Author: John Sexton
Genre: Harry Potter Slash
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Chapter Twenty-Two -- Defence Against the Dark Arts, Snape Style
"Why, Snape," McGonagall hissed venomously at the sullen youth, "could you not have adopted the same approach last night, as you did just now in the common room?"
The youth looked up at Dumbledore, who was sitting patiently at his desk.
Behind the old man, former headmasters were moving between portraits and chattering incessantly.
Severus stood next to his son, but remained his usual stoic self.
Poppy Pomfrey waited to the side, a passive observer.
"Professor McGonagall, Ma'am," the boy replied respectfully, "Weasley was not pointing his wand at me this morning."
"No he was not," Minerva agreed, before she hit back, "but he was at the ice-cream parlour, where you apparently saw fit to use the exact same defensive spell that you did this morning!"
"With all due respect, Ma'am," Snape retorted, "he was not! I had already disarmed him, by that stage. The two instances are the same.
"I thought I explained that rationally, not thirty minutes ago, in your office." The youth was now making little effort to mask his indignation.
"I believe that I have acted both honourably and responsibly, from the very outset, Ma'am!"
Minerva was now seeing red.
"You are too free with that all due respect expression, Snape. I think it is high time that you displayed some genuine deference to your elders and betters! You are a touch too full of yourself for my tastes."
"I am sorry if I have offended you, Professor McGonagall, but I have tried to answer your questions as simply and honestly as possible. I can assure you that no affront was intended."
Minerva turned to Dumbledore.
"Albus," she cried in disgust, "this is getting us nowhere! This situation is way out of hand: Ronald Weasley's predicament is quite intolerable."
"I agree, Minerva," Dumbledore nodded sagely. "However, I do not feel that young Salazar has any case to answer. I believe that his defensive spell was not only reasonable and just, but quite ingenious.
"Furthermore, I believe that the solution is, and always has been, in Ronald Weasley's hands. He has only himself to blame for his predicament.
"Even his own sister and Miss Granger have attested to the fact that his attacks on Mr Snape have been both unprovoked and unreasonable."
Minerva was about to raise her concerns about the two girls, and Snape's apparent influence, dare she say hold, over them.
However, in the present climate, she thought better of it. She would deal with the girls herself.
"Very well then, Albus," Minerva sighed dejectedly, "Poppy and I shall try to bring Weasley to his senses. We shall assemble the seniors once more, before lunch, and try to resolve this issue, once and for all!"
She glared at the dark youth, and curtly bid his father farewell--"Severus!" she huffed--as she turned and left the office with Poppy Pomfrey in tow.
"I dare not attempt any counter-spell on the boy, Minerva," Poppy stated flatly, as they approached the hospital wing together. "I have never encountered a curse like this, it does not feel like Dark Magic, but it is far more complex than any defensive spell or counter-curse that I have ever dealt with before.
"Then we agree, Poppy," McGonagall nodded ruefully, "we will just have to convince Weasley that he has little choice but to submit to the demands of this curse and swallow his pride."
"Well you know him best, of course, Minerva," Poppy sighed, "but I fear that may be more onerous than attempting to counter Snape's spell!"
"I think you may be right!" McGonagall agreed in her most frustrated high-pitched tone.
"I don't know how he can stand it, Minerva," Poppy added in disbelief, as they reached the hospital door.
"He has been complaining all night about breaking wind. I must admit that I can't recall anything as foul as the odour that surrounds his bed, and his nose is still functioning, if you get my drift!"
"Goodness me!" declared McGonagall in near disbelief and horror.
Just as they opened the door to the main ward, they were horrified by the sound of smashing crockery and the clatter of cutlery, which was quickly drowned out by the unmistakable voice of Ronald Weasley.
"Fuck you, Snape!" he roared, then he screamed; it was a blood-curdling cry that was clearly the result of great pain.
Minerva could not believe that Snape would dare to attack Weasley in the hospital wing, and how could he have arrived there before them?
Both women rushed towards the redhead's curtained-off bed, wands drawn and ready for whatever new dilemma they could not yet begin to imagine.
When they pulled back the curtain surrounding Weasley's bed, they were assaulted by the unmistakable stench of vomit and diarrhoea; but Weasley was alone.
His breakfast was scattered across the blankets and the floor, clearly the result of the volatile redhead's uncontrollable anger. The cause of that ire was clearly the foul excreta that covered the bedclothes and was still being projected from Weasley's mouth.
Minerva immediately came to the obvious conclusion, as she recalled the irascible redhead's own words, back in the Gryffindor common room, just before Snape had frozen him in his tracks: "I'd rather eat shit!"
The two world-weary witches ogled at each other in utter bewilderment, before Minerva finally conceded: "this gets worse by the minute, Poppy."
Then she seemed rooted to the floor, as she made the startling observation: "What if the boy had declared that he would rather be dead, Poppy?"
The distraught redhead was too traumatised for the comment to register in his addled brain; the school nurse could only shake her head in bemused, tacit agreement.
"I agree with Dumbledore, Sals," Severus consoled his son, as they sat opposite each other, over breakfast in the Slytherin housemaster's rooms.
"But the fact remains: you've made an enemy of your housemistress, and that, my boy, is going to take some considerable effort to redress."
The youth stabbed at his food disconsolately, and scowled at his father, then harrumphed.
"Fat chance! She hates my guts, and she defends that insane redhead like he was her own cub and I was..."
"She does not believe you belong in Gryffindor, Sals," Severus scowled.
"We have both known that from the minute she spoke to you at the feast. She thinks you are the devil's spawn, and she clearly does not trust you..."
"Loath as I am to say it, Sals, you have not given her any reason to alter that view. If anything you have--"
"Do we need to go there, Dad?" the boy whined, without looking up from his pulverised food. "Sorry!" he added hastily.
Severus smiled sadly at his boy.
"That's OK, Sals, you've got a lot on your plate!"
The beautiful youth stabbed again at the mangled sausage, then looked up at his father and laughed.
"Good one, Dad!"
They shared the pun heartily, and were relieved as the tension was broken.
Severus reached over and gripped Sals's hand in solidarity.
"You were right all along about Weasley, Dad, he is impossible," the boy lamented, "I just couldn't see it.
"Do you think that there is any way out of this mess... without losing face, that is? Did I do the wrong thing, Dad?"
"You could have done it differently, no doubt," Severus smiled warmly at his pride and joy, "but, no, Sals, you did nothing wrong, and I doubt you could have done it better.
"Weasley needs to be brought to heel, and the sooner the better. His hatred of all things Slytherin has always been quite obsessive and irrational."
The boy nodded in gloomy resignation.
"Well, it's out of your hands now, anyway," the former Potions Master sighed as he rose from the table, "let McGonagall deal with the redhead, and let the runes fall where they may; we both have bigger fish to fry."
Severus reached behind him and retrieved a tattered book from the sideboard.
"Before you go, I wanted to give you this. I found it when I was clearing my things out of the Potions lab. I think you might find it useful."
Sals scanned the cover of the tattered text.
"Advanced Potion Making by Libatius Borage!" he exclaimed, as he fingered the torn binding, "our Potions set text... seen better days by the look of it!" he chortled.
Then he flipped the cover.
"The Half Blood Prince," Sals exclaimed excitedly, "this was yours?"
Severus smiled and nodded as Sals flipped through the well-worn pages, noting the numerous annotations as he did so.
"This is great, Dad, thanks," he smiled and embraced his father fondly.
"Off you go then," Severus quipped, "you'd better get ready for your first class, you don't want to start off by being late."
"Too right," Sals scowled, "you know I've got double Transfiguration first up, don't you?"
Minerva McGonagall was eyeing the clock once again, this time she was waiting on Granger and Weasley, who were cutting it fine, with only fifteen minutes remaining before the first lesson of the new school year.
She was concerned, not only for their individual safety, but also for the potential danger that their strong affinity for Snape might have on the rest of Gryffindor.
Minerva now regarded the dark youth as a serious threat to not only her house of lions, but to Hogwarts itself. She feared his agenda, whatever that might be, and she feared his awesome power, the like of which she had never known, in one so young.
And what of Severus? Had he turned? And Dumbledore? Had he become another of the mysterious youth's puppets? Had the beguiling Adonis somehow bewitched the old man?
She contemplated the power that Gellert Grindelwald had held over Dumbledore, all those years ago. He too had been a beguiling youth, so the story went, who had brought Albus Dumbledore to his knees, metaphorically and literally, with his beauty and Dark Magic.
"Dark Magic!" Minerva pondered that for a moment.
Salazar Snape had yet to actually exhibit or use such power, but he was more than capable of doing so; of that the head of Gryffindor had no doubt!
There was no denying that Salazar Snape was an exceptionally handsome lad, loath as Minerva was to admit it.
Then there was Draco Malfoy! His relationship with Salazar Snape was, of itself, troubling enough... if the rumours were to be trusted.
And what of the blonde's relationship with Granger?
Minerva's head was spinning, this could not have come at a worse time; it was almost as if the youth had chosen this very moment to take advantage of the emergence of Voldemort, the absence of Potter, and the chaos that was erupting around them all.
She almost wondered if she was the only one who could see it? ... ... ... well, her and Ronald Weasley. But that latter thought was of little consolation, because the Weasley lad was barely rational.
A rap at the door derailed Minerva's train of thought...
"Enter!" the ancient Scot commanded in her strident, no-nonsense tone.
The two girls stepped inside, closing the door behind them, then stood before her desk with rigid and almost belligerent demeanour; or was that just Minerva's imagination?
"Sit down," McGonagall instructed them, while trying to rein in her rising irascibility.
The girls complied but said nothing.
"I have asked you here, before classes begin, because of my concerns for your welfare... both of you."
Neither girl spoke, so Minerva pushed on.
"You both seem rather close to Snape, and that concerns me."
Still no reaction.
"It concerns me because of the current state of affairs both inside and outside of Gryffindor House. Indeed, because of the state of affairs both inside and outside of Hogwarts!"
Both girls seemed surprised by those statements; but there was no verbal response until Granger snapped.
"What exactly do you mean by `rather close,' Professor?" she demanded.
The Weasley lass looked towards Granger, then nodded, just once, with a very defiant mien, before turning back towards Minerva, her eyes burning furiously.
Minerva was stung and surprised by the aggression shown by both girls, which she immediately attributed to their nascent relationship with the troublesome youth.
"You seem to be under his influence, and it concerns me," McGonagall stated blandly.
"I can't recall seeing either of you, since your return to Hogwarts, when you have not been in his company."
Both girls looked at each other, then simultaneously looked to the side and behind them. They faced each other again, with a smug grin, which took on an arrogant smirk when they looked back at Minerva.
"That is exactly what I am talking about!" McGonagall rasped angrily, "it is that sort of cheek that I would expect from Salazar Snape!"
"With all due respect, Professor McGonagall--"
"THAT WILL DO, MISS GRANGER!" Minerva exploded. She was so infuriated, she was nearly apoplectic. "I have had quite enough of Snape's respect to last me the rest of this year!"
"Well I'm sorry, Professor," snapped Granger again, "but I think you are biased against Sals, and I don't think it's fair. I don't know why you are so against him! He has done nothing wrong, in fact I think he is the best thing to happen to Hogwarts since Harry Potter."
Again the Weasley lass looked across at her cohort and gave a short sharp nod of support. Then she glared at Minerva, and the old witch felt that if looks alone could kill, she would be dead.
"Really, Miss Granger," Minerva replied testily, but avoided addressing Weasley, "that seems a rather extreme and rash judgement, you barely know Snape!"
"On the contrary, Professor," the Muggle-born lass replied haughtily, "I have just spent the last week with Sals and his father, and I can assure you that I understand him far better than you think... and I trust him. He has done nothing to deserve such criticism!"
"I agree!" cried the Weasley girl, uttering her first words since entering the room.
"His influence on Draco Malfoy, and his effect on the feast, last night, have done more for school unity and inter-house cooperation than any other individual since I've been at Hogwarts!"
"Well," huffed McGonagall, "I can see that this is more serious than I first thought! It appears that I am wasting my time. So I will simply say this:
"I am far from happy with the impact that Snape has had on Gryffindor to date, and that is my primary concern. I want to make it perfectly clear that I will not tolerate any behaviour that endangers any member of the house, or in any way brings discredit to Gryffindor!"
"Can we assume that you have issued that same warning to my idiot brother, Professor?" Weasley whined.
"Because he has been acting like a spoilt brat, and flicking his wand at anything that moves for the last month! If there is anyone who has had a negative impact on Gryffindor, so far this year, it has been him!"
Granger did not react to this comment other than to glare at McGonagall with utter contempt.
"Well," sighed McGonagall in disgust, "I think I have made myself clear. I will thank you to leave the discipline of Gryffindor to me, Miss Weasley!" She turned from her to Granger, "you are dismissed!"
Transfiguration with McGonagall had been a drag for Sals.
He could so easily have demonstrated his superiority in both the practical and theory sections of the double lesson, but he knew that it would only antagonise McGonagall, and she was hostile enough as it was.
So he'd laid low, egged both Hogwarts's resident bookworm and the Prince of Slytherin to answer all the questions, and generally stayed out of McGonagall's line of fire.
But the old witch had been in no mood to commend them either, and Hermione Granger was still furious, after that morning's encounter with McGonagall.
She had told Sals why, after the lesson, and he was hardly surprised by the news.
Mid-morning, on the other hand, turned out to be quite exciting. It was double Potions, and the brilliant young wizard really cut loose.
With the aid of his dad's annotated potions text, Sals managed to brew the perfect Draught of Living Death potion and secured the prize of a small vial of Slughorn's Good Luck potion, Felix Felicis.
This was much to the chagrin of the bookworm and the ice-prince, but that was merely an added bonus for Sals.
Unfortunately the talented young wizard's performance also earned the admiration of Slughorn, which Sals found off-putting, to say the least, as the old wizard gave him the creeps.
Lunch was the least inspiring part of the day, because, not only was the school abuzz with the news about Weasley, by then, but McGonagall had announced that the senior Gryffindors were to go to the Transfiguration classroom before they went to lunch, which was to be followed by a double DADA class with the Slytherins.
This provided good news and bad news: the meeting would last only a few minutes; it would involve another confrontation with Weasley.
However, McGonagall had pulled Sals aside, just before the impromptu assembly, and berated him again about Weasley's latest dilemma. She virtually accused him of trying to kill the idiotic redhead.
Sals's assurance, that the spell would stop short of inflicting any serious injury or harm to the irrational moron, did little to assuage McGonagall's ire.
So it was, with little change in their mutual hostility, that Sals and McGonagall joined the rest of the Gryffindor seniors in the classroom to confront Weasley.
The room was pulsating with chatter, until McGonagall called for quiet and Weasley entered the chamber.
He looked much the worse for wear; in fact he looked like boiled crap.
Sals already knew that the redhead's earlier claim that he would "rather eat shit," had come home to roost at the idiot's expense.
The "iusta poena" ward, appeared to have taken him at his word.
Although he was shocked by the redhead's bedraggled appearance, Sals did not feel any pity for the aggressive moron.
Weasley could not hide his face, so he made no attempt to do so.
However, when he stood in front of Sals, he lowered his head and refused to look at his nemesis. Unfortunately, this proved to be a source of amusement for several of the students, as his cock and balls dangled ominously as they swung forward.
A few sniggers were enough to elicit a black glare from McGonagall, and the noise abated in a flash.
Finally Weasley relented and, still averting his eyes, mumbled, "I... I'm sorry... for attacking you... Snape."
That was all that he uttered. If not for the complete silence that pervaded the room, it is doubtful that he would have been heard by the majority of those present.
But apparently it was audible, because almost immediately Weasley's head was restored to its normal state. However, his genitals were still draped over his face.
"Apology accepted," Sals declared brightly.
Sals held out his hand in a gesture of reconciliation.
But Weasley did not respond, and everyone held their breath.
"No hard feelings," Sals added cheerfully.
Still no response came from the stubborn redhead. It simply seemed a bridge too far for the socially challenged cretin.
Weasley shook his head slightly and crossed his eyes, as if to confirm that all was not resolved. Still focusing on the flaccid appendage that adorned his face, Weasley sighed heavily, and the Knut finally appeared to drop.
Eventually he reciprocated the gesture of truce and, in a trice, his genitals were restored.
"Finally," cried McGonagall with an air of exasperation, "well off to lunch, all of you, and let this be an end to the matter... and don't be late for class," she shouted over the rapidly growing chatter.
Sals begged Merlin that McGonagall would not detain him or Weasley, and his wish was granted.
But he knew, as he shuffled out of the room, with Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom in his wake, that this matter was far from over, and even further from resolution.
Lunch was a chaotic affair, as the whole school was aware of what had occurred, even before the Gryffindor seniors had all taken their place at table in the Great Hall.
Weasley was the target for an endless string of jokes that everyone knew would go on incessantly, for days, nay weeks and months to come.
Cat calls and barbs were directed at him from every quarter, as he made his way to the Gryffindor table. They were generally not loud enough to attract the attention of the head table, but were easily heard by the object of the abuse, and those in his immediate vicinity.
"Weasley cocked it up," and of course the perennial favourites, like "dick-head," "helmet head" and "dick nose." Then, of course, there was "cock face," -- which was what had started it all, and had now backfired on the volatile redhead, in earnest.
"You really cocked up there, Weasley."
"Hey there's Ronny the rhino!"
"Hey unicorn brains, how's it hangin'?"
"Hey, Weasley... there was no need to run and hide, we wouldn't have even noticed, you've always been a dickhead."
He had a "cock-eyed view of the world."
"How often do you blow your nose, Weasley?" ... followed by raucous laughter all round.
"Anyone pulled your nose lately, Weasley?" ... yet more hilarity.
"What's that smell? Hey, Weasley, can you smell anything?"
"Weasley, are you going to wear those lovely balls to the next earring... oh, sorry, I meant those lovely earrings to the next ball." ... came the catty tease from a particularly nasty coven of younger Ravenclaw witches, accompanied by girly giggles.
"Oh, yes," cried another, "if you're not, can I borrow them?" more giggles and hysterics.
"Hey, Weasley, when you get a cold and sneeze, do you shoot cock-snot?" came one particularly daring jibe from a senior Hufflepuff that quickly earned the ire of one of his prefects.
"Why no smart comeback, Weasley? Oh, sorry, cock's got his tongue."
"I know they're called the crown jewels, Weasley, but don't you think you went too far, you're not really meant to wear them... well, at least not in public!" followed by near hysterics from two Hufflepuff Seventh Years.
Finally Weasley reached his seat at the Gryffindor table, where he was surrounded by his cadre of malcontents. But little conversation ensued, because -- not only was time running short before next period -- Weasley's notorious appetite was in overdrive.
The students moved into the Defence Against the Dark Arts class-room, for another double lesson, immediately after lunch, and selected their own seating arrangements.
Hermione Granger sat next to Neville Longbottom, just in front of Sals and Draco Malfoy.
The students were all chatting quietly, albeit a little nervously, given that the new DADA teacher was Professor Severus Snape.
The room fell suddenly silent, at precisely one-thirty, as the door to Snape's office flew open. He descended the stairs, in his typical no-nonsense style, his robes billowing out behind him.
The faces of those who had hoped that the changes, which had occurred over the summer, had somehow mellowed Snape, were suddenly glum. The sad realisation was that nothing appeared to have changed. Professor Snape looked every inch the bastard that he'd always been, to Gryffindor at least!
"That seating arrangement is unacceptable," Snape declared dismissively.
He looked pointedly at his own son and Draco Malfoy, who were sitting together at the back of the room.
"With one exception," Snape senior quipped.
Ron Weasley whispered something to Dean Thomas.
"If you have something to say, Weasley," Professor Snape admonished the redhead, "say it."
"I said: if it wasn't for you," Weasley retorted aggressively, "Sirius Black would still be alive!"
There were audible gasps scattered across the classroom, but not a word was spoken. The air was pregnant with thunderous tension, but not a sound came from any quarter.
"Weasley," Snape fixed him with a black expression; his voice remained calm, yet menacing. "Sirius Black died because he was both reckless and ill-informed. Furthermore, these traits will NOT be tolerated in this class, not even in you, Weasley!"
Snape spun around and the rest of the class gave a unified gasp, even the Slytherins in the room, as if he had just exploded at the provocative redhead.
Clearly no one in the room had expected such a witty and calm response to the provocation.
Snape turned back to Weasley and sneered.
"Ten points from Gryffindor for your stupidity and another ten for your cheek!"
Snape raised his voice as he addressed the class.
"With the exception of Messrs Snape and Malfoy, you will all move, and sit next to someone from another house. Choose wisely. For the entire year you will be marked as a single unit with whomever you partner.
"You will share every mark, reward and punishment that you earn as that single entity, and every point will be assigned equally to both houses. There will be no exemptions, no exceptions and no change: once partnered, you remain so until one of you dies or leaves the class."
There was a sudden rush of air, as the entire class gave up a shared gasp of shock and disbelief. But oddly there was more bewilderment than anger.
"The Sorting Hat, the headmaster, and even Mr Snape, over there," he gestured towards his son, but permitted only a trace of a smile, "have all expressed the desire to see more house unity.
"I can think of no better way to engender such unity than this. You will either succeed or kill one another in the process."
A trickle of laughter ran sporadically across the classroom.
"You have fifteen seconds; anyone still standing, I will partner-up as I see fit."
He folded his arms across his chest and waited impassively at the front of the class.
Neville Longbottom quickly chose Gregory Goyle, while Hermione chose Tracey Davis. Parvati Patil chose Millicent Bulstrode, while Lavender Brown found herself sitting with that odious hag, Pansy Parkinson, which almost everyone else in the class would probably consider rather appropriate.
Seamus Finnigan chose Vincent Crabbe, and Dean Thomas chose Blaise Pascal.
That left Ron Weasley and Theodore Nott still standing.
Nott turned to face Weasley and they both slumped into the only vacant seats in the room.
"Well at least you've got one thing in your favour Weasley," Nott whispered as he leaned in towards the Gryffindor.
"And what would that be, Nott?" Weasley asked scathingly.
"We both think Snape and Malfoy are a pair of arseholes," Nott spat.
"You got that right, Nott!" came the redhead's terse rejoinder.
If you are enjoying this, you might like my other two Nifty stories...
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].
This is on-going and I'm updating it as I write each new chapter.
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