Civil War

Chapter Eighteen - Minerva McGonagall’s Speakeasy

By Sushi


Uden’s glassy green eye watched him.  She stood behind Headmistress McGonagall’s desk, behind Headmistress McGonagall, as suspicious and ready to fight as ever.  “We managed to capture Amos Avery and Horace Nott.  They claimed, under Veritaserum, that there were three in the scouting party.  We failed to account for Octavian Travers.  He may have been airborne.  There are fourteen Death Eaters remaining, according to Avery, twelve according to Nott.  Our tally is twenty.  Apparently, they’re still recruiting.”  She tapped a scroll on the desk with a white-gloved finger.  “We have names.”

Minerva nodded silently.  Harry squirmed in his chair.  The office had changed very little since McGonagall took over, but with Albus’ odd assortment of objects and dishes of candy gone the room took on a sharp, stern air it hadn’t had before.  A portrait of Dumbledore snoozed over the fireplace.  The headmistress unrolled the list.  “Leonard LeStrange, Poul Montague, Martin Crabbe, Marcus Flint, Igor Karkaroff, Octavian Travers, Devin Bundy, Walden Macnair, Artemis Rookwood, Augustus Rookwood, Terence Higgs, Eliza Horace,” Harry shivered – Sev’s Mum’s maiden name, “Arkady Zabini, Magdalena Jordan, Narcissa Malfoy—“ she paused.  “Draco Malfoy.”  McGonagall sucked her lower lip.  Its somber lipstick was gone when she let it go.  “Only to be expected, I suppose.  Ah.  Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe as well.  Pansy Parkinson.  And Millicent Bulstrode.”  She rubbed her eyes.  “I should probably be more surprised than I am.”  Uden grunted.  “You’ve started searching for them?”

“As soon as we got the first name.  With any luck we’ll have more names by tonight.  I feel there was a glaring omission, however.”  The cutting gaze hopped from Harry to Severus, sitting to his right.  Sev leaned back, hands folded in his comically spare lap.

“Severus has proven himself time after time, Miss Uden.  If you continue to harass him—“

“Whatever I may have done in the past was my own decision.  This includes my decision to abandon the Death Eaters.  Mister Potter can vouch for this.”

“Why should I believe him?”

Sev fixed her with his own venomous gaze.  “If I recall correctly, Pensieve accounts are admissible evidence.”  The Auror nodded, not happy with where this was going.  “He witnessed it.”

“Oh?”  Harry felt needles in his heart when she looked at him again.  “Pray tell, Mister Potter, what could have possibly reformed one of You-Know-Who’s most devoted followers?”

Harry glanced at Severus, who remained impassive.  With murder in his eye he growled, “Since he’s the one who made it possible to kill Voldemort in the first place, I don’t think you should question Severus’ loyalty.”

Uden cackled.  “You’re funny.  I swear, Snape, your little excuses get more amusing every time we meet.  What was it last time?  They kidnapped your brother and tortured him in front of you?  I still don’t know how you got out of that one.  He was killed with your wand.”

Harry shuddered, spine bristling.  “Why can’t you just accept that he’s not on their side?  He hasn’t done anything wrong—“

You’d say that, you adolescent pervert.”

“Irene, you can either be civil or you can get the Hell out of my office.  And I don’t see how you get off calling anyone an ‘adolescent pervert’.”  Uden stiffened slightly.

“Sorry, Professor.”

Minerva scowled.  “How did you end up in my House anyway?”

“I don’t see how that pertains to the issue at hand.”  She pulled on her white hat and adjusted her gloves.  “That’s all the information I’m authorized to release at this juncture.  Is there anything else you need?”

“You’ve done plenty for today.”  Uden smirked lazily.  Her magic eye rolled towards the door, then back to Sev, where it had been since she arrived.  Solid white, with a black pinpoint, it made Moody’s look normal.  “Get out of here.”

“Thank you, Headmistress McGonagall.”  Her voice was honey laced with strychnine.  McGonagall clasped her hands and didn’t release them until the door closed behind Uden.  Her knuckles were white; she flexed them.

“I want a drink.  Severus?  Harry?  I’ve got a bottle of knockoff Firewhiskey.  It’s not very good, but you could breed ashwinders in it.”

“Uhh… no, thanks.”  Sev closed his eyes and nodded.

“Bring the bottle.”

Minerva stood up and arched like a cat.  She opened a small cabinet at the back of the room.  Mist poured out, and she extracted a large bottle of liquid the colour of Lupin’s eyes and two enormous, frost-coated tumblers.  The alcohol had gold sparks swimming in it, dancing in elaborate patterns and fizzing at the top.  She dropped the glasses on the desk and filled them to brimming.  When she set the bottle down it was no emptier than before.  She handed one to Severus.  “Bottoms up.”

Gaudeamus igitur.”

“Hear, hear!”  She knocked back the glass in one and slammed it on her desk.  Her eyes watered.  “Ugh!  I miss Alastor.”

“I see little difference.”  Snape sipped his drink.  “You’re right.  This is utterly foul.”

“Neck it back.”  She grabbed the bottle and started to pour another one.  “Whew!  Just hit.  I think I’ll give it a minute.”  She shook her head.  If Harry weren’t so angry over Uden’s closed-minded accusations he’d be laughing his arse off.  Uptight, stoic, sensible Minerva McGonagall was swearing at Aurors, and getting pissed out of her mind before nine in the morning.  Sev screwed his eyes shut and took the drink with fast swallows.  By the time it was empty he was clutching the glass in both hands.  It thunked the desk when he leaned over, coughing.

“How do I let you talk me into these things?”

“At least it’s not tequila this time.”  Sev groaned and rolled his forehead on the edge of the desk.

“I forbid you to ever use that word in my presence again.”

“It’s not my fault you finished the bottle.  Twice.”  Harry kept his mouth shut.  This seemed to be a long-standing ritual of some sort, one he’d rather not get caught up in.  It would be bad enough to deal with a hung over Severus without being half-dead himself.

“Did the wench say anything before we arrived?”

“Just the usual.  I almost gouged out her other eye.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I’d be doing her a favour.”

“Quite.”  Sev pushed himself up.  He landed against the chair and bounced gently.  “My god, Minerva, where do you find these abominations?”

“Rosmerta.  She keeps the good stuff in the back.”

“So where was this, exactly?  Sitting out in the street?”

“Give it a minute.”  Sure enough, Sev soon drooped.  “There you go.  Who needs a liver anyway?”

“Until you corrupted me I’d rather hoped to donate my body to potions research.  I suppose someone could always use a burner.”  He rest his head on his hands.  “Perhaps it’s almost over.”

McGonagall nodded slowly.  She refilled her glass and held it, staring at nothing.  “Thirty years.  It feels like more.  I just wish Albus were here to see it.”  She lifted her glass to the portrait and took a long mouthful.

“As do I.”  Harry couldn’t quite make himself take the man’s hand.  “At least I wouldn’t have blasted phoenix feathers all over my room.”  Harry smiled a little.  Sev and Fawkes were inseparable.  The bird even slept on a perch next to the bed.  He’d been the first thing to leave the office, and in the unlikely event that Snape was reinstated would be the last to return.  Minerva dumped more whiskey into his glass.  Her hand was shaky and it slopped out on the desk.  Discretely, Harry pulled out his wand and cleaned it up – they were both starting to slur and this wasn’t the time to change the desk into a pig.

“Cheers, Harry.”  He flashed her a tired smile and settled back to listen to them trip over their tongues.  He should probably get to the library, but after last night he’d rather stay here where he’d felt safe in the past.  “You know, I’m going to miss it, in an odd way.”

Sev trained a bleary stare on the headmistress.  “Put the glass down.  You’re rat-faced.”

“I am perfectly fine, Mister Severus Snape.  This is just relaxation setting in.  Something you could do with a good dose of yourself!”

“If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about I’ll need one.”  He took his own full tumbler again.  In a moment it was upside down on the polished mahogany.  A scant few drops marred the wood.  “Explain this?  You’re going to mass miss—miss mass murders, assassinination attempts in broad daylight, and those fucking Aurors roaming the grounds like vermin why?”

“Nononononono!”  She shook her head.  Her hat tipped.  “It’s the whole Blitz mentality I’m going to miss.  You know, wizard and witch united against a common cause.  Buck up, we’re British, that sort of thing.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re a fucking loon?”

McGonagall looked rather drunkenly offended with her raised eyebrows and gently weaving body.  She poured herself only half a glass.  “Has anyone ever told you you’re a big-nosed git?”

“On several occasions.  I choose to take it as a compliment.”  McGonagall smiled shakily.

“Is it true what they say about men with big noses, Harry?”

“Um…” Harry sat stock-still.  Maybe if he stopped breathing she’d forget he was there.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“He never complained.”  Sev ran a finger over the bottom of his glass.  “Give me some more.  And don’t skimp.”

The headmistress smirked as she refilled his glass.  For the second time Harry cleaned up the excess.  “Are you sure you don’t want some?  It’s very good.”

“Oh, no, thank you.  I don’t drink much.”

“Hmph.  Suit yourself.”  Harry had the odd suspicion the whiskey was enchanted to do more than just spark.  He’d never seen anyone get this drunk this fast on normal alcohol.  “I can tell you one thing I’m certainly not going to miss.”

“What might that be?”

“That bleeding Irene Uden waltzing around the school like she owns it.  Montague needs to slap some respect into her.  She’s the reason I nearly quit teaching back in ‘seventy-four, you know.    Don’t see how Alastor managed not to kill the bitch.”   Sev snorted and took a drink.

“Did I ever tell you what she did to me?”

“Behind the greenhouses?”  Minerva cracked up.  It was an odd, rusty, wheezy ongoing snicker.  Sev raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms.  A bit of liquor sloshed out on his robe.

“If you’re just going to be vulgar I shan’t tell you.”

“Come on, Severus.  It’s all in good fun.”  She drained her glass yet again and held it in a lazy hand.  “I know she didn’t do anything behind the greenhouses.”

“Thank you.”

“Astronomy Tower, more like.”  Severus looked outraged.

“Just for that I’m going to tell you.”  He certainly got chatty with a pint or so of liquid courage in him.  Maybe Harry should have tried it over the summer – it certainly would have saved him a few trips to Hell and back.  “This was after I’d turned myself in and the Ministry hadn’t made up their minds about me yet.  I went for weeks without anyone to talk to but those damn Aurors.  And Albus, but this isn’t about him.  When they hadn’t dragged me out for questioning, those bastards kept me in this little, itty, bitty, tiny holding cell.”  He squinted and pinched his thumb and forefinger to demonstrate.  “Anyway.  One day they took me into the interrogation room, again, and chained me into that bloody chair, again, and they left me there.  Again.”

“Sounds repetitititive.”  Harry fought a snicker.

“Dead right.  Anyway, I was thinking to myself what I wouldn’t do for a quick shag—“

“Severus!”  McGonagall giggled; her cheeks turned rather red.

“Are you telling this bloody story or am I?  I don’t see any Mark Dark… Dark Mark… bollocks.  I don’t see anything on your arm.”  He waited, eyebrow so arched it hurt to look at.  Minerva hid behind her glass and finally stopped giggling.  “Are you quite finished?”  She nodded.  “Then let me finish the fucking story.  I was thinking to myself what I wouldn’t do for a quick shag just to break up the monotonony when this bird I knew at school walks in.  Nice crumpet, but not my brew, of course.  Looked too much like that Evans girl.  You know, married that Potter bloke.  His mum.”  He waved vaguely at Harry.  “Anyway, in she walks and the next thing I know she’s taken her robe off!  And I’m thinking, fuckin’ Hell!  If this is some new bloody Ministry of bleeding Magic policy, it suits me just fine.  Certainly better than their usual pathetic attempts at torture.”  Harry found that he was leaning on the arm of his chair – he’d never imagined Severus could act like this.  It was like someone had turned off all the nasty things that had happened to him and he’d become… well, more like William.  With a quiet shudder he leaned back and pulled his legs up under himself.

“So she’s just wearing this little red shirty thing.  I mean, barely enough fabric to cover her rude bits, could see right through it.  Left nothing to the imagination, absolutely nothing.  Then she sits down, only she doesn’t just sit down.  She takes this chair and turns it around and she straddles it.  There’s poor me, chained down so tight I can barely breathe, and she comes up and just flashes the whole map in my face.  Now, as I said, not my first choice.  But if she’s offering, who am I to argue?  Was a damn sight better than Moody.”  Harry snickered.  A horrible, horrible image came to mind.

“Thanks, Sev.  I really didn’t need to picture Mad-Eye Moody in see-through lingerie.”  Snape and McGonagall both stared at him.

“That boy needs to sober up.”

“My thoughts exactly.  May I please finish my story?”  He pushed a chunk of hair out of his face.  It promptly came back and brought friends.  “So she sits there for, I don’t know, must have been thirty minutes.  Keep in mind she’s doing everything she can to humiliate me.  At one point she even… but I know how delicate your ears are, Minerva.  I wouldn’t dream of making you blush.”  He sniffed at his own sarcasm.  “By that time I’d made quite a tit of myself, if you get my meaning.  She’s got this tarty smile on her face and suddenly she scoots a little closer.  She opens her mouth and leans forward a bit, and purrs from way down in her throat… ‘Why did you abandon the Death Eaters?’”

“No!”  Sev rolled his eyes.

“I’d made a complete git of myself for nothing.  Just to rub salt in it, she kept picking up where she left off after every damn question.  At least one of us enjoyed it.  Several times, I might add.  Nearly unhinged me before she gave up.  Swore off sex for years thanks to the Gryffindor Bitch From Hell.  You can blame this blasted little trollop here for breaking down the last of my defences.”  He shot Harry a slightly cross-eyed glare.  “And that, my dear Minerva, is yet another reason why I cannot tolerate that fucking woman’s presence.”

McGonagall, whose face had been growing redder and redder since the start, finally broke down.  “’Gryffindor Bitch From Hell’?” she laughed.  “You didn’t make that up, Severus.  That’s not like you at all.”

He growled, leaning against the wing of the chair.  “It’s a Death Eater nickname.  From what I’ve heard, I was lucky.”

“She didn’t—“ Sev nodded slowly and Minerva giggled even harder.  Her chair tilted back and she went with it, eyes leaking.

“Apparently she performed a few, ahem, ‘oral favours’ for some of the more attractive members of my esteemed circle.  Not that she finished anything she ever started.  The woman is mad.  Completely, totally, utterly mad.”  He reached for the bottle and tipped another full glass.  Harry sighed.  “Spare me, Potter.  It’s not as if you’ve never had a drink.  We know all about Mister Thomas’ vodka.”

Harry looked at him.  That had been months before he and Sev got together – still the danger zone as far as his wrath went.  McGonagall nodded, still trying to stifle her giggle fit.  “Severus was all in favour of a month’s detention each, but I reminded him about that weekend his sixth year he snuck out to Hogsmeade—“

“Minerva!  I’ll thank you not to spread details of my private life all over the school.”

“Oh, go stuff yourself, you beaky tit.  That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  You couldn’t keep a meal down for two days, but you still insisted you didn’t have a drop to drink.  Good thing you’ve grown a stomach since then – I don’t want my office repainted.”  She raised her glass at him, smirking, and took a drink.  The fact it was empty seemed irrelevant.

“Highly amusing.  I shan’t speak to you anymore.”

“He says that every time he gets pissed.”  She winked at Harry.

“Shut up, you insane woman.”

“See?  Chatting me up already.”  Sev openly cringed.

“The day I chat you up is the day I taste-test first year exams.”

“I should probably be grateful you don’t fancy women, then.  It would be a dreadful loss to sarcastic gits everywhere if you were to—“ she stopped suddenly.  Comprehension finally crossed her face.  “My, my, my.  And here I’ve thought all these years you were strictly one for the gentlemen.”

“I had my share of experimentation in my youth, thank you very much.  I’m not a complete poof, you know.”  God, he really was drunk.  Why didn’t the wizarding world have tape recorders?  Sev peered at the bottle.  “Didn’t we drink that?”

“It’s enchanted.  Remember?”

“Oh, yes.  I seem to recall something about that.”  That was a bit too much.  Harry cleared his throat and stood up.

“Time to go home, Quaffing Beauty.”  Sev eyeballed him, clearly annoyed.

“I’ll leave when I’m damned good and drunk.”

“You’ve been damned good and drunk for quite some time, dear.”  He glowered at the headmistress.

“Well, I have to get to work.  Some of us can’t take the day to get shitfaced just because we want to.”  Irma was holding the library for now, but Harry had to work past knocking-off time as long as she did.  He was nearly up to an hour already.

“Then I’ll stay here.  Minerva and I are having a lovely chat and I daresay it’ll improve once you leave.”

Harry put up his hands in surrender.  “Fine.  It’s not my fault when you can’t find your way home.”  Sev pushed himself shakily, and quite forcefully, to his feet.

“That will be twenty points from Gryffinindor, Mister Potter.  You’ll not treat me like a common drunk.  If you’ll pardon me, Minerva, there is an annoying little pissant here who wishes to take me someplace called ‘home’.”  Oh, now that was just taking the piss.  Sev threw back his full glass and dropped it loudly on the desk.

“Have fun,” McGonagall said with a sly little smile.  Harry was starting to see more of where Sev got the notion that she was filthy-minded.

“I highly doubt that shall happen.”  He took a step and stumbled.  Harry sighed and pulled his wand.

Mobilicorpus!”  Sev was jerked upright like a marionette.  He growled.

“I’m perfectly capable of walking by myself, thank you very much!  Put that blasted wand away.”  Minerva snickered.  Sev looked at her coolly.  “Lecherous bint.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”  Her watery-eyed smirk said otherwise.

“Would you mind if we used the Floo, Professor?  I don’t think he’s in any state—“ she waved at the fireplace, nodding.  With a grateful smile, Harry dragged Severus (still grumbling and slurring to himself) to the hearth.  He pinched some Floo powder from the mantle and tossed Sev in.  “Professor Snape’s Quarters!”  A moment later he followed.

Once in their room, Harry levitated the rather protestant man into bed, shoes, soot, and all.  “For fuck’s sake, Potter.  I can do it by myself.”

“Sorry, you’ll hurt yourself.”  Sev tried to sit up, fell back against the pillow.  He stared at the ceiling glassily.  Harry got rid of as much of the soot as he could by wand.  “Do you need anything before I go?”

Black eyes tried to fix on him.  Eventually, they settled on different parts of him.  “You don’t have to go anywhere.”

“Sorry, Sev.  Irma’s waiting on me.”  He checked himself in the mirror.  He spit-rubbed a few ashy smudges off his face and checked again.  Apart from the black circles under his eyes, and the general unhealthy pallor of his skin, everything was nominal.

“Fine.  Leave me alone to suffer.”  Harry considered calling in sick, but he was on thin enough ice as it was.  If he fubared before the end of the year, Irma would sack him.  And where would that leave Severus?  Harry didn’t fancy those thoughts.  He was by the bed to give the drunken wretch a comforting kiss on the cheek before his fear yanked him back.  Sev refused to look at him.

“Prat,” Harry said softly.

“Hmph.”  Severus rolled over.  Harry had no idea how well Sev held his liquor – what McGonagall said about his sixth year didn’t saturate him with optimism – so he quickly transfigured one of Fawkes’ larger shed feathers into a basin and left it on the bedside table.

“I’ll check on you at lunch.”

“Don’t inconveninience yourself.”  Harry hoped that much alcohol would have the same effect as Draught of Living Death – it would make things easier, certainly.  He traced the contour of Snape’s hair a couple of careful inches away.

“I’ll be in the library.”  Sev didn’t respond.  He’d crossed his arms and lay there, looking as haughty as he could.  Reluctantly, Harry left him to it.

Irma didn’t look too bushy-tailed herself.  “It’s nine o’clock!  Minerva said you wouldn’t be more than half an hour late.  Where have you been?”

“Watching Minerva get drunk with Severus.”  From the silent “oh” Irma’s mouth made and the way she shut up, Harry suspected they had a bit of a reputation he didn’t know about.  He settled in behind the desk.  Class was in session, and Irma had an enormous pile of books ready for shelving.  She gathered her things and watched him for a moment.

“Aurors in this morning.  You’ll want to keep an eye out.”

He looked up from a stack of Herbology texts.  “What were they doing in here?”  Uden was the only one he’d ever seen closer than the outskirts of the grounds.

“I don’t know.  They came in, looked around, and left without saying a word.”

“It wasn’t that Uden woman, was it?”

“Irene?  No, I didn’t see her.  Irene’s here?”

“Unfortunately.”  Irma put her hands on her hips and scowled.

“Hmm.  Well, if she comes in, remind her that she still owes four Galleons, nine Knuts in fines.  I’ll see you at two today.”

“Have a nice nap, Irma.”

“As if I could.  Bloody Aurors, coming into my library…” she swished out, mumbling.  Harry silently gathered a stack of books.  If the Aurors were coming into the school now that meant the Death Eaters were probably getting ready to strike.  Quite frankly, it scared him.  Especially now that he’d seen – felt – what they were capable of.  Harry was nervous about Aurors being so close, too.  He’d met several since Moody.  Most were okay, not exactly nice but respectable human beings nonetheless.  The real Moody was more or less in this category.  Some seemed to enjoy their jobs just a little bit too much.  And there was the handful, like Uden, whom Harry thought were good candidates for St. Mungo’s.  He knelt down and started sticking Herbology books on the shelves.  He tried not to think of the Death Eaters, although it was a bit difficult.  Finally, he decided to focus on Sev.  Most likely, he was going to have a nightmare of a time that evening when the hangover set in.  Harry mentally made a list of things to have handy – water, Painkilling Potion, Noxious Nausea Draught, possibly a heavy stick or club – while he shelved the hundred or so books Irma had gotten ready.  By the time he’d finished, the chaos between classes hit and he had to tend the desk.

Apparently, the Aurors had been busy.  From the general chatter (which Harry didn’t bother to keep down given the circumstances) he found that they had visited the greenhouses, and Defence Against the Dark Arts (which they would probably visit again, as Professor Arcadia yelled at them that class was in session, thank-you-very-much!), and had been hanging around the Care of Magical Creatures paddocks.  Ginny, wide-eyed and giddy, bounced up to the desk.  “Did you hear they caught two Death Eaters last night?”

Harry nodded.  “Yeah, Professor McGonagall told me all about it this morning.”  She started to hug him but he backed off.  She stuck her tongue out.  Harry tried to look apologetic.

“Isn’t it great?  Maybe you can come visit over the summer if they get the rest of them.  Charlie wants another ride on your broom.”  Harry smiled a little.

“Tell him he just has to ask.”  She beamed.

“Brilliant!”  The warning bell rang and students started filing out.  Two men Harry didn’t recognize sidled in around them.  “Oh, bloody Hell, not them again.”  Ginny leaned in, “Those are the Aurors who tried to get into my Dark Arts class.  You might want to watch your back – one of them’s a little pushy.”

 “Ah, thanks.  Hey, you’d better get to class.  I’ll be okay here.”

“Yeah.  I’ll come back at lunch and see how it went.”  Harry nodded and she trotted towards Transfigurations.  The two Aurors waited by the door as the last students left.  They got a wide berth.  One of the men was young, probably not much older than Harry, with neat brown hair and sad stormy eyes.  He wore white robes, like Uden.  His gloves were noticeably absent.  The other was older, with wavy grey hair that needed a brushing and a very, very tanned, windburned complexion.  His robes were the more usual black, with a scarred green cloak thrown over top.  Harry supposed he was a higher rank and didn’t need to wander around camouflaged.  As soon as the last student left they made a quick circuit of the library.  These things travel in packs.  He snorted to himself and started sorting fresh books to file.

“Harry Potter?”  He looked up to find the older Auror standing in front of the desk.

“Can I help you?”

“Yves Montague.  Might you have time to answer a few questions?”  Harry shook his head.

“Sorry, I can’t leave the library.”  He didn’t want to face any more Aurors today.

“You don’t need to.”  Harry gathered a load of fiction and went to file it.  Montague followed him.  “Did you see anything unusual last night?”

“You mean besides that Uden cow?”  Harry fought to get a copy of Over Sea, Under Stone in its place.  For such a huge library, there always seemed to be only as much space on a shelf as the book he was filing needed.  Any space vanished altogether if someone tried to misfile a book; he’d learned this well during training.


“Nope, sorry.”

“You saw nothing when she told you and Remus Lupin to run.”

“No.”  Montague frowned.

“Was anybody else with you at any point?”

“Just Grendel.”

“Grendel?”  His pale blue eyes glittered ominously.

“The thestral for the Care of Magical Creatures class.  We went outside to groom him.”

“Why would you take care of school livestock at twelve thirty in the morning, Mister Potter?”  His voice was like rusty metal fragments.  Harry picked up the remainder of his stack and lugged it up the ladder.  Every few moments he paused to file one.

“We couldn’t sleep and we ran into each other in the hall.  Lupin’s the Magical Creatures instructor, you know.”

“Hmm.  Yes.  Interesting choice.”  Harry growled low in his throat.  “Did you say something?”

“No.”  Harry’s spine prickled.

“You reside with Severus Snape, correct?”

“I sleep on his couch, if that’s what you’re asking.”  The last book slid into place and Harry descended to get more.  God, will he quit following me?

“Funny, I was under a different impression.”  Harry glared.  “What was he doing last night?”


“Are you sure?”

Harry looked the Auror straight in the eye.  “Yes.  Before you ask how I know, I mixed the Draught of Living Death for him.  You could have fired a cannon in there and he wouldn’t have woken up.”  Montague looked sullen.  Apparently, Uden and Moody weren’t alone in their dislike for Sev.

“What is the nature of your relationship?”

“I don’t see how that’s any of your damn business, Mister Montague.”  Harry wasn’t quite sure himself anymore.  If he hadn’t gone through the Pensieve, they might be back to their version of normal; on the other hand, if he hadn’t gone through the Pensieve Sev would never have finally answered all of those questions like, “How long did Eversor do all those nasty things?” and “What did Perditus being in Hufflepuff have to do with you?”  Vicious double-edged sword, it was.

“I assure you, it is.  You’re living with a known Death Eater—“

Ex-Death Eater.”  He lifted his chin defiantly.

Montague’s mouth hardened.  “As I said, a known Death Eater, in what could be termed, ah, a ‘domestic situation’.  We’re not blaming you – we just need to know if he’s displayed any suspicious behaviour lately.”

Harry gritted his teeth.  “No, Mister Montague.  And leave him alone – Severus has enough nightmares about you lot as it is.”  The younger Auror came up behind Montague.  This close Harry recognized him from the aftermath of the Diagon Alley attack – he and another one had come up, asked him a few polite questions, and left.  Harry didn’t relax, but his tension levels didn’t rise either.  He acknowledged Harry with a slight nod.

“Everything’s as it was earlier, Mister Montague.”  He had a faint accent, like he’d lived outside Britain for a while.  Harry wondered if he was a Beauxbatons graduate.


“What are you doing in my library, anyway?”  Lovely, first Snape, now he was turning into Irma Pince.  Harry crossed his arms and wished silently for his old life back.  “I’ve got work to do.”

“Why are you so adamant we leave Snape alone?”

Harry was going to reach out and backhand this man if he didn’t get out of the library soon.  “Pimp slapping,” Fred and George called it.  “Because he’s not feeling well.  And, like I said, he has enough nightmares about you lot as – it – is.”  He fixed a chilly green stare on the taller man.  Montague looked miffed.

“Please keep us informed of his condition.  We’d like to speak with him.”

“Are you done?”

“Yes.  Thank you for your time.”  Montague turned sharply and left.  His subordinate smiled weakly at Harry before he followed.  Harry was starting to wish he’d accepted that bloody drink.  And, as much as it would anger Sev, he missed Moody.  At least he had a personality.










Latin Lexicon For Latin Lovers


Gaudeamus igitur: Therefore, we rejoice.  Traditional toast.

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