parents relented and he was offered his old post back) and, indeed, had no need to work at all as his family's wealth was more then enough to lavishly support him, Severus Snape accepted the position of potions professor and deputy headmaster at Durmstrang.

Please tell me what you think of the story and don't kill me!

/runs & hides/

August 12, 2003