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2. The Meeting of Importance "WHAT?!" McGonagall cried, utterly shocked at the revelation, and rose from her seat. "YOU are in charge of the position of the Headmaster? But I'M the Deputy Headmistress and Albus would never-" At last coming to a halt in her ranting, McGonagall managed to draw in a calming breath; she wasn't going to risk a heart attack. She tried to sort her spiralling thoughts. She wasn't someone who lost control too quickly or too easily, uh, often, anyway. Casting a quick glance around the teacher's table, she realized that every staff member seemed completely shocked; Flitwick sat stunned while his mouth worked furiously, producing no sound at all. Luckily, he composed himself just in time to avoid falling from his seat. "My, Minerva ..." Snape chuckled at the lack of restrain. As he went on to explain, the entire hall listened, dumb-founded. Everybody knew that Dumbledore would never declare Snape as his representative, the headmaster was aware of what would happen if he did so. "Do you question the headmaster's confidence in my abilities?" McGonagall was tempted to morph into her animagus form so she could scratch that smug grin from Snape's face, but instead she only clenched her hands into tight fists and answered evenly. "What is this 'immensely important meeting' you are referring to? Albus never once mentioned it before, if I recall correctly. And the headmaster is not someone to make quick decisions, or am I mistaken in my judgement of a person I have known for many years?" "Calm down, Minerva." Remus said evenly, trying to cool off them all a bit. "There's got to be a logical explanation why Albus left so abruptly, right? And Severus here is surely going to explain everything to us, isn't he?" With that said, the werewolf frowned slightly at the Potions Master. Even though he didn't want to get things out of control in the middle of the Great Hall, where all students were still seated, he couldn't quite get rid of the little nagging voice in the back of his head which screeched something like 'Are you nuts?! Snape running a SCHOOL? You are aware of what little Snivellus is capable of doing with all those innocent and ignorant guinea pigs running around oblivious to the upcoming horror, aren't you?!' While his mind retorted that he was being unreasonable, that Snape wasn't named 'Snivellus', and that aforesaid Potions Master had matured enough to know what he was allowed to do and what not. He wasn't a little kid, after all, was he? ~+#+#+~ "What are they saying?" Ron asked, leaning over to Hermione and effectively blocking her view to the teacher's table. "They're too quiet to-" "Ron!" The girl chided and pushed her friend gently to the side, enough for her to see Remus Lupin. "I'm not able to tell with you in my line of view." Narrowing her brows, she concentrated on reading Remus' words from his lips. It had been rather an accident that she had come across a book about lip-reading - after being through 10 Tips to Tame Unruly Hair, Distilling - The Sparkling Hobby, Mystery of Philatelists, Erich von Däniken's The Gods were Astronauts and Stained Glass for Autodidacts -, but after she'd opened it, she became rather engrossed. Now and then this special ability came in quite handy. "He's only calming down Professor McGonagall ..." She trailed off, not quite sure why every single teacher was now seemingly contemplating something silently. "What is it, ‘Mione?" Harry inquired hesitantly after his friend had stayed mute for more than thirty seconds. A cool shiver of inexplicable premonition ran down his spine despite his heavy robes, which should keep him cosy and warm. This wasn't a good sign - not at all. "I'm not sure, but ... Professor Snape ..." "What about the greasy git?" Ron prodded after Hermione fell silent again. Blocking Hermione's obligatory slap, he raised his brows questioningly. "Don't call him a greasy git, Ron!" The girl scolded more urgently. "You wouldn't want to be called a 'freckled weasel', now would you?" "I can't see why you defend that grea- 'Snape'!" Ron scoffed, looking quite insulted. "After all, he took 40 points from Gryffindor, and if I remember correctly, you are also in this house. You should show a bit more Hufflepuff loyalty." "You should've known better than to interrupt him, especially in the morning!" Hermione hissed and tried to determine if any new information had been traded amongst the teachers. She wasn't about to dignify Ron’s retort with an answer; he should know where her loyalties lay, in any case. "Yeah" Ron remarked approvingly, though his face remained unsettlingly neutral. "We all know how he acts before he’s had his cup of yin-yang tea, don't we? But after his tea, his karma is in equilibrium and he acts like the reincarnation of Gwandi, hexing fresh rose blossoms wherever he walks, playing on his golden harp, soothing frightened Hufflepuffs, giving every student he encounters sweet cherry flavoured lollipops, smiling and laughing, singing and dancing ..." He trailed off and his mien showed nothing more than one smile he imagined Snape to wear. While Harry fought against the urge to crack up laughing, Hermione merely shook her head and sighed. "It's 'Ghandi', not 'Gwandi', Ron." ~+#+#+~ "Headmaster Dumbledore received a letter, which he had been looking forward to receiving for months. The Swiss CGAOS association kindly accepted his application and that was the reason of the headmaster's rather rushed departure." Snape explained evenly, speaking loud enough for the whole hall to hear. "In four weeks he will be back, but for the time being I'm the interim headmaster. Enjoy your meal." Saying nothing more, Snape sat down, seemingly oblivious to the incredulous stares he received from McGonagall and most students from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. The majority of the Slytherins were smirking smugly - the rest hadn't listened to what was going on. ~+#+#+~ "Guten Tag und herzlich Willkommen zum diesjährigen Treffen der CGAOS. Mein Name ist Beatus Toriani." After a short introduction, Toriani went straight to business. "Für unsere neuen Mitglieder haben wir einen Folder zusammengestellt, der sie über die bisherigen Erkenntnisse informiert. Schokolade. Wofür ist sie gut? Warum schmeckt sie so fantastisch? Und wie viele Geschmacksrichtungen gibt es wirklich? Speziell für dieses Zusammenkommen der CGAOS haben wir von den größten Confiserie-Konzernen exklusive Testportionen der neuesten süßen Kreationen erhalten. Da hätten wir erst mal Kirsch-Minze mit einem Tröpfchen Sauerlikör verfeinert, außerdem Bananencreme mit edlem Marzipan und noch viele andere leckere Spezialitäten mit einem Kakao-Mindestanteil von 60% ..." While Toriani went on explaining what kind of new chocolates they were having to test, the occupants gathered around a large table, where different specialities were mounted and ready to be devoured. 'I'm in heaven' Dumbledore mused, savouring the taste of a piece of chocolate with peanut and caramel flavour. 'I don't understand one single word, but this has to be heaven ...'

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