Severus Snape and The Goblet of Fire
The atmosphere bristled with excitement as the Yule ball began; the great hall was filled with students in their dress robes and gowns. They stood around the dance floor waiting for the announcement of the Tri Wizard Champions. The band started to play and the students clapped as the great doors opened and the Champions proceeded gracefully into the centre of the room. Cedoric Digory, Harry Potter, Fleur Delacour and Victor Krum took their place with their partners and began to dance.
Soon after Dumbledore took Professor McGonagall's hand and led her onto the dance floor, which was indication that others could also start to dance.
Snape stood at the edge of dance floor looking disinterested and wondered what the appropriate length of time would be before he could make his exit.
"Yeeess" Snape said continuing to look over the crowd of dancers.
"Would you like to dance?"
He quickly looked down his nose at whoever was speaking to him and noticed one of the older Slytherin girls. He was taken aback but didn't allow it to show in his posture. He raised an eyebrow and looked back toward the crowd of dancers.
"I'm afraid I won't be doing any dancing as my cloak gets in the way" He said, half tongue in cheek.
"You could take it off sir" was she oddly persistent or just plain stupid?
Snape looked down at her, this time to give her a glare but this unfortunately meant eye contact. She was wearing a beautiful emerald silk gown that brought out her... green eyes...oh dear. and auburn hair. not good. For a second it took him back to the one dance he had had in the great hall, when he was a student. For some unfortunate unknown reason he lost himself in that thought and agreed to dance.
The moment she took his hand he regretted it. He hadn't danced for well over thirty years and it was only ever going to end in perpetual embarrassment, which he already felt as the eyes of the onlookers were upon him. But the girl glided like air and made it easy for him to copy the other dancers. By the end of the dance, relief was short lived as the girl gave way to her best mate, who was large and bulky and clearly the opposite in every way.
He should have stopped it there, what was wrong with him? But the music started again and everyone on the dance floor was compelled to keep on moving.
After a good eight songs and eight different dance partners Snape managed to escape to the drinks table. He leant against the wall feeling very hot in his jacket. He was sweating which made his hair more lank that usual. McGonagall approached him and Snape stood up in her presence.
"Severus, you've got at least three different shades of lipstick on your cheek!"
Which of course there wasn't but Snape vigorously rubbed it with his sleeve, much to McGonagall's amusement.
"You know what it is Severus; it's all that black, and the danger.. the girls really go for the danger" She grinned, loving the opportunity to tease Snape.
"Danger Isn't Working" he hissed, punctuating each word slowly..
McGonagall continued to titter away "I haven't had this much fun in ages, watching you squirm, anyway Albus asked me to ask you stay until the end, he needs you to help him get all the students to their dormitories."
Great, another three hours to go. He observed McGonagall's eyes tracking the room in search of Dumbledore, who was now dancing with Madam Maxime she had that glazed look about her. Snape flared his nostrils and smirked, "You do realise he's gay don't you?"
McGonagall quickly got onto the defensive and with a short tongue said "You worry about your own problems and leave me to mine!" At that she looked down at whatever was tugging at Snape's jacket; it was the smallest one yet. Snape and McGonagall looked at each other and shuddered slightly.
"We'll it looks like you've made your way through the Slytherins already" she said in a sarcastic manner.
Worst yet; it was a Hufflepuff, a Hufflepuff.
Snape sneered at it but it just grinned back. There was something in the air tonight, the more abusive he got with them the more they quivered and squeaked. He felt like a parody of himself. But now he really had had enough, he sent it away in tears much to McGonagall's disapproval and went to sit down in the furthest darkest corner he could.
The formal dancing had come to an end and the band was getting ready for their set. On the other side of the room there was a gang of Slytherin boys all crossed armed and crossed legged and frowning. Snape welcomed the thought that they were having a worse night than he was and hoped in some way he might have caused it.
He sighed and started to run through the names of the students he'd had to dance with to make sure that they would all received random detentions over the next couple of weeks. Then it occurred to him that quite a few of those students did actually receive regular detention and never showed the slightest signs of altering their attitude.
Filch will be doing all detentions from now on. He often bribed Filch with a longevity potion for felines. (That cat was old when Snape started working at Hogwarts.) Not that Filch ever had an issue when it came to serving out detentions.
Time passed by slowly but at least now the students had worked out to leave well alone.
"Severus could I have a word with you?" It was Igor Karkaroff
"Why?" Snape said sharply, he was being rude; he didn't like being associated with him, particularly whilst at Hogwarts. Karkaroff played with his goatee, his eyes looking quite desperate.
"Oh Okay" Snape snapped getting out of his chair, "but lets got outside out of the way"
They walked out of the main doors to discover a rose garden had been erected for the occasion. Disgusting, Snape thought as they proceeded into it.
"What did you want to talk about?" As if he didn't know
"The Dark Lord is returning" Karkaroff said barely uttering the words "The Dark Mark, you must be aware of this"
"Obviously, but I don't see what the fuss is about Igor" It's not like Karkaroff was the only one in this position. Snape did not appreciate having to have this conversation and his mood was black. He got out his wand and blasted one of the rose bushes, two figures that he could not make out came running out of it. Two reasons to blast the revolting things. Snape continued to blast the bushes as Karkaroff spoke.
"Severus, you cannot pretend this isn't happening" Trying to keep as inconspicuous as possible whilst Snape proceeded to blast the bushes!
"It's been getting clearer and clearer for months. I am becoming seriously concerned, I can't deny it"
"Then flee" Snape said, like he was remotely concerned about Karkaroff's problem "Flee. I will make your excuses. I however am remaining at Hogwarts" He blasted another bush, this time he caught sight of the students running behind it. "Ten points from Hufflepuff, Fawsett and ten points from Ravenclaw too, Stebbins!" Snape then noticed Potter and his horrible little ginger friend standing in his path, like the evening could get any worse. "And what are you two doing?" he said sneering at them.
"We're walking" said Weasley glaring back
"Keep walking then" Snape snapped whilst storming pass them out of the garden into the darkness of the grounds. Karkaroff followed him still insistent on continuing the conversation.
"You know what he'll do to me after I helped The Ministry" Karkaroff said catching Snape up.
"Yes I do, I also recall that you gave them my name in the process" Snape glowered still walking into the darkness. Karkaroff grabbed his cape to stop him.
"I would have given them my mothers name to get out of Azkaban, you have no idea what it's like, you'd managed to seat yourself firmly in Dumbledore's pocket, soon after the incident as I remember. You wasted no time so do not judge me. We all spoke of it, in Azkaban, what you must have done to get a reprisal by the Ministry so soon."
"You talk like I am the traitor" Snape shouted at him "but I am not the one contemplating hiding from the Dark Lord if he returns.
"When he returns" Karkaroff jumped in, Snape ignored him and carried on ranting;
"He will find me in a position to influence Dumbledore, with immediate contact to Harry Potter. When he returns he will receive me as a well positioned, well informed servant. I will not disappoint him because I had a long term plan. You squealed like a pig at your first opportunity and didn't consider the consequences; so flee if you must but when Voldermort returns his fingers and eyes will search every corner so hide well Igor; hide well" With that he tugged his cape out of Karkaroff's grip and continued to walk into the darkness of the grounds. This time Karkaroff did not follow.
Snape blasted several rocks and a squirrel in his rage. The prospect of having to stand before The Dark Lord again was not one he cared to dwell on. He didn't suppose there was any other option.
Eventually the January wind cooled his temper and he made a slow walk back to the castle. When Snape walked into the entrance hall Dumbledore stood outside the great hall ushering students.
"Where have you been, I thought you were going to help me get them all to bed?" Dumbledore appeared tense and annoyed. But his posture changed when he saw Snape windswept and irritable.
"I have been speaking with Karkaroff about you know what" he said flicking his hair out of his face
"Karkaroff's Mark's becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much he helped the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell. Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns"
"Does he? And are you tempted to join him?"
Was Dumbledore being sarcastic? Had he given Dumbledore thirteen years of unwavering loyalty for him to presume that he would flee at a time when he was needed most? Snape was niggled, he kept his eyes on two students as they entered and left the entrance hall. "No, I am no such coward" In the many scenarios that had run through Snape's mind, he had never contemplated one that involved him fleeing Hogwarts.
"No" Dumbledore acknowledge "You are a braver man by far that Igor Karkaroff. You know I sometimes think we Sort too soon" At which point Dumbledore walked away leaving Snape lost for words.
He eventually closed the castle by threatening the straddlers with 5000 word potion essays and headed towards the dungeons, still annoyed with Dumbledore's flippant comments. He decided to put it down to Dumbledore being old and sometimes insensitive.
As old people can be.
Gryffindors sucked anyway.
Most of them.
Snape opened the door to his dimly lit office and searched through one of the cabinets with rows of bottled potions until he came across a golden spirit he'd brewed himself. He was fairly sure that Dumbledore wouldn't actually allow it on the premises. If ever Snape was in doubt about one of his spirits, he's be sure to add at least another 30% proof just to be absolutely certain that Dumbledore wouldn't allow it.
He poured a small amount into a glass and sat in his chair putting his feet on the desk. Snape closed his eyes and listened hard. Finally, the only sounds he could hear were the crackling of the fire and a soft patter of rain on the one small window.