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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
Pairings:

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

Summary:


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?

Lionel


Chapter 7: Chapter 7 An Effective Guide to Professor Training

Chapter 7
An Effective Guide to Professor Training



The rest of the week followed much the same way. It was more than three days before the furniture finally became unstuck from the ceiling, and, of course, the headmistress determined that the best course of action would be to cancel all Potions lessons until the Potions classroom could be put back in order. It was an incredible inconvenience and showed, in Severus’ opinion, a great lack of respect the headmistress must have held for the subject of Potions. But at least he held the miniscule hope that the stunt with the classroom furniture was as clever as the Salem students got. That once they saw he wasn’t going toflee, they would just give up and let him teach.

Severus was very wrong.

On one particular Thursday afternoon, Severus was in his office working out next week’s lesson plan for the fourth years, an especially brutal one to pay those little blighters back for what they had done to the Potions classroom. And he wasn’t about to let Anna Morrison off easy either, blind or not (in fact, it would have been wrong of him not to treat her just like any other student).

Suddenly, a series of sharp raps at the door broke his concentration. “Yes, what is it?” he called.

When he looked up, he found himself caught even more off guard by the person who opened the door. It was Kim Rosales, the second year he had made cry on his very first day of teaching. What the bloody hell was she doing here…and without reinforcements?

The girl was looking down and wringing her hand nervously, as though even she weren’t sure what she was doing there. “Miss Rosales, is there something I can help you with?” Severus finally asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence.

Kim Rosales eventually made her way in, shuffling her feet, her eyes darting left and right behind her dark brown fringe. She stopped just short of the desk, but said nothing aside from the deep breaths that made her sound just on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Miss Rosales, are you going to tell me what it is you want, or can I go back to work?” Severus did his best to keep his voice calm and even, less the second year dissolve into a sobbing puddle in the middle of his floor.

Suddenly, as though just making up her mind about what she wanted to do, she snatched the lesson plan out from under Severus’ quill, upsetting the ink bottle and causing the quill to leave a large black stain on the surface of the desk. Severus tried to grab his wand, but the girl had already bolted out the door. “Miss Rosales!” he shouted after her, which accomplished all of nothing.

“Miss Rosales, I’m not chasing you!”

That was, however, exactly what Severus ended up doing.

The second year wasn’t so fast that Severus couldn’t easily keep up with her, yet all the yelling and the threats weren’t doing a thing to make her halt, and none of the girls they passed it the hallway did anything but stop and stare.

“Oh, my God! Kim Rosales is gonna die!”

A lot of girls recoiled against the wall in fear, but others raised their fists and cheered the second year on. “Run, Kim, run!”

Numerous different spells ran through Severus’ mind that could have easily accomplished this, but he found himself hesitating. What did the Salem Institute have to say about teachers using magic on their students? Then again, knowing Miss Rosales could be reduced to tears by a few harsh words, a Body Bind Curse might push the girl into a stress-induced seizure.

Kim’s laces had come undone and she was nearly tripping every fifth step, but she still remained just ahead of Severus, her long hair flying out like a tail that he couldn’t even grab. He felt his chest tightening and his breathing become more labored. As though he needed a reminder that he was getting too old for this!

Kim Rosales tripped once again over her own feet as she spun around the corner and Severus was almost caught her, but the girl managed to pick herself up and race through a swinging door before he got the chance. And when he saw just where it was the second year had chosen to hide, he found himself not quite so eager to hunt her down as he had been before: it was the girls’ washroom.

“You honestly think that this is going to stop me?” Severus shouted through the door, though he did feel a great deal of hesitation as he said this. The students who had been walking through the hallway had all stopped in their tracks, staring at him, waiting to see what he was going to do. He could faintly hear whispers of ‘He’s not really going to do, is it?’ ‘He just might.’ ‘He can’t be that stupid!’

He considered asking one of the passing girls to go in after Miss Rosales, but that plan came to an end as soon as he took a quarter turn to his left and every student in the hall took a collective step backwards, as though getting ready to flee. Once it was clear that no would be offering any help in apprehending the insane little second year, his stomach began to knot.

But just then, he heard a high-pitched, taunting giggle, which he knew was aimed directly at him and his hesitance to chase after his student. He reached for the door handle and threw it open with surprising force.

He had no chance to confront the source of the giggle, however. An instant later, he was hit by a great stream of water with the force of a fire hose that could have broken bones. It was at least enough to knock him off his feet and slam him against the opposite wall. In fact, Severus was convinced he heard something crack as he hit the wall, feeling his brain bounce around inside his skull as his head smacked against the plaster.

Through the rushing water, he could still here the sound of the students screaming…or it could have been hysterical laughter. It was rather hard to tell, being surrounded by the rushing water and the facing of his own mortality.

Severus worried briefly about the possibility of a concussion, but it seemed secondary to the very real prospect that he was drowning. He had survived a lifetime of spying and the Dark Lord’s attempt on his life only to be killed by as schoolgirl prank?

Eventually, though, the water began to slow, Severus dropped to the floor, the water having pinned him off his feet. And when he finally did look up, his the very faintest outline his body had made in the wall…and a much more profound one where his skull had been.

As Severus began gulping down as much air as he could, he couldn’t believe that none of the girls were moving to help him. In fact, the entire corridor erupted into cackling laughter.

He couldn’t believe it! The little brats had all known this was going to happen! The bathroom must have been cast with some sort of protection charm to keep male teachers (or boys who had somehow found their way into the school) from going inside, just short of drowning anyone who opened the door. That was the reason why Miss Rosales had snatched his grade book in the first place, though he would be damned if the girl had thought the plan up on her own!

Once Severus finally did manage to stand to his feet, the chill of the water finally setting in, he felt yet another one of his senses being completely overwhelmed: smell. He absolutely reeked of the most horrendous smelling flowery perfume, and it was completely drenched in his robes and his skin, almost as though he had been blasted with more perfume than water.

It was at that point that the girls all covering their noses and gagging violently. Some of them even took off running when he got too close to them.

He immediately tried a cleansing spell on his robes, only to find it had no effect. The school had probably taken that into account when they created the protection charm, add something to help them remember not to try it again.

How the bloody hell did the witches of Salem keep coming up with spells he had no idea how to undo?

As the cackling young witches gripped at the sides, Severus seethed to himself. Don’t react, that’s exactly what they want. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

All he could do at that point was retreat to his office in disgrace, and see if his own personal collection of books—which Shoshana had just delivered from his home on Spinners End a few days ago—had anything else to offer on how to rid himself of this stench. But even there he wasn’t safe. Girls would continually walk past his door, most likely to see if the hall gossip was true, holding their noses as they passed. The humiliation dragged on and on and on; especially when Professor Bluebell came into his office and remarked at the top of her lungs, “Good God in heaven! Did a hive of fairies fly in here and die?”

And as hard as it might have been believe at the time, though, that little stunt had been one of the tamer ones. One series of especially bad little stunts came two days later.

Severus couldn’t be quite sure which of the little brats had done it. It could have been those blonde twins who had said hello to him on the stairs. It could have been that fifth year, Chandrika Lahiri, who stopped him to ask if there was anything she needed to have read or written before their first class. It could have been that group of second years he had viciously rebuked for playing keep-away with Amanda Green’s History of Magic notebook. Maybe it had even been Amanda Green herself.

But Severus hadn’t noticed anything was wrong until he reached the Defensive Magic classroom. Professor Jecco had asked Severus to go through the stores from the previous year and bring him any leftover Polyjuice Potion that there was; he needed it for his C.A.T. class so he could teach the girls the Deceinon Charm, which would apparently, for a brief moment, reveal the true face of anyone trying to hide their identity through glamours or Polyjuice.

“That you, Professor Cameron? C’mon in!”

Severus rolled his eyes, but opened the door, biting down on his tongue, lest he get in even deeper water with his new colleagues.

But before he was able to say anything, a girl in the back row with color-streaked hair and too many piercings looked up, her jaw immediately dropping…and then the girl seated next her…and then the girls seated on either side of them.

It didn’t take very long before the entire class was staring at him with eyes as wide as they possibly could. And when Professor Jecco finally turned to look over his shoulder, the chalk screeched as it trailed off from the letter T. Severus glowered at the lot of them. What the bloody hell is so wrong?

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw his reflection, and the blood completely drained from his face. His robes, which had been black when he had put them on this morning, were now at least seven different shades of the most horrendous cotton candy pink imaginable, complete with enough lace to supply every robe shop in Britain.

As Severus stood horror-struck, a few of the braver girls began to snicker, breaking the deadly silence. “Hey! Girls!” Jecco ordered. “This sort of situation does not call for giggling!”

Just as Severus began to feel he at least had the support of the staff, the scruffy professor moved on to say, “It calls for pointing and loud laughter. Please begin.”

And so they did! The sudden noise bounced painfully against the walls, to the point where Severus could feel the sound vibrations against his skin.

As he turned to leave, he saw Kit Benedict, who had absolutely no decorum when it came to laughing, pointing directly at him and throwing her head back in an almost shriek. Salome Amsel was hiding her mouth behind her hand, laughter coming out in painful-looking bursts, as though she were convinced doing so would either lead to horrible guilt for mocking her teacher or her untimely death at the hands of said teacher.

Even after he’d slammed the door shut, he could still hear the mocking laughter through the oak door…and even from down the hallway. The day just refused to die!

On his way back to his office on the third floor corridor, the hall carpet yanked out from under his feet as soon as he stepped on it, with Severus falling flat on his back, his skull clunking against the hardwood floor. And as soon as he was finally able to stand to his feet, he was greeted with the sounds of war whoops. Almost afraid to see what the source was, Severus slowly turned around to see that painting of that bloody Mohawk hunting party…who were shooting arrows into his chest and his forehead!

And this was not just in the illusion of the painting. Actual—albeit tiny—arrows were shooting from the painting and piercing his face, and then his hands as he moved to protect himself.

“BLOODY GOD DAMN HELL!”

Severus flinched away, holding his arms up to protect himself, but it did almost nothing to help. Arrows upon arrows, more than seemed physically possible for the amount of Indians in the hunting party, were shooting through the hair in one big, splintering mass of pain and confusion…but mostly pain.

How the bloody hell was something like this even possible, even with the use of magic? Why would someone cast that sort of spell? Why would someone even invent a spell like that? What made anyone think these bloody Indians wouldn’t fire on another student or on Dean Crackstone? There were getting to be too many migraine-inducing questions in just one minute. Or maybe that was just more of those splintery arrows shooting at his temples.

The hunters in the painting shouted, banging their fists against the painting and whooped in a language that wasn’t English, waving their weapons at Severus he lowered his arms.

“Yes, I’m sure you’re all very proud of yourselves!” he spat. “You’re warriors taking your marching orders from schoolgirls!”

The Mohawks’ faces were beginning to tint red in fury, and Severus couldn’t help but feel rather pleased.

Then came the tiny tomahawks…

Severus was finally done with indulging these brats and their little games. “Finite incantatem!”

At once, the weapons stopped flying from painting, with the Mohawks shouting even louder, banging their fists against the painting now that their weapons had no effect. Out of the corner of his eye, Severus could see several more failed spells destroyed: a fake wall fell to the floor, a chandelier dropped from the ceiling, live trout slithered out from under the hallway rug, and every door in the corridor threw itself open as though they had been waiting to do the exact same thing in somebody’s face. Severus smirked to himself. Absolutely no creativity; to be all undone in one spell.

“Pathetic!” Severus snorted, before he was drawn back the constant splintery pain all across his face. He tried to pull the arrows out like splinters, but found that quite impossible, due to the tiny stone arrowheads holding them in place.

This would not be a pleasant story to tell at the inevitable visit to the Healer’s office later tonight.

Finally, Severus stormed to his office, picking the tomahawks out of his forehead like splinters. He was ready to just forgetting about any sort of lesson planning and just Floo home. Of course, when he got there, some particularly sadistic little brat had bricked up the fireplace…all the way through.

In a sudden fit of frustration, he kicked at the brick blockade, adding three broken toes to the tally of the day’s injuries.

“HELLBOUND LITTLE BRATS!”

And this had only been the first week of school! Severus hoped to God that American teenagers shared the same miniscule attention spans and limited devotion that his British students had, and that it would only be a matter of days before they got bored or gave up.












For days, Salome had been dreading their next session of Potions with Professor Cameron. It had been put off for several days, something about the classroom being ‘unusable’. She didn’t even want to think about what that meant. It had been no secret that the Salem students had been giving the new teacher a ‘difficult time’.

And Kit especially had been enjoying it all a lot more than she should have.

Kit also made sure that the other C.A.T. students who didn’t take Potions were very aware that they had a greater advantage in their little venture since Professor Cameron didn’t know their faces. What all she had actually done herself, she was not telling Salome, and Salome had a feeling she didn’t even want to know.

As she turned the corner toward the Potions classroom, she felt a small twinge of panic when she saw Kit was already waiting outside, a smirking smile on her face as though she had already done something to feel guilty about.

And Salome was not about to be taken by surprise. “Alright, Kit, what did you do?”

Kit’s eyes shifted. “I don’t know what you mean.”

Kit was terrible at lying when she was in trouble, not that she seemed to be trying very hard today.

“There’s something waiting for us in the classroom! I know there is!” Salome pointed an accusing finger in Kit’s face. “And I want to know what it is before I end up having it blow up in my face too!”

Not knowing what possessed her, she grabbed at the collar of Kit’s robes. “I MEAN IT!”

But Kit’s eyes were focused on something just to her friend’s side. “Hello, Professor Cameron,” she greeted over Salome’s head. “How are you today?”

At first, Salome wondered if Kit was just trying to frighten her, but then she felt a shadow creep over her. Salome also turned to face her teacher, doing her very best to keep her own face straight, no matter what might have been waiting for her. Say nothing of the fact that she looked like she was about to strangle her Potions partner.

“Hello, Miss Benedicte, Miss Amsel,” he greeted them; Salome immediately let go of Kit’s robes when Professor Cameron gave her an odd look. “I trust we will not find the need to run out of class today, will we?”

The corner of Kit’s mouth twitched as though she were itching to say something, but somehow she remained silent. Turning on her heels, she entered the classroom first, Salome following close behind. Professor Cameron shut the door behind them, setting his satchel and his books on his desk. There were already several jars of ingredients waiting on a table off to the side, none of which Salome could piece together for a potion.

“After what was produced in our last class,” he said, his tone grim as he took a seat at his desk, “I really should be making you redo the assignment at half credit.”

Salome squirmed in her seat, and even Kit seemed a little edgy at finally hearing the consequences of her actions.

“However,” the man continued, “I do believe that progressing your education takes priority over petty slights. Not to mention, Miss Benedicte, how unfair it would be for Miss Amsel to have to suffer just because you can’t refrain from childish temper tantrums.

“So instead,” he said with a smirk on his face, “we will be brewing Contemnite.”

Salome swore she could feel her jaw drop at the announcement, and one glance to the side reveal Kit, eyes gone wide with horror.

“Even if you already have some idea of what the potion is, I’ll explain it in further detail.” Professor Cameron began to stride in front of the classroom. “Contemnite was created roughly one hundred years after the invention of Amortentia. Its creator, Anacleto Instigatorio, believed that the only way to counter the effects of such of a powerful love potion was to instill opposite feelings in the same person. It has never been known if was the case though, because formula was stolen and used for more sinister purposes.

“It is actually believed that a supply of Contemnite leaked into the local water supply near the Convent of La Santa Cruz is what fueled the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition, but there is no concrete evidence of this.”

On paper, the potion might not have seemed like such a bad assignment, but Salome and Kit, as C.A.T. students, knew better. Far too much so.

“As the school’s most advanced students, I’m sure you already know that during the brewing process, the brew emits a horrible odor once followed by adding in the Glumbumble fluid.” Professor Cameron was clearly enjoying this much more than he should have, eyes glittering and a smirk on his face. “However, let me warn you; it is important to only add one drop. If any more is added, the noxious gas’ smell will be immensely worse. Not to mention that the potion will be useless and you will fail.”

The smirk turned into a very distinct smile as Professor Cameron watched his students writhe in horror. Yes, he was most definitely enjoying this.

“Normally, potion-makers will drab a touch of Scent Abolishing Salve under their nostrils to counteract the horrible smell. Unfortunately, I have recently been so plagued with…unforeseeable incidents that preparing a batch for you just completely slipped my mind.”

I’ll bet it slipped your mind! Salome thought. In spite of the fact that Salome hadn’t actually done anything to than man, she was being punished too?

“So, unfortunately, you will have to go without.”

It wasn’t until Professor Cameron actually started leaving that real panic was heard in Kit’s voice. “Wait! Where ya going?”

Their teacher turned around to face them. “No Scent Abolishing Salve for you means none for me either, and I have no desire to punish myself in that fashion,” he explained in a reasonable tone. “Besides, you’re both mature young ladies. I think I can trust you not to cheat or burn down the classroom.”

He turned to leave again. “You have one hour to brew. If there is an emergency, I will be in my office. That’s also where you can bring you samples when you’re done.”

Once the door was roughly slammed behind them it became incredibly clear that the two girls were on their own with a table full of ingredients and no way around it.

The beginning of the brewing was actually pretty uneventful. Kit started the fire beneath the cauldron and Salome mixed the Flubberworm mucus and powered saffron base. Salome cut her finger while slicing the pine root, and Kit squeezed a handkerchief over it while she took over the cutting (somehow with one hand).

It stayed that way until they first dropped the frozen Ashwinder eggs into the boiling fluxweed. In spite of the fear of what might happen, Salome moved to add the one drop of Glumbumble fluid, hearing an audible gulp from Kit, Salome trying to stand as far away from the cauldron as possible, the dropped in the very tips of her fingers.

Not that it ended up making much of a difference. Sickly green-yellow smoke began spewing from the rim, soon filling the entire room. Even after it all thinned out to the point where the girls could see, the horrendous new smell stayed just as strong. Salome could even taste it. She didn’t understand how they could have made it smelled any worse.

“Ah! Everything burns!” Kit was breathing through the damp sleeve of her robes, but apparently, it did nothing, her eyes were watering as though she had just watched someone die. “My skin can feel it!”

It was without a doubt the most miserable hour of Salome’s life. The smell was so bad that it physically hurt all five of her senses, even sight and hearing: the fumes burned her eyes long after they’d physically disappeared, and the scorching stuff seemed to have buried itself in her ear canals as well.

Eventually, though, they did finish the potion, but all the pain and suffering lingered, even as the girls made their way to their teacher’s office.

That could have been the reason behind Kit’s throwing open the door in a less than dignified manner and hissing a few words under her breath that Salome was very thankful the teacher didn’t hear.

Professor Cameron was at his desk, marking over some papers, but seemed to look considerably happier when he saw the girls enter his office. “How did it go, ladies?”

His nose wrinkled at the smell, but he still seemed to be taking a great deal of pleasure from their misery.

“Christ on a cracker!” Kit gasped as she slammed the glass phial on the desktop. “It’s like someone stuffed a dead skunk with Indian food and then set it on fire!”

Professor Cameron took the phial. “Just remember next time to breathe through your mouths, and you shouldn’t have so many problems with the tearing.”

Kit clenched her jaw and showed a lot of teeth, but didn’t say anything.

“I’ll have your grades ready by our next class,” he said, setting their potion off to the side, “so you’re free to leave.”

By now, Kit’s left eye was doing a funny little twitch, so Salome took it upon herself to lead her friend out of the office. But she wasn’t fast enough.

“And Miss Benedicte,” the teacher spoke up just before they left, “you came make up for the class time you missed after you walked out last time in detention. Tomorrow night. Wear clothes you’ll be able to work in.”

Salome looked to her Potions partner, convinced she was going to throw some sort of epic fit. Kit bit down on her bottom lip, as though trying to hold back some sort of backtalk. But eventually, she just nodded and started moving forward on her own, leaving Salome behind.

Salome stood dumbfounded in the doorway, looking briefly over her shoulder to see her unimpressed professor, before running after her. Even after they left the office, Salome kept repeatedly looking over her shoulder, expecting to see the door dissolved in flames.

But nothing…

“Alright, I’m confused,” Salome finally relented. “Wasn’t it you who was telling me in the stables how we need to ‘train’ this new professor to know that we’re the ones in charge around here?”

Kit nodded and adjusted her book bag on her shoulder. “Sounds like something I would say.”

“And yet, we just went through an entire class where you did absolutely nothing to the man. I mean, even I saw at least three perfect opportunities to pull something, but you do nothing.”

“Alright, I’m following you so far.”

Salome gaped at her, and the lack of response, only one word on her mind. “Why?”

Kit smiled and shook her head. “Sweet Pea, do you honestly expect me to pull off anything good while I’m actually in the room? I might as well walk down to Dean Crackstone’s office and ask her to expel me right now.

“Besides, anything you do in the heat of the moment will only end in disaster,” she went on to say, “The secret to any good stunt is a calm mind and careful planning…making sure there is no evidence, working in groups so the blame can’t be placed on any one person.”

“But he still knows you probably had something to do with everything!” Salome argued. “No matter how many people are in on it, he still knows you were one of them!”

“But the point is he can’t prove it!” Kit reminded her. “That’s the important thing!”

Before Salome had a chance to respond any further, a sharp scream she couldn’t believe came from a man reverberated from Professor Cameron’s office. She turned around just in time to see at least three dozen squirrel-like Flitterbicks racing out of the man’s office, clustering around the two girls’ ankles.

Even though all the rodents brushing against her legs was very unnerving, she did her best to look exasperated. “What?” Kit shrugged. “He’s already given me detention. In for a penny, in for a pound.”

Suddenly, Kit became very serious; not an easy accomplishment when you were constantly watching for a Flitterbick to crawl up your skirt. “And you better be in for it too!”








Ugh! Why, Salome, why?

Salome’s legs and her backside were starting to fall asleep from her perch on an alcove in the third-floor corridor, just at the beginning of the hallway leading to the potions classroom. And why was she doing this as opposed to…anything else? That could be blamed on Kit. She could still feel the very distinct binocular-shaped bruise on her chest from Kit thrusting the object at her.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” Salome had gaped when the idea was first put forward.

But Kit just kept looking at her with a stone-cold seriousness. “When have I ever kidded about anything important?”

The things that Kit considered to be ‘important’ were often debatable, but at the moment, Salome had more important things to worry about.

“It’s not even like you’re really breaking any school rules,” Kit went on to say. “There’s nothing on the books about it being against the rules to watch people through binoculars as long as they’re not naked.

“And yes, that goes for teachers too,” Kit made sure to add before Salome could pipe up.

And that was exactly what Salome had somehow been talked into. Kit, her roommates, Becca Fitzpatrick and Cyrille Lemieux, as well as three other seventh years who didn’t have to face their Potions instructor in the classroom, hid behind the closed doors of the Potions lab, setting to work on something no doubt diabolical. And it was Salome who had been talked into being the lookout, though she still wasn’t quite sure how.

From her perch, Salome could see anyone coming or going, and with her binoculars, she could see the large entry hall that all the other floors opened to.

And she actually did see Professor Cameron in the entryway. He was tapping his fingers, agitated, against the staircase banister, while Professor Bluebell stood on the step above him, lecturing him about something. Professor Bluebell wasn’t the easiest person in the world to get along with, and Salome had never had the right ‘temperament’ for Shamanism, much the same way she didn’t have the right temperament for Divination, Quidditch, or chasing after the town’s Muggle boys.

At least her mother would say these things if Salome ever told her what happened at Salem whenever she found herself held under Kit Benedicte’s spell, and if Salome weren’t so sure that just hearing about these things would kill her.

However, when Salome went back to spying through her binoculars, her heart shot into her throat: Professor Cameron had disappeared from where she had last seen him. Frantic searching showed him neither on the staircase, at the front doors, or on any of the other floors that she could see.

Salome threw herself of the ledge so fast, it was a miracle she landed on her feet. Panic, panic!

This was bad! Usually when you couldn’t see someone, it was because they were just waiting to pounce on you from the one direction you weren’t looking.

Which was proven very true when Salome ran right into her teacher’s side, the solid force almost causing her to fall backwards.

“Miss Amsel,” he said in a very venomous tone, “do you care to tell me why you are running around with a pair of binoculars?”

The man had a sort of glare that almost seemed to force the truth from people’s lips (which probably was a strength in being a teacher), but still, Salome tried to resist. “I’m bird-watching.”

“Indoors?”

“Birds sneak in all the time!” Salome took off flying on the story. “That’s why I need to watch them! They make a real mess and we need to get them out of the school before they start building nests and laying eggs.”

The man stared down at Salome, almost as though he were actually considering what she was saying, but then all hope was dashed. “You girls really do have absolutely no respect for me,” he spat, “if you think I would believe such a bare-faced lie!”

Salome’s insides clenched as she did her best not to show any fear, but it wasn’t easy.

Suddenly, a hallway door was thrown open and a small but imposing figure moved stiffly out of the shadows.

It was Jenna Webber. She was a first year, and Salome was pretty sure they were either fifth or sixth cousins. Who even knew anymore? As she stepped further out into the light, she could see Jenna holding a croquet mallet. Why would she be carrying around a croquet mallet?

And why was she covered in blood?

Bright crimson streaks ran all across her face and neck, stains lacing the sleeves of her blouse, drip lines tracing down her legs. Even her socks were tinted red. The ribbons at the ends of her braids were tied in droopy knots, also tinted with the color of blood, strands of dark blond hair coming loose, and dead eyes like a shark.

“Miss Webber, what on Earth happened to you?” the Potions Master shouted in a tone that was probably as close to ‘concerned’ as it was ever going to get.

Jenna kept her eyes cast downward, just barely making contact. “Zombie kill Cameron….”

“Excuse me?”

But Jenna just kept moving forward, muttering to herself, knees locked as though they were tied to braces.

“Miss Webber, will you please stop this nonsense and just tell me what ha—”

He was interrupted when the croquet mallet swung against his hip with a loud CRACK.

Salome was so dumbfounded by what she just saw that she barely registered her teacher’s screams of pain as he crumpled to the ground, and completely at a loss of what to do as Jenna raised the mallet again and again, her expression devoid of life or emotion.

From the ground, Professor Cameron seemed conflicted. He could have easily raised his wand between blows and blasted the first year down the hallway, but the question had to be could he? Armed or not, she was still only eleven years old, and the disparity between the two would be immense. No matter who ended up victor, it was certain there would be blood.

Salome took off running, and had barely reached the intersecting hallways when she felt herself yanked by the arm and nearly slammed into the wall. Kit’s large, celery-green eyes met with hers. “Really? Five minutes? You were just trying to get caught out of spite, weren’t you?”

But Salome was still too frantic to be insulted. “Kit, w-we have to do something! Jenna Webber is going after Professor Cameron with a mallet—”

“And if he can’t handle himself against an eleven-year-old, he has no business being a teacher here!”

The answer came to her almost instantly, but it still took her several minutes to actually say it. “You made her do this?”

Kit smiled and shrugged her shoulders in a fake sheepish manner.

Why would you make her do this?” she had to ask. “And why is she covered in blood?”

“Don’t worry, it’s not human,” Kit assured her. “Professor Espinoza keeps a stash of pig’s blood to lure Redcaps into traps.”

Salome’s hands went into the air. “This is extreme, even for you, Kit! Why does Jenna need to be covered in blood and pretending to be a zombie? It seems a little overkill just to get the man to quit!”

“No, she’s really a zombie.”

“WHAT?”

Despite what Kit’s Muggle ‘movies’ might have led people to believe, ‘zombies’ were not corpses brought back to life, the way many Muggle-borns confused for Inferi. Zombies were very much alive, but they were under the influence of a potion called Machemorvie which rendered them completely unable to ignore any order their ‘master’ gave them.

“You actually made Jenna a zombie?”

“Well, not me; Cyrille did that.” Kit explained. “I don’t even take Voodoo.”

She peered around the corner, trying to get a glimpse of what was going on. “You have to admit, though, this was good! Almost no way to trace it back, and Jenna won’t even get in trouble, because she was a victim too!”

From the hallway, there was the distinct sound of crunching and splattering, accompanied by plenty of yelling and swearing.

Salome slumped weakly again the wall. My Potions partner is completely insane! And my cousin’s going to kill my teacher!

With that, she sunk to the floor sick, with no choice but to listen to the grotesque violence from down the hall; screams, cracks, bloodshed and all.


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