Chapter Four: I Don't Make Mistakes
If there was any place in the castle that struck fear into students, it was the foreboding office of the Potions Master. This Snape knew, like he knew his own name, and he did his best to make it as chilly and unwelcoming as possible. It must have shown through in his sparse decor and the eerie vials he kept on mahogany shelves. When he strode in, parchments in hand, he found Moody sitting at his desk.
He took a deep breath.
It was going to be a long day.
Moody frowned at the titles of books littering Snape's desk. " One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi?" he asked coldly, flipping open a page with his thumb, as if the pages scalded him." Quite a popular text with Herbologists, I would think."
You would, wouldn't you? Snape's nasty voice whispered in his head. He tuned it out. " There are many plants necessary for brewing potions, surely you know this."
Moody nodded, clearing his throat." I do," he said gruffly." Potions is part of Auror education."
Snape raised one eyebrow carefully, not wanting to show that he, too, had gone through Auror training, mainly because the Dark Lord had told him to. His service was not completely without benefits." Indeed?"
Moody dipped his head." Sure." He fingered the bookmarks." Mind if I...?"
Snape did not object, though his lips were pressed thin. Moody opened the designated pages and drew back." Ohh, well, that explains quite a bit. Larkspur, death camas, iris, belladonna..." He smiled grimly." You like your poisons, don't you?"
" For the seventh year curriculum," Snape replied smoothly, reaching forward to close the book.
Moody opened another one. " Magical Drafts and Potions," he read." Seems fitting." He made a check on a small clipboard and then stood. " Would you mind if I opened a few drawers?"
Snape suddenly leapt into action, opening his mouth to protest.
" Thanks," Moody said quickly, sliding one open.
" No, I really didn't--"
" Ohhh, what's this?" he asked with a smile on his face, smug." A photograph?"
Snape bit his lip." Please, Moody, put that down..."
Moody waved the silver frame in the air. " But it's such a pretty picture...ickle Severus in his school robes, first day, maybe? And who's this man behind him?"
Snape growled," Put it down." His eyes were murderous. Any student in their right mind would have fled. Moody saw the gaze and crumbled, setting the picture back in the drawer and slamming it shut. Snape grit his teeth as the rattle echoed.
Moody meandered over to a stack of parchments. " Let's see...papers from last term? Tut tut, you need to actually return these, Snape."
Snape hissed," They are end...of...term papers."
Moody's brows lifted." Oh, I see. Hmm...a D, another D...this is six Dreadfuls in a row, Snape, you're no light grader."
" If the students were competent, I would not need to rip their averages to shreds," Snape replied with a curt smile.
Moody lifted the last paper." Oh, an A...from a Miss Hermione Granger. I'll have to keep this name in mind when I teach Defense this year."
Snape remained stoic, his arms folded across his chest.
Moody opened a vial and sniffed it, staggering backward." Wuff! What is this?"
Snape simply looked at it." Green...thick and odorous...I'd have to say Flesh Eating Slug Repellent."
" Where'd you buy this? Borgin and Burke's?"
Snape's eyes narrowed." I made it."
Moody's lips pulled down in a carefully satisfied expression." Hmph." He looked at another one. It was silvery and full of chunks and pieces of random objects." Cauldron a bit too cool to melt anything properly?"
Snape exhaled slowly." A Polyjuice Potion."
Moody asked," Ohh, to turn into what, now?"
Snape hissed," Whatever venomous creature I most feel like turning into. Preferably one with fangs."
Moody caught the hint and kept walking. He inspected cauldrons, though obviously had no idea what he was looking for or warding against, held up ladles, scales, vials, vial racks, tongs, measuring cups, mortars, pestles, and anything else he could get his grubby hands on. Nothing seemed to be out of place. " You run a tight ship, Snape." He uncovered a cauldron, checking its innards.
" I don't make mistakes."
Moody kept perusing, knocking over vials carelessly. Snape was on the verge of screaming when he almost brushed against a corrosive, and explosive, potion that he had removed from its case and left on the shelf. He ran forward and slid it back in, when he heard a loud boom! in the corner of the room. He spun, setting the case down, his eyes searching for the hole in the floor, the smoke, the puddle of mud that was Moody at one point, but only saw a bright purple stain on the stone wall. He clutched his face miserably. " My Wiggenweld!" he cried angrily." Get out of my office!"
Moody uncapped a vial, throwing the cork carelessly into a boiling cauldron. It exploded, sending shards of copper everywhere. Snape, who knew that the slightest disturbances in any simmering cauldron, could be damaging or worse, dropped flat on the floor as soon as he saw the stopper sail through the air. Therefore, when it exploded he was safe and unharmed. Moody had managed to hold up a text, which was now pockmarked with holes and stuck through in some places with long, slender pieces of metal.
Moody made a mark." Uncovered cauldron..."
Snape seethed," You uncovered it! I saw you!"
Moody continued writing."...Alleges that Inspector opened it..."
Snape pointed a long white finger at him." Don't...you...dare!" he snarled.
Moody ignored him and swiped a layer of dust off of a shelf." Little used, Severus?"
Snape growled," It's my shelf of Doxy poison. Doxies do not frequent any rooms but those heavily adorned in tapestry, and I have had the Headmaster put several cabinets in those rooms stocked with Doxy anti venom to ward off any unpleasant student injuries."
Moody nodded. " Well, caring for the students for once." He uncapped another vial, this time a red one.
" Antidote to Common Poisons," Snape said coolly." Not used as often as my Deflating Draught, but still lovingly kept close during any class of mine."
" How many vials of this do you have?"
" Thirty," Snape said quickly. Perhaps a bit too quickly.
Moody asked suspiciously," You sure?"
" I am positive," Snape said confidently." I am always aware of how many potions I have on hand."
Moody went through a list, calling off names and taking down their quantities.
" Doxy Anti venom?"
" You mean 'aphrodisiac'?" Snape asked condescendingly." Two."
" Why so little Veritaserum?" Moody asked.
" It takes a month to mature fully. It is too much work to go through unnecessarily."
" Any...ah...fatal potions?"
Snape thought back to what Dumbledore had said in the corridor. They have also found some rather shady elixirs that would have been brought to the Ministry's attention, and have put them under my care as well." No."
Moody snorted. " Really."
Snape gestured." Do you see any?"
Moody had to relent. He circled around a set of scales." Expensive looking."
" One hundred and fifty Galleons. It was a gift."
" Maybe someone wanted you to brew something fatal and administer it to yourself," Moody said absently.
Snape jerked. He knew Moody hated him, and he detested him even more, but this was over the line. He stood still, letting his eyes do the talking. Moody, however, ignored him. Not enough gall to face me, he thought.
At last, it seemed that the inspection was over. Moody had found nothing legitimately wrong, and Snape would argue the "uncovered cauldron" count vehemently, as any Ministry official for Misuse of Substances would know instantly that a covered cauldron meant trouble, and only extremely corrosive and stable potions, and few brews were ever both, would necessitate a lid.
In the doorway, two more Aurors, real ones this time, in full red garb, stepped in. Snape gaped at them, but quickly closed his mouth and stood off to the side. They swept through the shelves and rummaged through his desk. One stopped to admire his quill, though behind his hood and mask Snape couldn't tell his facial expression.
Moody muttered something to one of them, his artificial eye rolling madly. The Auror nodded, and came forward quickly, approaching Snape. The Potions Master lifted his head, ready to answer any questions. What he got instead was much more painful.
The Auror coiled his hand around Snape's left arm. The Dark Mark burned angrily, singeing his black sleeve. The Auror, with scarlet gloves, felt nothing. Snape collapsed, letting out a shrill cry. He hung his head, moaning. Moody stood over him, growling," You slime. I always knew you were a Death Eater, and now I've got proof."
Snape held one hand against the floor to keep himself upright." You...don't...know...anything..."
Moody pointed to his eye." See this? I can see everything. I can see right down to your Dark Mark. There are some spots that don't come off, Snape. Keep yourself aware. I am always watching you."
He felt another horrendous flash of white hot pain in his arm before collapsing as something collided with the back of his head.
And all went black.
It feels so good to be back! Many heartfelt thanks to those of you staying with and following this story! The next chapter will be the last...
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