Hermione's choice 5

Here is the real chapter 5. Thank you to all who offered good wishes for my health problems and an even bigger thank you to those who understood that real life gets in the way of hobbies.

As always, none of the places or characters belong to me. JK Rowling, like Voldemort, doesn't share power.

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The first Saturday of November started slowly, as most Saturdays do. That quickly changed as Professor Dumbledore stood to make an announcement to the few students at breakfast. Less than a quarter of the students were there.

"Ahem… Good morning students. It is my sad duty to inform you all that last night our beloved Professor Snape resigned effective immediately…"

Whatever else he was going to say was drowned by the riotous cheers coming from the students.

'Who knew so few children could make that much noise?' he wondered to himself as he sat down.

The word was quickly spread. For once none of the students minded being woken early on a weekend morning. Everyone was busy celebrating, even (quietly and surreptitiously) in Slytherin. Fireworks were set off in the corridors, students were partying in the halls and unused class rooms and even the teachers seemed to be in good moods, turning a blind eye to all but the most extreme parties and activities.

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After breakfast in the Headmaster's office the Headmaster and the remaining Heads of house were continuing the discussions about the student complains and comments.

"I need to make this a short meeting, I have arranged to meet with Harry Potter to discuss some problems he has." McGonagall stated as she sat down.

"Anything that I need to know?" Albus asked as he popped a lemon drop in his mouth.

"The main issue is that while we teachers refer to most children by surnames we call Harry by his given name." Minerva replied.

"That is something that we all will have to work on then. I know that we all knew Lilly and James and most of us held Harry as a baby so please explain that to him."

"I am going to do that. Now, onto the complaints box… 'Why are we having to pay a premium for our education when most of our classes are sub-standard? Potions is taught by a bully, history is a nap time for most of us and when I have stayed awake I have noticed that Binns only ever talk about goblin rebellions and muggle studies is almost a century out of date. Please either fix the courses of give our parents a refund.' Well, at least one of the complaints has already been dealt with, but I have a large number of complaints that support this one." Minerva finished with a sigh.

"What are we going to do about History? We cannot keep having the students falling asleep in class. I have over a hundred complaints that say that they have not learnt anything from a core class." Fillius squeaked.

"Why not have the ghosts teach? Rotate through the ghosts in the castle?" Pomona suggested hopefully. "We have the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw here as the Ravenclaw's house ghost. I am sure she could tell of the events of the founders from a firsthand point of view! Or Sir Nicholas, he could tell of life in the fifteenth century. We have ghosts here that come from so many different walks of life, times and cultures that we are foolish not taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge that they have about their own time in history."

"That sounds acceptable. But what will we do with Cuthbert?" Minerva probed. "He doesn't seem to want to cross over and it is in the school charter that we would never exorcize a spirit without due reason, becoming a danger to the students and so on."

"Change the class room? Cuthbert only goes from the staff room to his class room and back again." Fillius suggested.

"That might work. If it doesn't then we will revisit the issue. Finally, Muggle studies."

"Is it truly that bad?" Albus asked.

"Unfortunately for us the Muggle world has changed dramatically from when I was a child." Minerva said quietly. "After the Muggle war in the '40s they seemed to have a mental and mechanical boom time. I often see items that I am unfamiliar with during the home visits to the muggleborn students and I think that this may be one of the reasons that we have such a problem with them adjusting to life here at school."

Albus sighed. "Well, this is a moot point now since we are not offering the course anymore."

"But how do we know that the right things are being taught in 'Modern Muggle studies'? We could just be making the same mistakes again." Pomona asked quietly.

"We have a pureblood teaching Magical studies because they know the traditions and so on. Why not have a Muggleborn or even a Muggle teach? They would know and understand what knowledge would be needed and could teach accordingly!" Fillius proposed.

Albus look happy. "Good idea! Minerva, you would know best who to contact so may I leave that with you?" Minerva nodded. "Good. Was there anything else for this morning? No? Well then, have a good day."

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Sunday afternoon brought Ron Weasley to Professor McGonagall's door.

"Mr Weasley, what can I do for you?" she asked curiously.

"Um… it's the new rules, they say that no one can bully anyone, right?"

"Yes, has somebody been bothering you?"

"Percy! He won't leave me alone. He dragged me into the library and kept me there all day yesterday and today, he wouldn't even let me go to the hall for lunch, but I gave him the slip today, and if I don't do what he tell me he threatens me!" Ron finished indignantly.

"I see. What has Percy had you doing?"

"Nothing important. Just reading and writing stuff."

"Is this 'stuff' the homework that you haven't handed in?"

"Yeah, but he won't even let me go to the loo by myself! He follows me everywhere and I can't even go to have a pee without him watching me!"

"Hmm… and what does he threaten you with?"

'He said that if I don't do well now I will be sent to live with Aunt Muriel."

"I see. You do need to do the work that you haven't handed in yet, I hope you realise that. However, Percy is taking this a bit too far. Although the homework is important you should not have to miss meals. I will talk to him about that later. I am afraid that going to live with your aunt is something that is between you and your family. There is nothing I can do about that. I would suggest that you try hard here so that it isn't even a possibility, but that is just an idea."

"Ok, thank Professor."

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Sunday afternoon saw nearly every student either lingering in the castle's entry hall or lining the path to the main gates. The reason for this unusual behaviour became clear as Severus Snape walked out of the castle for the last time.

Severus had sequestered himself in his quarters from the end of the meeting and only came out when he was ready to leave. As he walked through the door he heard a song that he knew from his youth.

"Nah nah na na, nah nah na na, hey hey hey, goodbye"

The tuneful chant started softly with just one voice but was soon picked up by all the students present and continued growing in volume until the gate shut behind him followed by rousing cheers and an impromptu celebration started. Severus could have sworn that he could see several members of staff amongst the crowd.

'Insolent brats! Good riddance to them.' He thought as he apperated away.

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Striding into the apothecary later that day Severus Snape looked around with a sneer. Stepping around the line of customers he approached the sales clerk, a boy he vaguely recognised from his classes several years before, and snapped his fingers at him.

"Boy! Go and tell Mr Strax that Potion Master Snape is here to assume the brewing position that he advertised in the 'Daily Prophet.'" Watching the boy scurry through the door Severus thought about how his life was about to change for the better. 'Albus will be begging me to return soon, I might string him along for a while and get a pay increase and all sorts of things I want once I do return when these stupid rules fail. Things will go my way. No more dunderheads to teach, no more melted cauldrons, no more Potter!'

Seeing the proprietor approaching he left his thoughts and greeted the man.

"Good day, Mr Strax! I have c…" Severus was rudely cut off.

"Save your breath Snape! You have some nerve showing up here and demanding a job. I wouldn't hire you if you were the last potions master in the world and I have recommended that you be stricken from the rolls of Master Brewers! After the crap you pulled at Hogwarts I doubt that you would get a job brewing stamina potions at the Adult House of Fun for Madam Pleathers girls! You, Sir, have personally destroyed a generation of potion brewers! To you that meant less brats in your classes. To the rest of our world that means less healers, less aurors, less people able to make medicinal potions and more potion accidents by desperate people that are being treated by overworked healers who don't have the potions to heal their patients!"

"But I…"

"I don't want to hear your excuses! Get out of my shop and never darken my door again!

Severus's brain ground to a halt and he froze in place. 'Have I actually done that much damage? No, I couldn't have. It isn't my fault that the idiots couldn't understand…'

"So, you refuse to leave!" Mr Strax snarled. "Tony, Jimmy! Show Mr Snape out."

Severus came out of his thoughts as he was thrown through the air into a dank alley. Unfortunately for him there were several people that he recognised from his former classes lingering there…

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The Great Hall was silent on Tuesday morning as the headline was read by all students.

Daily Prophet

Severus Snape Squashed!

Late on Monday afternoon Severus Snape, former Potions teacher and former Head of Slytherin house at Hogwarts, was found badly beaten on the corner of Nocturn and Diagon alleys leaning against the wall of Baxters Boxes trunk shop. He was suffering numerous broken bones, lacerations and had had a rather large Pineapple inserted in his nether regions. From all indications the fruit had been inserted sideways.

A witness to Mr Snape's discovery said "He must have been there a while under a disillusionment spell for a while. Somebody wasn't happy with him that's for sure. But what a waste of good fruit."

Healers at St Mungo's Hospital commented "Owing to the shortages of Healers and competent potions brewers we were unable to fully heal Mr Snape's injuries. The broken bones were healed but his hands will always have a tendency to spasm and cramp and his nose will never regain its former shape. Unfortunately it will remain squashed against his face as it is now. The pineapple was successfully removed but there is nothing we can do about the incontinence that it has caused."

We at the Prophet can only wish Mr Snape a speedy, albeit a painful one without the necessary potions the Wizarding world needs, recovery.

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From that day on whenever there was a potion brewing job advertised in any newspaper there was always a small addition at the end that read 'Severus Snape need not apply'.

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