Snape reached his destination within a few minutes. "Crunchies," he hissed in distaste.
The gargoyles guarding the stairs to the Headmaster's office parted at the password, they seemed to be smirking at him.
Snape himself had no idea what a crunchie was, but imagined it was probably the main cause of hyper children. That alone was enough for him to dislike the candy bar.
He swept up the stairs, his robes whirling behind him. Snape took a second to stop at the door and knock, he knew the Headmaster would be in, he always waited for Snape when he was summoned.
It seemed that just like Snape's spot for apparation, Dumbledore also had a tradition.
Without waiting for a response, Snape opened the door and entered.
He sneered at the scene before him. Sirius Black, sitting in a chair obviously distraught looked up at Snape.
His eyes were red rimmed, but instead of looking away like Snape expected, he stood. "Did you learn anything? Please tell me you learned something that will help us find Harry!"
"I found something that will help you find Potter," Snape said.
Sirius's eyes widened, and he looked at Dumbledore sitting behind his desk back to Snape. "Really?" he asked in surprise, his eyes wide with hope.
"No, but you asked me to tell you what you wanted to hear. I fulfilled your request."
As a look of horror came upon Sirius's face. Dumbledore sighed. "Severus," he said in exasperation.
"Potter has amnesia," Snape said. "Apparently Wormtail paid the life debt he owed Potter by casting Alieno on him, and then sending him to heaven knows where with a unregistered, emergency Portkey."
Sirius was the first to respond to the flood of information. "What?"
"Please explain, Severus," Dumbledore said. The skin around his eyes wrinkled in thought.
Snape pulled up a chair and sat. "The Dark Lord had indeed returned. Although I do not believe he was fully dead in the first place. He has a more human form, but I can't say he looks human, more like a hybrid between a man and a snake.
"In the process of him returning to full strength, which I will go into later if you don't mind, he had Wormtail cut off his hand with the promise of giving him a hand of silver later. From what I was told by Wormtail, his faith in the Dark Lord faltered when he did not get his reward immediately. In those moments of doubt, he freed Potter. Then Wormtail cursed Potter with Alieno, which is a spell causing amnesia, and he sent the boy away with a portkey."
Sirius's face was very grim, "Is there anyway to find where the portkey sent him?" he asked.
Snape answered, "No, the type of portkey used is for disasters. It sends the person in danger far away from the area they are at, there is no way to trace it and Wormtail has no idea where Potter was sent either."
Sirius stood up to pace the length of the room.
"We have to find him before--before someone else does," Sirius said. He looked agitated as he ran two hands through his hair. "And those damn emergency portkeys should be made illegal!"
"I'm positive the Dark Lord has no idea where Potter is either Black. If he did Potter would already be dead and we would be receiving bits of him in the morning mail--of course it's not morning yet so there is still time," Snape said thoughtfully.
Sirius paled and let out a small moan. Snape smirked and Dumbledore frowned at him in disapproval.
"Why don't you go rest Severus, I'm sure you must be tired," Dumbledore said. Snape heard the command under the disguise of a request.
He turned to leave as Dumbledore wanted, but couldn't resist adding, "See you in the morning," as he exited.
Behind him he heard the sound of Sirius's horrified voice and Dumbledore trying to reassure him.
After taking a pain number for the after effects of crucio, Snape found himself grading papers. Due to the recent events, assignments had piled up on his desk.
Because he doubted he would get any sleep in the few hours there was left of darkness, Snape decided to try and get some work done.
After five minutes of staring at the same badly written sentence, he realized what he should have known all along.
He was not going to get anything done tonight.
His mind kept going back to Potter's disappearance. Every year Hogwarts seemed to have some kind of problematic situation, and Potter was always involved.
The Potions Master liked to know what was happening in his school. It was just as much his home as it was the students, and he was going to be aware of everything that was happening in it.
This need to be aware of his surroundings aided him many times. Although, his midnight wanderings had earned him names like 'the bat', but to Snape, that was a bonus.
In his position it was good to keep up an infamous appearance, no one would try to get involved, and so no one would get hurt.
With these thoughts, he stood up and left the room.
He walked the corridors with quiet steps. His eyes swept across the darkness in front of him.
Snape's mind went back to when he had been searching through Wormtail's mind. The man's guilt lay on his thoughts like a thick sheet. Snape had to pass many memories where Wormtail doubted his choices.
Onw of those memories where Wormtail was in doubt, was the one where he sent Potter away with the damned portkey.
Snape's eyes narrowed. He knew Wormtail had no idea where Potter was, no one did.
It was going to be incredibly hard to find Potter, especially since they didn't know where to start.
He could imagine Potter's friends handing out flyers or doing some other useless act to try and find the boy. Snape turned abruptly and he glared at the wall down the corridor.
When the newspapers found out…he could already imagine the chaos that would follow. There will be an all out search for the boy, rewards might be given for the first one to find him.
Potter would be like a missing dog, a very rare and valuable dog, but still….
In his mind, Snape watched the moment Wormtail sent Potter away. The confused expression on Potter's face as the velvet bag was shoved into his hands--the velvet bag.
Where had he seen that bag before?
Wormtail carried it everywhere with him when he was in school--and Snape had seen it before at a Death Eater meeting.
Since he always carried it around it was not suspicious, a lot like Moody and his hipflask.
A conclusion to their problem hit Snape like a bag of bricks. He stopped in the middle of the hall. Could it possibly be so easy? He remembered seeing a potion in one if his books a long time ago.
This certain potion, allowed someone to track or find a person's possessions.
Snape remembered this and had to find a seat, it could be the answer to what Dumbledore was looking for. The potion would show you the area where the object you were thinking of was at.
It was a very complicated potion, and deemed rare as most considered it too expensive to make when one could usually cast a summoning charm for the lost object. Snape would need a bit of Wormtail's hair to accomplish it, but it was still possible.
He would have to wait until the Dark Lord called him again--or he could come back with news. When coming with news, he would be welcomed and unquestioned. But what could he tell the monster?
Snape would need to talk with Dumbledore again, but he didn't want to go back up there. It could wait until morning he decided. Feeling more content, Snape turned and stalked back to his rooms.
Maybe now he could get some sleep.
Snape woke early and left for the Headmaster's office. He'd only gotten a few measly hours of sleep, but he would make do just like he had several times before.
Once again he spat out the childish password and climbed up the stairs.
He found Dumbledore reading a letter with an unhappy expression.
"Ah, Severus, please sit," Dumbledore said and he placed the letter on the table.
"What happened to Black?" Snape asked sarcastically. "He didn't stay all night and moan about his loss?"
Dumbledore looked at him over his glasses. "Now Severus, his godson is missing--Harry may even be dead for all we know. So of course the man in nervous, and with good reason. You would be to if you were put in a similar situation."
Snape watched Fawkes clean his feathers and did not answer. Instead he mentally counted the potions that used phoenix parts.
Fawkes seemed to know somehow that he was being scrutinized and he looked up.
"I believe you wanted to know what I've learned from our imposter?" Dumbledore asked as he eyed the two of them.
Snape nodded at the question and looked away from the glaring bird. "Yes Albus, but first I believe I may have found a way to find Potter."
Dumbledore looked up at him sharply, but his voice was soft when he spoke. "Oh really, and what way is that Severus?"
"I recognized the satchel that Wormtail used as a portkey, I saw him carrying it everywhere with him when he was in school. I have also glimpsed it at meetings with the Dark Lord. Because this item is so familiar to being with his person, it did not look suspicious and therefore Wormtail could turn it into a portkey without having to worry about being scrutinized," Snape said.
"There is a certain potion that will track down the items you want from a particular person, if I find the bag, then we will most likely find Potter--or at least the place where Potter's portkey landed."
Dumbledore nodded, "That's wonderful Severus, but I feel you are holding something back?"
Snape clenched his jaw and nodded firmly. "To track down Wormtail's old possessions, I need something from his. Hair or otherwise, but I need it soon or his magical signature will be weaker. The weaker it is, then the area Potter might be in will become larger and not as dependable."
Sighing lightly, Dumbledore sat back in his chair and crossed his fingers across his stomach. "You will have to get to him soon Severus."
There was a pause in which all was quiet, then Dumbledore sat up.
"I have to leave soon I'm afraid. Now, about the imposter. He is Barty Crouch--"
"Barty Crouch!" Snape exclaimed. "He was supposed to be dead and buried--how?"
"I shall show you Severus," Dumbledore stood and moved to a open cabinet and took out a pensieve. "I'm afraid I don't rather feel like telling it. You see, Crouch has been kissed."
"What?" Snape hissed and stood.
Dumbledore nodded slowly as he brought the pensive to the table, "Cornelius brought a dementor to keep him safe when he learned we had caught the Death Eater responsible. He brought the dementor to the office where I had placed Crouch, and it swooped down and kissed him."
"No doubt Fudge did this on purpose," Snape snarled. "Now we can not have the man give testimony! The only one alive that's seen the Dark Lord return is Potter--and he's missing!"
"Calm yourself Severus, I understand your anxiety. I feel the same way, but people will be more willing to listen if they here the news from a calm person," Dumbledore said and he glanced at Fawkes.
The phoenix started crooning softly. Snape felt some of his heightened emotions relax.
Snape took a calming breath and stopped pacing. Meanwhile, Dumbledore was taking memories from his mind and placing them in the pensieve.
"I have been called to the Ministry for a press conference, I won't be here when you are done Severus."
Snape nodded, "When will you be back?"
"Before lunch I imagine. I will talk with you about this later," Dumbledore said and he left the room.
Snape dipped his head in the pensieve and watched the memories. He had to admit it was a brilliant plan. Very thorough and thought out--too bad it was the plan of the enemy. Barty Crouch seemed very passionate about serving the Dark Lord, it was amazing how the monster had so many fooled.
Later, when Snape left the pensieve, he realized that he know had a reason for reporting back to Voldemort. The man would want to know that the one who helped him return was dead.
Snape just hoped Voldemort didn't get angry and kill the messenger.
In the Great Hall, the owls were flying wildly. Students were gathering around their friends Daily Prophet and reading in whispers. Snape knew what the newspaper headline would be without reading it.
The way half of Gryffindor was worrying over Weasley and Granger made it obvious.
Sure enough, an owl dropped the Daily Prophet over his plate.
TRIWIZARD CHAMPION DEAD! HARRY POTTER MISSING!
Snape scowled. His eye caught Rita Skeeter's name near the end of the article. How the woman kept finding information like this was beyond him. All he knew was that she was an annoying bug, he'd seen her hanging around the outskirts of the school willing to listen to any students gossip.
Dumbledore was missing, Snape had heard McGonagall telling Pomfrey he was at a press conference, it seemed the staff all knew. Hopefully they would except his explanation and not question it.
"Shut up you stupid ferret!" The yell of fury got most of the attention in the Great Hall.
Snape immediately looked to Gryffindor table--just as Weasley punched Malfoy.
"Harry's innocent and--and probably seriously hurt! So don't you dare accuse him of killing Cedric!"
The force of the punch made Malfoy land on his behind. Crabbe and Goyle were still for a moment, then they attacked.
Granger was yelling at them all--then Snape saw her punch Malfoy just as he got back on his feet "Don't you dare say something so vile, you nasty little cockroach!" she screeched.
"Wonderful," McGonagall muttered from beside Snape as she placed her fork down.
Snape was reluctant to get up as well, the small amount of sleep he had was wearing on him. Couldn't they just let the children settle their differences in their own creative way?
Snape spoke, "Do we reallyneed to step in? They're doing a fine job." Just then the Weasley twins turned Crabbe and Goyle into matching canaries. How they had done it, Snape wasn't sure, but he was silently impressed.
Down the table Hagrid inhaled his tea and started coughing between hearty laughs.
Snape barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes, instead he glared at the groundskeeper and stood.
"I guess I'll stop Malfoy from killing Weasley--I don't want to clean up the mess," Snape said to McGonagall.
She sniffed and tilted her head up. "Your mistaken Severus, look again. I do believe that fist digging into Mr Malfoy's face belongs to Mr Weasley."
Snape did look--and then he looked away. Weasley was indeed turning the youngest Malfoy's face bloody even as the Malfoy heir screamed for help. Clenching his teeth in exasperation, Snape left the table to go to their side.
"Weasley!" Snape snapped and then dragged the red-head off Malfoy.
"And you wonder why you lose so many house points," Snape said mockingly to the angry boy.
"He said--he accused Harry of killing Cedric!" Weasley screamed.
"You've already told every one with that big mouth of yours. Now why don't you do us all a favor and shut it," Snape hissed.
McGonagall had pulled a sniffling Malfoy to his feet. "Did you see that? He tried to kill me, you just wait until my father hears this Weasel. You won't have a bone to fight over!"
Malfoy's voice was sounded stuffy because of his nose, Snape suspected it was broken.
"It would have been better for you to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it up and remove all doubt!" Granger snapped. "Anybody that's ever talked to Harry would assure you that he would never--could never do anything so horrible," Granger continued heatedly.
"That's enough Ms Granger," McGonagall said. "I'm very ashamed of all of you, fighting like common Muggles!"
Weasley bit his lip and tried to shake out of Snape's tight grip.
"Malfoy started it, everyone heard what he said about Harry," Weasley said with a scowl meant for Malfoy.
"And instead of taking it to a teacher, or better yet ignoring it, you decided that violence was the best answer and started a major fight in the process," McGonagall said. "Weasley, detention for a week, and fifty points from Gryffindor--anymore groaning and it'll be a hundred!" she said to the other ones fighting.
"What about Malfoy!" Weasley exclaimed. His mouth was open with horror that Malfoy would get away with his actions. Snape could already see Granger getting ready to name the reasons why Malfoy should be punished.
Snape spoke before Granger could, he didn't want to be standing there forever and that was exactly what would happen if she was allowed to speak.
"I'll deal with Mr Malfoy, Weasley," Snape said. "I suggest you all get to class. Come with me Mr Malfoy."
He turned and left the room with Malfoy following behind. "I think my nose is broke Professor, I'm going to black out from blood loss!" Malfoy began moaning as soon as the left the Great Hall.
Snape didn't speak. "I need to see Madam Pomfrey before my nose heals like this and I look ugly for the rest of my life," Malfoy continued.
"That would be a shame," Snape muttered. "Mr Malfoy, I am fully capable on healing you injuries. I fully doubt that your nose could heal that fast, but I will re-break the bone should it heal before we reach my office."
Malfoy stopped walking for a second, and Snape glanced at him to see he had completely paled. "I--I don't think that will be necessary, Professor."
Snape made no comment, and too afraid to speak, Malfoy kept his mouth shut. They reached Snape's office and the Potions master healed Malfoy's nose, and cleaned the blood away.
"Now, what do you think should be your punishment?" Snape asked as he sat down behind his desk.
Malfoy shrugged insolently, "I don't see why I should be punished at all. Weasley is the one who attacked me, not the other way around."
"You provoked him, and you know it. Twenty points from Slytherin and who nights of detention with Filch--"
"Filch!" Malfoy exclaimed in horror and cut Snape off in the process.
"--but I'm sure Hagrid would love some help collecting rare plants from the Forbidden Forest," Snape continued lightly.
"As I was saying, I can't wait to work with Filch," Malfoy said with a weak smile.
Snape barely showed his teeth in what could almost be considered a smile. "That's what I thought. Now, go to class and don't talk to Weasley or Granger anymore involving Potter."
"If they weren't so easy to irritate--" Malfoy muttered as he turned.
"I wonder if Hagrid will be able to find hemlock alone," Snape mussed with a raised eyebrow.
Eyes widening, Malfoy hurried out of the room.
Smirking, Snape started grading papers as he waited for his third year class to arrive. Later he would tell Dumbledore about the potion that could help them find Potter, then he would have to report to Voldemort and somehow get a lock of Wormtail's hair.
From outside the door came the sound of children talking. There was the sound of two shooting insults at each other. Why did the day have to stat with a Gryffindor and Slytherin class?
Snape rubbed his eyes, and spelled the door open. This was going to be a long day.
Authors Note: Wow, I should include limericks more often. That's the most reviews I've received for one chapter in this story so far, thank you so much! The constructive criticism really helps, and just you telling me your opinion can help me become a better writer. I was beginning to think it was a terrible story, so thank you for stopping by! To Eric who didn't include an e-mail address. Homely doesn't have to mean ugly, in my dictionary it means plain or cozy. That was what I meant when I said Tobias's kitchen was homely.