title: Of Parties and Plans
author: Raven Dancer
disclaimer: All characters property of JK Rowlings with the exceptions of the Drs. Barnes and Beryl.
summary: As the Door Rehanging party ends and the school year draws to a close, Black is attended to and plans are made for the summer.
Severus Snape walked through the main doors into the great hall. Tables had been pushed against the walls and a rather large crowd filled the middle, in various groupings listening to the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, introduce a group of Ravenclaw students to come forward. He'd missed the Slytherin and Gryffindor contributions to the great doors' decorations.
Smiling briefly, rather out of character for the Potions Master, Snape slipped passed the nervous group of students and walked into the throng. He wished to be as inconspicuous as possible and his entrance had not helped him. Fortunately the Headmaster didn't stop to make any remarks, rather allowed the students to have their turn. Thirsty, he secured a goblet and pitcher of juice and sat quietly in the back listening to the presentation.
A cold, wet nose nudged his arm as he leaned back.
Hullo, Snuffles, he said quietly, running a hand over the dog's head. He briefly wondered how Black liked being petted. He left his hand on the animagus's back as he sipped his juice.
like a drink? he asked and the dog seemingly nodded. He poured some iced blackberry juice into a small bowl and set it on the floor.
It's not too sweet, and I added water to it, he explained. The dog slowly lapped up some liquid before resettling against the wizard's robes. Snape returned his hand to his back and they relaxed together watching Dumbledore and Lupin present the final set of Hufflepuffs to explain their section of the door.
Bet they say something about stalwart protectors' Snape murmured. Snuffles snorted and then they both had to fight back a chuckle when the child speaking actually said the phrase.
Nice to know some things are consistent, Snape whispered. The dog rested his head on his knee, slightly growling in agreement. They sat together while Hermione Granger came forward and read the history of the doors starting with the selection of the wood by Goderick Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw to the original protecting charms developed by Salazar Slytherin and Helga Hufflepuff. Snape noted Louise Sprout's broad smile and nodded towards the witch with an answering small smile. The history progressed through the witch trails when the first confundus charms were laid on the castle to keep it hidden from a growing population of concerned muggles. Tri wizard tournaments were mentioned then the significant contributions to the wizarding world from staff and students of Hogwarts. Hermione was careful to refer back to the doors throughout all of this events up to the most recent attack.
He had not heard this part of the history. The final draft he'd read just two days ago did not mention the attack or him at all! Why was she mentioning his name for gods sake. He had nothing to do with the doors whatsoever. But his name was more than mentioned and a swell of applause rose around him as everyone's attention in that hall turned to him.
At the very least Snuffles stayed at his side as he stood slowly to accept the accolades. Otherwise he might have bolted from the room. He noted Dumbledore had managed to get to him and was hugging him tightly, then with the dog nudging and the Headmaster pulling he was dragged up to the doors into the middle of all the celebration. The last place he'd wanted to be.
He didn't have to speak (which was very fortunate at the moment as he didn't know how to properly take points away from Albus) but stood there holding a goblet of champagne as the students came forward to toast the doors.
The first year students, a Gryffindor and Slytherin, interesting combination, came first.
A toast of thanks to the protectors of Hogwarts, long
may they serve as our gateway, the young girl's voice piped up over the boy's. Nearly immediately the second year's spokeswizard came forth.
To the wizards who crafted the wood, may their gift
continue to watch over us and keep us from harm, he held his goblet high then moved to his place in the forming line. It wasn't until 5th year that Snape was worked obliquely into the toast. Again, he didn't recall this from the earlier practices and he supposed it was for the best. He'd never would have agreed to it.
To the doors that protected us, to the Wizard who
defended us and delivered us from our enemies, Ron Weasley grinned as he held his cup up to a rousing acclaim. Snape sneered briefly, before smiling himself.
The sixth years gave a long toast, giving thanks to the doors and the founding wizards that created them. Finally, the seventh years stepped forward,
Being last is an honor that should not be taken lightly, nor
should the toast be limited to the doors themselves, both witch and wizard raised their goblets.
A toast to Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts'
school, long has he worked, watching us grow like the
saplings that grew to become these doors, the witch, Alicia Spinnet, Gryffindor, spoke.
A toast to one of his most gifted and faithful saplings, an
oak tree of great strength, Severus Snape, Potions Master
of Hogwarts and defender of the students and staff therein, Christopher Harper, Ravenclaw, voiced. The raised their goblets to the two men.
To the doors of Hogwarts, long may they protect us! The hall burst forth, goblets high
To the doors of Hogwarts, long may they protect us! came the reply and with many clinks of goblets the champagne was sipped and pleased voices filled the hall.
After sipping, Snape turned to the dog, holding the goblet close to him.
To the doors, he said quietly and Snuffles gave a short bark, his long tongue carefully lapping up some champagne. The bubbles tickled his nose and he sneezed.
Watch that, dog. You'll get tipsy, cautioned the Potions Master as he took a last swig.
Eww, dog spit, Snape complained, making a horrible face.
Dumbledore laughed, refilling Snape's goblet. Handing the bottle to a passing student, he guided the Potions Master away from the doors to a table.
I wish to speak with you later, Severus, but now we must
put on our party hats, Dumbledore smiled broadly at the students and staff that chatted about them. It had been a wonderful dedication and now dinner would be served. Snape found himself seated next to his best friend trying to make casual conversation with the students and staff that had seated themselves at the table.
Bill Weasley had managed to snag the chair next to him and was discussing several finer points of teaching potions with him. McGonagall was there, adding her two cents about the importance of transfiguration. A fine argument was brewing between the two professors. Next to McGonagall was Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. The table was rounded off with Rosemerta from Hogsmeade one of her bartenders who's name escaped him. Snape ate quietly listening to the conversations flowing around him.
Tea and dessert had come up when people once more began moving about the room to talk. Harry was describing a quidditch move from the motions he was making to a very interested bartender. Rosemerta was leaning against the man, looking rather bored. McGonagall was trying to convince Dumbledore to side with her in the transfigurations versus potions debate (fortunately unsuccessfully) while Hermione supplied fuel to both sides delighting in the dissension.
Snape was tired, leaning back with a cup of tea. He wondered if he'd been social enough for the Headmaster's tastes. He very much wanted to go down to his rooms and fall asleep. Dumbledore had mentioned Flitwick had taken care of Goyle so there didn't seem to be any further obligations tonight. His eyelids seemed to be having a hard time staying open when he felt a gentle warmth invading his body.
Past our bedtime, Professor Snape? Jeffrey Barnes smiled down at him, his hands massaging his shoulders. Snape shyly smiled in return, looking up at him. A snort of laughter brought him more fully awake and he glanced with a frown at McGonagall and Weasley. Before he could retort Barnes upped the energy flow slightly which had a calming effect. The Potions Master settled back and simply closed his eyes to the annoying people. Before he could actually fall asleep, though, Barnes urged him up.
Walk with me, Severus, I need some air, the Healer steered him out of the room. They walked through the hallways towards the Headmaster's offices.
Thank you, Barnes, I was a bit beyond my limit, Snape offered gruffly.
No problem. I needed to get away from Dad and his
little games, he shrugged. Snape looked at him curiously.
the Potions Master queried.
Nothing of importance, just him thinking I need to settle
down' and produce offspring, Barnes complained. Snape smiled in sympathy although he wondered what it would be like to settle down'. The idea of offspring was well beyond his ken, but to settle down certainly sounded nice. The only thing he had to look forward to was a painful death. The thought quickly wiped the smile from his face although he tried not to damping the Healer's good spirits.
Barnes went all the way up to the Headmaster's office and waited until he came out of the loo.
Come on, lie on the couch and let me give you a quick
once-over, the doctor smiled benignly. Snape actually laughed.
Oh, yes, let me just give a look, he mimicked Barnes,
you'll just put me to sleep, he grumbled.
You were falling asleep to begin with, this way I can charm
your dreams for you and you'll rest better, the Healer made no excuses, just offered a small present. Snape moved to the couch and curled up around the pillows, a blanket wafted down over him as Barnes sat by him.
Ok, Severus, just relax, he said soothingly, a hand on his back slowly dipping into him filling him with warmth. The Potions Master sighed, then unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn. He was asleep before Barnes had finished the charm.
Hours later the party moved upstairs. At least Dumbledore stumbled along with Lupin and Black. All three had managed to get into the something stronger' and the dog staggering along made for much laughter among the remaining staff and older students.
We'll be lucky if they don't sic the animal protection
league on us, the Headmaster teased as attempted to climb the moving stairs. Finally Lupin picked most of the dog up with Dumbledore steadying them as best he could. All three fell through the door and landed on the floor in a fit of giggles and snorts.
The noise woke Snape who wished they'd just all shut up. He curled more securely around his pillows and dragged the blanket over his head.
Lupin said loudly, you'll wake Sevi, you dumb
dog. Snuffles growled then hiccuped several times before changing back into Black.
Ger-off, you dumb werewolf. I won't wake im. You're
gonna wake im ssshhing like that, he pushed on his friend in mock anger.
You won't wake him. I'm sure Barnes helped him fall
asleep, Dumbledore sounded the best of the lot without slurs or hic-cups. He leaned over the back of the couch and looked at Snape.
'course, he should be in bed, not out here, he muttered and suddenly Snape found himself floating in the air moving towards the bedroom.
He's not in his sleep clothes, Albus, Lupin observed, and a second charm hit him, robes,shoes and all falling off leaving him shivering in leggings. Snape peered out at the three wizards observing him but made no noise. The last thing he wanted to deal with was drunken wizards.
Now attired to their liking, Snape was brought into the bedroom and put on the bed, lovingly tucked in.
There, that's better, proclaimed Dumbledore.
You two can fight over the couch, I'm going to bed
myself, he added, starting to pull off robes and excess clothes. Nodding at the advice, Black and Lupin headed out to the sitting area.
Best put a locking charm on the door so we don't
get any surprise visitors in the morning, the Headmaster cautioned.
Snape lay in the bed long enough for the three wizards to fall asleep. He pushed up and went to the loo. That cold air had been a real wake-up for parts of him. Then he went into the main room noting Lupin curled up on the couch and Black draped over the lounge. With a grin he sent blankets over the two bodies, adjusting the lounge slightly so Black would actually be comfortable (he didn't think a body should bend quite that way). He charmed the door so it would give a warning before opening. As an added precaution he cast a concealment charm over the animagus. He could see him, Lupin would be able to, also. But until Black was awake he'd be hidden beneath the folds of the blanket.
With a yawn (and a shiver) the Potions Master returned to the bedroom and crawled back into bed.
a quiet voice slightly surprised him.
Yes, Albus, he replied as he settled around his pillows again. I just checked out Black and Lupin and made sure the
door was charmed, big yawn. Concealed Black, so don't
panic if you don't see him in the morning, sigh of contentment as the pillow and covers cooperated.
the voice called again. With a grumble Snape rolled over and faced his mentor. Who was talking in his sleep. The Potions Master noted he looked somewhat upset. A nightmare? Albus Dumbledore was having a nightmare? Very carefully he reached out to smooth the hair away from the older man's face.
Don't, come back, the wizard mumbled.
Albus? ssshh. It's ok, Snape tried to soothe him. But the dream seemed to pick up in intensity and the man's hands began to twitch.
Noo, Sev, please, no, short breathes now. Snape scooted closer and physically pulled the Headmaster to him, turning him so he was cradled against him.
he said sharply, wake up! It's ok! the body stiffened with a sharp jerk then hands fully animated and fisted into his sleep shirt.
Severus? Child? the whisper voice cut through Snape. Must have been a bad dream.
I'm here Albus. It was a dream, you're just fine, he murmured, running a hand over the trembling back.
You, you were hurt, you were dying, I couldn't get to
you, Dumbledore moaned as he curled more fully against his companion.
I'm fine, Albus. Just a bad dream. See? I'm right here, Snape rocked a little comforting the older man the best he could.
I don't generally have bad dreams, Severus, Dumbledore finally managed to realize where he was.
I don't. That was too real, too real, he muttered.
Well, how much of Hagrid's special juice' did you drink,
Albus? It always gives me unsettled dreams, Snape teased gently. His companion snorted.
Me? Drink anything stronger than tea? he denied it.
Yes, you, old fool. That stuff should come with warning
labels, Snape actually nuzzled his hair, cuddling the older man just like he'd been held.
Well, maybe a shot or two, Dumbledore acquiesced, fully settled against the thin body. Snape yawned again and sighed.
So, there. Terrible stuff. Always have to try a second
shot to see if it is really that awful. Followed by a third
because by then it seems to have an interesting flavor. If
you live to take the fourth shot, hang it up, Snape replied with a grin. The Headmaster chuckled into his shoulder, then pulled in a long yawn too.
Sleep, Albus. I've checked the doors and covered Black
and Lupin, Snape said.
agreed Dumbledore as he curled tighter. With a sigh Snape shifted slightly getting comfortable. They fell back asleep.
The door went off fairly early the next morning by Dumbledore's' diminished standards. Snape was up reading quietly sipping tea. He answered, making excuses for the Headmaster and DADA professor. He arranged a late afternoon appointment with Mcgonagall who seemed too bouncy.
They did make it up here? Including the dog? she asked as he ushered her back out.
Oh, yes, they're all asleep still. I believe they came up
well after midnight, he said.
Good! Well, I'll be back later, Severus, and she left him to his book and tea. The Headmaster wandered out, wanting to know who stopped by and who was playing the drums so loudly.
Ah, yes, you drank some of Hagrid's brew, didn't you? Snape had said with a snicker. The Headmaster gave him a sour look.
Go take a shower and I'll call up some strong tea. That
should help dispel the headache, he finished. Dumbledore grumbled as he went into the washroom. When he came out, grudgingly admitting to himself he did feel somewhat better, he noted two more casualties of Hagrid's brew sitting at the table nursing cups of tea.
I don't see why you won't make us a potion for the
headache at least, Black was complaining. Lupin tried to nod in agreement but ended up groaning and holding his head.
The whole purpose of a hangover to to make sure you
don't drink too much again, Snape was smiling, thoroughly enjoying their pain. Dumbledore came over, accepting a cup of hot brew.
I think we've learned the importance of moderation,
Severus, he said tersely. Snape's grin widened. But he also moved over to the cupboard and selected a few ingredients stored there. Opening the tea pot the Potions Master began humming to himself as he added a variety of leaves and pinches of powder. Giving a stir he sampled the result, wrinkled his nose he reached for the honey and added a good healthy stream. Again he stirred and sampled. Satisfied, he poured out three fresh cups and traded with the grouchy, hung-over wizards.
Be sure to inhale first, like this, and Snape cupped the tea breathing deeply. All three men followed suit, the subtle fragrances filled their noses and lungs. One by one they took tentative sips. Quickly they were filled with magical warmth, the headaches soothed and pinched expressions relaxed.
I told you he was good to have around, Lupin sighed as his clenched muscles loosened. He rotated his head enjoying the freedom from pain.
Ok, ok, I concede, rumbled Black as he took another long sip. Snape settled back in his chair with a slight sneer.
Oh, am I, now, he said evenly. Dumbledore looked at the Potions Master measuring the tone. He patted his friend on his shoulder.
Yes, you are. I like you here even if you hadn't brewed
the potion, he said with a smile. Snape held his small anger a moment then allowed himself to calm down. It really didn't matter what anyone thought about him, except for Albus. Albus loved him.
What about some breakfast, then? Lupin said hoping to push the unkind remark behind.
I think you'll have to settle for lunch, Remus, it's rather
after noon, Snape said. A glance at the clock showed it to be nearly two o'clock.
I need a shower, first, mumbled Black, pushing up.
I should too, I feel really grungy, Lupin admitted. Dumbledore offered clothing and sent the two off to bathe and dress while Snape called up Dobby for a late lunch.
When they returned, feeling significantly better, a literal smorgasbord was laid out: sliced meats, pate, cheese, bread, crackers, several salads, sliced fruits and vegetables. Snape and Dumbledore had already piled a variety of foods on their plates and had large goblets full of sparkling juice.
With gusto, both men filled their own plates and then sat down with their friends. Juices were poured and they silently and steadily ate, not stopping until a significant dent was made in the spread.
Finally Lupin pushed back holding his goblet.
Well, I for one thank you Severus, for your potion. I feel
great! the DADA professor announced, sipping his drink. Snape nodded.
Not a problem, he said smoothly, spreading a little pate on several crackers. He added some sliced apple and cheese next to them before sitting back himself to nibble.
I want to thank you, Headmaster, Black settled with plate of fruit balanced on his lap, for allowing me to come visit. I get
tired of running around on four legs. Snape looked over at his old nemesis. He was no longer angry at the man, but he could still get annoyed.
Have you ever considered masking your appearance? the Potions Master asked evenly. Black glanced at him.
Yes, I've transfigured parts of myself, but it takes a lot
of energy and it's difficult to make exactly the same
changes day to day. Even the muggles notice after awhile, Black sighed.
You're thinking magic, Black, Snape commented. I was
thinking more along the lines of a haircut, dye and a little
The animagus just stared at him.
He has a point, Sirius. I mean, if you went blonde and
spiked your hair, added Dumbledore
And maybe an earring? It'd be easy to reduce your
nose a bit and lighten your eyebrows, Lupin jumped in.
ARE YOU SAYING MY NOSE IS TOO BIG? Black yelled at Lupin.
Well, it'd be easy to do, Lupin tried explain.
Yes, Black, your nose is too big, Snape deadpanned, staring with a wicked grin at the angry wizard. Black still had a hair-trigger temper and in the moment the words came out Snape nearly regretted it as the man lunged over the table spilling a fresh pitcher of juice all over him. Lupin snagged his friend's robes and hauled him back.
Sirius! Stop that! Lupin chastised. Dumbledore was to his feet making sure Snape was ok. He was a bit worried the Potions Master would retaliate.
Dripping, Snape slowly stood up glaring evilly at the restrained man. He did not do anything but pull the wet robe off and move back from the table.
Excuse me, gentlemen, he said icily.
When he returned in dry clothing, settling for thick socks while Dobby worked on cleaning and drying his slippers, he found the table cleaned up and tea set out. Several desserts were being sampled; the group had moved to the sitting area. Black looked up at the Potions Master.
he said sulkily. Snape merely nodded his acceptance.
I was being serious about the hair and all, Black, he tried to return the conversation back.
I never thought about that before, a subdued Black responded.
Snape drew out his wand, short, blondish red,
spiked. Black stood and looked in a mirror on the mantle. Lupin took his wand out.
Lighten the eyebrows, a little off the nose, he continued the alterations.
Strategic jewelry, Dumbledore joined in adding his own thoughtful' touches.
Lupin changed the robe, and sweater. Black turned and looked at the three wizards.
Ooh, glasses would just do the trick, Dumbledore added smoky-clear lenses and frames.
Their fun was interrupted by a knock at the door. It opened and in walked McGonagall and Flitwick.
Oh, sorry Albus, we thought everyone would have cleared
out by now, the witch said looking at the small party. She did not seemed surprised at Black; neither did Flitwick.
Good afternoon, Professors, and? Flitwick prompted, wishing to be introduced. Snape broke out of the trance they seemed to be trapped in.
Yes, this is Seri. He's a friend of Remus's. They met
while he was traveling, from what he's been telling us, He nudged Lupin quickly. Lupin sprung up and pulled Black over to the curious Charms teacher.
Seri Hastings, this is Frederick Flitwick, our Charms
Professor and this is Minerva McGonagall, our Transfigurations
Professor, Lupin managed to make introductions. Hands were shook all around and now all six people sat and discussed the aftermath of the party. If either person had any idea Seri Hastings was Sirius Black, they made no indication.
At one point in the discussions Dumbledore leaned over and whispered into Snape's ear. With a shrug Snape stood and contacted Dobby, giving him quiet instructions. The elf grinned and sped off. After twenty minutes, and the departure of Flitwick and McGonagall, another tap sounded at the door. This time it opened to reveal Harry, Hermione and Ron.
I know you sent just for me, Headmaster, but we were
about to go down to dinner and you didn't mention it
was private, Harry began by way of apology.
No problem, Harry. Come in and have a seat. This
will only take a moment, Dumbledore cheerfully waved the trio over to the couch and chairs. They nodded their greetings to Lupin and Snape, giving Black a curious once-over.
I thought you'd like to meet a friend of Professor Lupin's
who arrived just this afternoon, the Headmaster smiled and indicated the spiky haired man.
Seri, meet Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger
and Ron Weasley, Lupin said smoothly.
This is Seri Hastings, Harry, he continued with a smile. Harry and Ron managed to shake hands with the newcomer then sat back down waiting for whatever else would come. Snape smiled.
So, Seri, do you believe me now? the Potions Master asked.
I wasn't so sure with just McGonagall and Flitwick, Seri admitted, But my own Godson!
Harry was confused. Godson?
Speaking of which, Harry asked carefully, has anyone seen
Snuffles this morning? I left him in the great hall last night.
You lost your dog, Potter? Snape asked with a slight sneer.
Harry shook his head.
More like misplaced, I suspect, said Dumbledore with a straight face. He nodded at Black.
Harry, look, Seri said, transforming into a large black dog. He wagged his tail and nudged his shocked Godson.
Seri Hastings was created that evening with a hair cut and bleaching potion from Snape and a careful nose trim by Lupin. Hermione donated a small gold earring.
I suppose we're all accomplices, Ron said quietly, looking
Suppose so, he returned happily, and I want to
I won't make any more potions if you get into Hagrid's
stuff, warned Snape darkly.
Oh, no, I don't want to go out tonight or even get
drunk! Seri exclaimed. I want to go on a vacation with
my Godson! I want to be free! Black-now-Hastings swung around exultantly.
That might be difficult, Dumbledore began not knowing how to quell Black's emotional roller coaster.
Tell you what, Seri, Lupin began, why don't you, Snape and
I go tromp around Europe for a couple weeks, get you used
to being around people and crowds again. Snape sat up rather appalled.
Me? You want me to go off traipsing around with you
two? he asked incredulous.
Yes, I do. You need to get out just as much as Seri! How
long has it been since you've been abroad? he asked. Snape blushed slightly and Dumbledore patted him on the arm.
Go on, Severus, you'll enjoy the art museums, he encouraged. He glanced at the DADA professor.
He's never really been, the Headmaster explained. What followed was a quick discussion of places to visit. Dumbledore cautioned them about staying together. He was especially adamant that Snape not be left alone at any point. Lupin could understand the need, but Black just nodded and pressed on with ideas.
Then I could pick up Harry in three weeks? he asked eagerly.
Yes, again, only if you don't leave Harry alone, either! Dumbledore said.
You can take him to Muggle London for a week or so then
come out to my beach house, he smiled at the idea.
Severus and I have been discussing teaching Harry,
as well as Hermione and Ronald, some more advanced
magic. Seri looked concerned.
Given how the three of them always land in the middle
of some odd plot, Snape said a bit sarcastically, either by
someone else's designs or by their own recklessness, we
wanted to give them a few more ways to protect
Like summer school, Dumbledore took over. I've already
sent owls to Hermione and Ronald's parents. I used the
muggle post for your Uncle, Harry, he smiled mischievously at the young man.
That's so great! Harry bubbled, I get my Godfather and
I only have to stay with the Dursley's three weeks! His friends were quick to congratulate him.
Well, then, it looks like we've got ourselves a great
summer planned! enthused Black, a toast!' he lifted his goblet and the group followed suit, lifting their assorted tea cups and juice goblets in an impromptu toast.