A/N: Love to reviewers.
We hadn't heard from Snape in forever, so when this popped into my head, I couldn't resist. I intend on following up on this, along with someone else from whom we hear our first in this story.
NB: AT this point, there would be no more Halfbloods as there are in Canon-the offspring of a Pureblood and a Muggleborn--so a 'Halfblood' in TAV is defined as the result of two Halfbloods having mated at some point. In other words, it's a bloodline, not a designation.
Please read and review.
Severus Snape stalked down the halls of Hogwarts like a cloud of plague, his layers of thick black wool swirling about his frame. His head was down, his expression sour. He loathed political meetings almost as much as he loathed Alecto Carrow, and both were waiting for him in Albus' study.
Even after all this time, he still regarded his occupation of the office as a sort of fluke; someday he would give the password and there would be his mentor, contently munching sweets like a five year old, ready with a smile and a carefully worded manipulation.
Alecto leaped to her feet as soon as he entered. "Why, hello, Headmaster. Dear Fenrir and I were just--"
He cut her off with a wave. "Thank you, Madam. To what do I owe the honor, Greyback?"
Fenrir Greyback smiled lazily. "No pleasantries, Snape? You always did try to be an alpha." His grin showed browned teeth, broken in place, disconcertingly sharp even when human. The moon would come soon and Greyback would ride Her ecstasies with joy. He stretched, pleased by this, looked Snape directly in the eye, trying to prove his dominance.
Snape was in no mood. He stared back, utterly unafraid. "Big words from the Dark Lord's lap dog. What does Lucius do when you piddle the rug, I wonder?"
Greyback stiffened. "If it were anyone but you, I'd tear out his throat for that."
"I have a list of candidates, should you like to find a proxy."
Alecto coughed. " Where is that elf with the refreshments?"
"No need, Madam, Greyback will be telling me what he wants and leaving right after."
"I want to look over the newest crop of halfbloods. Our numbers are still thin, and the females can only litter so many times before it wears them out. I thought I'd take a few of the little brats off your hands."
"You expect me to give you human children so you can turn them and raise them as savages? Why don't I just fire call Hermione Malfoy and ask for a few of hers ? And Pansy Potter, too, while we're at it."
Greyback huffed. "Stop being melodramatic, Snape. I'm not asking you for a Pureblood. Just a few little mongrels. Maybe even some mudbloods, if you have any."
"Our mudbloods have powerful guardians and you know it."
"Then give me the halfbloods. Not as though the parents can complain much."
Snape shook his head. "I'd sooner kill them myself."
Greyback smirked. "Big words from the Dark Lord's pet spy. He begged you for his life, remember?' He put on a quavering old man's voice 'Severus, please…'.
Snape moved fast. Within a second he was on his feet, wand drawn. "I won't dirty my wand killing you, but by God I'll make you wish I had."
Greyback leapt up. "Do it, you traitorous whore's son. You haven't the ba-"
In a roundabout way, a house elf saved the day. She appeared squeaking apologies and clutching a vast tray, laden with cakes, biscuits, sherry and a bloody side of meat. The werewolf's attention was momentarily shifted, and Snape used that moment to fire a quick petrificus totalus. Greyback hit the floor with a thump like a sack of vegetables.
"Oh, dear, Headmaster, whatever shall we do with him?" Alecto spoke in a girlish voice that was grotesque coming from her squat, powerful form. She waved her hands in what she thought was feminine helplessness, wishing to herself she had Narcissa Malfoy's ease at these things. Of course, Narcissa wasn't a Death Eater. She never served in the field, fighting the Dark Lord's enemies head on, and Alecto had decided her fearsome reputation as a warrior compensated for any lack of female wiles. At least, she hoped so.
Snape wondered if she actually thought he'd be receptive to her. Alecto was fluttering and simpering as though she was possessed by the ghost of Delores Umbridge who, come to think, had also tried to seduce Snape. Snape wondered if he could bribe Potter into arranging a similarly nasty end for this twittering fool. Perhaps a large bottle of Old Ogden's and an excuse to get away from that whinging hell kite he was married to? Snape marked this as a possibility and turned to the matter at hand.
" Do calm down, Madam. I'm sure we'll think of something."
She nodded, fluttering her lashes while trying to stare meltingly into his eyes. Snape forced down his gag reflex and gamely soldiered on. "Are you quite well, Alecto?"
"Oh yes, very well, Severus." Alecto smiled winningly, wondering why Snape seemed uncomfortable. Perhaps he'd never had the love of a good Pureblooded woman before and was overcome with sentiment. Poor dear, a few months of her wifely embraces and he'd be a new man.
This day was getting worse and worse. First the debacle with the spoiled newt spleens in third year Potions , then the meeting with Greyback, and now this nubby little cob of a woman was making sheep's eyes at him. Snape closed his eyes and counted to twenty.
" We'll obliviate him and send him home. Then I'll ask to see His Lordship and settle this once and for all." Alecto simpered approvingly, wondering whether she could get her beloved fattened up a bit. Not that he wasn't a fine specimen, mind, but he could do with some of her good home cooking. She reached out a hand and put it on Snape's arm. "You do have the best ideas, my dear."
Snape wanted to retch. He withdrew his arm from her clammy embrace and firecalled the werewolves' head quarters. A female answered and said she'd send someone to get him at once.
Snape obliviated the prone Greyback and undid his bonds. He sat up, holding his head and groaning.
"My stars, Greyback, I would have thought you'd hold your liquor a bit better than that. A few glasses of sherry and you're out like a light."
A rustling at the Floo announced that Greyback's escort had come. A younger man, clad in the same dirty rags as his alpha, crouched awkwardly near the grate.
"Fen? Fen, it's me, I've come to take you back. Edda said you--"
Something about this one rankled. Snape stared harder, trying to look under the shaggy hair and smudges. A former student? The son of a colleague? Greyback was up. He stood straight and cracked his spine.
" I swear, the way she takes on, I ought to be in a rocking chair scaring the little ones with ghost stories."
The younger one laughed. "Not you, Fen! Edda fancies you, that's all."
Greyback chortled. "Got that right, lad. Fancied me three times just last night. Not bad for a bloke over sixty, eh?"
Snape cleared his throat. "If you don't mind, Greyback, I'd rather not hear about your…mating habits."
The younger man froze at Snape's voice. Snape got a really good look at his face and struggled not to react. "Longbottom. Fancy meeting you here."
Longbottom's face was dense with scars, milky pale and twisted, that ran from above his left ear and went into the neck of the dirty rugby shirt he wore. His left eye was closed permanently, and his mouth canted strangely.
Aside from that, he looked well enough for a werewolf. The fact he dared joke with Greyback pegged his status within the band as very high, and once he recovered he stood tall, looking Snape in the eye fearlessly.
"Good evening, Headmaster Snape. It's been a long time."
"Indeed it has, Longbottom. "
Greyback cut it. "Greenthumb, now. He can make anything grow. Not much of a surprise, what with my vitae in him and all." He grinned at Longbottom and Longbottom's ruined mouth squirmed into something like a grin back.
Snape didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As a rule, ordinary wizards and witches avoided the werewolves. The werewolves kept to themselves, anyway, and their status as Rudolphus' private axe men made them even more suspect.
"Still wrecking havoc on innocent cauldrons?"
Greyback was not about to sit back and watch while this snotty git of a damned two legs bullied his most promising vitae cub. " My second in command, he is, after old Splitnail crossed the river in '12. Damned fine at it, too."
Longbottom actually blushed. Snape was startled to think that the former dunce might be good at anything, but Greyback pressed on. "Three mates, this bloke has. "
Longbottom reached into his pocket and pulled out a rather grimy photo. A horde of blocky children were squinting into the camera, poking and shoving one another. His face twisted again. Snape repressed his urge to shudder at the idea of so many Longbottoms.
"Are you ready, Fen? Creusa expects us back for supper."
Greyback nodded. "Yeah, Nev, let's go. I'm done with this damned twolegs anyway."
He walked to the fireplace and Flooed out without another word. Longbottom lingered a moment.
"Goodbye, Longbottom." He was gone.
Alecto had said nothing the whole exchange. She watched as Snape sighed and sat down in the chair behind the big desk. He pulled a bottle from the bottom drawer, along with a glass.
"No thank you, Severus."
Snape looked as though he had aged twenty years. He poured himself a glass of the whiskey and took a sip.
"I think I would like to be alone, if you wouldn't mind."
She stepped out and began the long walk to her cold, narrow old maid's bed in the dungeons. She had been on the verge of telling him she loved him. Well, she consoled herself, tomorrow is another day. She decided to help her brother with detentions. Cruciating students always lifted her mood.
Snape drained the glass. He had kept tabs on most of his former students, the ones that played a part in the whole terrible mess, and it never failed to surprise him how differently things turn out from what we expect. Wondered for the thousandth time why he had let Albus talk him into it. Drank again, and cosidered what he would do with this new information. Probably nothing.