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Chapter 6
It Begins


“Kit Benedicte!” Salome Amsel called out into the stables, watching for any signs of movement. “Kit, you come out right now! We need to talk!”

The stables held silent, save for the few whinnies of the winged horses in their stalls and Salome’s gasps for breath from running all the way across the grounds: down the lawn, through the stonewall gardens, and finally to the stables. Despite the quiet and the stillness within, Salome knew that Kit was here. There was nowhere else the seventeen-year-old could hide, and it was impossible to Apparate on school grounds. The seventh-year was just making a point to be silent so she wouldn’t have to come out and face her Potions partner about the display that had just happened in class.

Salome shielded her arm over her eyes from the pieces of hay fell like spaghetti-like snow.

“Kit!” she shouted, beginning to peek into the horse stalls. “Kit, come out right now! You’re acting like a five-year-old!”

Salome moved cautiously, knowing it would be just like Kit to sneak up on her and grab her by the shoulders, screaming bloody murder. The girl had an odd idea of how friends behaved towards one another.

Even though Kit was two years older than her, there were many occasions when Salome felt like she was the more mature of them. Ever since the day they had met, whenever Salome found herself in any sort of predicament, it could somehow, someway be connected back to Kit. A more logical person might have begged the question as to why Salome even associated with the girl, given this track record.

“Kit, don’t you dare jump out at me and say ‘Boo!’” Salome shouted out, spinning around, trying to catch the older girl in the act. “We both agreed we were getting too old for that!”

“I know that.”

The voice that spoke from only a few inches away caused Salome to shriek and jump, even though the word ‘boo’ was never spoken. And once Salome turned around, there stood Kit Benedicte, complete unfazed by the episode just now, as well as what had happened in Potions class just moments before.

“What’s up with you, Sweet Pea?” Kit asked, as though she were confused by the whole confrontation and the tone it was taking. “You came storming in here looking like someone stuck a wasp’s nest to the bottom of your seat.”

Salome grumbled under her breath as she moved to steady her position and did her best to look outraged, but Kit just gave a snort.

Salome had always known that she was something of a goody-goody, but no one could make her feel that way better than Kit Benedicte could. Salome knew that she herself had no ability to such mind-boggling disrespect to a teacher and then walk away as though nothing happened. And yet here Kit was, waltzing around the campus with a conscious as clear as crystal.

“What on Earth could you have possibly been thinking?” Salome stormed forward so she was standing nearly nose-to-nose with Kit. In her most confident voice possible, she continued, “You have one opportunity to make a first impression with this new teacher, and…that is what you choose to do? Not only that, but you choose to take me down with you?”

Kit was small for her age, but sadly, Salome was even more so, so Kit was still able to look down at her in any conversation, even when Salome was standing on her tiptoes.

In fact, all these words did was made Kit laugh even harder. “He’s not going to dock points from you,” she managed to say within the giggling fit. “Chances are he’ll probably think it was one freak incident of insanity on my part and’ll just forget the whole thing ever happened. And if he doesn’t, I’ll just play up the crazy for a few weeks until he decides that my actions should not affect your report card.”

Kit wandered about the stable floor, around bales of hay and tack equipment, twirling the sash from her school robes about her shoulders in a dreamy and almost jubilant manner. It was clear that there was absolutely no point in trying to make Kit feel guilty about what she had done.

Salome huffed under her breath. By all logic, she shouldn’t have been in this situation, because she shouldn’t have even been in C.A.T. classes. Salome was in her sixth-year, even though she was only fifteen years old. She had been identified as ‘gifted’ and ‘precocious’ a mere six weeks into her first year, and as soon as Christmas break was over, she was skipped into the second year.

But it was also because of this that she had met Kit. She saw very little of the girls her own age during the school day, and most of the older girls—either because of contempt, jealousy, or just plain disinterest—distanced themselves from the younger girl in their class, no matter how minor an age difference it really was. But eventually, she met Kit Benedicte, who was not quite so preoccupied with grades…at least not enough to be threatened by the younger student.

And while Salome might have been considered as ‘straight-laced’ as they came, she was far too invested in her studies and herself to go tattling to the teachers about anything Kit did in her spare time, namely her unauthorized ventures into the Muggle town of Salem. In an odd sort of way, it was the lack of investment in one another’s interests that proved to give the girls their unusual sort of friendship.

The fact that Salome found herself so often caught up in any trouble Kit might have found herself in was just an unfortunate side-effect, such as today’s incident in Potions.

When Kit finally noticed the serious, stern look on her friend’s face, she stopped her prancing and rushed back to Salome’s side.

“Oh, lighten up!” Kit tried with a light tone, reaching out to ruffle Salome’s hair with both hands. “I know you laughed. Once you were out of Fresh Meat’s sight and earshot, you laughed.”

Salome stiffened; she most certainly had not laughed! Not when she hadn’t been convinced she would make it out of that classroom alive!

But finally Kit seemed to understand just how inappropriate her behavior was, her voice took on a more even tone. “Anyway, he’s not going to be here for much long. I might only have one year left at this place, but I’m sure as hell not going to spend it kissing ass!”

Salome’s face contorted into shock at the sound of the swear, and once again, Kit burst out laughing at the expression. “Good God, Sweet Pea, you’re worse than Catholic guilt!” she teased. “Not to mention if we show perfect behavior during the first class, then that’s exactly what he’s going to expect for the rest of the year. And he’s not going to get it from anyone else, so wouldn’t it have been crueler to lie to him?”

Chewing on her bottom lip, Salome did her very best to come up with some clever sort of retort but came up blank.

“I wouldn’t worry about any of it, though,” Kit went on. “This whole school’s going to be doing their part to see that Professor Cameron…well, you’ll see.”

Salome’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What are you getting at?” This was starting to sound like something that would see to it her children and grandchildren would grow up in detention at the Salem Institute for Young Witches.

Kit shook her head up at the rafters. “Salome, if this guy is ever going to be the sort of teacher that anyone will ever learn anything from, you gotta train him to follow the unwritten rules of Salem,” she explained. “Teacher or student, you start here at the lowest of the low, and have to work your way up. Really, that attitude of his is only going to make it worse for him. A little humility will be good for him, and not just as a teacher.”

Salome’s eyes went wide. “Train him? He’s not a dog!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Kit assured her. “It’s a perfectly natural part of getting a new teacher. Especially when you’ve never spent any time around kids, which I guarantee you, this guy hasn’t. I heard from Cyrille that she saw one of the second-years bolting out of his classroom like he’d shot her owl!”

Salome shifted uncomfortably in her shoes. Even if the second-year didn’t have a name in this story, she still couldn’t help but feel bad for the girl, being made to cry in front of her entire class. That was when Salome first began to notice that characteristic pull over to the ‘Dark Side’ that always preceded her getting in trouble right alongside Kit. If she had any sense, she would have cut and run right there.

They were interrupted by a pair of fourth-year girls in riding robes leading two of the school’s winged horses out into the ring. “Hey, guys!” Kit called over to them. “You heard about the new Potions professor?”

The girl leading a chestnut-colored Aethonan spoke up first. “The guy wearing all black who looks like he wants to eat your soul?” Kit nodded and Salome’s jaw dropped at the blunt description. “Yeah, I saw him when I was with Raquel yesterday. Let’s just say I can’t wait for class tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I heard he stole Anna Morrison’s Seeing-Eye Elf,” snapped the other girl. “His ass is grass!” In a sporadic action, the taller girl smacked her riding crop against the one of the stable beams, causing her horse to buck at the sharp noise.

Kit turned to face Salome as the two riders left the stable. “You see?” she pointed out. “Cameron’s going to get what he deserves with or without us. Or do you still think you can change the minds of the entire student body?”

Salome began to fidget as she felt herself being pulled deeper and deeper into a situation that seemed like it could only end painfully. But it did seem like it would be an…engaging, and even amusing pastime in a school with no boys and where a person would live a near Puritanical existence if they followed every school rule. First, Kit had caught the urge, now it was beginning to spread to Salome, and the two fourth-years already seemed heavily infected by the notion.

It has to be contagious….


 

 







Severus rushed to pick up the still-burning cigarette butt off the floor while Shoshana crumpled against the couch cushions, crippled by a violent fit of laughter. Quickly tossing the burning stick into a cup of tea, he turned back in complete seriousness to face the agent who could not have been acting less professional.

When Shoshana had arrived at Severus’ flat (unannounced, of course) and sat down on the couch to light a cigarette, she’d promised that she would be able to maintain a professional disposition if Severus agreed to tell her how his first day of teaching went. Severus had not even told her everything when she finally could not hold in her laughter and her cigarette launched out of her mouth like a harpoon.

Now that his flat was no longer in danger of burning to the ground, he felt like he could address what he felt was a completely inappropriate reaction on Shoshana’s part.

“It’s not funny!” he growled.

“Yes, it is!” Shoshana was barely able to squeak.

The girl reached into her bag for another cigarette, which Severus might have scolded her for, seeing she had nearly burned the building down with the last one. But she was still shaking so hard that he doubted she would even be able to manage the dexterity to light it. As an afterthought, he wondered just how quickly the couch could burst into flames.

“You just don’t think so because you’re the one it happened to,” she said, finally giving up and setting the pack on the coffee table.

Severus briefly considered that he shouldn’t be so rattled about the girl creating such a mess in a flat that was barely his, but yet another of his more recent gifts from the Witness Protection Program. It was a Muggle building, but Severus had no plans of becoming friendly with his neighbors, no matter who they were, so it hardly mattered. It was rather small, but Shoshana informed him until the American government could get a hold of his finances and sell his old home at Spinners End, it would just have to do. Not that Severus hadn’t gone without money before.

“Okay, okay!” The girl settleed back against the couch cushions, clutching at her aching sides. “Let’s make a list. In the course of one day, you stole a Seeing-Eye Elf from a blind kid, made a twelve-year-old cry in front of twenty of her closest friends, and caused half of your C.A.T. class to walk out in the middle of the lesson.”

“There are only two students in C.A.T. Potions!” Severus exclaimed. “I can hardly have a proper lesson with only one child in the classroom!”

Shoshana just continued to laugh and snicker, though at least she had the decency to cover her mouth while she did so. “Let me ask this, at least. Were you actually trying to start the school year as horribly as you possibly could?”

Severus groaned, knowing know that his handler was not going to offer him any sort of pity. “As though the first day of teaching school wasn’t bad enough the first time!” Severus couldn’t help but shudder as he thought back to those dark days.

“Yeah, I’m not quite sure how you’re going to top all this,” Shoshana finally seemed to collect herself, “but I’m sure you’re going to find a way to do it somehow. You just seem like that kind of guy.”

Severus groaned and sunk back into his armchair. “I think you all would have been better off leaving me to bleed on that floor!”

By now, Shoshana’s laughter had stopped completely and she was finally able to attempt solemnity. “Oh, c’mon, you don’t mean that! Look, I remember how brutal kids can be to the new teacher, trying to see just how much they can get away with. Oh, the stories I could tell you…but I don’t think they would help in making you feel better.”

Finally, the girl’s gaining a little perspective, Severus thought as he sneered to himself.

Shoshana moved to his side. “Look, I know it was a really crappy day, but at least it’s over now, and you can start tomorrow fresh. Just take a deep breath—” Shoshana illustrated by inhaling deeply, “—and remind yourself…it’s only going to get worse now that they’ve tasted blood.”

That was not what he had been expecting to hear. Staring up at her, agape, Severus just had to ask, “How is that supposed to help with anything?”

Shoshana shrugged and reached once again for her unlit cigarette. “It doesn’t, but we both know we’d be kidding ourselves if I said anything different.”

Severus continued to scowl. “You are a horrible, horrible friend!” he growled.

The young Ministry agent looked back over her shoulder and, the first time, Severus saw the girl genuinely shocked. “When did we become friends?”

Chuckling at the irony of it all, Severus came as close to a smile as was possible for him. “Shoshana, right now, you are probably the closest thing I have to a friend right now. And that, in itself, is extremely sad.”


 

 







Severus tried to follow Shoshana’s advice and start his next day with a clean slate. This advice seemed to work surprisingly well until Severus was suddenly reminded that his first class of the day would be the Salem fourth-years. And he was reminded of this by one girl standing among a group of four waiting to be let into the classroom, a girl who was staring off into space, focusing on nothing in particular, with a house-elf in a matching dress standing at her side.

Pressing on ahead and hoping Anna Morrison was the forgiving sort, he made his way to the entrance of the classroom. “Good morning, ladies,” he greeted his strange students who seemed just a little afraid of him before turning to the one he already knew. “Miss Morrison.”

The girl turned her head in the direction of the voice, but she didn’t make eye contact. She smiled as she spoke. “Morning, Professor Cameron.”

For a fleeting moment, Severus wondered how a blind girl would even learn how to smile. The house-elf, while still holding Anna’s hand, crossed her arms in front of herself and gave a humph in the manner of someone extremely offended. Severus tried to greet the creature with as much civility as he knew how to treat a house-elf with. “Good morning, Sheriri.”

“Go to hell!” the elf squeaked at him.

The other girls around the door snickered at the profanity, and even Anna Morrison couldn’t help but giggle slightly at her Seeing-eye Elf’s outburst.

“I’m sorry,” she finally apologized in that way of hers that didn’t involve looking people in the eyes. “But when Sheriri and I first started working together, it took forever to get her to outgrow her old head-bowing, whatever-you-say house-elf mannerisms. A Seeing-Eye Elf needs to be bold so they can give orders to their human and keep them out of danger.”

Anna adjusted her shoulder bag as the girls behind her shifted uncomfortably. “And I’m not about to start encouraging her to do any different now.”

Severus suddenly began to cough in a way that even sounded uncomfortable. “Right, then,” he said, wanting to put a quick end this conversation. “Let’s get to class.”

When he opened the door, however, he was greeted with a rather surprising sight. Severus, who had thought that Anna and the three other girls outside were just early birds, entered the room to find it filled with what had to be the entire fourth-year class, and Severus didn’t even have to look at the guilty expressions on their faces to see what they had been up to.

The walls of the classroom were no longer bare. None of the old, mold-laced drawings had been tacked up, but they were all drawings of the same purpose, dozens upon dozens of them. It must have taken several nights’ work to produce such quantities. Mobiles and models even dangled from the ceiling.

Severus wasn’t quite sure if the girls had meant this to be some sort of prank; as though the sight of anything colorful that could lift people’s spirits would cause him great offence. He even began to wonder if the three girls outside were meant to stand guard. Severus couldn’t help but snicker at the idea of a blind girl being assigned the job of lookout. He knew that that was incredibly inappropriate to think, but he doubted there were any Legimenses in the class to hear him.

“Good morning, ladies,” he began with the rehearsed speech he had prepared for the first day of each of his classes. “My name is Professor Cameron, and I will be your new permanent Potions instructor.”

As Severus spoke, he began to notice that the girls in his class seemed to be looking at him rather expectantly, their eyes shifting from the decorations to him and back again. It was as though they honestly thought this was some sort of clever prank that he would blow his top at the moment he saw.

Best to do away with that illusion!

“I suppose you all thought I took away the classroom decorations just to be mean, and by putting new ones back up, you’re somehow getting revenge.” He began to pace lazily through the aisles. “Well, I’m not exactly certain what you think all this is going to accomplish. Believe it or not, I am not the evil British Potions professor that flees from bright colors the way a vampire flees from sunlight.”

Severus returned to the blackboard, taking up a piece of chalk. “As nothing proves to be a fire hazard, you can decorate the classroom however you want. It’s your school, after all.”

Severus scanned the room for disappointed faces, but found himself feeling disappointment with the lack of response. Now he would have to think up some other way to show that he wielded the power in this classroom. As it was, it certainly wasn’t going to be spread by word of mouth.

“Now, let’s move on to the lesson for today.” He turned to add further notes to the writing already on the chalkboard. “According to your headmistress, the third-years left last year with the study of Sleeping Draughts, so we will be starting your fourth year by seeing just how much you have retained since your summer vacation.”

From behind him, Severus thought he heard a few groans and smiled to himself at the progress being made.

“On the board, you see the instructions for the brewing of Dozing Draft, a very mild Sleeping Draught which you should have already learned to make last year. Your textbooks should also be able to supply you with supplementary information for the brewing process.” Severus tilted his head towards the large storage cupboard against the wall. “Ingredients are in the storage cupboards. Anyone who did not bring their cauldron and tools to class will be out of luck and earn a zero for the day. You are more than halfway through your education, and you should know by now what is expected of you when you come to class.”

A few of the girls began to squirm uncomfortably in their seats. He was making progress. Severus moved away from the board to stand before his class once again. “And if for any reason, you find yourself without your supplies, let today be a learning experience for you.

“You will be working pairs. When you hear your name, go find your partner and get to work.”

He supposed giving the girls partners for their brewing made his speech about class supplies rather redundant, but he admitted to himself it was more for the purpose of seeing to it the fourth-years did not believe this was a class they would simply be able to ‘scoot through’.

Severus picked up a piece of parchment from his desk and began reading off the pairs of names. “Tulla Martelli and Morgan Kerner, Sarah Dowling and Graciela Nieves, Kirsten Hall and Tess Womack, Andrea Beaulieu and Sonja Nicolic, Mai Vu and Erin Marsh….”

Gradually, the girls began finding their partners and moving to their tables, most of them keeping a cautious eye on their new teacher. Severus couldn’t help but relish the taste of fear once again. How he had missed it! “…Jane Iwamoto and Chelsea Barnett, Laurel Anderson and Bonnie Acosta, Daisy Calton and Corona Sousa, Michelle Lowe and Vivien Finn, Caitlin Grove and Heidi Lofton….”

Finally, there was only one pair of students left. “Jennifer McFadden and…Anna Morrison.”

Anna Morrison was still in her seat, fumbling with the various tools while she stared straight ahead. Her partner set the ingredients out, one by one. He wondered just how much individual attention the girl would need to get through the lesson. He had never had a student with such a…profound disability as Miss Morrison.

But Miss McFadden didn’t seem at all horrified at the prospect of working with the girl, and Anna wouldn’t have been allowed into fourth-year Potions if she was completely unprepared for the subject, so Severus decided that, for now, he would just let things progress. He was actually a little surprised himself for obsessing so much over one student and feeling so uncomfortable. It had to be leftover guilt from stealing the girl’s Seeing-Eye Elf…which he was still trying to figure out how exactly happened.

“Miss Nieves, even out that measuring spoon! You easily have three times too much powdered Mooncalf hoof…” Severus began making his rounds around the classroom. “Miss Finn, the instructions say ‘simmer’, not ‘start a forest fire’. Turn down that flame…Miss Calton, magazines do not belong in the classroom, so now it’s mine ‘til Monday….”

But every time he passed by Anna Morrison’s table, he found his words continually getting caught in his throat. There were plenty of things he could have commented on; her lavender had not been ground fine enough, her melted butterscotch was too runny, she hadn’t even started on slicing her fairy wings. But while these things might have taken points off her final score, there was nothing that would have caused the cauldron to start spewing noxious gas, so he just continued moving past her again and again.

You know you would never let her off so easily if she could see, a voice rang in Severus’ head, and that only made the knot in Severus’ stomach tie even tighter.

Shut up! Severus growled to himself, even though arguing with himself made him feel even more awkward.

“Missy Anna, smaller,” he suddenly heard a squeaky voice. “Much better!”

Severus turned around to see the girl’s elf pushing the mortar and pestle back into her hands, prompting her to start grinding again. Jennifer McFadden continued her work beside her as though there was nothing unusual about what was going, certainly a lot more relax about her blind partner than Severus was.

How did an elf learn so much about potions anyway? Severus had to wonder.

“Sheriri, are these the wings?” Miss Morrison asked, holding up a slab of dried and flattened leeches.

“No, Missy Anna Miss.” The Seeing-Eye Elf reached for the wings. “Here the wings are!”

Severus had to admit that his heart started racing when the girl reached for the knife, but, eyes forward, she sliced the wings into strips with a practiced hand, Sheriri the elf watching the knife like a hawk. Again, Miss McFadden was working at a relaxed pace, not a worry in her head.

“Miss Morrison,” Severus finally spoke up, “slice the strips diagonally, not vertically.”

“Alright.” The girl shifted the wing and continued slicing. No crying, and the girl didn’t shatter into pieces or burst into flames.

Feeling a bit more confident, Severus turned his attentions to the elf. “Sheriri, you help Miss Morrison with all her classes like this?”

“It’s Sheriri’s job to help Missy Anna Miss with everything Miss Anna might need.” The Seeing-Eye Elf didn’t take her eyes off Miss Morrison’s knife. “Sheriri has been doing this for many years, and Sheriri will for many more.”

Nodding, Severus couldn’t help but ask, “Then why didn’t you ‘help Miss Anna’ yesterday in the elevator when I was trying to get her attention?”

The little house-elf looked up at the Potion’s Master with a look of defiance that seemed almost impossible to be on the face of one of these creatures. “Sheriri doesn’t work for Potions Teacher Number Seventeen!”

Severus was taken slightly aback by the shouting elf. “Miss Morrison, turn down that flame while you’re at it!” he quipped before sweeping away. No insult for the elf, as he had never been in the position of needing to insult a house-elf. He still wasn’t quite sure whether he was any more comfortable working with the blind student than he was before.

But he was able to now comment on Miss Morrison’s work as he commented on the on the brewing of the other students.

“Miss Iwamoto,” he said to the Asian girl at the next table over, “you do realize that the instructions call for slicing the wings, not mutilating them?”

But instead of doing anything to fix this, the girl just looked up at him, disgusted. “I’m Miss Barnett!” she said before pointing to the black girl who was her partner. “She’s Miss Iwamoto!”

Severus’ stared at the girls. It was just barely possible that they might have been telling the truth, but the more likely answer kept surfacing in his mind. “Is this some sort of joke?” he asking in a tone that left no room for joking. “To see just how much you can get away with on the first day?”

But the petite girl before him stood her ground. “You do know how racist that sounds, right?”

He had gotten this far into the class period without making an ass of himself. He was not about to have the forth-years go running off to the first teacher they could find to tell that their Potions Master was a racist as well. So if her partner wanted to be ‘Miss Iwamoto’ for the rest of the year, by all means, he saw no reason not to let her.

“Time’s up!” Snape snapped above the volume of the collective class. “Whether you’re finished or not, bottle a sample of what you have brewed with your names attached, then bring them up to my desk for grading.”

A quick glance around the room revealed some groups who might have been less than ready to turn over what they had produced especially as a lot of girls seemed to be taking their sweet time bringing their potion samples to the desk.

“Homework for next class is to have read pages sixty-seven through one hundred and four in your textbooks, as well as sixteen inches of parchment on how your potion brewing abilities have regressed over the summer and what you plan to do to fix that.” Severus began collecting his class notes off his desk. “Everybody, dismissed!”

Even after their potions had been turned in, the girls were slow in gathering up their things, but Severus supposed they were old enough not to need him to hold their hands, so he took the liberty of leaving.

In retrospect, especially given what he had seen from the fourth-years at the beginning of class, this probably wasn’t the best decision.

When he returned to his classroom, Severus saw the first-years already gathered outside the door, a collection of pigtails, messy ribbons, and obscenely-colored book bags. But the chatter gradually came to an end once they noticed the approaching adult.

“Hello, ladies,” he greeted the new students, once again, with his rehearsed speech. “My name is Professor Cameron and I am the school’s Potion Master. I am actually rather looking forward to this class because I will be able to start from scratch withal of you and not have to undo years of bad habits left on you by…other instructors.”

A few of the girls waved and muttered hellos, while everyone else stared off in to space, still not having shaken the dreamy state summer tended to put students in. Then again, there was something to be said about that blissful state of ignorance before a child learned fear.

But Severus couldn’t say that he was actually trying to strike any sort of fear into his students at the particular moment. As they followed him into the room, Severus decided that there would be a whole school year for that.

“Everyone please take your seats,” he said in a somewhat distracted way as he remove his satchel from him shoulder.

There was a quiet murmur among the class, before one little girl in braids finally got up the nerves to ask, “How?”

Severus searched through his branch, trying to think of a snarky remark for the little brat, when he heard the sound of his satchel drop to the floor, right at his feet. Looking around the room, none of the tables or stools were there for the students, at least until he started to venture his eyes up towards the ceiling. There they were: the desk, the stools, everything necessary for conducting a Potions lesson, along with the supply cupboards. All of it had been stuck there as though this was exactly where it was supposed to be.

“Is this a test?” another little girl asked in a tone that had yet to fear the wrath of Severus Snape.

“Oh, bloody hell!” Severus muttered to himself.

He should never have mentioned anything about ‘decorating the ceiling’ to the fourth-years. And he certainly shouldn’t have given them the opportunity to attempt something else that would truly annoy him. As he stood there, he found himself trying to figure out whether this little stunt had been provoked by the decorations, his remarks to Miss Iwamoto, or maybe even Sheriri had encouraged the students to give it a try.

Severus extracted his wand from his pocket and tried casting a nonverbal summoning charm. Nothing. All the furniture remained stuck.

Accio storage cupboard!” he then tried. Still nothing. He had to wonder what kind of education these students were getting: his American fourth-years were easily a year behind his British students one, and yet they could levitate a classroom full of heavy furniture and perform a Sticking Charm strong enough to actually hold them to the ceiling.

“Professor, I don’t think this is working,” came yet another little voice.

Damn, damn, damn! Severus thought to himself. There were at least several dozen different charms the girls could have used to do this, and they all had their own counter-spells. And, as much as it might have hurt Severus’ ego to admit, he didn’t even know most of them. He didn’t even want to think about how long it would take to look up and try all of them.

Of course, now he had the problem of teaching his class without any of the furniture or equipment.

“Everyone…” The fourth-years had left the entire supply of burners on their tables, which were now also dangling from the ceiling. “…we will…” The ingredients were even stuck to the shelves in the storage cupboards. “Oh, all of you just go!”

Upon hearing this, the first-years were so excited to be getting out of class that absolutely no one was frightened his yelling. In fact, they were fighting and climbing all over one another to get out of the classroom.

Once they were all gone, having no desk and no chair to sit at, Severus left the room as well and made his way to the teacher’s longue. He knew that the headmistress most likely wouldn’t hold him responsible for something the students had done, but he still knew that this little stunt was a reflection of him as a teacher, especially since the girls even thought they could get away with it.

Severus grumbled to himself, knowing that his students at Hogwarts would never have been so stupid as to think they could pull off something like this. Of course, there he had had the not-quite-rumors of being a former Death Eater to ensure that.

Here at Salem…he wasn’t quite sure what he had to work with, and it certainly wasn’t going to get his classroom down off the ceiling!
 

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