A/N: I did think I was finished with this story, but then I got the urge to write just a little bit more.
Epilogue: Whatever happened to Snape?
Twelve Years Later
A manacled and chained Severus Snape was led into the brightly lit room. The years in Azkaban had not been kind to the former Professor. His once jet black hair was now completely white and his face was haggard and drawn. He blinked slowly around the room while his eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness. The room was empty except for a single desk behind which sat a woman. She seemed to be talking into a small device she held in her hand but Snape could not hear a word. He assumed she had some sort of silencing charm up. The woman gestured to the guards who had brought him in, pointing first to him and then at the chair placed before her desk. The two guards who had brought him into the cell rather unceremoniously dumped him into it before leaving the room.
Snape stared at the woman in front of him who was even now continuing to talk into her small hand held device. He wondered what it could be. After a few minutes the woman seemed to finish her conversation and she seemed to bend the device in half.
"Sorry about keeping you waiting Mr. Snape" she said in an apologetic tone.
Snape started. She had not used a wand to dispel her silencing charm and yet he could hear her. Was she capable of wandless magic? He asked her as much.
"Wandless magic?" she exclaimed in surprise. "Oh, you wouldn't know about a PComm, would you? I guess they came out after you were incarcerated. No, that's just one of the features of the PComm. It automatically sets up a silencing charm if you have privacy mode enabled."
"Oh" said a confused Snape. What on earth was a P... whatever she said. Oh well, he thought, it probably wasn't very important.
"Yes, Well. Anyway, let me just introduce myself. My name is Marietta Edgecombe and I have been appointed to be your vocational counsellor."
"Vocational counsellor?" asked a surprised Severus Snape.
"Yes, as you will soon be completing your sentence here at Azkaban, the Ministry of Magic wishes to help you to once again become a productive member of our society. As per the Bones Act of 1997, all convicts are to be appointed a vocational and guidance counsellor and provided any necessary training prior to their release. So, like I said earlier, I am your counsellor. It is my job to help you get a job once you have completed your sentence and fully discharged your debt to society."
"I see" said Snape.
"Now, I know that you used to be a professor at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, as someone with a prison record, you cannot be hired at any job which involves children. This means that we must explore other careers for you" explained Marietta.
"I am also a Potions Master madam. As such I can easily support myself by brewing and selling potions" said Snape with a hint of a sneer in his voice.
"Oh no, that would be quite impossible Mr. Snape. You see, the DFP has made it quite illegal to sell home-brewed potions. It's been that way for quite a few years now."
"Illegal! To sell potions..." sputtered Snape. "Why? Why would they do such a thing? And who or what is the DFP?"
"That would be the Department of Food and Potions. They're a department of the Ministry that are responsible for the licensing and sale of all Potions within Great Britain" said Marietta.
"But... Why would they make it illegal to sell Potions? What about medicinal potions? How do the healers heal people without Potions?" asked Snape.
"Oh no, Mr. Snape. It is not illegal to sell Potions. It is only illegal to sell Home-brewed Potions" said Marietta, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"I'm afraid, I don't understand. I am a Potions Master, as such I have always been able to sell the Potions I create" said Snape.
"Hmm, you have been quite out of touch, haven't you? I guess I'll have to explain. It's a bit of a long story, so bear with me."
"Very well" said Snape.
"I guess it started quite a few years ago. We had a major crisis on our hands. There was suddenly a severe shortage of Potions Masters. This meant of course that there was a severe shortage of Potions. People tried to fill in the gaps of course. But this meant that the market was suddenly flooded with potions of a very dubious quality. So the Ministry created the DFP to regulate the sale of all potions" said Marietta.
"Why was there a shortage of Potions Masters?" asked Snape.
"Hmmm, well I don't know quite how to say this, seeing as you were at Hogwarts at the time in question" said Marietta. She looked at the man in front of her for a long moment before continuing. "The Ministry started an enquiry into the matter of course. They eventually concluded that the quality of Potions instruction at Hogwarts during the period from 1981 to 1991 was severely lacking. They found that there was a clear statistical link between the people educated during that time and the drop in the number of people pursuing masteries in potions. Of course no one really noticed it at the time, since these things are never obvious while they are happening. No, but go forward a few years and you find that the older Potions Masters would retire and there was no one to replace them. Hence by the time that anyone noticed, there was nothing really that they could do. I mean, yes, after 1991, education in Potions vastly improved, but it was only the students who were in First, Second, and Third Year at the time that would eventually start replenishing the ranks of Potions Masters. Most of the older students seemed to be only interested in Potions for getting their NEWTs and not enough to pursue it for a career."
Snape looked at the woman in utter and complete disbelief. He hadn't been that bad of a teacher surely. I mean, yes he had hated teaching, and the dunderheads he would get in his classes would drive him apoplectic with rage at times. But... But...
"Anyway, a company called PPP was created. They completely automated and industrialised the creation of Potions. They proved that they could manufacture and sell potions, not only at a fraction of a cost of home-brewed ones, but also of a much higher quality. After a while, the Ministry realised that PPP always provided potions of a consistently excellent quality. Oh, people were still selling their home-brewed potions, but the quality of those could fluctuate wildly. After all, you as a Potions Master, must know that even a single extra stir, or changing the direction of a stir from clockwise to anticlockwise can change the eventual quality of a Potion. Plus, home-brews could never match PPP on price so people tried cutting corners. Going for cheaper ingredients. Obviously this drove the quality of those potions even further down. Eventually there were a few cases where people got ill after being given home-brewed potions. After that - well, what was the ministry to do? They simply outlawed the selling of all home-brewed potions as the safest solution" said Marietta.
"But then? What do Potions Masters do now?" asked Snape.
"Most of the good ones work for PPP in some capacity or the other. Some in research, some in production etcetera."
"I see. Then, why don't you get me a job with them, this PPP?" asked Snape.
Marietta grimaced. "Oh dear. I think that would be quite impossible Mr. Snape. No, quite impossible I'm afraid" she said, shaking her head.
"Why? Before my incarceration I was considered one of the top Potions Masters in the country. Any company should be happy to hire me."
"You were also convicted as an accessory in the deaths of James and Lily Potter. And since PPP stands for Potter's Perfect Potions, I don't really think there would be much point in you applying for a job there" explained Marietta.
"Potter... Potter's Perfect Potions..." mumbled a shocked Snape.
"So, since it would be quite impossible for you to work as a Potions Master, we must look for an alternative career for you" said Marietta brightly.
"Potter..." mumbled Snape, his eye starting to twitch rather violently.
"Have you ever considered being a cook?" she asked. "It utilises many of the same skills required in potions after all."
"POTTER" screamed Snape as he leapt out of chair and jumped towards Marietta with his manacled hands outstretched in front of him as if he meant to throttle her. He barely had time to have a glimpse of her startled expression before he was bouncing off a shield that automatically snapped across the entire room, neatly separating him from her. Seconds later the guards rushed into the room and he was being dragged back to his cell.
It took quite a while and several cups of tea for Marietta to calm down. She knew that she had never been in any danger, the safety precautions were very thorough after all, but she had still been quite shocked by the sudden attack. She flipped open her PComm.
"Record Memo" she said. "Inmate Severus Snape does not seem to be in his right mind. As such it is my recommendation that further Vocational guidance is useless at this time. He will need to be treated at St. Mungo's Mental Health Centre before we can explore any career options for him. As this can only be done after his release from Azkaban, we will need to postpone any further sessions until after he is treated and completely cured."
She frowned at the sight of the stylised 'P' logo embossed into her PComm, "Note that he seems to have been triggered into an act of violence by the word - Potter. Since the Potter brand is visible everywhere in the magical world, impossible to escape really, what with PPP, Potter Communicators, the fact that Witch Weekly seems to have Harry Potter and his two girlfriends on the cover every other week, it would be quite impossible to release him without treatment for this condition."
She sighed - cases like this always depressed her. Especially as she remembered him from her early years at Hogwarts. He had seemed so competent then, so skilled at potions - even though he couldn't teach them at all. It was quite sad to see him reduced to this state. "Oh well" she thought. Perhaps the next case would be better.
A/N: Check out my new story - Harry Potter and the Power of Paranoia.