Welcome to Short Story 3 in the Headmaster Snape mini mystery series, which is a spinoff of the Jennifer Craw novels, Series 1-3 (which begins with Jennifer Craw and the Phoenix Wand; an alternate year 5 book.)

It's been a long time in coming.

I actually began this story well over a year ago…but never could get around to finishing it. Anticipation for the last book was the main reason; and then after it came out the fact that an element of this particular short story I wrote actually happened to some extent in the last book put me off. But then after a nasty writer's block I was having this year was starting to wear on me I decided to reread all the books over, and I decided maybe this lil' story was worth putting out after all.

It was difficult at first…the demons that came with the last book made it difficult to it pick back up, but I found if I do what I did the first time around and just read 1-4 and then read my series, it's not so bad. I am planning to make some minor changes to the series as a whole for fluidity's sake, although obviously certain things in the series will always be different; I can't change the way I set up family ties and distant relations without marring many of the points behind my stories. At the same time, the last three books also had some positive results too…Truth Seeking…as well as Dumbledore and Voldemort having it, was proven (legitimens) and my point that there had to be some way to turn on apparation in the castle for security and such was also cleared up. I am also delighted that A Christmas Carol Troll was close enough on the money not to really need changes at all. So I am taking heart in those, and although some of the differences in the original series are a bit jarring, I find them a necessary evil to keep continuity in the fanfic, especially as far as the original characters are concerned. There are some things I realized after rereading it that I should have explained better; like what happened to the Hog's Head, why Pettigrew's behavior changed, and how Severus' paradox saved his life during the Time Turner Switch. The reedits will probably take time, but definitely something I'm looking into; but don't expect huge changes because of JK 5-7.

That said, I am actively considering another full novel series. There are actually a lot of things I had meant to put in to the original three that never got tied up, not in the least of which is the story of Alicia and Francis Pyther, not to mention Ambrose's story, not to mention what happened to certain artifacts and certain bad guys (yes I did leave some, really!) once the mess with Ciardoth settled down. I don't know if any of my old fans are willing to pick this up again and dust it off the shelf (figuratively speaking) but I've always felt that fan fiction was more about writing for one's own release anyhow. When the fourth book came out, I believed Severus deserved better than he got, which is why I started the series. Now that the series is over, I still feel that way by the end of book 7, and what's more, there are some of my own original characters that probably deserve better than to be left hanging as they have been. I have been neglecting them, and it's high time I finished what I started six years ago.

This little jaunt is another short mystery, with a little more character development for Lucky and Ambrose, and perhaps others, as you will see. Have a good Halloween, and watch out for haunted paintings. JCWriter.

Headmaster Snape and the Scale of a Dragon

I

When most professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are off for the summer holidays, Severus spent most of his 'time off' in the Headmaster's Study, working on board proposals, attempting to stiffen school rules, or even sometimes patching up loopholes in existing rules that one student or another had irritated him by finding the year before. But the first two weeks of the summer were his to do with as he liked…in theory. Strangely enough, it hardly ever seemed to work out that way.

Most of the time, it was because Jennifer had made some plans for them to go abroad…not that he minded all so much, for it was one of the rare times that he could spend with his wife without either work or family pestering them. But this year Jennifer decided it was best for Lucky to spend her first summer at Baker Street, so it was there in the library that Severus attempted to find solitude. He had actually succeeded for an hour or so before hearing footsteps on the back stairs. With a quick sweep of his hand, the door locked with a soft click.

"Oh, no you don't, Severus Snape," Jennifer scolded from behind the door, rattling the handle. "It's time you should be getting ready!"

"Getting ready for what?" Severus asked grumpily.

"Would you mind opening the door? I'd rather not talk through it," Jennifer protested.

"It isn't as if you couldn't get in if you wanted to," Severus muttered, waving the door open. He then blinked, taking off his reading glasses to see her better. "Jennifer, what are you wearing? Is that…"

"Muggle clothes," Jennifer explained, straightening her blouse and glancing down at her leggings. "Why else would I be wearing these instead of a dress?"

"Well, yes, but…is that…pink?" Severus asked dubiously.

"Obviously," Jennifer said with exasperation.

"I thought you hated pink," Severus commented warily.

"As much as you do, I'm sure, but they are her team colors, after all. In fact, everyone's taken to call them the Pinks. Now, come on. I'd like to get their early, if you don't mind."

"Team colors?"

"Don't tell me you've forgotten! Lucky's football club? Their first game is today?" Jennifer said impatiently.

"Game? I thought that was merely an instructional football camp," Severus muttered with annoyance, turning to his book. Jennifer plucked it out of his hand.

"It is, but they still meet other teams from within the program. Come, now, Severus, you've never missed any of our other children's games…"

"We could hardly get out of them, considering we're professors."

"Well, you're not going to get out of these either, at least not for the two weeks you're here in London," Jennifer said firmly. "You might as well put the book down and get ready."

"I am not wearing pink," Severus said flatly. Jennifer attempted to keep a straight face.

"I hardly expect you to, and I doubt Lucky expects you to either. And don't worry about the rules and things…Alex is coming along with a handbook so we know what's going on."

"What's to know? All they do is kick the silly ball into the silly net," Severus said, putting his glasses and book away. "Besides, I thought Alexandria looked a bit peaked at breakfast."

"Oh, she's feeling much better now," Jennifer said cheerfully. "I gave her some morning sickness potion. I hope she takes my advice and goes over to chat with Rose about it later. She really doesn't listen to me…why Severus!" she exclaimed after she glanced at his face. "You're not at all happy about this, are you?"

"Jennifer, when I agreed to four children and to adopt Corey all of those years ago, becoming the grandfather of a mob was the farthest thing from my mind. Three more grandchildren and we'll be caught up to the Weasley's running total," Severus complained. Jennifer simply chuckled at him.

"Well look at it this way, at least you know the family legacy won't die out anytime soon. Which reminds me…don't forget that tomorrow we need to go down to the Ministry to finalize Lucky's paperwork. We have to help her file for her surname change too."

"You're not going to let me have a single moment's peace this holiday, are you?" Severus asked with obvious annoyance.

"You'll get plenty of peace when you head back to work in two weeks," Jennifer said smoothly, completely unperturbed by his mood. "See you downstairs in five minutes. There, see? I am going to give you a moment," she added mischievously before slipping out.

Severus sighed and propped up his head in his hands, trying to pinpoint the exact moment that he lost control over his life.

"The game is really quite simple," Alexandria explained as she led her parents to the pitch. "It's rather like Chaser Ball. There's only one assigned position officially, and that's the goalkeeper, but that doesn't mean there aren't other positions. It's just that they're not in the rules." Jennifer gazed at Severus questioningly, but he was busy squinting at Alex as she thumbed through a regulations book. "There are defensive players, like center back, full back, wing back, sweepers…"

"Sweepers sound interesting…" Jennifer commented, but Severus was frowning.

"Oh, and then the attacking players, center forward, deep-lying forward, and of course there's mid-fielders… they're very important positions you know…"

"Yes, but what does Lucky play?" Jennifer interrupted again impatiently.

"She's the striker…center forward. That means she's the one who's supposed to kick or hit the ball in," Alexandria explained.

"Oh good, then it'll be easy to figure out when to cheer," Jennifer said enthusiastically.

"Perhaps we had best choose a seat away from the other parents," Severus suggested quickly. "Up there, perhaps?"

"Don't be silly, Severus. Of course we're going to sit with the rest of the team's parents," Jennifer said with exasperation as they climbed into the stands. Severus sighed and clamped his mouth shut, but his face held an expression that made the people they passed look nervous. Jennifer didn't seem to notice, working her way to a group of pink-clad families sitting on the other side of the stands. "Good Afternoon!"

"Afternoon," nodded a man in a pink Polo shirt who had light, thinning hair. "Ted Porter, real estate," he said, offering a hand.

"Jennifer Snape, I'm a teacher…my husband, Severus, daughter Alexandria."

"Daughter?" Ted said, looking Alex over.

"Civil service," Alex said cheerfully, sitting down. "Awfully nice day, perfect for a good game, isn't it?"

"Right enough, I'd say. You're with the Baker Street Bombardiers? Hampton's sitting on the far side today…"

"Sure, we're with the Pinks. We're here to see Lucky, Fortuna Conejo, a striker?" Alex prompted with a smile.

"Oh sure, Lucky! I've seen her at practice, though most the time she plays more a poacher than a striker; a good fox in the hole," he said enthusiastically. Jennifer and Severus glanced at each other mystified, while Alex's hand twitched to get to her book. "My son Beckett is the star midfielder, though I'm hearing he'll have his work cut out for him today…the Hampton Holers have a pretty imposing defensive."

It was then that Jennifer decided that Severus had the right idea in not saying much and to let Alex do all the talking. Severus shrugged off the chatter, adjusted his glasses and then glanced at his hands as if studying them.