Prolouge: Surprises

Why was I ordered to a Muggle school, of all places? It's the middle of summer, he's back, and Albus decides to send me to teach at a Muggle school? This has to be another of his harebrained schemes...but to what end? Perseus Evans, otherwise known as Severus Snape, thought to himself. Controlling the urge to curse the air blue, he instead tugged on his too-tight Muggle clothing. This was the last time he let Molly Weasley shop for him, no matter the occasion. At least it hadn't been that Muggle-loving husband of hers.

He would have sent me off with something even more garish than this...thing. At least I convinced her to let me wear black. He was warmly clad in black wool trousers and business shoes and a long-sleeved black oxford, the closest approximation he could make to his normal robes. He was practically dying in the heat.

What I would give to be back in my office...at least I got rid of that tasteless tie. The ugly thing was now residing back in his office, the gaudy hues of red, blue, green and yellow illuminating the dark room. If Albus actually saw the thing, he'd be forced to wear it, because he would be seen to finally have house unity on his mind, with all the house colors there...unless he could give it to that annoying house-elf that was obsessed with Potter, first.

"Miss Linet? Go sit by Conan and Duffy."

"Heyla, Cat, Reggie. Long time, no see." The girl's voice was rich as it drifted down the corridor to him, just like...hers.

"Only since breakfast, Anne, m'lass," another girl teased her, voice hinting at a brogue.

"I guess you're right, Cat, you're too smart for me."

"Only in smart-aleck comments, History and Music, you know that!"

"Hey! I'm the king of smart-aleck comments!" a third complained, clearly male.

Why was he noticing these voices, oh, no reason, none he could decipher, except they were so damned familiar...

"Severus, why are you following Malfoy around? You're not his lackey!" Gold framed blue eyes stared fiercely up at him, urging him to agree with her.

"But I am, Gwendolyn. If I don't hang around him, I'm completely ostracized in my House. I'm one of the few Death Eater children that don't actively want to become a Death Eater!"

"Then come sit with me for the rest of the ride. I'm sure the other girls in my compartment won't mind."

"No. The two pureblood princesses you have in there are already training to follow in their parents footsteps...I'd best be going. Lucius will start looking for me otherwise." Severus turned and started to walk away.

"But-" He turned back for a moment, eyes sliding past Gwendolyn into the compartment. They caught and held a pair of glorious eyes, reminding him of a banked coal, red-brown-black.

"Who?" He asked, voice caught in his throat.

"That's Anna-Maria Komar...she's a Muggleborn, Sev." He couldn't stand the look of knowing pity on Gwendolyn's face, so he just turned and walked away.

"Anne, Caitlyn, Reginald! Be quiet, I'm trying to finish the call before your substitute comes in!"

"Yes, m'am."

Severus shook himself out of his day-dream. Why was he remembering when he met her for the first time? She was gone, and there was nothing he could do about it. He increased his pace, trying to run away from his thoughts.

"Ah, Mister Perseus Evans, I presume?" Mrs. O'Brien turned to the man looming in the doorway with a false laugh, broken glasses threatening yet again to fall from her nose.

"Yes." He answered curtly, stepping in the classroom.

"Good, good. Now, class, this is your substitute for a week or so, Mr. Evans. Be nice to him, now! Ta-ta!" She flounced out, tears, be they sadness or relief threatening to fall as she broke into a run once in the hall.

"She won't be back," A boy in the back laughed cruelly, feet on his desk, "And I'm already on my way to beating my record. Now then, what're you going to try to have us do, ya greasy git?"

"Me, nothing, except what is assigned, and you will do it, Mr. Collins. Do you understand me?" Severus threatened.

"You don't scare me, old man. You're just a greasy Lolita-lover, out on the prowl for your next victim. I saw you staring at Linet and Conan. You won't get very far with those two, unless you want to interrupt an already established ménage a trios between them and Duffy. It would be pretty hot to watch, though, maybe even get you going...as long as you're into guys as well, fag-bag."

"You shut your mouth, Collins, right now." One of the girls, petite and brown-haired, stood, only held back by a hand on her shoulder.

"Try me, Conan, just try me, I dare you. You don't have the bite to back up your bark, none of you do."

"Why I oughta..."

"But you won't, you wouldn't dare touch me, I could get you expelled. Then what'd you do, have Mommy home school you? Or would Mommy Duffy home school you in...other things? Is that why you always hang around Duffy's mother? Is she your lover as well?"

"You leave my mother out of this, Collins. Or we'll give you a worse beating than last time," The dark-haired boy snarled.

Severus felt the situation rapidly slipping out of his control.

"Mr. Collins! Miss Conan! Mr. Duffy, behave, or a week's detention and twenty po-ages on why you should not fight in class!"

His words fell on deafer ears than usual.

"Fine, then, giv'er here, c'mon, giv'er here."

"Anna..." The pair turned, to the dark eyed girl sitting between them, eyes beseeching, "Can't we just once, he really deserves it."

"No, you know we're supposed to remain calm and not draw attention to ourselves."

"But-"

"No."

"C'mon, please?"

"No, you know better."

"He deserves it!"

"You, Linet, you pretend to be such a goodie-two-shoes, but I know your secret. You're Mrs. Duffy's bastard, ain'tcha? Her and some john got it on one night and you came of it."

Linet took her hands off Duffy and Conan's shoulders, commenting only, "Might I go first, this time?"

"Be our guests."

Severus could only watch in horror as a full brawl erupted on his classroom floor. He couldn't do any magic to stop them, that would only get the Aurors down on him, and his mission had to remain secret at all costs.

"Stop that!" He reached down, trying to separate the two girls and boys, but could not get a grasp on any of them. They seemed as slippery as eels. After a minute, the other students started cheering, egging the trio on. Collins was very unpopular, it seemed. And, Severus had to admit, with good reason. He was a right prat. Finally, after about ten minutes, salvation came.

The bell rang.

Oh, thank Merlin. The break. They'll have to stop, now. Even though he'd wanted them to stop, he marveled at how they'd been able to duke it out so well without knocking even one desk over. Quite a feat.

"I think he's had enough. You don't want to kill him."

"Much." Duffy said, "We don't want to kill him...much," he stood, brushing his hands on his pants. Curiously, there wasn't a mark on the other boy, except some bruises and scrapes. He distinctly remembered hearing breaking bones, but now, gazing dispassionately down, could have sworn Collins had only fallen down a short flight of stairs. It was then he noticed the streams of healing magic coming from Conan and Linet, who were still kneeling beside the unconscious Collins.

Two Healing witches...why aren't they in Hogwarts? I know those without enough power could get stuck being home schooled, but if they can heal broken bones this quickly, then- his train of thought was abruptly cut short as there was a groan from the doorway.

"Oh, not again. Children, how many times do I have to...tell...you, oh, never mind..." The voice trailed off as the person using it saw him. The woman was attired oddly by his standpoint, even for Muggle standards, black hair drawn back into a tight, low bun that was reminiscent of Minerva's. Her brown eyes were dwarfed by her giant glasses. Her clothes were loose fitting, bright white pants and shoes, a strangely patterned jacket. Over all, she looked more like a cross between Poppy and Irma than Minerva after a second glance. Matter of fact, she looked a lot like Sybil on one of her more sane days. The way she had looked at him was odd, though, like she knew him from somewhere.

"Mu-um. Don't be such a sour-goose. He's fine, 'cept for a couple of bruises and scrapes. Besides, he had it coming!" Duffy cried, then broke into a grin as another woman slid into the room, singing.

"He had it coming, he had it coming, he's only got himself to blame! Why, laddie, words after m'own heart." This woman was even more oddly dressed than the one that was undoubtably Mrs. Duffy. Her long brown hair was left streaming down her back, tied with a cord, her long flowing skirt and shirt dwarfed her small frame. And he'd thought Mrs. Duffy was a Muggle Sybil!

"Liza, they got Collins, again."

"C'mon Kelly, you know he deserved it!"

"Yes, well," the dark haired woman sighed, "You know we've got to have a conference with their teacher to get to the bottom of this."

"Right, well, Mr. Evans, come with us, please? Children, you too." The other woman, Liza, beckoned to the trio.

"Fine, we're coming, we're coming," they sighed.

Severus startled as a vice-like hand suddenly grabbed him. "Let's get going, Mr. Evans." He panicked as he felt the too-familiar squeezing feeling of side-along apparition. Where the hell were they taking him? Too late to worry now, they were on their way.

Within moments, Severus was settled into a rather comfortable chair in a well lit, cool room.

"Welcome to our humble abode, Sevvie." He jumped. Who the hell had gotten that nickname? He hadn't heard it in thirteen years. He couldn't have read that from me, could he have?

"Who the hell do you think would say it? You dunce, only four people ever called you that, and you know it. Relax. You're with family."

"Sweet Merlin...Kalli? Gwen?"

"Present and accounted for," the familiar voice chirped merrily in his ear.

"We've missed you, Sevvie." Kalli said.

"I-I-I don't know what to say...you're alive?"

"Did we look like ghosts, laddie?" Gwen asked.

"It is you!" He surged out of his chair as he finally opened his eyes.

"You always were a quick one." Kalli said dryly.

"Anna...?"

The pair just looked at him.

"No, Sevvie...she, she's gone. She didn't make it."

"Damn it! Fucking damn it! My Anna, no...no, it can't be," he raged, eyes filling with tears dashed angrily away, "It can't be...you're lying! Why are you lying to me?"

"Aunt Gwen and Aunt Kalli are telling the truth, Papa. Mum's...gone. Long gone. But you still have me." Another voice murmured in his ear, so familiar.

"Anna?"

"No, Anne. Anne Snape, your daughter."

Thud!

The unblinking Severus Snape fainted dead away.