I blissfully ignored my Potter Problem for three lovely days (to myself, though, I secretly called it my furry little problem). Three lovely, poetic, amorous days until September the 4th when the little First Year Gryffindors paraded themselves into my dungeon like there was no tomorrow.

I gave a stunning speech, naturally. I copied it down afterwards to use in following years (performed to its ultimate perfection in September 1995 when the impeccable diction, the dramatic pauses, and of course a slight baring of teeth culminated in the peak of my career, and drew actual tears from several students). Of course the speech itself was first-rate crap. Who do you know that can brew glory?

Although I do sometimes feel quite glorious while brewing potions. If one sets the proper dark atmosphere with a proportionate amount of billowing steam and explosions, one is reminded of the wizards of old who intoxicated themselves and danced around naked bellowing complex (half-nonsense) incantations in rioting thunderstorms. It is quite inspiring. The last time I did it, however (felt glorious while brewing a potion, of course, not frolicking about in lightening storms), I was inspired to strike a menacing pose upon which McGonagall burst in with some small complaint or another (for regarding herself as Cat Woman, she has a lot of minor, old-lady health problems). Well, when she saw me, she wet herself laughing at my imposing stature (and I mean literally urinated on herself—another lovely smell to pervade my dungeon). She remained on the floor in convulsions for approximately 25 minutes. I tried to convince myself that she was so impressed by my pose and grace that it was unbearable to the old hag, but when she began to sob in laughter so that there were small puddles on my floor, I had to admit the truth. I was obliged to throw her outside into the hall in a blubbering heap. It’s really ridiculous how little privacy one gets around here, even when the students aren’t around.

Following this of course, she took to barging in on me at the most unexpected moments, like it was some sort of game. I took to dressing and undressing crouched behind my bed, as a precaution. She gave me quite a turn once when I was ferreting around on the floor (pretending to be a ferret, obviously—it’s an excellent stress reliever) and she stormed in like a wild boar on steroids. I had to say I was searching for my eyeglasses.

“You don’t have eyeglasses,” she said like the insolent, disagreeable thing she is.

I replied, with the greatest dignity for someone in ferret-pose on the floor, “For a lady of your stature, Minerva, you should comprehend the secret lives of secretive, er. . .secrets. But now I will divulge to you and only you a great mystery of the mind which is: I have eyeglasses!. . .and they are somewhere. They cannot be with us right now as they are on a secret mission of their own.”

I thought I had handled the whole thing prodigiously well, but her look told me that she knew I had no clue what I was talking about, probably because I didn’t have any clue what I was talking about.

She then said, “Severus, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else has any clue what you are talking about.”

“Ha!” I said, still in ferret-pose, “That’s just because no one else can hear us!”

She rolled her eyes and swished out of the room. How dare she swish out my room when no one invited her in the first place?

Miserable old earthworm.

But I’ve lost myself in reminiscences of better, golden days. I was talking about those ridiculous little First Years. . .

I also told them that I could teach them to “stopper death.” Heh. And they swallowed every word of it. I just hope none of them are smart enough to ask me how in their seventh year, because I will undoubtedly gape at them and look thoroughly stupid. Hah! Stopper death. . .If stoppering death were possible, the Dark Lord would have been alive and hopping at that point. . .and probably salsa dancing, too. The closest I’ve come to stoppering death is the anti-depression potion. After all, depression is the leading cause of suicides. What an intelligent sentence.

Anyway, then I took a point away from Potter. I forget why. I should have taken more, but it was funny to see him look mortified, thinking that one point was a real tragedy and that I was being an evil bastard. Then a complete ninny, Neville Longbottom (son of Alice and Frank, bless their souls, but without the talent) managed to explode the simplest potion in Wizarding History.

So I, naturally, took another point from Potter.

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