Sisterhood of the Snape Hunters
"The meeting will come to order!" exclaimed Professor Sinistra dramatically, pounding a black gavel on the table. "The Noble Sisterhood of Snape Hunters is now in formal session. Minerva, perhaps you'll be so good as to bring us up to date on our hero's doings."
"I don't know why Minerva's here!" shrilled Professor Trelawney. "She's old enough to be poor Severus's grandmother!"
"I'm here because you're the most amusing set of loons I've ever encountered and in these dull times, I can use a laugh," snapped Minerva McGonagall, staring distastefully at the dithering Seer. "Besides, with Severus on the run from all of you, he has less time to prepare his house to compete against Gryffindor in September."
The door to the Room of Requirement opened to admit Narcissa Malfoy, who sailed in with a bright smile.
"Do you think Severus will like these robes?" she asked coyly.
"What robes? You're wearing a thong and a push-up bra," replied Madame Rosmerta, scowling. "Period."
"My new Invisibility robes," said the Malfoy matron, shaking back her platinum locks with a practiced air.
"They're inside out," snapped Molly Weasley. "What a tart you are!"
With a condescending smile, Narcissa murmured, "If one is blessed by nature with advantages, one may flaunt them. The rest of you…"
Her eyes drifted dismissively over the motley crew of females, many of them dressed in sober Hogwarts academicals.
"That's enough, Aunt Cissy," said Nymphadora Tonks genially. "Have a seat, if that thong won't slice you in two, and check out the decorations. The Room has outdone itself this year, hasn't it?"
They all paused to reverently gaze at the larger-than-life portraits of Professor Snape that bedecked the walls. Pictures of him dining in the Great Hall, berating Harry Potter, swooping down on rule breakers and sharing a glass with Professor Dumbledore in front of the staff room fire. Finally, in all his scowling glory, a series of vignettes captured the unfortunate wizard as he bathed in the prefects' bathroom. He had been unaware of a camera's intrusion. All the witches sighed as he disrobed, and the sight of his body in profile just before entering the bath made Madam Malkin swoon and fall to the floor. Poppy Pomfrey knelt to offer succor.
Professor McGonagall snorted. "Imagine if he knew you'd seen that. He'd curse you all to a painful death, you know."
"It was when the dungeons were flooded. I charmed the mermaid and gave her a magical camera," said Professor Trelawney with a reminiscent smile. "You should all be grateful that I shared."
"I must say I did not expect Severus to be so, erm, amply endowed," conceded the deputy headmistress. "If I were forty years younger…"
"You'd have no more luck than the rest of us," said Professor Sinistra with a pout. "The wizard is impossible!"
"But so stunningly attractive," said Madam Hooch. "That brooding intensity…"
"That handsome beak of a nose," murmured Molly Weasley. "What a disciplinarian!"
"That sexy scowl!" piped up Penelope Clearwater.
"What is that child doing here?" asked Narcissa Malfoy with a cold sneer.
"She finished school and she's of age," said Tonks defensively. "Makes me feel less an infant, having her here. Besides, she tried on the old "I'm the Head Girl, Professor, so how may I help you?" routine. She's definitely one of us."
"It didn't work, I assume," said Andromeda Tonks.
"No," said Penelope sadly. "It livened up my seventh year quite nicely though, and Professor Snape was adorable to watch when he'd duck around corners and clutch Professor Dumbledore's sleeve for protection."
They all laughed fondly, too used to their idol's clever defenses to be upset.
"So what's on our agenda for this summer?" asked Porpentina Scamander cheerfully. "I'm certainly up for a spot of Severus surveillance. Newt's brought home a clutch of dragon eggs to hatch. I hate baby dragons."
"Severus will be going to his Spinners End home tomorrow," said Minerva. "Dumbledore has asked him to run frequent errands to London and the like, so there will be many chances for you to make utter fools of yourselves. But the Remus Lupin episode has left Severus quite ill-tempered, so do not be caught."
"I'd like to be caught," murmured Narcissa thoughtfully. "Lucius is on the Continent this summer, looking for exotic Dark artifacts. He'd never know if I found my own lovely dark artifact right here at Hogwarts."
The door opened once more to admit a bouncing, brassy-haired journalist. The collective assembly sneered nastily.
"Greetings, my sisters-in-lust!" exclaimed Rita Skeeter. "I bring news! I just glanced over dear Severus's day journal. I know where he plans to be every day of the summer!"
The mood changed instantly and with cheers of appreciation, Rita was offered a place of honor as the secretary noted down precisely the summer plans of one Severus Snape. Copious refreshments followed this exciting activity, and then the meeting was adjourned until September the first.
"You seem more stressed than usual, Severus," said Albus Dumbledore, gazing with concern at the heavy frown lines on his Potions Master's scowling face. "Didn't you have a pleasant summer holiday?"
Professor Snape tossed back his firewhiskey and held the glass out for a refill. His black eyes narrowed in reminiscent disgust as memories of the summer filled his mind.
"I did not have a pleasant summer," he snapped sourly. "I managed to accomplish the tasks I set for myself, but of late, my world is filled with demons and harpies. They all hover just out of sight, but the air is filled with grasping claws and a miasma."
"My dear boy, are you quite well?" asked the Headmaster. "Perhaps Madam Pomfrey…"
Snape shuddered. "No!"
"Very well, but I must insist that you take better care of yourself. With the Triwizard Tournament occurring this year, I'll need your assistance to keep Hogwarts in order." Dumbledore beamed genially at the younger wizard and continued, "There'll be a Yule ball, of course. I hope you find a pleasing partner this year."
"I'm experiencing an extreme distaste for female company," said Snape hollowly. "The demons haunting my summer were exclusively female."
"Really? I suggest a Calming Draught at bedtime, and you'll be fresh and ready for the start of another marvelous school year when you wake tomorrow."
Professor Snape gulped his firewhiskey, savoring the burn of it, and slammed his glass down on the table. He glared nastily at the Headmaster of Hogwarts and hissed, "I wish you a good night, Professor Dumbledore."
He slammed the door of Dumbledore's office and felt better briefly. But once out of the revolving stairway, he felt invisible eyes upon him and clutched his wand unobtrusively. He strode rapidly to his quarters; his robes billowing like a night storm behind him. His dark eyes were haunted.
"Th' meeting'll come t' order… OWWWW!" shrieked Professor Trelawney, missing the table and gaveling her own thigh, hard.
Minerva McGonagall rolled her eyes and chuckled. "It's not the best idea to let Sybill chair the meeting. Refreshments first is always her motto."
"Oh, who cares?" trilled Narcissa Malfoy. "I had a most exciting summer."
Indeed, the haughty pureblood had a lascivious gleam in her eyes. She wore a tight black bustier made from fabric that had a familiar dull gleam.
"Narcissa Malfoy! Is that made from what I think it is?" asked Poppy Pomfrey enviously.
The blond witch nodded. "I invited Severus for tea, to discuss the possibility of his tutoring Draco during the summer. Of course he never does private tutoring, but he was too polite to refuse my invitation."
"Did you give him Amortentia and have your way with him?" asked Rita Skeeter, bouncing with excitement.
"Are none of you capable of subtlety? Of course not!" The witch stared in disgust at the disappointed faces around her. A smug smiled graced her features as she continued. "I asked him to drop a special order off at the apothecary in Hogsmeade for me on his way back to the school."
"Was that the day that he Stunned me?" asked Tonks, her forehead bandaged and her arm in a sling.
Narcissa smiled. "You're not a graceful girl, are you? I heard you fall down the stairs as I left him. He was a bit touchy, I suppose, after what happened."
"What happened?" shrieked a frustrated Molly Weasley, her eyes bulging slightly.
"There's a small alcove in the entry to the apothecary shop. I waited there, Confunded him as he entered, and snogged him senseless," she said smugly. "I tore a strip off his robes, to make this little garment. I also have a very handsome black throw pillow on my bed."
A hush fell as her words sunk in. Envy gleamed in all their eyes.
"How was he?" asked Penelope.
A dreamy smile lit the blue eyes. "I never snog and tell."
Before they could rend her to pieces, Madam Rosmerta waved something white before them.
"What's that?" asked Tonks.
"His shirt," she said complacently. "That Winky comes to me for butterbeer. I offered a bottle if she'd lift this from the castle laundry."
Oooohhh…" said Mrs. Tonks, fingering the fine fabric. "He has good taste in clothes."
"Doe anyone else have a trophy to share?" asked Minerva, wicked laughter lighting her austere features.
"A lock of hair," said Penelope, holding up a shiny silver locket. "I cut it off when I accidentally bumped into him outside Flourish and Blotts."
"A button from his frock coat," said Professor Sinistra complacently. "I used a Severing Charm when he was distracted at the staff meeting last night."
"His used tissue," hiccoughed Sybill Trelawney, waving a wrinkled white scrap.
"Ew!" exclaimed Madam Malkin, frowning. "I measured him for new robes this summer."
A collective sigh swept through the room at the thought of a semi-clothed Potions Master being fitted for fine new robes.
"Let us enjoy more refreshments as we share the summer's excitement one last time," said Professor Sinistra. "The autumn term begins tomorrow, signaling the end of the season."
The next few hours passed in pleasantly scandalous conversation that was filled with wishful thinking and repeated glances at the bathing pictures.
"D' you think any of us really has a chance?" asked Tonks dreamily, gazing at the Room of Requirement's most remarkable decoration.
"Don't bet on it," said Minerva with a smirk. "His Slytherin cunning will protect him from you rapacious females."
The mood in the room became resigned and nostalgic as they discussed their near misses and small accomplishments. Only the daring Narcissa Malfoy had accomplished something remarkable, but it was well known that if she attempted more, her husband would murder her painfully. This was merely a summer amusement for a bored, lonely wife.
"It's really all right the way things are now," said Penelope. "The fun is in the chase, isn't it?"
Sybill Trelawney had collapsed long ago upon the floor, snoring unpleasantly with her mouth agape. They stepped over and around her, mostly, and Madam Rosmerta poured a last festive round. Professor McGonagall raised her glass.
"To the thrill of the chase," she intoned.
"The thrill of the chase," murmured the rest, drinking deep and preparing to leave.
Professor McGonagall considered leaving Sybill on the floor, but a Gryffindor could not stoop so low, so she Levitated the Seer to the floor under her tower, tucked a shawl over her and headed for bed, chuckling.
As the door closed behind the last witch, Albus Dumbledore stepped from behind a massive Snape wall hanging; a handsome phoenix perched on his arm.
"I wonder, shall we ever tell Severus about his little fan club, Fawkes? The dear ladies are infinitely better than Muggle television for entertainment."
The phoenix trilled thoughtfully.
"No, perhaps not," mused Dumbledore, with a last amused glance at the bathing pictures before he left the room.