Author's Note; Guys, I didn't stop there, I promise, cross my heart. However, this is the last chapter of this section of SVW so, please, enjoy!
Chapter 07 –
Snape stood on the balcony, flanked by Kingsley Shacklebolt and Potions Master Woodwhistle, looking down into the operating arena below. A mixed audience of Medi-wizards and healers were scattered about chatting to each other or reading magazines while they waited for the team below to bring in the patient. There was a strange feeling of déjà vu swirling around Severus' mind as he glanced around, half expecting to see Antonin Dolohov reading a magazine instead of a slight, blonde Medi-witch studiously writing notes. He almost expected a central throne holding pride of place instead of rows of comfortably padded seats. Kingsley could feel the tension in the thin man beside him and nudged him with a querying noise.
"Just memories. The place is set up like the torture chamber in the Lestrange castle, with a spectator gallery above it, and I keep half expecting to see Tom come sweeping in to enjoy the entertainment." He grumbled causing a terrified silence to fall over the audience.
Kingsley laughed. "Only you would think of something like that!" he dared teased slyly.
"Now, hold on a moment, a lot of good research came out of those sessions, information they use here at St Mungo's on an everyday basis, although they probably do not acknowledge the source," Severus protested but was cut off as the surgeons wheeled in their patient and prepared to remove most of his leg as Severus had suggested.
It wasn't as noisy or as bloody as the torture of Muggles but the levels of excitement generated in the audience were very similar, even if their purpose was slightly different. A couple of tense discussions broke out between the students gathered to watch while others simply stared down intently, determined to absorb every last nuance of the action.
Kingsley had to acknowledge the Potions Master's knowing and self-satisfied glare was warranted as the operation progressed and the cursed flesh was excised. Even as they cleaned up the remaining stump, a wisp of green curse light seemed to emanate from the dish holding the excised flesh until the Master Surgeon incinerated it in disgust. At the end of the exercise there was no trace of the dark curse left in the man's upper leg or in his aura. The surgeons announced a complete success to the watching students and called for questions as the still blissfully unconscious patient was wheeled away to recover from his ordeal.
Turning on his heel, Severus barely managed to bid a quiet farewell to Kingsley before he hurried out to the Apparition point. With luck, he could get back to Hogwarts before memories of past horrors could overwhelm him in such a public place. He longed for his quiet dungeons again with all the fervour of a convert.
Appearing at the gates of Hogwarts, Severus dashed up the garden paths hardly registering the magnificent view as he headed to ground where his house-elf waited with a pot of strong tea and a cosy fire to drive the demons away from his mind. A lot of his restored memories were merely bare frameworks in his mind without emotional content until something triggered them and the tightly spell-packed emotions and details flooded through the matrix adding colours, smells and emotions to the armature. Sometimes it was an enjoyable experience, like living something all over again with the intensity of a brand new experience. Unfortunately, the bad memories came flooding back in exactly the same way and it was incredibly hard to experience some of the horrors in all their technicolour detail! The dungeon experience had been one of the less pleasant experiences of his life but certainly not the worst. Still, it gave him the shakes.
He had barely managed a sip of his tea when the fire flared green and Albus stuck his head into the room like a curious white sparrow. Waving him through, Severus called for another cup and waited until the headmaster was comfortably settled in the opposite chair before he began to ignore him studiously.
Albus allowed the treatment for some quarter of an hour, keenly observing his Potions Master until he noted that his hands no longer trembled. "Was it so very hard to go back to the scene of your latest misfortunes?" he eventually asked solicitously.
"Somewhat," Severus began, having given the question some serious thought. "We did so many horrendous things in the name of superiority but sometimes, just sometimes, the research we did, as distasteful as it was, proves to be invaluable in the current situation. If I hadn't helped Bella with her experiments into curse removal then I would not have known how a particular curse worked. If I had not used any guinea pig available then I would not have known how to brew a potion to destroy the Maggots Plague curse or that the Creeping Green Deadly Never-Get-Over curse was immune to potions and could only be lifted by cutting it out of the flesh completely." Severus sighed and scrubbed his face with both hands. "Unfortunately I had another trigger memory and nearly flashed back when we were watching the operation. Thank Merlin, Kingsley knows better than to ask inane questions and when I say I have to go, I have to go."
"He is a good man, isn't he?" Albus agreed with a grin of self-satisfaction. It was nice when Severus admitted there were some people worth knowing in the world.
"Saw Harry Bloody Potter there, too," Severus added then sipped his tea provocatively while Albus waited impatiently for him to go on.
"Well?" The older man finally prompted when the silence dragged on for too long.
"Seems to be, it was Mrs Boy-Who-Lived-to-be-a-Bloody-Nuisance who was under observation."
"Ginny? What was wrong with Ginny?" Albus asked, silently praying it was nothing serious.
"The Medi-wizards seemed to want to check her over for dark curses or jinxes, usual panic merchant stuff," Severus mused softly, glancing under his lashes at where Albus was strangling his teacup in a bid to stop himself demanding answers. "Turned out it was not fatal, just long term and guaranteed to give everyone in the world a headache for many years to come."
"Well, man, what was it?" Albus finally demanded impatiently.
"RA fever," Severus said, sipping his tea.
Albus blinked, then blinked again. "Ra… Pregnant? How wonderful! Severus, that's splendid news!"
"Only if I can retire before then? Or you plan to pay me danger money!"
Albus was too busy tossing Floo powder into the fire with a barely suppressed cheer on his lips to dignify that last remark with an answer.
Afterword by Me: And there you have this chapter of SVW. For those of you who were worried that the Chapter 6 was the last chapter, nope, have to round things off properly, really, you do. All I can say is thank you so much everyone who read and for those who reviewed, thank you even more, I always appreciate feedback, feeds the inner Slytherin nicely, vain creature that he is. To new readers:
PhantomChajo, dverducci, Myene, Olikard, InvaderV.A.M, RebeccaRoy, Moreteaplease, Aubr, WickedMagic, Dayd, Zafaran, realistjoker, SpencerReid, korrigan1112
I hope you enjoyed my version of hte Potterverse. To return readers, Hi again, and thanks for hanging in there, Snape's Nightie, Fmh, Silverbirch,
Zarathustra46, Well, Hon, what did you thinkof the finished product, not too shabby I hope. Thank you for your excellent beta-ing efforts and your encouragement. Yes, you were right, posting it was the thing to do, many hugs and kisses to you!
Now a shameless plug. If you enjoyed my Snape-centric potterverse, have a look at my other stuff starting with Snape the Younger. Just ignore the horrible intro as I am terrible at titles and summaries. The story is not too bad at all, as long as you are not offended by slash, bad language and a Dark Lord who isn't all bad. See you next time...