Author's Note – Enjoy! And just a reminder – if you recognize it, I don't own it!
Severus Snape, Hogwarts Professor and the Head of Slytherin house, had a problem. Unfortunately, it was not one of his usual problems, such as Longbottom in class…on any day. No, this problem was entirely new. To make matters worse, he could not even blame the Gryffindors as a whole, or Potter in particular, for this regrettable incident. Resisting the impulse to pound his head against the table, he stared at his House table in undeniable misery.
The Slytherin table, so nobly decked out in green and silver, had been the scene of many a cunningly hatched plot, or planning session for revenge. At times, it had even been the target of schemes coming from one of the other three houses. These might even be respected if handled with due craft. (Even he could admit, in the most hidden corner of his mind, that the Weasley twins had managed some very "Snake"-like maneuvers.) Now, due to the ill-chosen gift of a loving parent, the table and its occupants bore witness to a most tragic scene.
As pure-blood families are wont to do, a well-meaning parent had sent their child a new treat discovered while spending a holiday in the south of France. This mildly named "Chante" potion was apparently all the rage with high society as it was known on the continent. Meant to give heart to a shy child, encouraging he or she to find and display their hidden talents; many new artists and musicians had been discovered as a result of this potion. However, there did exist one or two major drawbacks. The most important, to his mind at this very moment, problem was it also encouraged children who only thought they had talent.
Indeed, at this very moment, one of his students stood at the head of the Slytherin table screeching out some ridiculous tune at the top of their lungs in front of the entire student body. The truly sad part? The child could simply not sing. With a snort, he reconsidered. Actually, the child could not even hold a note. He rubbed his forehead with one hand.
He and the other professors had tried everything they could think of to stop the racket. Apparently the inventors of this…"harmless" little concoction had decided to prevent any interference they could think of as it might be "detrimental" to a child's feelings. A silencing charm simply reflected back on the caster…a nullifying potion had no affect…they had even tried to transfigure the student…all to naught. The one attempt Dumbledore had made, to move the student to a more private location, had ended with all of them trapped in the Great Hall. Simply put, they were trapped here until this…torture ran its course.
Glancing around the room, he spotted the signs of imminent mass hysteria. Too many students trapped in one room with this atrocious mockery of music, and everyone's nerves had been stretched to the breaking point. At this point, Slytherin and Gryffindor might just declare a truce if it meant finding an end to this situation. Even Potter and those Weasley brats were managing to look at him with something remotely akin to sympathy. The Granger girl was frowning, but in a distracted, thoughtful sort of way.
As a particularly high note echoed in the hall, he gave up any attempt at keeping a stoic face. This had to end. With a noticeable wince and a familiar scowl, he stood. Moving around to the front of the head table, robes billowing out behind him, he strode to the center of the Great Hall. His singing student never missed a beat even while sending him a desperate, pleading look. With a single turn, he took in the entirety of the student body. Taking a deep breath, he accepted a grim fate and addressed everyone present.
"I will award fifty points to any student, regardless of house," and here he threw a deliberate look at the scarlet and gold table, "who can figure out a way to end this debacle without delay."
As the majority of the students gaped at this unprecedented announcement, a single student rose from the Gryffindor table. Her bushy hair bouncing slightly, Hermione Granger stalked over to the Slytherin table. When some of his house moved to stop her, he gestured them back. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Potter and his red-headed sidekick moving into a better position to protect their friend. He glowered at them, but made no move to stop them.
Every one watched as the Gryffindor genius picked up the parchment that came with the gift and began to read. He could hear her start muttering under her breath.
"Of all the stupid, idiotic, bloody fool-mindedness! What kind of romantic ninny came up with this…this…?"
Apparently even the school's head know-it-all could not come up with a vile enough word for this entire event. He watched as she tossed the page back on the table and marched over to the still warbling, would-be singer. Her two friends began to move once more, but this time she waved them back. She glared over at her table and her strident voice rang out over the noise.
"I'm warning you right now, whoever loses these fifty points will seriously regret it. Fred, George, if you lose us these points, I'll be writing your mother. If anyone else loses us these points, I will hire the twins on the spot to use you as their guinea pig. Do you lot understand me?"
Snape could not completely suppress a grudging sense of admiration for the girl. She could be downright dangerous if she decided to be. Even more impressive, Gryffindor house promptly sat down and became downright decorous. Too bad he could not use such a threat. The girl turned back to the singer, taking a deep breath and visibly steeling herself.
Everyone watched, eyes popping, as she planted a strong kiss directly on the mouth of Vincent Crabbe.
When she stepped back, the song had stopped. For that matter, all noise had ceased. Silence had never been so perfect. No one moved as the girl turned and stalked away, rubbing at her mouth. As she skimmed past him, he could hear her mumbling once again.
"Nobody ever just reads the bloody directions. Now I need to clean my teeth again…and wash up…maybe a full bath."
Gathering up her two gobsmacked friends and their belongings, she continued without pause towards the entrance of the Great Hall. His soft voice brought her to a standstill.
Turning, she met his eyes. He could see she expected him to renege on his agreement, her chin held high with that Muggle pride of hers. He lifted a single brow.
"Fifty points to Gryffindor, Miss Granger."
She blinked in shock and he tilted his head back with a slighter-than-normal sneer.
"Try not to lose them all in one place."
Folding her lips, she dragged her companions out before either could say anything. He turned back to his house.
"I believe you all have somewhere to be?"
As one, they scrambled up and began to leave. As he strode to the exit behind the Head table, he took a moment to confiscate the bloody cause of this entire mess. Even as the last billow of his robe snaked out of the room, he could hear Sir Nicholas, ghost of Gryffindor, speaking.
"I say, you don't suppose he'd care to perform at our next Deathday party, do you?"