Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. JK Rowling does. Please do not sue me.
Author's notes: This is supposed to be funny. Whether it is or not is a different matter. So please no flames because of something silly. :) Thank you. I actually don't know where anything is in Hogwarts, I just know that Griffindor is up and Slytherin is down... Hmm... Review, and thank you to my wonderful beta Kejsarinna (on LJ).
Written as part of Fic101, a fanfiction challenge community on LiveJournal. Prompt: 1. Green.
The trees and hills were a welcomed sight after three years away. Hogwarts was still home to Hermione Granger; the library was a haven from idiots, the Great Hall and its amazing ceiling still breathtaking. The castle itself had taken a slight beating when a deranged Lucius Malfoy tried to murder Mrs. Norris for catching one of his pet rats. Some lovely Healers from St Mungo's soon arrived to take him home - a private wing for his unique mental condition.
That was Hermione's seventh year. You-Know-Who and his horcruxes weren't as hard to find as they had expected. Lucius, in a fit of Ailurophobic attack blurted their whereabouts as a cat walked past the windowsill of his "cell" at Hogwarts - a V.I.P. room in the Hufflepuff wing. The objects were destroyed, but Harry had died along with You-Know-Who. Both had lost their wands, but somehow they had found celery sticks. Hermione was still at a loss as to how the pair had found the said celery sticks, and how it came to be that they had the same allergy when, three days earlier, Harry had been dunking celery sticks into mayonnaise.
Ron had scarpered in a fit of un-Griffindor cowardice. No-one had seen him since C-Day, but from the way he had changed the weeks leading up to his mad dash to anywhere but there, Hermione hardly missed him. He was less volatile, something Hermione thought she would enjoy, and his eyes, which had been soft brown with a hint of strength, had grown colder as each day passed. 'Good riddance to bad rubbish,' she thought as she walked past the castle gates.
It hadn't changed much. The castle hid the goals of the Quidditch pitch and the silent, but steamy (in that it steamed up quickly inside during lessons) greenhouses. To one side was the Great Lake, and she knew that the merpeople would still be eating Calamari. The Giant Squid had been killed the summer previous by, 'assailant or assailants unknown.' Hermione had laughed slightly when Minerva had written that. True, the squid was an institution in the Wizarding World, but he ('Or was it a she?') was pushing it slightly. "I bet the merchildren are sick of Giant Squid for breakfast, lunch and dinner..."
To be perfectly honest, Hermione was slightly confused as to why she was called to the school. As far as she knew all the teaching positions were filled (after Defence Against the Dark Arts had a name change to, "AAAAAH! Watch Out!" the post had remained under the studious care of Professor Arnold Bartelmouse), Poppy was in one piece, as were Hagrid and Filch, and, unless she was very much mistaken, house elves were still the helpers of choice. Something was amiss, and if there was one thing that Hermione Granger hated, it was something being amiss.
Severus Snape was stuck between a rock and a very hard place. His home - "The third in as many years Minerva!" - had been burnt to the ground. Books and robes had been destroyed in a lynch mob's futile attempt to catch and kill him... Pity they carried pitchforks and burning torches and not wands to do said catch and killing. His most treasured books were kept at Hogwarts - "Phobias for the Discerning Wizard" and "How to Cause Allergies and Influence People" were but two titles in his immense sacred library - but any village idiot willing to burn a house full of books was just asking for the scathing remarks full of sarcasm and the trouble of their vandalism doubled onto them.
"Minerva, why must I spend yet another year here enduring to educate dunderheads who will most likely spawn several more dunderheads who will find a way to come and haunt me?" Severus ranted, as Minerva sat calmly behind her desk, writing as if the room was silent and still, waiting for when he calmed. The moment came, and she pointed idly at an empty frame. The gold plated scroll beneath was all Snape needed to stop ranting.
"Now, if you are quite ready to sit down, I can tell you why you are here," Minerva's slipped Scottish accent announced. Snape sat as if two invisible hands forced him down. "Now then Severus, for the past three years you have been ruder and more acidic than even before. We --"
"As in Albus."
Minerva stared over her glasses at the sarcastic wizard. "No, we decided that we should bring in some help for you. You needn't worry however, we've chose the perfect person!"
Severus' heart and stomach sank to his feet. His idea of perfect was a Slytherin with an IQ higher than three, whilst his headmistress thought otherwise. He knew her idea of perfect - brash, bossy, know-it-all and Griffindor. "Oh Merlin. If it's her I swear I'll --"
"You will do nothing! Miss Granger is here to help you, and if I hear you're being a trifle bit more awkward than usual I will volunteer you to look after the Hogsmead trips and the Calamari hunt!" Minerva's cheeks were two purple-red blotches of stress filled skin.
"Merlin's beard. Why Hermione bloody Granger?" he groaned. Unless she had suddenly learnt how to be quiet this would be Hell for him.
"Must you really know why I asked her here?" Snape nodded, and Minerva stood and leant on the desk. "As she is the only witch who is more stubborn than you! Now, off to the Main Hall with you to fetch her up here. And Severus, one prickly comment and I will show baby pictures." Minerva left out whose baby photos, but with the understanding between her and the professors that if she said that she meant Madame Hooch's childhood pictures. Orange cat eyes and baby noses did not mix.
If Snape was perfectly honest things had been trying on him the past four years. He was cleared of murder (the court was slightly shocked when Dumbledore, or rather his portrait, gave evidence, something that hadn't occurred in over a thousand years), but the stigma of being the killer hung over his head like the giant bat people claimed him to be. He wished he could transfigure his looks and change his name, but his transfiguration skills had rusted after many years of disuse, and Minerva had refused to help him. "Bloody Griffindor," he muttered to no-one in particular. The portraits eyed him warily, but he ignored them, wanting nothing more than to crawl under his bed and hide from the evil headmistress.
"Good morning Professor."
His glare intensified. "Is it? Is it really?" 'Blasted Griffindor perkiness pre-lunchtime. It cannot be healthy!'
"Of course it is. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and the birds are singing. It's a glorious day!" Hermione blushed. Regardless of the time away, she still viewed Snape as her professor, and, as such, should be treated as one.
Snape merely turned. "Minerva is waiting for you Miss Granger... You would do well to keep that attitude in check." He started walking. "Well, are you so devoid of intelligence that you cannot follow me to the Headmistress' office?"
"Severus Snape has not changed," Hermione commented over the china tea set. "He's as acidic as the day I left."
"He is worse Hermione. He's such a recluse, even worse after..." She coughed slightly and looked mournfully at Albus' empty frame. "He will not come to meals and his manner to the children has become positively Draconian. No-one is safe, not even his Slytherin pupils."
Hermione's brow furrowed. "Why?"
"No-one knows, but children, especially the older ones, are complaining. That's why I've asked you here. Would you be able to teach a few of his classes?"
The tea that should have stayed in Hermione's mouth decided to have an impromptu flying lesson; over Minerva's pile of parchments, ready to be sent that evening. "Me? Teach?"
"Yes! You'd be perfect! Head Girl, knowledgeable, friendly..."
"Yet utterly impatient with people who do not wish to learn!"
Minerva chuckled. She would do perfectly. Hermione suspected that the chuckle and tinkle were passed down from one headmaster to the next as they were instated in the lofty position. "You'll be fine m'dear. I only want you to help ease Severus' workload. I'll entrust you to sort out the details with Severus." Minerva seemed to take Hermione's outburst as acceptance. Hermione sighed in defeat. She did need a job, and to start repaying back student loans. It would be an interesting year.