Chapter 14: Introductions, Exploring, Summers and New Beginnings

The end of the school year was almost upon them before Severus realized it. His schedule had been so hectic that he was awaiting the end, savoring the idea of having time to plan, to brew, to rest. Stretching, Severus remembered that today was the day that he had told Dumbledore that he would go meet with the Hogwarts staff. Closing his eyes briefly he tested his occulmency shields. He was positive that Dumbledore would be testing them today. Within a few minutes he had mentally packed up everything that might be incriminating and placed them on a shelf within his mind. Dragging himself out of the bed, he got ready to meet his old professors but this time as an equal.

It was still early when he apparated into Diagon Alley. Heading for the public owlery he mailed out his potions orders and then made his way to Gringotts to do his monthly check on his accounts. Rockward was doing a good job with the investments so far. Severus was considering having him invest in Muggle businesses as well.

A bit later, he stopped in to see Tom at the Leaky Cauldron. He had made sure to have a meal there every other week to keep up appearances. He flipped through the paperwork that Rockward had handed him. He was now going to be investing in a couple of appliance companies and a few others in the Muggle world. Rockward thought it was a good way to round out that account. If the goblin kept proving himself, he would consider putting more responsibility in his hands. A glance at the time told him it was time to head to Hogwarts.

He was surprised when Dumbledore met him at the gates. "Good morning, Headmaster."

Albus smiled at him. "Good morning, Severus. I've called a staff meeting and decided to escort you to the staff room." He gestured for the other to follow him. "Have you given any more thought to the plants you would like Pomona to grow in the greenhouse? Of course she might already have them there, but it couldn't hurt to ask."

"Of course, Headmaster. I have my list for her to peruse when we have a moment." He met the blue eyes that were watching him. It was then that he felt the attempt to enter his mind. He carefully occluded, but did his best to appear not to be. He held the thought of the list in his mind, and deftly diverted Dumbledore's attempt to see anything else. 'So that is the reason for meeting me. He can test to see how the shields are coming along.'

Albus smiled, he knew the boy was a natural and it showed. He was no longer able to get in and had problems even telling that he was being blocked. "You will have an opportunity after the staff meeting." He continued mixing random small talk with Legilimency attacks, just like he had done at every meeting since he had warned the boy, until they reached the staff room.

Severus walked in the room, his eyes sweeping over the table. He recognized almost all the faces there. Part of him wished for a different set of well known faces, but The End were all firmly trapped in the Muggle world. Part of him was glad, they were a bit safer there. There was nothing magical associated with his hometown. His mother had picked well in her attempt to leave the Wizarding world behind.

Albus looked over the group, pride showing on his face. "Thank you all for meeting this morning. As I am sure you have heard by now. Horace will not be joining us next year. I know that we all wish him well in his retirement. Today I want you to meet his replacement. Or rather, to meet again. I'm sure most of you remember Severus."

A room full of eyes focused on him. It was Slughorn that spoke up first. "Snape, I didn't think you were finished schooling yet."

Severus smirked a bit. "I passed my Mastery test during the new year testing time." He watched as their faces blanked a bit, trying to figure something out.

It was McGonagall who spoke first. "But you graduated three years ago. Surely that was not enough time to gain your Mastery."

Albus' eyes twinkled happily as he smiled grandly at them. "I present to you the youngest Potions Master in centuries, Potions Master Severus Snape." He looked over the shocked faces. "Yes, you were right Minerva, he did it in three years. Now I'm sure that you would all like to talk to him, but I would like Horace to show him the potions rooms and I'm sure the Pomona would like to talk to him about the plants for the greenhouse. Poppy might also want to discuss the brewing of the infirmary potions for next school year. Do take the time to talk to him sometime today before he leaves." He turned towards the older Potions Master. "Horace, would you show him around?"

Slughorn stood and strode towards the door. "This way, Mr. Snape."

With a quick nod to the others, Severus turned on his heel and followed. Out of habit, he did it with the crisp movement that allowed the lab coat to snap about his legs. He was happily surprised when his robe billowed about him. As he followed Slughorn down the hall, he noticed that the billow remained. 'Perfect. That goal is now reached.'

The enjoyment of the his achievement was slowly overshadowed by a warm feeling invading him. It had been three years, almost four, but he had not forgot what that feeling was. It was the feeling of Hogwarts, the feeling he was trying to replicate at Spinner's Ends. It was the feeling of home.

The feeling increased the closer he came to the dungeons. His eyes darted about as he tentatively reached out to see if he could feel the magic woven through the castle walls better than he could when he was a student here. Near him he could feel lines coursing through the air across the hall and through the walls. Pulling back a little bit, he focused on Slughorn as they stopped near a door.

"This is my classroom. I'm sure you remember." He gestured down the long winding hall that led deeper into the dungeons. "These are all potions classrooms and a few teacher offices are here as well. This classroom" He opened the door and let Severus proceed him into the room. "is a bit smaller, and the ingredient closet is not as large, but it is a nice comfortable space, close to the rest of the school."

Severus looked about. The room reminded him of all the times he had been there as a student. It hadn't changed. Even the different levels of energy was the same.

Patterson's words echoed in his head. Advise had come pouring out of them when he mentioned during a hall meeting that he was coming up to the school to meet the staff. 'If you have a chance, take a room that was not used for Chemistry recently. Or at least not used by the teacher you are replacing. The students are already going to compare you to him, so don't make it easier on them. If you have no choice, make sure to change up the room as much as you can. You need to carve your own spot out.'

There had been a lot more most of it about how he should act like himself and not be deferential to the other staff.

'You are good, so trust yourself.'

'Ask for help if you need it, but don't let them make you think you don't know what your doing.'

'Keep the glares and soft warning tones. It works for you, the kids will adjust.'

The last bit had been from Tavers, but the others had quickly agreed.

Slughorn's voice broke through his thoughts. "Oh, yeah. Don't let student's use the three desks over there. Potions explode as if they were overpowered. Don't know why, but it just seems to happen."

Severus glanced back at the Potions Master. 'He honestly can't tell there are energy lines here. He can't sense them.'

Feeling stunned, Severus looked about the room noticing that the area he had favored as a student was void of all power layers, but the rest of the room had unequal amounts washing through it. He had been able to sense the energy washes as a student, but not to this extent. The differences were of such great amounts that they would make the potions of an equally skilled class all different. He would not be using this room. Even as he decide that, he was wondering if he could use the power lines and layers to enhance his own potions.

Turning back to the older Professor, he nodded. "Can I see the other classrooms and offices?"

Slughorn nodded as he gestured for Severus to leave the room. "You can visit them all and choose the one you wish. The personal labs are this way. I'll show them to you and then let you wander on your own for a bit." He turned down a corridor that Severus had seen but never been down before.

Glancing back Slughorn made sure that the he was being followed. "I will give you a copy of the curriculum that you need to teach before you leave. Just stop by my office. Do you remember where it is?"

"I do." Severus looked at the closed doors, wondering what was behind them.

"These are all different private labs and storage rooms. You can take over whichever you wish, most of them hold old furniture and such. My private lab is at the end of the hall." He gestured towards the right. "I do ask that you stay out without my permission."

"Of course." Severus glared lightly at the older man. He was not an idiot. He would not go into someone's private lab without permission.

Slughorn nodded. "Then I will part ways with you here so you can explore and decide on your space. If you decide that you wish the ones I am using, that will be fine. I will have them cleared out by summer."

He walked down the hall, leaving the soon to be member of the faculty to his own devises.


Albus and the others watched as Severus and Slughorn walked out. Albus turned back to the faculty that was still sitting there. Smiling he awaited their questions. He was sure that they had them.

Filius spoke up first. "Did he really gain his mastery that quickly?"

Albus nodded. "Yes, he did. Passed his test with one of the highest scores in a century and on the first time. He is a top rank Potions Master now. We are lucky that he is willing to teach. There are research companies that are lining up to get him to join them."

Pomona remembered him bring the violet in and his comment about research companies. His tone didn't seem like he favored them. "But is he able to teach? Sometimes the ones that are the best at the subject have a hard time explaining it."

"A valid question, Pomona." Dumbledore's voice showed that he wasn't that concerned though. "He tutored many of his peers while he was here and was quite capable of explaining the information."

"But Albus, his attitude. He is a very abrasive person. How is he going to get along with the students?" Minerva tapped her fingers lightly on her arm as she waited on how he was going to defend this one.

"He is abrasive, but I think that the students and he can work together. They'll figure it out." He was going to have to explain things better to Minerva, he knew that. Not only was she his Deputy at the school but she was in the same position in the Order. He gave her a look that told her to talk to him later.

Sinistra leaned back in her seat. "Give the boy a chance. Maybe he'll be just what the kids need. Someone who is intense, no nonsense and takes his subject very seriously. Like McGonagall. Maybe there will be less potions accidents, or at least injuries."

Albus smiled towards them all. "Just make sure you speak to him if you wish to. He will be up here periodically before the school year."

He caught Minerva's eyes as signaled for her to come with him. She followed him out the door. The walk to his office was completed in silence. As they came in, he sent a warning look to the portraits so they knew that nothing said now was to be repeated or shared. "Would you care for some tea or a lemon drop?"

"Tea, thank you, Albus." Minerva sat herself in a chair close to the fireplace. Albus settled in one near her. "Why wasn't I present for his interview? Or at least informed of it?" She took a sip of her tea as she waited for his explanation.

Albus settled back in his seat, his tea cup resting on his knee. The twinkle was fading from his eyes. "He is not here out of his own choice. Be nice to him and help him out, please Minerva."

"Not his own choice?" Minerva's eyes narrowed as she waited for him to continue.

"He was a Death Eater." He held up a hand to forestall her outburst. "Voldemort wanted him to spy on us... on me. And so sent him to get a teaching position. What Voldemort does not know, is that the boy had already changed sides. He is our spy in Voldemort's circle. He is the one that warned us about the danger to the Potters, he has also been the one slipping us information about the raids and other attacks that have been happening. As it stands right now, Voldemort thinks that he is truly spying for the Death Eaters and that I think he is spying on them for me. The opposite is actually true."

Minerva waited a few moments to be sure that he was done. "But how are you sure? What if he was really spying for You-Know-Who?"

Albus eyes started twinkling again. "Do you trust me? My sense of character?" When she nodded yes, he continued. "I know he is on our side. I trust him to do what needs to be done. But just know that he is going to have to …" He trailed off trying to determine how to phrase what he wanted to say.

"He is going to have to favor the ones You-Know-Who wants him to. Which means mainly the Slytherins." She finished up for him.

He nodded. "And this can not go outside of this room. No-one but the three of us can have any knowledge of the true stance of this until the war is over. He has provided to much valuable information and I do not want to endanger him."

She nodded in agreement. "We need to tell him that I know. So, I'll meet with him here later today."

"I'll be happy to host the meeting." The twinkle was back full force.


Severus stood for a moment watching as Slughorn left him alone. Not that it bothered him to be alone, but Dumbledore was expecting him to be supervised the entire time. Deciding that it was on Slughorn if Dumbledore found out, he headed back towards the classroom hall.

Finding a good classroom was his first priority. He walked into each one he passed, testing the energy concentrations, checking the layout of the room, and the size of the storage closet. He was over halfway down the hall and had yet to find one that didn't have an unequal level of energy in it. He didn't care if the room was swamped with power, but it had to be the same across the entire room. It was behind the eighth door that he finally found what he was looking for.

Pulling the heavy door open, Severus noticed that the room was shrouded in dirt, much like Spinner's End had been when he first walked through the door in February. The dust swirled about his feet as he crossed the threshold. Looking back at the door in his hand, he noticed the thickness of the wood. "It is about double the thickness as all the other classroom doors.' He let it swing shut, appreciating the heavy thud of it as it closed.

Smirking a bit at how the students would react to that, he turned to face the now completely dark room. Closing his eyes he focused on the energy that he had been feeling running through out the other rooms. There was nothing. 'The walls have the energy running through them, but the room... it is empty. Not a bad empty, not like it has been dampened, but it feels like what I normally associate with Hogwarts. Warm and comforting.' Soaking in the feeling, he wondered if the rest of the room would be as good.

Raising his wand towards the ceiling, he cast a simple lumos, wondering if the chamber could be completely lit with the spell. To his surprise, the scones on the wall and the chandelier lit up, making the room easy to see in. Dust swirled about the lab tables that were set in an arch about the room, each of them tilted slightly to face the slate board hung in the back of the room. Striding through the center aisle between the lab tables, he listened to the way his foot steps sounded on the stone floor. Spinning sharply in front of the teacher's desk, he faced the room. There were just enough steps to make his presence known, but not too many as to make the students get off task by his traveling.

He skated his gaze over the student area, noting that there was only lab tables, unlike some of the classrooms he had looked at that had both a lecture and a lab area. These lab tables were a bit longer and older in style than the ones in Slughorn's room. He spotted a long sink along the right back wall wrapping through the corner and shelves near enough to it to be out of the way, but still far enough from the sink to be safe from the water. A perfect place to store the long term potions that were made during the NEWT classes. Turning towards the back left he spotted the storeroom door. Letting his fingers trail across the teacher's desk, he walked towards it. Opening it, he was hit with the smell of dust and old potions ingredients. Lighting the room, he noticed that the ingredient smell must be trapped in the wood of the shelves themselves as there were none in the closet. The closet itself was at least twice the size of the one that Slughorn was using. Shutting the door, he peered back into the room. Could he see himself teaching in here?

Strolling back towards the desk, he contemplated if he could control this room. Was there a spot that was blind? Was there a place students could hide what they were doing? He let his steps take him to all corners of the room and every location in between. In each spot he had a good view of all the tables and his desk. At some points he lost the view of the sinks and the store room door, so he would be wary of those. His steps ended back in front of his desk.

Smirking, he leaned against the desk and surveyed what he planned to be his new classroom. He could almost picture the projects posted on the walls like his current classroom. Even as the image appeared in his head he realized that it couldn't happen. There was no way the purebloods would allow him to teach like that. He would have to do it the old fashion way. 'Or make it appear that I am doing so. I can try and incorporate as many ideas as I can while disguising it as the traditional way of teaching.'

Tapping his fingers on the edged of the desk, he nodded to himself before pushing off the desk and striding out of the room. He called out a soft nox as the door shut.

It took him less time to find an office the suited his needs. There was a spot he could brew if he needed to keep an eye on a potion while he was in there. And there were shelves he could cover with whatever he felt necessary. He knew from his talks with The End that the things should deal with his subject and possible some student work. The last thing he went in search of was his personal lab. This room was going to have enough space to make all the potions that he would need to have going at one time for ASP and whatever the school needed.

He steps took him down the long hall that Slughorn had left him in. 'I want it to have energy lines in it so that I can experiment with their uses. Do I need to go deeper or higher?' He surveyed the dungeon walls, trying to sense where he needed to go. Giving up due to the confusing amount of lines, he headed deeper, moving away from what he subconsciously thought of as Slughorn's domain.

Door after door was opened. Lab after lab was looked at and discounted for numerous reasons. Some were too small, his old living room lab was larger. Some were lacking in ingredient storage space, or curing potion space. Some the ventilation just wasn't pulling well or there was just none present. Some just had too many energy lines there. He wanted to experiment, not be drowned in them. But in the end, he had to settle for a lab space that was fairly prolific with the energy lines. At least the center of the room was clear and that is where the most ventilation was located.

As Severus headed back up to Dumbledore's office, he counted the doors so that he could inform the Headmaster where he wanted to be located. Stopping before the gargoyle he wondered what the password was. He decided to tap on it again and request to see the Headmaster like he did the first time he had been there since he had graduated. The wait was a bit longer this time, but eventually he was allowed up to the office.

Albus watched as Severus came into the room. He had taken a moment to floo call Minerva so that she could talk to him before he had let the younger man up. "Severus, my boy, would you care for some tea? Lemon drop?"

"Tea." He settled into his now normal seat, the uncomfortable one as far from the warmth of the fireplace as possible.

Albus handed him a cup. "So, have you found everything you need? Did Horace answer all your questions?" He was wondering why Horace hadn't brought him up there.

"Professor Slughorn showed me his classroom, pointed out his lab, and told me where to find the others. He then left me to look on my own." Severus kept his tone bland. He refused to show the slight bit of disappointment he had felt when he had been left alone. It was actually to his benefit that he had been, but he was made to feel more of a burden than anything else by the way Slughorn had left him.

"Did one of the other teachers find you and show you about?" At Severus' negative response Albus tapped his finger on the brim of his cup. He had felt a bit of irritation when he noticed that Severus had been left to travel to his office on his own. It increased ten fold when he learned that the boy had been on his own most of the time he had been there. Not that he didn't trust the boy, it was the fact that he was not being made to feel welcomed in the school. And there was the off chance he could have gotten lost, it had been almost four years since the boy had been in the dungeons.

At that moment, Minerva entered the office. "You wished to see me, Headmaster?" She glanced at Severus, uncertain how she felt about him. She had spent the last two and a half hours trying to come to terms with what she had learned.

Albus nodded and gestured towards her normal chair. A cup of tea floated over to her as she settled. "Yes, I know you wish to talk to Severus as I hired him without your knowledge. But, do give us a bit of a moment longer." He turned back to Severus who seemed to be analyzing everything. "Did you find any rooms to your liking?"

Severus smirked, he could see the irritation radiating off the older man. It was in his mannerisms. "Yes. I wish the classroom that is three quarters the way down the dungeon classroom hall. It was the eighth door I believe; the one with the old style lab tables." He had glanced at the rest of the rooms while he was looking for an office, that was the only room with tables like that. " And the last office on that hall, the one at the end. The private lab I wish is the twelfth door down the lab hallway. They will all require a good amount of cleaning before they are usable. Should I come in a bit early to handle this?"

Minerva shot him a surprised look. A Death Eater would not offer to come clean up a classroom. Maybe Albus was right.

Albus smiled gently. "No, my dear boy, the house elves will handle them now that they know that the rooms are to be used. Is there any furniture you would like removed or added? Do you wish them to move the potions ingredients down there as well?"

Severus shook his head. "Once they are cleaned, they will be just what I require. And the house elves can help move the potion ingredients when I am here to direct them." House elves... how did I forget those? Too long in the muggle world.' Realizing what thoughts were in the forefront of his mind, he shoved them back behind his barrier and hoped that Dumbledore hadn't picked them up.

"Good." Severus watched as Dumbledore's smiling face turned serious. "Now, Severus, I need you to know that Minerva is not only my Deputy here at Hogwarts, but she is also my Deputy for the Order." Albus watched as the dark eyes flicked between him and Minerva. "And so I have told her of both of your positions."

Minerva watched as Severus' face became a blank mask, hiding every bit of emotion, even his eyes were empty. "I understand that while you are here, you are going to have to favor the Slytherin house, if not it could be dangerous to you. But I think that is going to cause a imbalance in the house points." She settled back in her seat, waiting to see what his response would be. Whatever it was, it would tell her a good deal about his character.

Severus nodded, his face relaxing as he notice that she wasn't lashing out at him. "I am also going to have to penalize Gryffindor more as well. We could work it out so that we balance it out. You take more points from Slytherin and add more to Gryffindor. You can even state that you are trying to balance out my biasness."

'Good answer. He didn't immediately go on the defensive, and thought through the problem. This might work.' Minerva tapped her fingers on the side of her cup as she thought his suggestion through. "I think that that is a good idea, but I will let them draw their own conclusion as to why we are adjusting points."

Severus leaned forwards slightly, letting his cup rest in his hands while his elbows were on his knees. "I would ask you to check to see why I removed the points before you add them back. If they were honestly warranted, I would want them to stand."

Minerva nodded in agreement. "I ask for the same consideration in return."

"Of course." He leaned back into his seat.

She frowned as him. "Do you really not want to teach?"

Severus shot a look over at Dumbledore. What had he been telling everyone? The question must have been easy to read on his face because Dumbledore answered it.

"I have only told Minerva that you are not teaching here by choice. And that you are spying for us."

Severus folded his hands as he thought of the answer. Did he really want to teach? "When I first received the position, no, I did not want this career. But since then, I have accepted it and think that I would like to give it a try." He watched as the twinkle magnified in Dumbledore's eyes and Minerva gave a tiny tight smile.

"Then, Mr. Snape, if you need help, you may come ask me." Minerva met his eyes. "We might have to hide it under a rivalry, but I will be willing to help the best I can."

He knew how much that took for her to say. He knew she was uncomfortable with him since she walked in the room. He was positive it was because he was a Death Eater. He could also tell that it was lessening since she started talking to him. He could see it in her face, in her posture. Her words rang with the sentiment that he had heard Ms. Compton and the others harp on. You should do anything for the students you can but don't enable them. McGonagall obviously believed the same as they did. The students came first. Holding her eyes, Severus slowly let his mask fall. "Thank you."

Minerva and Albus stared in amazement at the warmth that was coming from the face before them. They had never seen him look like that, so open. Even as they watched the barriers slowly came back up.

That one look made gave Minerva more confidence that this was a good idea. "You're welcome."

One of the portraits cleared his throat, catching their attention and breaking the moment. "Professor Sprout is on her way up here. She is looking for Professor Snape."

Severus started at the title attached to his name. It felt almost as good as being called by his Mastery title. It would feel as good once he earned it.

"Thank you." Albus waved a hand and removed the extra wards from his office while unlocking the gargoyle.

Sprout didn't give the door a chance to fully open before she started speaking. "Headmaster? Do you know where Snape is? I wanted him to come see his Venomous Violet and let him explore the greenhouses." Only when she had finished did she see him sitting in a chair, setting his tea cup down.

"How is VV and her children?" The words dropped quietly into the now silence. Standing up, he brushed a bit of dust off his robe and completely missed the twinkling blue eyes and the shocked look on Minerva's face.

"She is doing far better than I had expected. I have tried to grow that species here before, but even in the greenhouse they haven't survived. I have been wondering if there was a mutation that has allowed it to live in theses conditions, or if it's perhaps a different subspecies than what we are used to dealing with. Do the ingredients react differently when you use them in potions?"

Intense black eyes met the equally intense light brown eyes. "No, they react the same. But if it was a different subspecies, then there should be some sort of difference in the manifestation of the plant. There is nothing that can distinguish this one from any other except its ability to survive an English winter. That in and of itself would not warrant making it a new subspecies. It is just a variation of the same species." He turned towards McGonagall and Dumbledore. "Sir, Ma'am, if you are finished with me..." He let the rest trail off.

Dumbledore waved him off. "Go on. And Pomona, please stop by the infirmary so that Poppy can tell him what she wants brewed for next year before you go out to the greenhouses." He shifted his gaze to Severus. "And Severus, take the ingredients that you will need to fill her order, please." He received a curt nod before the dark man swept out of the room on the heels of the shorter professor. Turning back to Minerva he smiled softly. "Well, my dear?"

"I think we'll deal together fine. Don't be mistaken, I can see arguments in our future, but I think that all of us will learn to work around each others personalities." She finished off her tea and prepared to head out. "Is there anything else, Albus?"

He shook his head no. He would handle what else needed done. He would make sure that the boy received all the information he would need to teach the potions class before he left. He was already planning his meeting with Slughorn.


Leaning against the wall, Severus watched as the students raced out of the hall. It was the Friday before the last week of school, and even though tests were next week, the students were still very excited with summer looming near.

As the last one filtered out, Zimmerman turned to him. "So, did you get your results back?"

Severus was immediately pinned by four sets of eyes, each waiting on his answer. Before he answered he spotted Compton and Eastaughffe coming down the hall. "Mrs. Compton. Headmaster."

"Stop right there." Patterson glared at the new arrivals and then him. "You will answer that question before you talk to them. We have been waiting patiently since you went to take the test. And we also want to know how your meeting went at your new school. Do you have your own classroom? Are the lesson plans laid out similarly? What are your fellow teachers like?"

Tavers leaned in a bit. "Did you get a decent lab? You said that the Headmaster promised that you could continue with your research."

Wells leaned against the wall near him, studying her nails. "And how is that Headmaster? Do we need to go up there and talk to him?"

Severus couldn't help it. For a moment he stared at Wells, trying to imagine them in Dumbledore's office and said the first thing that come to mind. "How do you like your tea and are you a fan of lemon drops?" Pressing his lips together, he waited for their answer. 'I must be more worn out than I thought. Luckily summer is coming up.'

Wells blinked at him. "How does that relate to my question?"

Severus let a smirk grace his lips. "Because when you storm into his office that is the first thing he is going to do. Offer you tea and lemon drops. Then a seat, and after you are served, he will sit and listen to you with a calm patient look on his face, no matter how much you yell at him. Then he'll lean back, answer your accusations and discuss your suggestions. Calmly. Sipping his tea and sucking on a lemon drop."

Wells picked up her jaw and stopped staring. "You're telling the truth. You could yell at the Headmaster and he would just let you."

Severus raised an eyebrow. "He will also make you feel like you are about five years old while he is answering you, and call you my dear girl or boy." He remembered clearly the couple of times he had done that after a particularly hard Death Eater meeting.

"To answer your other questions. My classroom will have only lab stations, but the tables are long enough to allow a place to set up the labs and take notes. The stockroom opens directly to it, like it does in Vance's. There are no windows, but there is plenty of ventilation. I got to choose it and my personal lab, which fits most of my requirements. The parts that don't fit I can work around real easily. My fellow teachers were busy that day, but the Deputy Headmistress took the time out to talk to me and I met the school nurse as well as spent a lot of time with the Botany teacher. The Chemistry teacher I am replacing spent most of his time in his lab and let me roam about on my own. The Headmaster was not happy about that. The lesson plans are a bit different, but it will be easy to convert for one form to another. As for my results, I passed everything but Law with the highest marks and Law was one step below." He then turned to face Compton and Eastaughffe. "And what can we do for you this afternoon, Headmaster, Mrs. Compton?"

Compton let her pride shine though as she heard his scores. "Congratulations on your grades. Your school sounds like it is going to be interesting. At least you have the approval of both the Headmaster and Deputy there." She knew that Deputy Faraday had been an irritation since he was hired for his current position.

Eastaughffe felt his eyes widen. He didn't know that Snape was hired at a school next year as a teacher. He wondered why he hadn't been asked for a reference. "You are teaching next year, Mr. Snape?"

Severus looked at him for a moment and decided he could know as much as the others did. "I was hired there before I came home in February. I have been working here for something to do until I left for there."

"And learning the ropes." Zimmerman cut him a look that said he was not to leave that out. "We have been putting in lots of lessons so that you were ready."

"And I thank you all for that." Severus nodded towards her.

"So, are you free this summer? At least in the morning?" Eastaughffe seemed a bit anxious.

Severus looked at him a moment, trying to determine what was making him anxious. "I have classes this summer, so my Fridays are taken up. I also have to work on my current research project as well as preparing for my classes."

Compton looked at him. "Can you teach summer school Chemistry? There is a number of students from Meadowview and here that need it. Normally Vance and I handle it, but since she is still out she can't help, and none of the Meadowview teachers are volunteering. It will give you a chance to practice the rest of the labs, and teaching the material. If Headmaster Eastaughffe is willing, I can take your classes on Fridays so that you can go to your lab classes." She sent a questioning look over at the Headmaster.

Eastaughffe knew that once again their backs were against the wall. He was sure that was why the board approved Snape teaching summer school. He nodded. He would ask latter what theses classes were, but right now he just needed to know that the position was filled.

Severus straightened up and looked at the department head. "What are the hours?"

"It will be just one class, from eight thirty until eleven thirty. The students will be leaving at eleven and we will have a half hour planning. The class lasts for three weeks. It is fast and intense. We don't coddle them. They either do the work or they don't. If they become a disruption they're sent home to stay."

As he considered his answer, he noticed that the others were watching him with hopeful expressions on their faces. 'It will be the last time I will be able to work with them. And I can get some help with the Anatomy class if they are here too. Their expressions say that they are.' Slowly, he nodded. "If the board will approve me, I will accept."

Compton smiled happily. "I'll bring the paperwork by on Monday." She gestured for the Headmaster to led the way back to his office.

Eastaughffe found out on the way back to his office exactly what his science department had been doing during the end of the year.


Summer passed in a blur of classes, solidifying friendships, potions and getting ready to teach potions as creatively as he could. He succeeded in passing both of his classes. It was amazing how much easier it was when there was someone to explain it to him. He was glad that most of The End taught summer school. The others came up during that time to work in their classrooms.

Mid-August found him packing what he had to take with him from Spinner's End in preparation for his move to Hogwarts. Before he knew it, it was his last evening before leaving his home. He had succeeded in making this place a place he could call home. He had friends, and even an almost family to call his own. If he needed it, he had a job to work, and he had a house that was finally his home. His eyes skated over the boxes that were sitting in his living room. There wasn't much, mainly the ingredients from his downstairs lab, some of his robes and such that had crept into his wardrobe, his favorite blend of tea, and rolls upon rolls of parchments that tracked out the classes he was going to teach.

He pulled his hair back one last time, and made sure that he had his thank you gift before he walked out his front door. The gardens smelled with the flowers that were blooming. The gardens were laid out in a manner that they could practically need no attention. He had chosen plants that needed little or no care. Mrs. Jameson had promised him that she would look after them until his return.

Crossing the yard his steps found their way to the Jameson's front door. Looking at the door, he realized that he was going to miss them. They had pulled him back into their family as if he hadn't left. Holding back a sigh, he knocked on the door.

It was Mrs. Jameson who answered. "Severus, come on in! The table is set, go ahead and grab your seat." As he passed her, she pulled him into her standard welcoming hug and then turned to call Thomas down from the upstairs.

Severus heading into the dining room, dropping off the tin of biscuits on the kitchen counter on his way. He knew they would find them later, but he would be gone and not have to listen to them tell him how unnecessary it was.

Sitting down at that table for the last time this summer, Severus looked about the room taking in the warmth that was there. When Thomas and Mrs. Jameson came in, dinner began as if it was a normal meal. It was about halfway through when the knowledge that this was the last one for awhile was faced.

"I'm driving you to King's Cross station. No more arguing about it, Severus. I will be taking you." Chris Jameson glared at his stubborn non-son. This had been a point of contention for the last week. He wanted to drive him, and Severus was insisting that he could easily ride the bus. "I have already told the foreman that I needed to be off." He didn't even give Severus a chance to start in on the point. "I have it, so I refuse to waste it. I will be driving you, end of discussion."

Severus matched his glare, trying not to growl at him. How could he take the day off? The foreman was already pushing the older man to work overtime. And Lucius was going to meet him at his flat to help him move into Hogwarts. 'Or at least direct the house elves to move my belongings there.' He had been thinking this through all week, trying to plan it so that both stubborn, helpful men would be happy. The only plan he could come up with was to let Mr. Jameson drop him off and then apparate to his flat. It was the only way. Sighing, he nodded, showing that he was giving in.

"You haven't given us the address yet or the phone number." Jessica Jameson gave him an uncompromising look, she would not back down from this point either.

Reluctantly, Severus pulled out the address that he had arranged with Rockward. The goblin told him that he would owl the mail to him. "Only for emergencies. I don't have the phone number, and it would be long distance anyway. The school is in Scotland. I'll be home for summers. And I'll write if I need anything." It was hard for him to give them a link to the Wizard world, but since it was through Gringotts, he was trusting that it would be hard to track it directly to him.

The rest of the meal had been happier. At the very end of the evening, he reluctantly headed out the door wishing them all good night.

The car ride was littered with helpful tidbits of advise from all three Jamesons as they all insisted on escorting him to King's Crossings. With the hugs and the help loading his boxes on a cart, he was finally let go. Passing through the barrier to the platform of nine and three quarters, he appartated to his flat with his belongings.

It took him just a couple of minutes to pack up the flat. Then Lucius was knocking on his door. "Morning Lucius, how are you today?"

The blond looked him over before nodding. "Keep the bracelet on, use it if you have to." He then turned to survey the packed flat. "Are you taking this furniture?" When Severus shook his head no, Lucius smirked. "Good, that means we won't be arguing yet this morning." With that statement he called up his house elves to move things to Severus' new quarters in Hogwarts.

His new quarters ended up deep in the bowels of the dungeons. When Lucius confronted Dumbledore on their location, the Headmaster told him that since Severus had chosen all his other rooms deep in the dungeon, that he thought he would like them. In private, the Headmaster informed Severus of the secret passages the let out onto the school grounds in different secluded areas.

Severus spent the next couple of days organizing the potions stockroom and working in his lab testing out the influence of the energy lines. The effects were interesting, and he was quite happy his lab was criss-crossed with different ones.

Before he knew it, the students were coming back. His eyes darted about the Great Hall, looking at all the tables that stretched out across the floor until his gaze rested on the doors.

Flitwick leaned over a bit towards the new Potions Master. "They'll be here any minute. Be ready, the noise level increases significantly when they get here, but over the next couple of weeks it settles down. A little bit at least." He caught the black eyes for a moment, trying to send a reassuring look before turning to the newest in the line of Defense teachers to repeat his message. The door slammed open as he finished.

Severus watched as the students boiled in. They were as noisy as he remembered them. Holding his face in a calm mask, he surveyed the tables looking for potential troublemakers. Even as he picked out the likely ones, the first years came in and the sorting began.

Severus watched as the students went to their respective tables, wondering how many friendships were hurt this time, how many would be forged, and how many would survive the next seven years. He was jolted out of his musings by Dumbledore's speech.

"Good evening. Now that we are all settled, I would like welcome all of you of you who are returning, and those who are here for the first time. As I am sure you are hungry, I will leave introductions and announcement until after we have enjoyed the wonderful meal prepared for us." With a wave of his hand, the tables were ladened.

Out of habit, Severus checked his food for tampering before he ate it. It had saved him too many time not to. He had not trusted the Marauders potion making ability, at least not with potions that were to be ingested. As he ate, he listened to the conversations that were floating about him. He let them flow and ebb about him, but did not join in. Slowly dinner wound down and soon there were just a few who were still enjoying their desert.

Dumbledore took this time to make announcements. Severus wasn't sure if was a better idea to do it while the students were distracted by hunger or when they were sated and sleepy. "Today I have the pleasure of introducing two new teachers to you. Professor Baddams is unfortunately unable to join us this year. To take his place teaching Defense Against Dark Arts is Professor Micheal Trotter." He gestured for Professor Trotter to stand. He waited for the claps to end before he continued. "Professor Slughorn chose to retire at the end of last school year, so our next new professor shall be teaching you Potions. Please welcome Professor Severus Snape."

Severus stood and glared lightly at the students as they clapped. He was going to start as he meant to continue. He didn't do friendly. Settling back into his seat, he waited for the students to be dismissed. He was tired and wanted to be out of the spot light.

"And now I wish you all a good night. Prefects if you would escort the first years to the dormitories."

Severus watched as the students filed out of the room. Tomorrow would be the first day. At that moment he was heartily glad he had worked at Stoner.

During breakfast the students stared at their schedules trying to figure out where the potions and defense class were. The first group of potions students, fourth year Slytherin and Hufflepuff, struck out determined to find out where the room was.

Severus watched from the shadows of the hall as the students lined up outside his door. He patiently waited until it was a bit closer to time before he made his presence known. He had been surprised when Sinistra had told him that the teachers didn't stand in the hall, though he knew he shouldn't have been. He didn't remember anyone doing that when he was a student there. So, he decided that he could hide in the shadows and wait. He didn't want to lose the chance to observe them before they entered the room.

"Why is the door closed?" A dark haired Slytherin pushed against the heavy wood.

"So do you think we are in the wrong place? Slughorn's door was always opened." A red haired Hufflepuff glanced down the hall as if she was trying to see if there was another possibility.

Severus shook his head. You should never let a student into a lab setting without supervision. A quick glance showed him that most of the students were there. Stepping out of the shadows, he swept towards the door and, with a wave of his wand, he opened the door and gestured for the students to enter. "Pair yourselves off."

He waited until the last student had entered before he stalked towards his desk, his cloak billowing about him and the door thudding shut behind him. "Welcome to your potions class. Today you will be showing me what you know. Open you books to page forty-five."

He stopped in front of his desk and spun sharply about to face the students. "You shall be brewing a simple cleaning potion. You shall not play about. You shall not act like dunderheads . If you pay attention to what you are doing, you will be turning in a perfect potion before you leave today. If you are not, you shall receive what you would have earned, a Troll."

He let a light glare rake over them as he leaned against his desk. With his wand, he pointed towards the right, unlocking the ingredients closet. "The ingredients are there." He lowered his wand as he looked over the anxious looking students. "You may begin."

As they scrambled to get their materials, Severus watched them closely. Yes, they were nervous, but that was fine. They would get used to him soon enough.

Holstering his wand, he started strolling about the room. It was time to practice what he had spent the last five months learning.