Note: So! I've had this story half-written for well on five years, and I figured (after dealing with some nasty business at other archives) that… hell… I'd put it up here! If you're expecting my usual fuckwit parody/humor, expect to get it in very small doses, if at all. This is a Hermione/Snape ship, with an idea I'd had for ages. The initial title and set-up are inspired by Anne Rice (I hardly think she owns the concept of an interview, but, well… I know how Anne Rice is about anything of hers in "fan fiction," so I offer this as a disclaimer). Otherwise, characters and world all belong to J.K. Rowling. Story is taking place (obviously AU) post HBP. Slight bits of DH will be factored in, as well.
My initial thought upon stepping foot on the island was that, even without the Dementors, Azkaban was wholly uninviting.
I bid the Ministry ferryman a good day, the prim wizard just shaking his head and shivering as he enchanted the boat to sail away. For obvious reasons, neither port keys nor apparition worked in taking anyone to (or from) the foreboding rock.
Luckily, I would have the option of returning to whomever would ferry me back to the mainland… the perk of being a (relatively) innocent wizard, handpicked to capture perhaps the biggest story since the report on The Great Battle. If I had been anything but a Daily Prophet intern at the time ("Milk with your tea, sir?"), I could have had my name linked to the highest selling issue of the Prophet… ever.
Nevertheless, I've certainly earned my respect in the last few years, with the expose done on He-Who…Voldemort. The public went mad over knowing he was an essentially inbred half-blood! With the peace of knowing he was well and truly dead, the public went wild, turning the deceased monster into a joke. How had such a dumb oaf come to power? How we all laughed! The public is always so easily swayed.
The Prophet, which I constantly fought to ensure my expose go unedited, was primed to fire me after the outrage they expected at "blaspheming all those who died in the two wars." I, of course, spun my story not as a chastisement of people dying for and at the hands of such a wizard, but rather, made people remember the man not in fear, but in humor. Why, effigies of Voldemort arose shortly after my story broke, all made clownish, many of which were torched as witches and wizards drunkenly celebrated.
Needless to say, I was quickly promoted. The day Rita Skeeter got passed over for my current story… well, that was very nearly one of the best days of my life. Her nails went unpainted and chipped for a week, her own personal form of mourning.
Which lead me to Azakaban: a large, barren island of cold, gray rocks. The winding path to the absolute monstrosity of a prison was about a fifteen minute walk. Every step I took led to further and further feelings of cold and depression.
Apparently, even though the Dementors had long been gone since their near-extinction during the last war, their tenure as guards still left a mark.
By the time I was at the small gate that served as the only entrance into the large gray building, I felt near tears.
Flashing my Prophet identification, the guard (munching on a wriggling chocolate frog) ushered me into a room that looked very much like a candy store.
"Take your pick," the bored-looking wizard said, gesturing to the shelves of varying chocolate bars. Picking a purple wrapped bar from France, I felt instantly better after wolfing it down.
Without prompting, the guard explained, "Dementors bein' here for years means we still get the effects for years. Some Magical Creatures analyst said we should expect the doom and gloom feeling around here to be gone in the next twenty years. Can't say I'll miss the chocolate." At this last statement, the guard patted his slightly rotund stomach.
I cracked a grin and made my way into the next room.
In this rather more austere "office," I met the warden who greeted me excitedly. Apparently my reputation proceeded me.
"I can't tell you how excited we are at Azkaban to be a part of your story! We're hoping the Ministry will pay us a little more mind, you know. Some of us haven't had a vacation in years!"
I nodded awkwardly, wondering if they had actually gotten the Ministry missive allowing the Prophet's interview. I would be doing very little coverage on the actual prison.
As if reading my mind, the excitable wizard (who I understood to be an auror from back in the days of Grindelwald) continued the conversation, noting, "But we're of course all the more eager to see your interview. He never says a word, and none of us get a crack out of him. I have to admit there's some bets circulating on your success!"
I gave a half-smile, increasingly annoyed by the old wizard. Probably a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff of some sort.
"Well, I shouldn't waste your time. I know you only have the day, so let's get on with it," the warden said, grabbing a key and a file and walking me through the heavily padlocked and charmed door. I could literally feel the magic, like a cloying pressure, as I crossed the barrier into the prison.
I fully realized how large the prison was; the smooth gray stone walkway seemed endless. Wizard guards paced, wands and, surprisingly, whips at the ready.
Seeing my eyes lock on a nearby guard's whip, the warden responded to my silent question: "Ministry lets us use it for, uh, certain prisoners. We have some, ah, less than human prisoners in here…"
I grimaced as the warden continued to lead me to my intended target.
Each cell had three "walls" composed of exposed bars, with the remaining wall smooth and gray stone. Many cells had simply a chair, a cot and a chamber pot. Some, with the angrier, louder prisoners, had nothing. Some cells were completely closed off, only a small windowed door breaking up the enclosed spaces. I assumed they were highly dangerous, or insane. What a cheery place.
By the time we reached the cell of my intended story, I was aware enough of the trends of the prison cells to be surprised. We were in the back corner, with no guards and completely empty cells nearby. They had removed this prisoner as far as possible, it seemed.
"Well, here we are!" The warden said, smile in place as if expecting me to fail and us to laugh about it afterwards over a pint.
"Ah, yes, thank you," I said, taking out my quill and stack of parchment. The door opened to where the wizard in question sat, hands and feet magically chained to a chair in front of a table. An empty chair across the table was presumably for me.
The warden bounced back and forth on his feet, his dragon-hide boots making an irritating tapping sound. I gave him an expectant look.
"Ah! Yes, well, I have prison matters to attend. Guards will periodically patrol by, as necessary in their rounds. Your chocolate bar wrapper serves as an alarm to any danger should you tap it twice. His chains also alert us to come if they extend their maximum reach; can't have him moving around too much with you in here! You are perfectly safe!"
I glanced down at the wrapper still in my hand, all but forgotten in the perusal of the prison. The prisoner sat, impassive, as this conversation unfolded.
"Well, good luck!"
The warden chuckled to himself as he quickly shut and spelled the door, winking at me before briskly walking away.
I found it funny that I felt more at ease with a convicted Death Eater and murderer than I did with the overly-perky warden, apparently forever high on chocolate.
Sitting down in the chair and pulling it up to the table, I set my quill and parchment on the aged wood. When I was settled, I looked up at the man who had remained stoically silent and unexpressive.
"Severus Snape, I presume?"
The wizard across from me slowly raised a corner of his mouth.
Note: Again, not my usual stuff here. I appreciate you taking a read! This story is about 1/3 complete, so expect somewhat regular updates; I'm not planning to string people along as I have through so many HG/SS fics (though I may have done so on my other HG/SS, "How it Feels to be Alive," so… woops!). Thanks for reading!