What in the dickens?: Dumbledore's Last Service to Snape

Author's Note: This will be a Snape, er, humorfic, intertwined with elements of great seriousness and drama. Upon reflection, Snape will have loads to think about when Dumbledore and I get through with him.

Yes, if you have read the title, I will address what you are most likely thinking. It can be cliché and overdone in popular culture, but bear with me, it may not be exactly what you think.

Disclaimer: I did not create, nor do I own, nor seek to profit from the characters or the Harry Potter books. Nor do I claim to be a long lost descendent of Victorian British novelists. This is just for fun.

My boggarts are…a lawyer from the U.K., a man in a waistcoat named Charles, and a goblin from Gringotts chasing me down to Snape's dungeons. I fear all four of them equally. I take out my galleon pouch and turn it over, but nothing is there. Snape remarks that since I take the trouble to write about him, he'd dearly love to know why I seemingly do not profit from it.

Chapter 1: At Home with Snape

The Week Before Christmas…Hogwarts

Severus Snape entered his office at midnight, his billowing black robes trailing in his wake. He removed his wand deftly from his cloak and placed it on his desk that was loaded with papers. Papers he had planned on correcting before he was summoned by Lord Voldemort. Well, he would have plenty of time tomorrow to look at them. That is, if he could somehow avoid the blasted carolers.

Snape slowly sat down in the dark green armchair nearest to the heavy iron bars that concealed stained-glass windows.

In medieval times, the rusting bars would have prevented escapees from fleeing these historic dungeons, just before the four founders converted the castle into a school for wizards and witches. To Severus Snape, these dungeons were home.

He was utterly alone. The silence however could not quiet the swirling thoughts in his head. He had given just enough information to satisfy the Dark Lord, when asked what the Order was planning on next. Potter and those green eyes that were a constant torture to him, were off to the Weasleys, along with the insufferable know-it-all, and the ever- scheming twins to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Longbottom was off to his grandmother with the blasted toad as well. His classroom was safe from ruin, and that was some consolation to him.

And that was just the people that vexed him to no end on an almost daily basis.

He had a meeting in Dumbledore's office scheduled for the morning. Most likely about Potter, so actually he could still vex him from a great distance.

On a much more pleasant note, Sinistra was in London with her family, as was Vector, but in Wales for the Christmas festivities. Only Dumbledore, and the older widowed teachers, or those whose family was long gone, stayed at the castle.

He had considered going home to Spinner's End, but that would never do. He only desired to go in the summer. The holidays were a nuisance. At least at Hogwarts there were other people around when he sulked.

Opportunity Knocks…

Severus Snape rose from his chair and went over the events of the night in his mind. He had just left the Dark Lord's side and he was mentally exhausted. Observing Bellatrix's constant attempts to dislodge him from his favor also made him quite put out. Maintaining occlumency as well as his poise and control in the presence of Voldemort was tiresome. She waited with baited breath and calculated eyes for him to slip. So far he had given her no ammunition in which to aid her suspicions. Homicidal maniac? That she was, but she also was no fool either. Years in Azkaban had twisted her personality even more but not her sharpness. He marveled that as mad as she was she still functioned at all.

It was the very bane of his existence. One incorrect gesture or response when answering was enough to make the Dark Lord suspicious of his Death Eaters. It would only take one distraction to leave his mind open for penetration, and it could cost him his life and his life's work.

He probed other parts of his mind as he changed into his gray night shirt. There were fresh memories that now contained information that he had recently acquired tonight. They would need to be shown to Dumbledore when he went to the Headmaster's office. Others were out of his head before he left to see Voldemort, and in crystal vials, but they could be replaced tomorrow. Others still were in the pensieve. However, when he looked for the pensieve in his cabinet it was not there. No matter, it had happened before. Dumbledore would take it and everything contained within it were things he knew about. Memories of school, his love for Lily…also his quarters were charmed with spells so powerful nobody had the level of magical skill to enter them, except the Headmaster. He probably needed to make use of it. They both did. No one else would be capable, of that he was sure, and nobody would even dare to attempt it.

Severus Snape pulled back his green bedcovers and tried to fall asleep. He cleared his mind and tried to keep it at rest. He was just about to non-verbally extinguish the light that flickered on the candle near his bed when he heard a knock at the door to his quarters in the dungeons.