Part One: The Makings of Evil
It was with great surprise that the staff of Hogwarts found themselves in a rather awkward position. Usually, between the unstoppable Dumbledore and the oh-so-sensible McGonagall they were covered in all situations. But now…
What exactly is a group of mature witches and wizards suppose to do when confronted with such an obstacle. A young lady has just lost her family. Devastating, tragic, and a situation that calls for comfort.
Except she wasn't grieving. She was refusing treatment for her wounds and had tried to sneak out of the Hospital Wing for the fourth time in the last hour.
"Ms. Granger!" Gryffindor Head of House Minerva McGonagall was at her wits' end. "I swear to Merlin, if you get off that bed once more I shall hex you to it."
"But Professor, I can't be here. Students aren't allowed in Hogwarts over the summer." Even while raging with anger, Hermione Granger was the consummate know-it-all. "Besides, I'm not even hurt. These are all just scrapes. So if you'll just let me go and give me back my wand, I can go track those bastards-"
"Ms. Granger, I believe that qualifies as a bit more than just scrapes." Madame Pomfrey looked outraged at the mere suggestion, ignoring the foul language if favour of the girl's grief. "You are injured, child, and I am going to heal you whether you like it or not."
"I don't." The girl informed the woman, folding her arms over her chest. Both arms were liberally covered in bruises and cuts, as well as dried blood. She had a black eye and a rather alarming cut that was still bleeding at her temple. One ankle had also been twisted, and two ribs had been broken. Except for the ribs, which Poppy had done while the girl was still unconscious, Hermione had so far refused treatment.
Filius Flitwick, Head of Ravenclaw and usually one of Hermione's favorite professors, tried to step in. "Ms. Granger, surely you must see that we have a responsibility to heal you. You have been hurt, my girl, and have suffered a terrible loss."
"It's not your responsibility at the moment." She disagreed. "It's my own. I can take care of myself. I'll get my revenge, that'll take care of my terrible loss. When I kill Bellatrix Lestrange and scalp Lucius Malfoy, then it can be your responsibility. Until then, it's mine."
"Ms. Granger, you must not let grief consume you." Even the Hufflepuff Head of House, the loving Pomona Sprout, tried to talk some sense into the girl.
"So I should just let them get away with it?" Granger asked, glaring at the kind-hearted woman as if she had betrayed her. "I killed Macnair and I injured the Lestrange brothers, but the two main ones got away. I'm not going to let them. I'll-"
With a sigh, Minerva put her wand away, after shooting a Sleeping Spell at the girl. She was so exhausted she collapsed immediately. Poppy caught the girl, gently lowering her to the bed.
Yes, indeed, the Hogwarts staff was at a loss. Rarely did anyone who suffered such a loss feel such vengeance, especially if they were calm, sedate Gryffindor bookworms. The three Heads hadn't known the girl had such a vicious streak. As Dumbledore was gone, taking his rare week vacation to go fishing with his brother, there was only one person who could possibly control the girl.
The three Heads eyed each other, searching for any weakness. Filius saw Pomona look speculatively between himself and Minerva and knew he had to act fast. "Well, Pomona, the girl is a Gryffindor."
Minerva couldn't hold back a groan as Pomona immediately turned traitor.
"That's true, Minnie." The woman said. "She's one of your Cubs, it's your duty to protect her."
Curse Filius for bringing duty into this. Of course the 'Puff would agree with that. "Fine." She said, drawing herself up. "But if I'm not back by dinnertime, I expect the two of you to come and search the bat's cave for my body."
Severus Snape didn't like people. At all. None of them. Which is why he was at peace- or as close as he could get- during the summer. Dumbledore was too busy to bother him, the Dark Lord thought he was busy brewing Infirmary potions or searching rare ingredients he couldn't go hunting for during the school year, and all of the students who could possibly bother him were gone.
So when Minerva came storming into his private lab without so much as knocking, he was a bit upset.
"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing, you miserable old cat! I've been brewing that for two weeks!"
He had been working on a variant of the Polyjuice Potion, trying to get it to last longer. He had been forced to wait six days for the helmsweed to properly simmer and, just as he had been about to add the appropriate hellebore, the door slamming into the wall had broken his concentration and he hadn't poured the ingredient in quickly enough. The brew had immediately turned black as night, when it should have become a reddish-orange. Damn.
"Oh, get over your little potions, Severus." Not only had she ruined a very, very expensive potion, the woman didn't even care! "We have more important things to do. I need your help."
"No." Severus said flatly, waving his wand to instantly clean his cauldron and beginning his potion anew.
"Severus, you have to help us." She said. "We don't know what else to do."
"It's summer." He said, carefully chopping the juniper beans that would start his potion again. "I'm off the clock. I don't have to help you until September 1st. And even then, it's only if I can't get out of it."
He put the cauldron over his open flame and began chopping the odd grey mushrooms in front of him. Minerva didn't know what he was making and didn't really care, so she had no qualms dousing the flame.
"Damn you, Minerva." Severus moaned, mentally calculating how much she had already cost him. These ingredients were not cheap! "Will you go away?"
"Not until you agree to help me." She said, holding her wand at the ready.
Severus moaned. "Fine, fine. What are you three unable to do now? And how long is it going to take?"
Her face softened, ever so slightly, now that he agreed. "Severus, were you summoned last night?"
"No." He said, straightening abruptly. This wasn't some stupid errand they just didn't want to run then. There was an actual problem. "Why?"
"There was an attack last night, on a Muggle-born's family." She said softly.
He closed his eyes, letting the guilt crush him. There was another one he had failed. Add that to the ever-growing list of his sins. "Which one?"
As if it couldn't get worse. The female member of the Golden Trio. Merlin help them. "Is she hurt? Do you need me to make her a potion?" He asked.
"Actually," Minerva couldn't hold back a smug grin now that she was away from the others. She and Severus actually got along decently enough because of her more…feline appreciations of the devious and the cunning. "She's vowing revenge. She put up quite a fight, actually managed to kill Macnair and wound the two Lestrange brothers enough that they were captured. She wants to hunt down Bellatrix and Lucius."
Severus snorted at that. "I always said she could have been a Slytherin. If that's not ambition, I don't know what is."
"Quite." She agreed. "But the girl is injured and is refusing treatment; she demands we let her leave at the moment. None of us can contain her Severus, we need you to."
"She can't stay here, Minerva." Severus said. "It is against the rules, as I'm sure she has informed you several times. The wards need students gone to rebuild."
"As I well know, young man." She said, looking down her nose at him. "I have not suggested otherwise. Unfortunately, of the six of us still here, including Hagrid and Sybill, I'm afraid you are the only one who owns a house."
The Slytherin's eyes grew wide and he backed away. "Oh no. Albus will be back in the next week or so. She can stay here until then." He said. "I am not taking her to Prince Manor."
"You are taking her to Prince Manor." His former teacher had no problem pulling rank. Or a little bit of harmless blackmail. "She was only brought here because of her wounds, as they didn't want Harry Potter's best friend at St. Mungo's. When she is healed, the Ministry will be taking her to an orphanage. Do you really want one of Voldemort's minions to report when she enters the system?"
She would be adopted immediately and taken right to Voldemort. Damn. "Minerva, I don't know anything about fifteen year old girls!" He exclaimed. "What am I supposed to do with her? Surely someone else. The Weasley's."
"You are the only one who knows what it is like to have vengeance riding through your veins." She said. "The girl is vowing revenge on them, she is eventually going to escape us here as she knows so many of the school's secrets. Do you really think the Weasley's would stop her?" Minerva asked.
Well, obviously not. Gryffindor incompetence strikes again, he thought sourly.
"You do you little experiments at home just as well as here, could you not?" She asked, already knowing the answer. "Good," she went on, ignoring his scowl. "Then I shall see you in the Hospital Wing within the hour. You only have to avoid letting her leave the Manor for a week, until Albus can get everything officially squared away."
"Yes, and until then I have kidnapped Harry Potter's best friend." He added, rolling his eyes.
"We won't tell if you won't." Minerva said, winking. "She is in rather bad shape. We ought to be able to hold the Ministry off that long. Albus will fix everything."
He raised an eyebrow, showing his skepticism in volumes.
"Oh don't give me that look." She said, huffing. "Get packed. You leave tonight."
"Yes ma'am." He growled, turning and stalking away.