After the Siege
Snape hesitated just
inside the front door to the castle. He knew he should report to the
headmaster immediately and then get himself to the hospital wing. But the
need to check on the Slytherins was overpowering, so he sent Harry Potter
to find Dumbledore instead.
This violation of protocol
turned out to be a brutal mistake; upon finding the Slytherin common room
empty, Snape rushed frantically inside and was immediately caught up in
one punishing booby trap after another. Sprout and Vector eventually
found him crawling to the hospital wing as they completed their portion of
a sweep of the castle, searching carefully for any lurking Death Eaters or
dementors as they disposed of the bodies.
The sweep failed to
turn up any sign of the Slytherins and it was Harry Potter who guessed
where they must be hiding. His suspicions were confirmed when he and
Hermione entered Moaning Myrtle's bathroom only to discover the odor of
roasting game wafting up from the Chamber of Secrets entrance sink. As
Harry commanded the entrance to open, a cloud of smoke burst from the pipe
and consumed the two Gryffindors, making them cough violently. The smoke
cleared and they listened in astonishment to the cheerful voices of the
Slytherins echoing through the chamber below as they sang:
Sorting hat gives us the best
Salazar inspires us and Malfoy keeps the thugs in line.
Baron guards us in our sleep
Snape has got a date to keep, he can't hang around.
In our chilly dungeon deep
"I don't believe it," Harry muttered to Hermione.
Our house it has a crowd
There's something always happening and it's usually not allowed.
We Slytherins are so proud
Gryffindor can't slow us down and our success abounds.
"That's enough," Harry murmured just before he prepared to sonorize
In our chilly dungeon deep
In this castle is our keep
Where ambition comes to sleep
"Malfoy!" Harry shouted down
There was an immediate silence. Then a
voice called back from
"Potter? It's about bloody time!"
Loud crunching noises were
heard as dozens of feet raced across small animal carcasses to return to
the bottom of the pipe.
"Care to join us?" Malfoy called to the
"What are you eating? wondered
"How appropriate," sniffed
"I heard that, Granger," Malfoy
called up the pipe. "How soon they forget!"
Harry turned curiously to
Hermione who explained, "They saved Professor
Harry shook his head. "We'll never
hear the end of
it," he groaned.
Malfoy shouted again.
"He'll be all right," Harry
"How's Professor McGonagall?"
"She'll be all right."
"How are we supposed to get out
hesitated. Then, with a shrug at Hermione, he hollered back,
"I don't believe it!"
Harry and Hermione strained to hear
Malfoy grousing to the Slytherins.
"He didn't bring anything to get us out
None of them could produce rope yet,
so the Slytherins
made their human ladder and Harry and Hermione helped haul them out of the
chamber one by one. When they were all safely out, the Slytherins hurried to the hospital wing.
They stopped just
inside the door and surveyed the dimly-lit rows of occupied cots. A large
portion of the beds were filled by Hufflepuffs who were sedated and
sleeping off the trauma of stumbling upon eight dead students in a heap
outside a classroom corridor near their house. Learning that they were in
fact traitors in Hogwarts clothing had done little to relieve the
From the nearest
window, a soft, warm breeze carressed Malfoy's cheek. Odd, after what
they'd been through, and at this late hour, to realize it was
just another mild, peaceful summer night.
Flitwick and McGonagall
were asleep on either side of Snape who was still awake despite Madame
Pomfrey's protests that he need not suffer through his treatment in a
conscious state. He relaxed visibly at the sight of the Slytherins
clumped together in the doorway. Then he spied Malfoy's stained
shirt. In response to his impatient gesture, his students crowded eagerly
around his cot and Malfoy pointed at
his neck in delight.
"I have a burn,
"What are you
wearing?" Snape asked the out-of-uniform youngster.
"Long story," the boy
enough to see Malfoy treated and released for his injury. Then he slipped
into unconsciousness, murmuring orders that any snake attempting to
disturb his sleep should be skinned alive.
"In my day," Dumbledore
told them a short while later, "midnight feast had a very different
meaning!" He managed a twinkle and a warm smile for the students and
staff who sat cross-legged on the floor of the Great Hall, plates full of
food in their laps. It had not been easy to return to this
room; Dumbledore noticed that many of the students held hands as they
entered. But it had been more than 30 hours since most of them had eaten
last and the opportunity to see so many of the school's citizens alive and
well was welcome indeed.
"The school year will
be extended by one week," the headmaster explained. "I know that many of
you are anxious to return home as soon as possible, but the Ministry must
conduct an inquiry and we are all witnesses."
Violet gazed about her
at the still, silent faces of the staff, the Gryffindors, the Ravenclaws
and most of the Hufflepuffs. Only the Slytherins were tucking in
contentedly and after a moment, Violet began to eat, too.
"You must have many
questions," Dumbledore continued gently. "So I think the most effective
to do is. . . talk about Professor Snape behind his
He smiled at the area where the
Harry put down his
plate and climbed obligingly onto the head table platform next to
Dumbledore. He thought for a moment and then cleared his
"I was walking back
to Gryffindor from the
hospital wing..." he began.
Snape awoke the next morning to
find his wand on his pillow and his bed surrounded by smiling Slytherins
eager to share their story and praise his. McGonagall and Flitwick
listened closely as did the Hufflepuffs until Madame Pomfrey declared the
well-rested students healthy again and shooed them out of the room.
Guilford," Snape observed when his students had completed their
report. "The parseltongue proved useful after all."
"Have you ever been in
the chamber, sir?" Violet asked eagerly. "Can we show it to you when
you're ready to get up?"
"No," Snape replied,
"because the first thing I'm going to do when I get up is flog
all of you for those vile traps you scattered so moronically around your
The Slytherins, who
knew perfectly well when they'd committed a spankable offense or not, only
"Which one did you like
best, sir?" wondered Pansy.
"I'm sure they were all
quite brilliant," their housemaster conceded with a sigh.
They sat quietly
together for a while. The children's smiles faded as painful thoughts
filled their minds. Crabbe cleared his throat, making some of
"Professor Snape?" He nodded at Goyle. "Why do you think our dads weren't here?"
Snape considered the
question for a
moment. "I have no idea," he admitted.
you think it means they're dead?" asked Goyle. Snape shook his head.
"I don't know, Goyle."
They sat quietly for a
while longer and Snape watched Violet pull on her fingers. Then she
looked up and asked, "Was Mr. Montague one of the four who
Snape shook his head again. "I
dejectedly against Millicent. "I miss
Marybeth so much," she whispered.
"It's only girls
now," added Malfoy. The Slytherins frowned at him and he
explained. "The seventeen who left. There were 9 boys and 8 girls. Only
the girls are left now."
At that, Madame
Pomfrey, who'd been eavesdropping from her desk, decided their
conversation was too morose to be doing Snape any good and ordered the
Slytherins out of the hospital wing.
She kept the heads of house in
bed for three days, which allowed Dumbledore to handle the Ministry's
inquiry himself and spare Snape all but the most necessary
questioning. He met frequently with his youngest instructor to discuss
summer accommodations for Malfoy and the seventeen Slytherins who had
chosen to remain at Hogwarts against their parents' wishes in April.
The potions master enjoyed his
convalescence, particularly when Dumbledore was forced to ask
him to speak to the Slytherins about the guided tours they were giving of
the Chamber of Secrets. With three heads of
house laid up, discipline was growing a bit lax.
The Slytherins showered
him with gifts, goodies and visits, throughout which, Snape noticed,
Millicent and Violet were rather subdued. But when students from the
other houses began paying visits to express their appreciation for his
heroism, Snape put an end to all callers. So Malfoy had to wait until an
exhausted Madame Pomfrey collapsed onto an empty cot around 11pm to sneak
in and visit Snape his third night in the infirmary.
Snape, sitting up against the
uncomfortable headboard of his iron cot with an address ledger in his
hands, gave the boy a raised eyebrow and a less than welcoming look. But
Malfoy crawled onto the bed anyway, sitting against the footboard with his
legs stretched in front of him, facing Snape. He removed a pint from the
pocket of his robe, which Dumbledore was insisting the students continue
to wear in a feeble attempt to maintain order, and sloshed its contents
temptingly. "A gift from Madame Rosmerta," he announced, handing over
I'm going to marry
that saucy wench some day, Snape thought, putting aside the ledger and
accepting the bottle. He flipped open the cap and just before taking a
sip, checked the level of the contents. "It better be full," he warned
the youngster sitting across from him.
"I was hoping you'd offer me a
nip," Malfoy responded. Snape shook his
"Christmas Eve, when you're a seventh
year," he promised, and
helped himself to a long draw. He swallowed and relaxed visibly, leaning
back against the headboard. Then he stared at Malfoy through narrowed
"Tell me the parts you left out two days
ago," he commanded.
Malfoy frowned and Snape took
another drink. "What's the matter with Miss Bulstrode?" he pressed.
"Oh!" Malfoy nodded
Snape about the Slytherins' midnight discussion of the marauders' hole in
the wall. "She can't even make a clean breast of it to you," the teenager
explained, "because she knows that confessing will hurt you more than
Snape snorted. He imagined
administering a flogging to Miss
Bulstrode during which he assured her between strokes, "This hurts me more
than it hurts you." "I'll take care of Miss
Bulstrode," he promised Malfoy. "What about our little parselmouth?"
"Stays in her cell most
of the time," Malfoy admitted.
Violet was wretched beyond words at the
thought of leaving Hogwarts for the summer after all, especially since she
would be alone at her miserable orphanage while so many other Slytherins
would be together or free to visit one another. But she knew better than
to pout in public; a play for sympathy in the Slytherin common room would
yield merciless persecution.
"I'll take care of it," Malfoy
suggested, and Snape hid his smile at the boy's paternalism behind
another sip from the flask.
When the youngster had
gone, Flitwick and McGonagall, who'd been playing possum, each stuck out
the hand closest to Snape's bunk and simultaneously snapped their fingers
at him. Snape frowned.
"Why should I buy you
slackers a drink?"
"Sorry, Severus," Minerva murmued.
"So sorry, Severus," Flitwick concurred.
Snape handed the bottle
to Minerva, who took a drink and handed it back. He passed it to Flitwick
and Minerva asked, "Do you think there's enough for us to get really
"I can't be hungover
tomorrow," Snape growled, picking up the ledger again. "I have to find
summer accommodations for seventeen Slytherins."
murmured, and the pint floated back to her. "Severus?" she
whispered after taking another sip. She waited for the potions master to make
eye contact before beseeching, "Let's have the best summer of our lives."
Snape rolled his
eyes. "It is NOT going to be the last summer of our lives."
agreed. "But it might be the last good time we have for a long time."
On the last night of
school, Malfoy sat surrounded by Crabbe, Goyle and Warrington in the
common room, waiting for the seventh years to return from Snape's
office. "Go get Violet," Goyle prodded him. "The
whole quidditch team should be here!"
"No." Malfoy shook his
head. "She'd ruin it with her sniveling."
The stone door finally
opened and the seventh years watched with satisfaction as their younger
housemates sprang into the two rows they normally formed only to
honor their head of house. Then, with Bletchley and fellow quidditch team
member Adrian Pucey leading the way, the small group of faithful Slytherin
seventh years paraded slowly up and down the ranks, shaking hands with
each student as they said their good-byes.
"Let me see it!" Malfoy
cried eagerly when Bletchley reached him. His teammate stuck his hand
into his pocket and withdrew an item Snape had just presented him. Each
departing seventh year received a small pewter vial containing a useful
potion, the identity of which was revealed only to the
recipient. Bletchley handed the vial to Malfoy who unscrewed the lid to
read the inscription he knew he would find on the stopper inside. Tiny
letters engraved in Snape's handwriting read: 'To Miles Bletchley, a fine
athlete and brave Slytherin. Let me always be proud of your valor. Severus
Snape, Hogwarts School, 1996.'
Malfoy screwed the lid
back on and returned the vial to Bletchley, biting back a
painful surge of envy. What if Snape died before he could present Malfoy
with such a keepsake?
When the farewells were
complete, Malfoy made a quick trip to his cell to retrieve something and
headed to Violet's room.
"Go away!" she stormed in response to
his knock, but Malfoy just smiled and entered the cell anyway. She was
lying face down on her bunk, her head buried in her arms. Malfoy leaned
against the wall with one hand and kept the other behind his back.
"You missed saying
good-bye to the seventh years," he scolded. Sure enough, Violet whimpered
at the very thought, and Malfoy congratulated himself on a good
"I brought you
something," he teased the young girl, but Violet would not be intrigued.
"I don't want
anything! Go away!"
"All right," Malfoy
conceded with an exaggerated sigh. "I'll just take it back." But he
where he was and gave the cage behind his back a little jiggle. Something
hooted indignantly and Violet sat up with a gasp.
Malfoy swept the cage from behind his
back and held it
proudly in front of her.
"You got me an
owl!" the young Slytherin shrieked. She flew off the cot and threw her
arms around his waist, hugging him tight. "Oh, Malfoy!"
Malfoy set the bird
cage down on the bunk and Violet plopped down next to it,
captivated. "What kind is it?" she asked as she smiled in delight at the
feisty brown creature.
"Well, it's no nancy
pansy snow owl, I can assure you," Malfoy snorted. "It's a scrappy little
barn owl, as befits a little Slytherin."
Violet stuck her finger
in the cage and the owl promptly clamped its beak around the stubby
digit. Violet giggled and pulled and the owl rocked forward on its perch,
clinging to the finger. Violet pushed and pulled, pushed and pulled, and
the owl rocked stubbornly back and forth. Finally Violet stuck another
finger into the cage and when the owl released the first one to snap at
the second one, she yanked them both out of reach.
"He's perfect!" she
"What are you going to
Violet thought it over
for a second and grinned. "Spellwad!"
Malfoy could only shake his head.
"It's your backside," he declared of the cheeky choice.
Violet admired the bird
a while longer and then turned hopefully to the older Slytherin. "Can I
write to you?" she asked him. "Will you write back to me?"
down next to her. "You know I'm spending the summer with Potter,
"I hear his cousin's a
real git," Malfoy
continued. "What do you say we spend the summer seeing how much mischief
we can get into and writing each other about it?"
Violet threw her arms
around his neck and Malfoy tolerated the hug for a few seconds
before he pulled her off and waved a finger sternly under her nose.
"Don't tell Snape!" he
commanded, and then jumped when Spellwad made a violent lunge for the
The next morning,
shortly before the carriages were scheduled to depart, Violet retrieved
her new pet from the Owlery, dropped him off in the common room, and
hurried to Snape's office. The teacher gave her permission to enter and
raised an eyebrow at her as Violet took a seat across from his desk for
the last time that year.
"Spellwad?" he asked darkly.
just grinned from ear to ear. "The meanest owl at Hogwarts!" she
bragged. "Professor Dumbledore is seriously considering banning him from
"I heard," Snape
sighed. "I'm sure he'll be a big hit at the orphanage."
Violet's face clouded a
bit. "Speaking of which," she began, and she rose and walked around the
desk to stand before Snape. She reached into her robe and withdrew her
wand, which she held out to him. "Since we can't use them anyway, I was
wondering if you would mind keeping this for me over the summer."
looked puzzled and the child continued a bit sheepishly. "The kids at the
orphanage," she explained. "They're good kids, really, but they're
institutionalized kids, and sometimes kids in institutions can be thugs,
replied. "Yes I do."
He took the wand and
laid it on his desk. Then he took her hand and gently pinched her
thumb and two fingers together. He picked up her wand again and placed
the handle of it between the pinched digits so that she was holding the
wand upright before him.
He took out his own wand and gave it a
little flick. The tip glowed a rich Slytherin green. He traced the
length of her wand from tip to handle as Violet watched, wide-eyed. Then
he put his wand away. Violet looked up at him and frowned.
"Can you see it?" he
Violet glanced at her
wand and nodded at Snape, disappointed. But he just leaned a little
closer to her and smiled.
Violet gasped. Then
she let out a little squeal of delight, hugged Snape quickly around the
neck, and raced out of his office, so eager to hit someone with her
invisible wand that she forgot to thank him.
An Obedient House