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Snape Didn't Die by OliveOil_Med

Format: Novella
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 39,006
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Humor
Characters: Snape, OC

First Published: 10/03/2009
Last Chapter: 06/21/2011
Last Updated: 06/21/2011


Snape didn't die, he simply joined the Witness Relocation Program. A funny slogan for an avatar, but what if some crazed author somewhere decided to write the story behind it?

But between scantily-clad Ministry agents, seeing-eye elves, and an all-witch school and all the drama that goes along with it, he is beginning to wonder how much worse the alternative really be?


Chapter 4: Chapter 4 That Freaky Girls’ School

Chapter 4
That Freaky Girls’ School

Severus took a deep breath of air—because now that he was finally out of the toxic surround that was New York City, he could.

The tiny town not far from Boston—Salem, Massachusetts—was a highly crowded placed, filled with people, cramped houses, people, streets upon streets, and more people still. It was a ridiculous place to have a school for witches, but Shoshana insisted this was where the Salem Witches Institute was. The school had been at the same address for more than two hundred years and the Board of Directors were dead set against moving it somewhere more secluded. And so Salem remained one of the rare magic schools that existed in plain sight of Muggles. Severus wondered to himself how the school even managed to avoid gathering the attention of the local Muggle population without having to call the Muggle Worthy Excuse wizards once a week.

Although that might have been a less common occurrence than he’d originally thought, for he couldn’t see anything on the street that even resembled anything magical. All the houses were more or less identical: constructed from brick with black iron fences closing off green, manicured lawns from the rest of the world. All very Muggle and all very quiet and empty. The streets signs all told him he was in exactly the right place, but there were absolutely no other clues.

Up ahead, a group of boys took turns riding their bikes over a homemade plywood ramp. It was only a matter of time before it snapped beneath one of them and they broke their necks. Severus chuckled to himself at the thought of what might ensue once that happened and they boys were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Severus cleared his throat in an effort to get their attention, but the boys went on with their bicycle stunts, taking a ridiculous amount of time to hurt themselves. “Excuse me,” he finally said.

“What do you want, Frenchie?” a somewhat chubby boy on a green bike asked him.

Severus raised an eyebrow and wrinkled his nose at the adolescent’s ignorance when it came those of foreign cultures. “I’m not French,” he lectured them. “But maybe you can make up for that lapse of intelligence by answering a question for me.”

The boys ignore their makeshift ramp long enough to pay attention to the conversation.

“I’m looking for the Salem Institute…for girls. I was told it was located on this street, but I’m having trouble finding it. Can you tell me if I am anywhere near?”

One of the dimwitted boys, a taller blond boy, seemed to have somewhat of an idea of what Severus was talking about. “You mean that freaky girls’ school that Old Lady Parris runs?”

It was horribly vague, possibly meaning pretty much anything, but it was the first promising assurance he was in the right place that he had had all morning. But that one all-too-familiar adjective troubled him a bit. “What exactly did you mean when you said ‘freaky’ girls’’ school?”

The boys all groaned simultaneously, as though this were a story they had all heard a thousand times before. How much did they know exactly?

“Those girls are all weirdos,” the chubby boy explained. “They don’t listen to music, they don’t watch TV, they don’t read the newspaper or know anything everyone else knows about what’s going on in the country. It’s like they’re all still Puritans!”

“Are there even Puritans around anymore?” asked the smallest of the boys, who couldn’t have even been eleven yet. The others all shrugged, showing that none of them knew for sure.

“I’ve actually known five different families that have tried to get their daughters in there; none of them got in,” said a dark-haired boy with two scabby knees who had obviously felt the less desirable effects of their current activity. “It’s not the kind of place you can buy your way into, so you know something is wrong from just that.”

“It’s a miracle they even have any students at all. From what I’ve heard, the people do everything possible to keep people out. First they’re just a school for anyone who can afford the price tag,” the blond boy began listing off. “Then it’s a school for geniuses; then you have to play concert piano, speak twelve foreign languages, and have the power to see through walls.”

He turned up to Severus with an expression of deep befuddlement. “I mean, do teenagers like that even exist?”

No, they do not, Severus thought to himself. I’m not so fortunate that there be such dedicated students. Of course, in the puny minds of these boys, magic and witches probably didn’t exist either. He was finally able to understand how the school had managed to exist in the middle of a city for so long.

“Not from the stories my older brother tells me,” the chubby boy said suggestively. “If you know what I mean.”

From the expressions on the rest of the boys’ expression, it was clear that some of the boys knew exactly what he meant, while others had no idea.

“But, yeah, the Salem Institute is right over there.” The blond boy pointed a bit further down the pavement to one of the identical brick house. “There will be a sign out front the lets you know when you’re there.”

A sign! The school actually announced their presence to the world? He could understand different adaptations various schools had in order to exist in the world, but there was a such thing as being within reason!

“Thank you,” Severus replied, although it was an effort to express courtesy to these little hooligans. The boys shrugged off the response as Severus continued his way down the sidewalk.

Behind him, the sound of a crash and a combination of pained cries and other sounds of distressed preteen boys. Severus couldn’t help but smirk a bit and the wonders of how the universe at least balanced out the small things.

Just as the boys had said, there was a sign on fence announcing to the world what this place was. ‘Salem Institute for Young Ladies’ was written in bold, inky script over aged white paint. Although, someone had taken a red marker to cross out the word 'Ladies' and wrote in 'Witches'. Severus eyes the vandalism, not sure if it had been done by more of the towns lovely Muggle locals or if one of his future student's idea of a joke. He shook his head.

Aside from that, however, there was nothing seemingly special or unusual about it, not even an extra set of locks on the front gate. Nothing Severus recognized as being a part of the wizarding world. Perhaps the school had so heavily perfected the art of blending in, they felt cocky enough to allow their Muggle neighbors to know exactly where and what they were.

The sound of metal scraping against earth brought Severus back to the here and now. On just the other side of the cast iron fence, a hunched figure in a wide-brimmed hat knelt in a patch of plowed earth, digging around in the bare earth. Everywhere on either side were fall-stage shrubs and a few late blooms.

The figure looked up to wipe the sweat from her brow, enough so that Severus could see her face. She was an old woman with deep wrinkles and a few wispy strands of white hair peeking out from under her hat. She was in every way, shape, and form the portrait of the old Muggle gardener. It was almost humorous. It was then he remembered the boys from before mentioning an ‘Old Lady Parris’ who ran the Salem Institute. Could this be the same woman? Surely the headmistress of a school had to have more dignity than to reduce herself to this!

She remained so completely absorbed in the plot of earth, oblivious to the rest of the world around her.

“Excuse me. Maybe you can help me.”

The old woman looked up, seeming somewhat annoyed to be distracted from her gardening. Her clothes were grubby, cheap, and covered with dirt and plant matter, making her appear more like some recluse hedge witch than a school employee (and it was a rather stiff and dignified school from what he had heard thus far). The only indication that she really was a witch was that the woman was really obscenely old, even by wizarding standards.

“I’m looking for the…Salem Institute,” Severus said, choosing his words carefully just in case this woman did not have any knowledge of the wizarding world. “This is the address I was given, but I’m not sure I’m in the right place.”

The old woman, groaning and rubbing her knees in the manner of someone who suffered from horrid arthritis. “You must be the teacher we are expecting to start new this year. Richard Cameron?”

Severus didn’t respond at first, before the short moment of instinct faded and he realized the woman was talking about him. He had momentarily forgotten the name Shoshana had given to him to use while he resided in the United States. He had already practiced introducing himself as such, but it was still something he had yet to get used to. After all, he had been Severus Snape for nearly forty years. Granted, he could also imagined the scandal if a murdered Death Eater suddenly resurfaced alive and as a teacher in another country. Also, Shoshana had joked that if Severus’ identity was discovered in the United States, the next place he would be sent to was Botswana. And honestly, he couldn’t be completely sure that the girl was joking.

“It’s very nice to meet you.” The old woman removed one of her gardening gloves so that she could shake his hand from her kneeling position, looking over his shoulder at something that held her distracted attention.

“I’m sure those lovely boys you spoke to down the street had a few different names for me,” she finally explained. “Never let them onto the school grounds.”

“You run the Salem Institute?” Severus asked, gesturing back towards the group of boys he had just spoken to. “They called you…Old Lady Parris.”

Surprisingly, the woman laughed at the somewhat insulting nickname.

“Yes, there have been many Old Lady Parris-es over the years,” she admitted. “I, however, also go by Dean Temperance Crackstone.”

And with as much dignity as a person kneeling in muck and dirt could manage, the newly christened Dean Crackstone pushed herself to her feet. “But I suppose you’ve had enough of this hot sun for one morning. I know I most certainly have. Why don’t we go inside?

“Just one moment,” she said, making her way to the black iron gate, focusing her attention on the lock. The wand was built in the same style he had seen on Shoshana’s, bound in silk cord.

“Sometimes I wonder why I bother with it,” she confessed, slipping the wand back into her pocket. “It’s not as though a healthy teenage boy would be incapable of jumping the gate. But at the very least, I can assure the parents of my pupils that the local boys won’t get much further.”

She had to be referring to the actual charms and other guard that kept the true nature of the school out of the prying eyes of the neighbors. What those could possibly be, however, were hardly obvious, as Severus found himself becoming slightly more aware of the steps he took. It all appeared very unassuming to Severus, and he was a wizard who actually had some idea of what to look for. He wondered what safeguards actually were in place to keep the Muggle population outside the school walls.

“You can go on ahead of me,” she told him, gesturing up the small set of stairs. “My arthritis has been especially bad lately, and the potion I took with breakfast is just beginning to wear off.”

Dean Crackstone rubbed at her knees to illustrate this further. “I must say, you started up just in time.”

Rolling his eyes, Severus was suddenly thankfully to be facing away from his soon-to-be employer. So he would be expected to be the residential all-purpose potion brewer here as well. At Hogwarts, he thought it was just an isolated incident stemming from Madam Pomphery own profoundly poor brewing abilities (but Merlin help him if he ever brought it up to her). Thoughts racing, Severus pulled one of the massive front doors open before he could imply anything that could come back to bite him later.

Severus peered inside the house, only to find that there was nothing remotely magical about the house on the inside either. The air was heavy with dust, and moldy doilies covered the ancient tables scattered across the entryway, topped with gaudy knick-knacks. It could have been a house belonging to any lonely old lady, but it was easy to see that no children had lived there, and very likely never had. There was no possibility that this was a school.

“No, no, no! You close that door!” Dean Crackstone squawked. “You honestly think there would be a witches school in the middle of the city and safeguards wouldn’t be taken to make sure every meddling kid in Boston that comes sniffing around wouldn’t find something they’re not supposed to? Especially those neighborhood boys with things other than exploration on their minds!”

Severus was beginning to notice a pattern in his new employers obsessive attitude when it came to keep any and all boys far away from the grounds. He almost smiled at the visual line of Muggles of all sorts waltzing into the school, but at least all the teenage boys were stopped at the gate.

“Here, let me.” She pulled him away and then turned to meet him. “Now, you need to pay attention. You have to get this exactly or you won’t be let in.”

The woman banged the door knocker, rang the doorbell in a fast series of three and raced to reach for the doorknob while the song still played. “The left door. That’s important.”

Wonderful! Now he would be able to spend the rest of his years playing patty cake with the entrance.

She pulled the door open, barely a crack, and stood so the view would be blocked from the street. “Go on in.”

Startled by the frail woman’s shockingly loud voice, Severus rushed inside and heard the door latch shut behind him. Severus was completely shocked. The room where he stood now, in no way, shape, or form resembled the one he had seen before. It was a large, airy entryway with high windows. Oil paintings against the far wall offered slight movement. And there was also the occasional high-pitched cackle that only a teenage girl could be capable of.

Dean Crackstone followed in after him, standing as straight as she could probably manage. “There’s a Velius Charm cast over the school: a small space hiding a much vaster area from within. Possibly the only architectural structure of its kind in the world,” she rattled on proudly. “Our founder bought the house nearly three hundred years ago and started constructing the school from the inside out. Eventually, we were even able to add an exterior to the house and have added quite an expansive garden.”

Severus allowed himself to be led further into the Salem Witches Institute, wondering exactly how much of the school’s history he would have to listen to in order to be passable the next time he was quizzed. It wasn’t a very long history, because Dean Crackstone had finished sometime while Severus was still in his own thoughts.

“Would you like to take the elevator?” she asked. “The Potions lab is on the third floor, and….” She gestured down towards her knees once again, reminding him that she was still considered ‘Old Lady Parris.’

The school elevator hardly seemed like a reliable source of transport: a black steel cage hanging from a matching chain. Severus wasn’t sure he would trust it to carry a box of feathers, let alone two fully-grown adults. Also, there didn’t appear to be any way to tell the machine what floor once wished to go too. Yet somehow, before he realized what was happening, he found the barred doors shutting in front of him and Dean Crackstone, the floor beneath them jerking sharply as the chain yanked them upward.

“Lovely invention, isn’t it?” she remarked as the steel cage moved up. “I would never be able to leave the first floor if it weren’t for this contraption. Muggle ingenuity does not get nearly the credit it deserves.”

He felt like reminding this woman that he had seen an elevator before—in the British Ministry of Magic, in fact—but the logical part of his brain told him was probably better not to start off that foot with his new boss. Just then, the elevator came to a painfully sharp halt the threw Severus to floor. Yet somehow, the decrepit headmistress whose bones had to be half-dust was still standing.

“End of the line, Professor Cameron,” she said from up above him, snickering slightly. “Everybody off.” At the very least, Dean Crackstone was gracious enough not to watch as Severus pulled himself back up to his feet.

Kerosene lamps lining the walls flickered and glowed dimly, though Severus could see no flame. There were no numbers beside the doors, no windows viewing inside, or anything else Severus could see that would help him find his classroom or any other classroom. Not even the paintings were a bit of help. They were all oil canvas of scenes of Puritan America with the figures painted within able to follow them from one painting to another. A few children in black suits had been following them ever since they had gotten to the third floor, pointing and whispering to one another.

Breaking the constant Puritan theme, two girls dressed in Muggle clothing raced around the corner of the hallway, nearly crashing into Severus and Dean Crackstone as they did so. Neither of them stopped to apologize and continued down the hall at their fast clip.

“Emma, Raquel, walk!” Dean Crackstone lectured the two girls as they rounded the corner.

From the sound of the pace, neither of girls slowed themselves down. With no teachers in sight, what reason did they have to?

“Well, we have orientation for our incoming first years, but the older students will just be on their own until classes start. You actually might see a few of them running around the school today. Although I have a feeling the professors may put off coming in for as long as they can.” Dean Crackstone began counting under her breath, her crooked index finger trailing along the hall. “I certainly hope to see a better work ethic from you, Professor. When I first started teaching here, such a lack of commitment to one’s work would have never been tolerated.”

And when was that, exactly? After all he had seen and heard from his new employer, he was beginning to wonder if Temperance Crackstone really was old enough to be a Puritan as the boys outside had said. And then he fought not to snicker at the thought.

“And here we are!” Dean Crackstone suddenly stopped at one classroom door. “Be it ever so humble.”

With a quick flick of her wand, the locks on the classroom door clicked open and Dean Crackstone ushered him inside.

The Potions lab at Salem was certainly a far cry from the one Severus left. The walls were lined with the same tall windows he had seen throughout the school, with thick velvet curtains for potions that needed to be brewed out of sunlight. It was certainly a nice enough classroom, though a bit too cluttered for Severus’ liking. On the walls were faded, cracking pieces of parchment covered in notes and detailed drawings of plants and animal diagrams. Handmade crafts, mostly just dried herbs hanging from strings, even dangled from the ceiling. It was a fire hazard waiting to happen, in Severus’ opinion. It was not as though he had kept his classroom walls at Hogwarts bare because he wanted to create a miserable environment for his students, despite the fact that nearly twenty years worth of the British population might say to the contrary.

Out the window, he saw the expansive gardens that Dean Crackstone was speaking of. They stretched on for acres, and could only be physically possible through magic, judging from the small lawn he had seen on the outside of the school. Looking up, he could see at least three more stories above the window, and to his left and right, there were expansive stone walls that did not match the red brick he had seen before. Dean Crackstone had certainly been serious when she had said the school had been built from the inside out.

Dean Crackstone remained in the doorway, but began pointing all over the room. “There’s a schedule of your classes, you have copies of your students’ textbooks in the storage cupboard; you may want to give them a quick read-through if you find the time. You should probably also go through the store of ingredients to make sure everything is still in a suitable state,” she listed off. “Frankly, not all of our past substitutes knew quite what they were doing. You’ll find the door back behind the desk. At any rate, I’ll leave you to do whatever it is you need to do to be ready for the first day of school tomorrow. Class begins at eight o’clock sharp. If you need assistance with anything, you can just track down one of the school elves. Have a productive afternoon.”

It was such an abrupt end to the conversation, Severus turned around to stop her from leaving just for the sake of it, but the doorway was already empty and Dean Crackstone had vanished. How was it even possible for the ancient old bat to move that fast? But with her gone, there was nothing to do but set to work on his new work environment.

As he worked his way through the room, he would occasionally hear more of the school’s students race past the door, also paying no attention to the ‘No Running’ rule. He was certain a few of the more curious student took a little more time at the open door, stopping to peek at the new Potions Master like some new animal exhibit at the zoo. Severus did his best to ignore them. He removed from the classroom everything containing mold: ingredients and the classroom decorations both, although all the mobiles went as well. Expecting a fair amount of explosions and eruptions, it was only common sense to remove anything that could potentially collect and eventually drip dangerous potions.

He never thought he would have to go through this again. When he had taken over as Potions Master after that old fool, Slughorn, finally retired, he had had to go through more or less the exact same process. The evidence of all the tricks students had used to avoid doing their schoolwork littered all through the classroom here, just as they had been at Hogwarts. And just like at Hogwarts, Severus was perfectly intent on removing every single one of them, giving the room a bare slate. Something of a ‘Welcome Back’ surprise he had for his students. To think that nearly twenty years ago, he was starting a brand new teaching job, the Dark Lord’s reign was over, and he was living his life under a completely assumed identity.

He stopped examining the room to express a frustrated groan when he noted all the similarities between where he was now and where he had started his adult life.

He knew Shoshana would find it hilarious.