Chapter 31- Mischief Managed
McGonnagal and Snape had both left the Headmasters office much earlier – Saying they had some work regarding their individual houses to finish up. A few detentions to oversee and they promised Albus to be back to return the sullen pink dog back to his normal black self.
Nearly two hours went by agonizingly slow for Snuffles and still the sulky animagus refused to listen to Albus and alternately whimpered, howled and snarled his objections to his current situation. His teeth ached to nip somebody, anybody in fact but he knew that would just cause himself even more problems than he would care to endure. So he let himself nip at everybody in his imagination only.
Albus's nerves felt as if they were almost at breaking point and he, himself was in a frenzy as Snuffles loudly and vocally kept up his itinerary of complaints even after McGonnagal and Snape had left the office. Offering the dog treats and making promises that everything would soon be back to normal didn't help—not one little bit.
By the time McGonnagal and Severus returned—in time to change Snuffles back to his original shade of black and allowing him to dash out of the office, down the stairs to where Harry, Hermione, Ron and the twins were strolling down the corridor waiting for the animagus to show up –Albus was slumped in his chair at his desk, muttering to himself with elbows on desk and head in his hands.
The evidence of Snuffles attempts to escape the office was evident in the clawed up door frame and chewed up legs of the desk and the broken spindly tables which had held all of the Headmasters prized knick knacks. Books and important documents, and torn parchment where strewn all over the office, hanging off the edges of the second floor library and down the spiral staircase. Carpet edges were chewed and bookcases tipped over. The former Headmaster and Headmistress's portraits where all trying to recover from all the slobber and drool splatters that they had been struck with during the young dogs temper tantrum.
Fawkes was even in a dither as he clung perilously to his perch which was now leaning precariously over the Headmasters desk.
Minerva inquired in an innocent tone while counting her share of the winnings. "I take it he didn't want to wait to hear the news that he has been officially exonerated and pardoned?"
Severus glowered at the ragged torn up Daily Prophet that had been delivered to Albus by a very excitable Owl who had not bothered to pause before dropping the newspaper onto Albus' desk because of the bright pink dog who had leaped up at it. He saw part of an article with a very old large picture of Sirius Black and his fellow marauders smiling and waving at whoever had taken the picture during their last year at Hogwarts.
"Sirius Black Pardoned in Absentia.
It has been revealed that Sirius Black was an innocent wizard who was framed for revealing the whereabouts of James and Lily Potter to 'He Who Should Not Be Named' by his one time best friend Peter Pettigrew...
The rest of the article was nearly obliterated as it had been torn by Snuffles when he had grabbed it with his over eager jaws.
"Oh he knows all right." muttered Albus in a flat tired voice, looking up at Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape just as Fawkes the Phoenix trilled loudly and with his own brand of justice flapped his wings and hovered over Albus as a large plop of pooh splattered- narrowly missing Albus' head; on top of a pile of parchment on his desk.
"I thought you where my faithful companion." Albus looked up at Fawkes who looked as if he winked at Severus and Minerva as he nodded his head and then with a reproachful look returned to his precarious perch and turned his back to the wizard and fluffed his flame red feathers huffily.
"I guess Fawkes has made his opinion of the situation perfectly clear." Minerva commented as with a flick of her wand she straightened the Phoenix's stand and then cleared away the pile of pooh. "now I think Severus and I will take our leave and try to find Snuffles ...or Sirius, if he has decided to finally transform back to his human form."
"All right Minerva, Check in with me later. " Albus nodded as he decided to call for some of the elves to help him tidy up the remaining shambles of his office.
"Why would I want to go find that mutt?" inquired Severus even as she reached out and pulled him away firmly by the robe sleeve and they both left the office swiftly.
Snuffles felt light and happy even strangely enough forgiving now that he knew he was exonerated of all wrongdoing in the deaths of James and Lily Potter. He could transform back into his human form now if he wished but at the moment he was quite happy to leap up on his Godson who had been just outside in the corridor with his friends, knocking him down flat on his back while sloppily slurping the boys face.
"SNUFFLES... You are such a crazy...!" Harry sputtered out in laughter even as he twisted his head away to keep from being drowned in the excited dogs slobber.
Snuffles stopped licking Harry's face and with a happy gleam in his brown eyes, bounced away with a loudly cheerful bark as he proceeded to race pell-mell about the castle on all four paws, barking up a storm and every so often leaping up in the air crazily while oncoming students and staff scattered out of his way.
"Snuffles must have found out he has been pardoned. I wonder why he didn't just change back into Sirius before coming out of Dumbledores office." Hermione pondered as she and Ron helped Harry back to his feet.
The Gargoyles that guarded the Headmasters office leaped aside again and voices could be heard.
"I didn't think you would have wished for me to leave you behind, Severus... I just thought It would be prudent to leave before Albus requested either of us to help him tidy up his office." the crisp clear voice of Professor McGonagall.
"I guess I should thank you at that." the velvet voice of Professor Snape answered her.
The two appeared in the corridor as the Gargoyles closed the entrance behind them. Turning around they noticed the teenagers.
"Mr. Potter...Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger..." Professor McGonnagall spotted her three lions. "What are you youngsters.."
Snape continued, "Loitering in the corridor? We would of thought you would be off celebrating with your Dogfather."
"Severus.. be nice." McGonnagall said as she glanced at her colleague. She smirked slightly and then turned to look at Harry, "Mr. Potter you should go find your GODfather..( She glanced again at Snapes surly countenance) I'm sure you have much to catch up on now that he has been cleared officially."
"Um, we did meet up with him a few minutes ago, but he was in a bit of a hurry Professor. I'm not too sure where he would have gone to." Harry told her.
"Well I'm sure he wouldn't have gone too far considering he would want to spend time with you Harry." Professor McGonagall commented with a slight smile.
"That BEAST is terrorizing everyone in the castle!" yelled a tired looking portrait of Afrida Cragg who had just been strolling through the paintings after returning from her other portrait at the Ministry of Magic. "Bouncing about and jumping on all manner of students and staff. He barreled into poor Mr. Flich and sent him sprawling into a broom closet. The poor dear is unable to get out as the door has magically locked itself."
"That overgrown hairy menace even had the gall to lunge up and lick the face of my friend, the Fat Lady when he went by the Griffindor tower!" reported Violet whose own portrait fairly vibrated with indignation.
"I believe tha' maniacal dog is heading down to the dungeons. Though why he would is beyond me." grumbled another portrait of a wandering minstrel who was trying to dry his instruments that had been slurped by Snuffles during his madcap journey downwards from the Seventh floor.
"After what he did to Albus' office..." McGonagall said thoughtfully.
Oh..oh.." Severus paled as he remembered that he hadn't quite got around to changing the wards which had been set up to allow the dog to pass through into his quarters while he had been in his keeping. With a silently muttered curse he dashed off swiftly, Cloak whipping and billowing about as he sped down the moving staircases and took short cuts where he could to get to his living quarters before Snuffles cold do too much damage.
Severus made the journey in record time and uttered the password to the portrait that protected his quarters. Stepping in he stopped and forgetting to close the doorway stared at the sight before him. Minerva and the teens who had did their best to keep up to him arrived shortly afterwards. Severus looked wildly around as far as he could see and emitted a sigh of relief, his rooms where still intact for which he was thankful. On the other hand- His eyes narrowed. As he focused upon an object near the fireplace.
There was Sirius Black with a large fluffy pillow behind his head while lounging in a hammock suspended in midair sipping at a frosty drink of Elf made wine from a large glass while munching out on a wide selection of treats that he had been craving ever since he had arrived at Hogwarts as Snuffles.
"Hey Cub.. Professors, nice to see you!" Sirius barked and then he looked at Snape with a suspiciously mischievous gleam in his eyes. " I never thought I'd ever say this... But I have to admit that you are pretty decent... for a snake, Thank you for taking such great care of me while I was Snuffles." He drained his glass of wine and then said, "though I think I should repay you for..."
Suddenly a heavy flood of powerfully scented water came streaming down from above which drenched Snape and all three of the teens, leaving them standing soaked to the skin in a pool of water nearly three inches deep. Minerva had calmly stepped back just outside the portrait hole moments before as she anticipated Sirius to have some form of retaliatory prank planned.
"Having made me take so many baths!"
Before Snape or any of the teens could retaliate- Sirius conjured up some towels..large ones... which proceeded to energetically rub dry all three of the teens and Snape's faces, and hands while wrapping around their bodies snuggly—giving Sirius enough time to wish them all a cheery ''good-bye for now.'' He then took up a pinch of floo powder from the cup on the mantle and dropping it into the fire he called out his destination stepped through the fireplace to 12 Grimmauld place.
A slight scream could be heard before the floo shut down and Harry, Ron and Hermione turned to look enquiringly at Severus who was smirking along with Minerva who put away her wand after vanquishing the towels.
"What is going on?" Harry asked his Head of House.
"We just sent a few house elves over to clean and freshen up his home." She told him. " Severus and I thought he would appreciate it. Just thought it would be nice way to give him a new start."
"That was ... thoughtful." Harry looked at his friends who were just as puzzled as he was. "I think.
Looking over a Severus, Minerva placed her index finger against her nose in thought and said, "Maybe we should not have sent over Albus' personal House Elf Sunburst to supervise the painting.. She has the tendency to go a little overboard... much like Albus himself."
" You could be right.. but what's done is done!" Severus shrugged "I suppose the Psychedelic colour scheme was a bit... much."
So ends the tale. I hope everyone enjoyed the story from beginning to end.
I apologize for the long wait but I have had to deal with my hubby's incresingly poor memory and health issues on top of trying to balance our income with the increasing costs of day to day living. (As is everyone else i'm sure). I have tried to squeeeze in as much time as I could to finish my story.