Not quite. Twinkling, sherbet lemon offering, grandfatherly type, my ass! More like an underhanded puppet master obsessed with "The Greater Good." He was a chess master moving his living pieces around the board to suit his own whims without thinking twice about sacrificing anybody for his noble cause. Our beloved know-it-all and our beleaguered potions master were two of his favorite pieces. Today, the gloves are off and the twinkle is gone as we present...
This week's quiz was chosen by persevero who won last week's quiz by proving she doesn't suffer from Memory Loss!
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Match the quote to the story title:
Guard... Check... Mate by bambu345
Face On by harmony_bites
Engineered Collisions by fandomme
Second Life by lariopefic
The Lioness Prophecies by amr
Care of Magical Creatures by miamadwyn
Phantom of Hogwarts by Good Witch aka pern_dragon
De Mortuis Nil Bonum by shiv5468
Beyond 84 Charing Cross Road by devsgma and darnedchild
Not Long Now by DistinctVagueness
Spellcaster by sgcbearcub
Recovery by debjunk WIP
1. “Severus made me come. He thinks it will be good for me to say how I feel, to get it off my chest once and for all.”
Severus always was a sentimental fool, something that was easy to miss if you only looked at the surface; all that bitterness and cynicism was the mark of a disappointed romantic. The world never quite lived up to his expectations, so he rejected it wholeheartedly. The man was soft to the core, and for all his Slytherin worldliness had been so easy to manipulate.
He had tried to keep them apart, once he sensed his control slipping, but it had only pushed them closer together. She should be more reasonable about his ‘interference’ as she called it. Severus would never have stayed with her so long if it hadn’t been for his opposition. He had been burning to play the role of rebel for so long, to reject Dumbledore’s carefully extended hand. Hermione was just an excuse, nothing more. Severus didn’t consider that he had been treated well by him, thought he deserved more, thought he deserved to be trusted.
Trust an ex-Deatheater? That would have been foolish. Harry was the important one, the one that was the focus of the prophecy; everyone else was just there as a backdrop to the main action. So he had concentrated his energies on making sure Harry was in the right place at the right time, and it had worked, Voldemort had been defeated. So what if a few people lost their lives along the way? It was regrettable, but you couldn’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. And it was all for the greater good. Surely she could see that?
2. Dumbledore shook his head. “Voldemort grew up as a Muggle and has a basic knowledge of the Muggle world. It is very enigmatic. But I’m most puzzled by the phrase ‘Thrice the spell shall be augmented... unlooked for sharing of an ancient pain.’ Some sort of ancient Cruciatus curse? And does the tripling of the spell’s effectiveness have anything to do with the three who shall bring power to the Muggle-born? I would suppose so. They all must cast it together, yet how is this possible if the child is ‘yet unborn’? And how can a spell be unanticipated, ‘unlooked for’? Surely someone must cast it, and it is therefore not unlooked for at all! And why ‘sharing’? Would Voldemort’s attackers have to suffer the same pain? I can think of no existing spell with these characteristics, and a newly developed spell wouldn’t cause an ‘ancient’ pain.”
He looked struck by a new thought and turned to the Weasleys earnestly. “But Arthur, Molly, we must not talk about this. We don’t understand it, and so we don’t understand its importance. And you remember how important the knowledge of the prophecy about Harry proved to be. No, we must say nothing. Probably we must do nothing; after all, if Voldemort had shown such wisdom, Harry would have no chance to defeat him. In fact, it would be best if we could forget we’ve heard it. Do not mention it to anyone, not even another Order member.”
“Not even to Severus?” Molly was incredulous. “Surely he should know.”
“Particularly not to Severus,” Dumbledore said severely. “He has more than enough to be getting on with these days. That would be tempting fate indeed. He might feel compelled to marry someone to fulfill the prophecy, and yet she might turn out to be the wrong person. No, I think we must leave this strictly alone—there is a great potential for interference that will hurt our cause. Please follow my wishes in this. Now, Arthur, there were several points I wanted to go over with you before the next general meeting of the Order, and as long as Sibyll is safely disposed of for a moment....”
3. Severus cast a Muffliato spell so no one would hear him. Going over to the edge of the tower he peered over it.
“If you weren’t dead already, old man, I’d kill you again. Curse you for doing this to me. For making me an outcast among my own colleagues.” Severus looked into the sky as he climbed onto the battlement.
“What do you think, old man? Should I do it? Should I cast myself over the edge? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony? All that work you did, Dumbledore… for naught.” He laughed caustically. “All those plans, ruined. Your prized spy… dead. His body broken in the same place where you fell. I’ll do it, old man! I’ll end it all right now!” He shook his fist at the sky. “I wish I’d never met you! I hope you’re happy, you lousy excuse for a friend. You know I won’t do it. You know I’ll continue to walk around stoically while everyone looks at me as if I’m a monster. I’ll take their glares and glare right back, and they’ll never know how much it all stings.
“I don’t care what they think. They can think what they want! They will anyway,” he snarled. “It doesn’t matter. I will continue as your puppet, you lousy filth. I’ll go about my business as everyone thinks I’m the most horrible person who ever walked the earth. And believe me, Albus… I’m not doing this for you! It’s for her. It’s always been for her and for the future of our world. Do not even assume that I would do this for you!”
4. She would have to carry Snape’s secret and be prepared to launch his defense as soon as the war ended.
“I’ll do it,” Hermione said.
Snape turned slowly toward her. “Do what, if I may ask?” he hissed.
“I’ll keep your secret. I’ll start working now on a case for your innocence that can be set into motion as soon--”
“You have the gist of it, my dear,” Dumbledore said. “But I’m afraid that what I’m asking is slightly more complicated than that.”
Hermione looked at the old wizard questioningly.
“You realize that there will have to be some action on Professor Snape’s part, some parting blow that delivers him safely to the other side?”
“If you chose to protect Professor Snape and his secret, I would need to believe that your faith in him would not be broken, no matter what he had to do to leave the Order. I would have to be confident that you understand perfectly that all Professor Snape does, he does for the Light. He and I have made this choice together because we believe that he will be able to protect Harry more effectively from the other side.”
Hermione sat quietly for a moment. If Snape would be continuing to protect Harry, then whatever he had to do would not involve hurting Harry too badly. “What do I need to do to convince you that I would bear that burden willingly and trust Professor Snape unreservedly?”
“I would ask you to marry him.”
Marry him! Marry him? Suddenly, Hermione could see how neatly Dumbledore had boxed her in with her own sentiments.
5. The situation reminded Snape painfully of his own segregation during his school years. The glaring difference between Hermione and him was that he’d never had a close-knit group of friends whose loyalty had to be overcome. Snape had been an introverted, highly intelligent and poor Slytherin… not to mention ungainly and unattractive. He’d attempted to compensate for his lack of prestige with knowledge and power, but his adversarial status with the school’s – and Dumbledore’s -- favorites had kept him essentially friendless. After Potter had saved his life in fifth year, and Snape had been muzzled as a result of Dumbledore’s directives, he’d had no one to turn to. His lips twisted into a bitter sneer. He’d been ripe for the plucking.
The similarity of circumstances between his past and Hermione’s present were sounding alarm bells in his head. It was obvious to the spy within him that Dumbledore was setting her apart, separating her from her friends through coercions of silence. And it was just as obvious to Snape that Dumbledore had decided her fate… just as Dumbledore had decided his. However, in this scenario, Snape could detect a different ending. Hermione wouldn’t be put to further use as he had been. Instead, she had been categorized as a liability, and was being cast on the winds of fate, abandoned by those who should fight for her life.
Fury blazed within Snape, burning to steam the icy fear that had gripped him. His teeth clenched in his jaw and he made a decision... a leap of faith which might seem utterly illogical, but was one that his heart recognized as the right choice for him. It would be the first of many steps that would alter his path from the one pre-determined by the aged wizard who had manipulated, in one form or another, the course of Snape’s life since he’d been fifteen. Snape’s breath quickened with the realization that he was going to share the truth with this witch. He wanted someone to know. He wanted Hermione to know. Her earlier faith in him had been an unintentional source of hope when he had so little of that quality remaining. He wanted… needed to restore her opinion… it had catalytically become vital to him.
6. Hermione fought to keep her anger down. She drew her hand away. "I can see that," she answered softly. She put down her suitcase and started to walk away. Ginny began after her, but she turned. "No, it's okay. I'll be back by the time the train gets here. I just need to…" She smiled slightly at the redhead before carrying on.
A little way from the group of excited students, Hermione took a seat on a nearby bench, staring over at the castle. She blinked away the sudden tears that stung her eyes. She was tired of crying. It didn't seem to have a purpose anymore. It only served to make the pain in her chest increase.
Hermione suddenly realise that someone had sat down beside her.
"Not saying your goodbyes, Miss Granger?"
Hermione stared at the Headmaster. "I have already said them," she said finally.
Dumbledore nodded gravely. "Well, if I were you, I'd occupy my mind with something other than unpleasant memories, Miss Granger. You dwell on this matter needlessly. It has been dealt with and you should not worry anymore. I do not believe you were to blame." He smiled kindly and patted her shoulder.
Teeth clenched, Hermione forced herself to smile back at him. The smile froze as she glimpsed something over his shoulder.
Nearby, there were a few trees scattered around. Leaning against one tree was a tall, black shape. Hope hit Hermione so hard that she almost felt her heart stop.
At Hermione's expression, Dumbledore turned to see what she was gazing at. His smile fell instantly.
"Miss Granger, there is a train waiting for you. I suggest that you board it with your friends and prepare for the future that was made for you. Do not allow yourself to be dragged down by something that never was."
But Hermione had stopped listening.
7. "Sirius didn't try to kill him,"Minerva protested."It just went too far..."
Her voice trailed off as Hermione stared at her with disbelief. Minerva's rigid posture collapsed as her shoulders slumped.
"Albus blamed himself,"she said quietly."It was why he let Severus stay, afterwards."
"I don't understand why he didn't do anything,"Hermione said angrily."Sirius should have been expelled. Dumbledore didn't even take House Points. "
"He couldn't,"Minerva exclaimed. "Not without revealing Remus as a werewolf. "
"And he needed a friendly werewolf,"Hermione said bitterly.
"It wasn't like that!"Minerva snapped.
Hermione said nothing, but she rather thought it was exactly like that. Dumbledore must have seen the power the Wizarding world was handing Voldemort through their continuing prejudices against non-humans. This had been before the prophecy and the werewolves in particular had been a most effective threat. Lupin and his family had been the victims of that campaign of terror and - like Harry - Remus could be counted on to fight to the end if molded properly.
She supposed Dumbledore might have wanted people to get to know a real werewolf and hopefully see he was still a good person. Hermione admired the effort, and agreed with the need, but suspected it had been a secondary objective. Scared people were stupid people and could not be trusted. She had only to remember how everyone had blamed Harry when the Chamber of Secrets was opened to realize that fact. People didn't want logic or even proof and the very fact Dumbledore had seen the need to protect Lupin showed he knew just how they would react, given the chance.
Dumbledore had sacrificed Snape because he wasn't a potential spy.
8. You can't deny Draco genuinely cares about you. He tells me you're always putting off his invitations to dine with him and Harry. And Harry did try approaching you years ago – even before he and Draco … after we learned … " I bit my lower lip, cursing myself for bringing up a sore subject.
His face tightened. "Cat got your tongue? Still hard to admit it, isn't it? That the great man, the Lion among the Gryffindors, could – " He broke off, sounding like he was choking on the words and turned his back and started jamming the kits into the shelves.
Dumbledore had left no evidence, no word about how he had arranged for Snape to kill him. We'd had to deduce it from, among other things, Harry's Pensieve memory prepared in case he died before testifying. Not everything had added up. And then our suspicions were confirmed after Harry confronted Dumbledore's portrait. After that, Harry had stopped being Dumbledore's man – he became his own.
Snape kept his back to me as he spoke, his voice low. "Telling anyone, even Potter, the secret could have compromised me when I was still among the Death Eaters. Moreover, that Dumbledore ordered me to kill him is no true defence, as you learned. You can't consent to your own murder."
I couldn't believe how, even now, Snape of all people – bitter, hold-a-grudge-to-Doomsday-and-beyond-Sna
He whirled at that, looking astonished at my vehemence. His lips thinned in a brittle smile. "What made the difference is that the wizarding world will do anything for Harry Potter, conquering hero, as he attempts to show his munificence and magnanimity to his old enemy. You'll excuse me if, after the times I saved all your arses, I considered ourselves even and haven't properly grovelled."
9. You indicated you tried to tell people about the dangers of "this" happening again. People are fated to repeat history's mistakes. There was possibly one person who could have prevented the Dark Lord's reign of terror.
He's the one who brought Tom Riddle to Hogwarts. Watched him as he grew into his powers. Surely if anyone could see the potential for evil he could have.
I had to stop and walk about the room before I decided to assure you of this. I knew Dumbledore. I didn't know him as well as I thought I did, and that became obvious the more I knew him.
Many call him "the greatest wizard". I call him "the great manipulator" because he was.
People were not "people" to him. They were chessmen to be placed where and when he needed them in the battle with the Dark Lord. Nor were they allowed to know "too much". Knowledge was parceled out sparingly and quite grudgingly.
How many lives were lost needlessly because the great and wise Dumbledore had his plan all mapped out and didn't want one of his chess pieces to upset the balance? I say this unwillingly, because I am a cold hearted bastard at the best of times, I was appalled at some of the tactics he employed.
His heart wasn't merely cold. It was made of stone. It had to be.
Now you know why I warned you. I am not, never have been, and never will be a romantic. Life is too short for daydreams when your only reward is nightmares.
10. Snape really was frozen in blank perplexity. Once again, he had thought the headmaster had discovered his relationship with Hermione, and once again, he was a-sea with confusion that he had been mistaken. Still, if Dumbledore hadn’t caught on to them, what was he referring to?
His voice hard, Dumbledore threw his statement like a grenade. “Slug and Jiggers owled me to inquire about your employability.”
Like a bucket of water, the cold shock washed over Snape. Struggling to assimilate the true reason why Dumbledore had summoned him, Snape sucked in a breath.
“Albus, the war is over…”
Dumbledore cut him off. “Exactly! And after all that I did for you to help you survive, you would so easily cast me aside? You owe me, Severus. If it weren’t for me, you would likely have been dead ages ago.”
Snape reared back, as Dumbledore’s blunt words hit him like a slap in the face. Flabbergasted, he breathed, “I owe you?”
Dumbledore arched one eyebrow and looked down his nose at Snape. “Don’t you?”
Snape’s eyes widened in incredulity. “You’ve had my gratitude and my skills at your disposal for half my life! Isn’t it about time that I move on to something other than this?”
Still eyeing him stonily, Dumbledore said, “You were going to keep it from me, weren’t you? You would take all that I have cultivated in you for years and just leave? Give yourself to someone else? That is the most ungrateful thing I have ever heard.”
Snape stared, unable to respond.
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed and his voice lowered. His words stung Snape like a thousand tiny needles. “I won’t allow it. You’re mine, Severus. You know I view you like a son; and like any father might say, I made you. I want what’s best for you, and that is to stay here where I can make sure you aren’t making poor choices again or squandering what I’ve spent so long creating in you.”