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Pick Your Poison
Harry P. & Severus S. - Words: 19,201 - Rated: T - English - Romance - Chapters: 4 - Reviews: 31 - Updated: 16-02-2019 - Published: 11-01-2019 - Complete - by pinkwar (FFN)

Story C

It started with a storm.

This story is likely to be the most canon mine will ever get, so more or less everything happened as the books did, with the exception that Harry's always been a girl and Severus didn't die in the shack.

This story takes place when Harriet is in her mid twenties, so a good few years after the battle.

Harriet's luck with Hogwarts is still as rotten as ever and after a freak incident with her portkey she turns up a day late to her new job. There's one person in particular who's pissed about this turn of events, and it's not Harriet. Will Harriet be able to crack the animosity between herself and a certain Potions master, or will he push her away as he did once before?

STORY C

(It started with a storm)

Prologue

On a storm swept glen, somewhere in the wild echelons of Scotland a young woman had just materialised out of thin air.

Thankfully the only living creatures to witness this event were a few hardy sheep on the hill side opposite.

She appeared dazed; more than a little rumpled and had a deep pink mark on her right arm, a sure sign that a spectacular bruise would appear there later on.

If the fact that a random woman had just appeared out of thin air in the middle of Scotland wasn't odd enough in its own right. The fact that she was surrounded by several old fashioned trunks and a large grey owl in a travelling cage would surely be proof enough for anyone that something highly peculiar was taking place.

The owl seemed to realise the rather wet situation they'd landed themselves in before the woman did, because it let out an almighty screech to get her attention.

Apparently the owl knew how to rouse it's owner well, because the noise broke the woman out of her daze and finally made her take stock of her not quite right situation.

Blinking at the sky she realised two things.

One, the portkey hadn't dropped her at Hogwarts as it was supposed to and two, wherever the portkey had seen fit to dump her it was absolutely pissing it down and she was getting soaked.

"It's always sodding portkeys isn't it! I hate the damn thing's."

There was a loud clang, as the woman kicked out at the closest thing to her. The owl cage.

Her actions didn't please the cages occupant in the slightest and it began screeching in displeasure.

Hearing the indignant cries from her friend, the woman realised what she'd done and knelt down next to the cage in an attempt to calm the irate creature.

"I'm sorry Cyclops. It's the bloody portkeys fault! It's supposed to have dropped us at Hogwarts, not wherever the hell this is."

A loud crack and a streak of bright light made her jump and look back at the sky.

This wasn't just a simple downpour as she'd assumed, it was a full blown summer storm.

With a dawning feeling of why me, she came to the not particularly welcome, but likely accurate, conclusion for why she wasn't outside Hogwarts gates like she should've been.

"Shit. I bet the bloody electrical charges from the storm are what's made the stupid thing drop me in the wrong place."

Feeling drained, she sat down heavily on one of her trunks. Placing her elbows on her knees she leant forwards and knotted her hands in her wet black hair; gripping at the sodden strands.

"Merlin, what am I supposed to do now? I can't apparate in this weather. Not if it's charged enough to knock a portkey out of sync. I'll turn up at Hogwarts completely fried, it's just to dangerous."

Letting out a low groan of frustration she lifted her head and looked around herself for anything that could help. But there wasn't a single sign of people, Muggle or otherwise, that might be able to help her.

Looks like you're going to have to get yourself of out this mess on your own Harry old girl.

Running her hand over her wet face in frustration, and not for the first time thanking herself for the forethought to change to contacts before she started travelling all those years ago, she braced her hands against her knees and pushed herself up off the trunk with a tired sigh.

Opening the lid she rummaged around for a few seconds before letting out a triumphant sound and placing a small canvas bag on the wet ground.

From down the side of her knee high boots she retrieved strange looking stick and pointed it at the bag.

With a tiny twitch of her hand, a small shoddy looking tent erected itself in the middle of the glen. The tent looked barely big enough to hold the woman, let alone the owl cage and the various trunks that lay around her.

Yet she didn't seem overly bothered by its apparent lack of size, infact she looked rather pleased with the ratty looking thing. She grabbed the owl cage and made for the fabric structure, intent on getting herself and her increasingly bedraggled familiar dry.

"Well Cyclops, it looks like we'll be spending the night in the old standby one last time."

With another minute flick of her stick the woman's various luggage dutifully bobbed over to her and followed her into the tent through its tiny opening.

With everything (somehow) in the tent the woman looked out of the entrance. The glen looked just as wet as it had when she'd been outside, but now that she was out of the weather she had a bit more appreciation for it's damp beauty.

She pushed her sopping fringe out of her eyes and began to giggle at the absurdity of it all.

This wasn't the first odd situation that she'd found herself in over the years and she doubted it's be the last either.

"Well Harriet Jacqueline Lily Potter, it seems that Hogwarts rotten luck is still trying to give you a run for it's money."

With one last tired giggle and a wry shake of her head she closed the tent flaps, glad to finally be out of the eliments.

Chapter 1

September 1st was the worst day of the year as far as Severus Snape was concerned.

Not only did it mark the beginning of the hell known as the new school year and thus a return to his teaching duties.

It also meant that his few months of bliss, where the castle was devoid of all idiots and he could brew to his hearts content without having to go through day after day of mind numbing lessons first, was coming to an unfortunate end.

If all that wasn't bad enough he now had to listen to the far to cheerful post holiday chit chat, of his far to happy post holiday colleagues, as they waited for the obnoxious little cretins they called their students to show their stupid little faces for the first feast of the year.

His colleagues were so caught up in their mindless gossip about their loathsome summers, that they'd hadn't noticed the some of the seats at the head table were vacant of their sitters. Their Esteemed headmistress was missing in action and the new defence professor had yet to arrive at the school at all.

A long low boom echoed overhead drawing Severus's attention to the windows.

It appeared that the thunderstorm that had been subtly threatening the castle since early that afternoon was finally getting started.

There'd been lightning and roiling grey clouds playing across the great ceiling since before he'd arrived in the hall, but the weather hadn't seen fit to do much more than put on a bit of a show; now it seemed that the storm was finally ready to release all it's pent up energy and rain, in what promised to be quite the spectacular display.

The best part was, it was about to do it just as the little snots were due to get off the train.

The potions master couldn't have been more delighted by this out come if he'd planned it himself.

The slightly evil curl at the corner of his thin mouth gave a slight insight into the mans malicious thoughts about his students, but other than that the potions master looked just as dour as ever.

No one would be able to guess from his face alone that he was entertaining some rather vivid fantasies of drowned students.

Looking away from the ceiling Severus cast another discreet glance at the empty seats; contemplating just where their occupants were. He doubted that Minerva would miss the students arrival no matter where it was she'd gotten to, but where the hell was the defence professor?

The rest of the staff had been trickling into the castle over the past week; gradually destroying his quiet human free eden. But the defence professor hadn't been amongst them.

This was the first time that all the staff had been together in one place since the end of last term, but surely he wasn't the only one to notice that the erstwhile professor Michel's seat had yet to gain its new occupant.

But he supposed the people he worked with weren't always the most observant.

They'd likely forgotten that Michel's had been dismissed at the end of last term and were just waiting for the pompous man to turn up and start regaling them all with his various summer exploits.

Now let's make one thing quite clear, Severus wasn't worried about the distinct lack of new professor because the students education may suffer.

No, as far as he was concerned the little sods could learn something from their is, if they finally realised the squishy thing inside there heads was supposed to be used for reading; not just channelling endless hormonal fantasies.

What Severus was really worried about was what type of vapid, simple minded Lockhart impersonator he'd be sat next to for the remainder of the year.

He'd made an innocent enquiry, a few day prior, in regards to which of their 'esteemed colleagues' Minerva had finally settled on for the defence position and she'd refused to answer. She'd given him a look over the top of her glasses and informed him in no uncertain terms that he would 'find out with everybody else'.

He'd not been happy with that response in the slightest, and had continued to badger the old tabby in what he'd thought had been a subtle bid for information. But Minerva had seen right through him and she'd gotten quite catty with him.

He'd skulked back to his dungeons for a good long brood after his bid for information had failed.

During his brooding he'd come to the conclusion it must be someone he loathed, why else would Minerva be unwilling to give him something as simple as a name.

This unwelcome, but likely thought had been stewing for a while by this stage; making him more tense the longer he went without an answer.

It's why he was so pissed at the defence professors nerve at being late. Severus wanted to Know who they were so he could either set his mind at ease or start plotting their murder.

Merlin he hoped like hell it wasn't that twat Von Braun.

Severus had met him at a defence conference the year prior, when he'd been invited as a guest speaker. Von Braun had known what Severus did and had displayed a disconcerting eagerness to teach in Hogwarts hallowed halls; if this wasn't bad enough on it's own, the man was dull as ditch water.

He'd been worse than Binns for Salazars sake.

This perhaps wouldn't of been a problem in and of it's self if it wasn't for the fact that, that one simple dull conversation they'd shared between lectures, had been enough to make the man think that Severus was now some sort of friend.

He'd followed him from lecture to lecture like a lost puppy for the remainder of the conference.

Once he'd managed to return to the castle, he'd informed Minerva about his unfettered loathing of the man over a tumbler of particularly fine whisky. Hiring Von Braun for the position would be just the type of thing that she'd get an unquestionable amount of delight from.

Yes, Severus could see could see it now. His ceaseless torment at having to spend meals and staff meetings, sat next to someone who continually made him feel like he wanted to throw himself into the black lake on a good day, would be just the type of thing to keep Minerva amused for the rest of the school year.

Merlin help them all if Minerva had employed that man.

He wasn't sure who'd he be throwing off the astronomy tower first if she had. Minerva for employing him, Von Braun for sheer annoying dullness or himself just so that he could get away from the man in question and the gleeful tabby.

Either way there would be a mess and he certainly wouldn't be the one cleaning it up.

Although he supposed even Von Braun would be better than Michel's. Not even Von Braun, dull as he was, could beat Michel's on sheer annoyingness alone. After all Michel's head had been so far up his own arse that Severus was surprised that the man couldn't see out of his mouth.

Severus had only seen the likes of Michel's arrogance once before in his life and that had been when Potter had still been strutting around Hogwarts hallowed halls with his little group of marauders.

They were both very similar. They both strutted around like they owned the place, they both thought that they were better than everyone in every way and they were immensely popular.

However Michel's and Potter differed in one very significant way. Potter's arrogance hadn't made him think he had the Merlin given right to fuck whoever he wanted simply because he'd had power over them. Severus was well aware he was never going to be Potters number one fan, but the fact remained he couldn't have seen the man, whatever his age, fucking underage students.

Lily had loved Potter after all and Severus couldn't believe that the woman who'd once been his friend would willingly marry a man who had the makings to become a middle aged sexual predator.

Severus had to hand it to the disgusting bastard though. Arrogant he may have been, but when it finally came time for him to fall from grace he did it in spectacular style.

Severus hadn't been present when the fall from grace occurred, everything he knew of the incident he knew second hand. But he hadn't been a spy for as long as he had without picking up a few tricks, and after questioning the right people he'd gotten a much fuller picture of Michel's dismissal than most of the school had.

Apparently Minerva and Filius had been showing the school board around the various dungeon classrooms, hoping to gain more funding, when they'd come face to arse with Michel's, while his cock was being serviced by a fifteen year old Hufflepuff, in what should've been a deserted classroom.

From what Filius had told him, Minerva had had 'a bit of a shock' at the sight. Quite a gross understatement in Severus's opinion. If he'd been confronted with that man's arse he'd have wanted a bottle of firewhisky and a lobotomy.

Of course Minerva hadn't remained shocked for long, and had fired Michel's before he'd even managed to pull his trousers up.

Apparently Michel's had tried to reason with Minerva, likely in some vain attempt to keep his job, but all he'd done was dig himself a bigger hole.

He'd explained to Minerva that the boy in question was the only one he'd taken such liberties with (Severus didn't believe that for a single second) and that they'd been 'together', for more than a year without anyone noticing so 'why not just let everything continue as it was'.

Severus has no idea how this conceited explanation was supposed to help the man keep his job.

After all, all it proved was that the man had a moral compass controlled by his dick and no qualms about the age of consent.

Minerva certainly hadn't taken kindly to the revelation and in her enraged state had transfigured the man into a toad and locked him into one of his own specimen cages until the Auror's could arrive to take him into custody.

When the Hufflepuff had tried to flee, Minerva had grabbed the boy with a charm of her own design and stuck him to one of the classroom chairs (Severus had been on the end of that particular spell more than once as a student). Where he'd been told in no uncertain terms that his parents were going to be contacted and they would be informed about what he'd been doing with his professor.

From what Severus had learned it was a good thing that the Auror's were prompt in collecting Michel's. Because when the boys parents had finally been able to be reached, they'd been baying for the man's blood and requesting a rusty knife to perform the ex-professor's castration.

In the end the man had gotten lucky, he'd only been sentenced to eighteen months for his perverted indiscretions.

Though he had been banned from any institution that cared for children for the rest of his life.

Severus just can't believe some people's unending luck, if it'd been him on trial he'd likely have gotten life for something as simple as kissing one of the little buggers on the cheek.

Severus was many things and he certainly wasn't a man of morals by many peoples standards, but even he of the death eater past knew that you don't touch the underage students.

In Fact even if they are of age you still don't, the simple fact is you shouldn't touch anyone that you hold any type of power over. Bully them by all means, but to touch someone in such a intimate manner with that amount of power imbalance was never going to be something that appealed to him.

He wanted his lovers willing (though he wasn't to bothered if the exchange of Galleons had incited that willingness) or not at all.

The ever increasing noise of clattering shoes and boisterous chatter drew Severus out of his musings and made him look towards the doors.

Right on cue hundreds of little dunderheads began to make their unruly way into the great hall.

Severus was pleased to note that the majority of them looked like drowned rats.

Severus heard the scrape of a chair and glanced over to see who was leaving the table.

"If you'll excuse me Pomona. I need to get going. I'll be expected to greet the new students soon."

Filius hopped off his chair and his head instantly disappeared beneath the edge of the large table, though it didn't stop him from finishing his conversation with a sweeping gesture at the ceiling.

"Thought they'll doubtless be a while yet in this atrocious weather."

Severus watched the tiny man make his way out of the side door the teachers used.

"How was your summer Severus?"

Severus grimaced, apparently without Filius for conversation and everyone else at the table otherwise engaged Severus became the next best thing for the woman to talk to.

"About as good as one's summer ever gets. When all one can think about is the fact that the peace of the castle will never last long enough."

Severus made his voice as monotone and as disinterested as possible hoping to waylay any further conversation. He had no desire to engage with his colleagues on a good day and his stress over the unknown defence professor and the thunderstorm overhead was really starting to give him a horrible migraine.

Sprout ever the oblivious, over cheerful Hufflepuff, didn't seem to get the hint that Severus wasn't interested in conversation and just grinned at him annoyingly.

"Come now Severus". He sent the cheerful woman a glare that went completely unnoticed. He wondered briefly if he should tell her that she had soil smudged over the side of her face, but decided against it.

It might make her think he wanted to be engaged in conversation.

"There must be something you got enjoyment from this summer?".

"Not really, no. I spent most of it brewing potions for Poppy. Hardly stimulating subject matter".

He'd be damned if he was going to tell her that he'd spent most of his summer trying to come up with a more effective, less addictive variant of dreamless sleep.

Not only would she be unlikely to understand half of the conversation; she'd likely get all smiley and think he wanted to help people out of the goodness of his blackened heart.

He wasn't doing it to help people, he was doing it because the current version was expensive and you could only take so much of it before you had worse problems than the nightmares to deal with.

It was purely self-serving really. If he could improve the mixture, he could make himself a very lucrative money maker in these post war years and it might also allow him to get more than two hours sleep a night.

It was a win win situation.

"To each there own I suppose, as long as you enjoyed yourself." Sprout stated this with a benign smile, while not so inconspicuously looking to see if there was someone else to chat to.

It was interesting to see the moment she finally realised that Minerva wasn't sat at the table, it was like a cog sliding into place and the rusty gears starting to turn.

Severus would've rolled his eyes at how oblivious his colleagues were, but he couldn't be bothered wasting the energy.

"Gracious where's Minerva! The sorting ceremony will be stating soon. It's already running late as it is".

As if Sprout had summoned them, the doors opened and the fretful, drenched first years trooped in behind Filius as he dutifully led them to the waiting stool and hat.

The hat began it's annoying song, just as the quite sound of a door being closed drew Severus's attention to the side of the room.

Minerva had finally arrived.

The headmistress attempted to be inconspicuous as she took her seat, but Severus noted that he wasn't the only one to notice her late arrival. Some of the students were watching her curiously as well.

Though this wasn't much of a surprise, he supposed. Severus doubted that they'd ever seen McGonagall looking anything but put together. Which at the moment she most certainly wasn't; her hair was coming free from it's bun and her clothes were thoroughly drenched.

He had no idea what she'd been doing, but from the state of her you'd have thought that she'd been the one pulling the boats across the lake.

Sprout started twittering at her in a whisper as soon as she took her seat.

"For Helga's sake Minerva! You're all wet and you nearly missed the sorting. What've you been up to?"

Minerva looked like she didn't quite know what Sprout was talking about until she looked down at herself and realised that she was soaked to the skin. Why it took someone else pointing this out to her, Severus had no idea, one would think you'd notice when you appeared to have taken a shower in you clothes. With a quite curse the Headmistress cast a quick spell to dispel the water from her garments. It left her dry, but ever so slightly steaming.

"I've been down by the gates waiting for the Defence professor. Unfortunately they didn't arrive when they were scheduled to do so and I've gotten wet while waiting in the downpour. I've no idea why they haven't turned up, but they should've been here just before the students arrived."

Severus had to strain to hear what Minerva told sprout, but it was enough to set his teeth on edge.

'So', thought Severus. 'The new fathead is just as arrogant as the last. How conceited is this new professor that they think it's acceptable to not even send a note when they're not going to show at an agreed time'

A glance at the headmistress was enough to prove what Severus had gleaned from the woman's tone, she was worried.

Internally Severus scoffed in derision, if it'd been him that had kept her waiting in the rain he would've been given the cold shoulder and more than a few choice words, not worry for his well being; yet this unknown person who couldn't have yet done anything to gain her loyalty was receiving barely restrained concern for their absence.

As the names started to be called, "Ashcroft, Byron" Severus leaned towards Minerva and spoke to her in a low drawl.

"So the new fathead had has turned tail and run before they've even started. Just what type of coward did you employ Minerva?"

She looked at him over the top of her spectacles with slightly narrowed eyes.

"Bolton, Sarah"

"Honestly Severus, they've not turned tail and run. I'm sure there's a good explanation as to why they haven't turned up as scheduled. It has me quite worried in fact, this isn't like them at all." A worried sheen slid over the Headmistresses eyes, but Severus wasn't going to let this go.

"So you know them well then? This person who was thoughtless enough to leave you standing in the rain?"

"Yes, I know them reasonably well. I certainly know them well enough to recognise that them not turning up when they say they will is most odd; as for the rain, the storm isn't severe and it's not like a little rain ever hurt anyone."

Clearly not in the mood for it's power to be belittled by a elderly witch, the storm let out a deep long boom that rattled the windows in their frames and made several of the little snots let out muffled shrieks.

Severus raised an eyebrow at the headmistresses obvious down playing of the situation.

"And I supposed the fact that they haven't been willing to turn up for their first day, still won't permit us to be serviced with a name for the slacker."

"No Severus. I've already told you that you'll find out who they are at the same time as everyone else, the fact that they've likely been unavoidably detained doesn't mean that's going to change. Now can you please leave it be for the time being, I would prefer not to miss the entire sorting because of your insatiable curiosity."

With a huff of dismissal, Minerva turned away from him to finish watching the last of the sorting.

Severus grit his teeth at the abrupt dismissal and turned to watch the sorting himself. He thought it typical that someone had pissed her off and he was once more being used as the whipping boy for her temper. If this was what the rest of the year was going to be like he had half a mind to lock himself away in the dungeons.

The blond haired boy currently on the stool was sorted into his house and Severus clapped politely for appearances sake but his heart wasn't really in it.

After the last student; "Zoltrov, Sebastian", was sorted in to hufflepuff, Minerva stood to make the announcements.

"Good evening students, and welcome to a new school year at Hogwarts. I would like to remind students that there is a list of banned items on caretaker Filch's office door and any one wishing to see the list may do so at their leisure. Any one caught with the banned items will have them confiscated and be issued with detention. The forbidden forest, is as always, off limits to all students and I must ask that you stay out unless you're with a supervisory adult. Another issue I must address, is one I'm sure most of you are aware of. You may remember that professors Michel's had to leave us suddenly before the end of last term."

Minerva's speech paused as her face contorted into a involuntary grimace at the mention of the ex defence teacher. The students certainly noticed it and they were quick to start whispering amongst themselves, no doubt trying to recount all the things that had been spread around the castle just before term ended.

Minerva's voice raised slightly as she continued, effectively ending the whispers for the moment.

"While it was ... inconvenient, that he had to leave so abruptly after five years in the position. I am pleased to say that I have been able to hire a new replacement for both his position as defence professor and for the duties he performed as Gryffindors head of house."

The students began craning their necks to get a better look at the head table, and looked quite baffled when they couldn't see anyone new.

"Unfortunately the new professor has been delayed and as such defence classes may not start as scheduled tomorrow. Hopefully by morning I will Know more about what's transpired and your timetables will be altered accordingly by your heads of house. I would also like to say that since this situation means that the Gryffindors currently have no head of house in the school, if any of you have any issues please feel free to come to me directly with them. However I would appreciate if you only come to me with urgent issues only. Things such as the quidditch schedules will have to wait until your new head of house is in permanent residence."

The last statement gained more than a few disgruntled looks from various members of the Gryffindor table. But either Minerva didn't notice or pretended not to, because she simply smiled at those assembled. "With that out of the way I do believe it's time to enjoy the feast."

Almost instantly bowls and platters appeared on the various tables and the excited murmurings of the students were joined by the cacophony of silverware and plates being moved around.

"Well Minerva".

Sprout stated happily, as she reached for the roasted artichokes, "You certainly know how to put the cat amongst the pigeons, don't you old girl".

Minerva didn't say anything, just reached for a piece of steak and kidney pie.

"Is it quite true Minerva? The new defence professor hasn't turned up?"

Filius asked as he helped himself to roast potatoes and chicken now that he was no longer babysitting the new batch of imbeciles.

Minerva swallowed her piece of pie and answered the diminutive mans question.

"I'm afraid so. I just can't understand why they haven't turned up. They told me weeks ago, when their international portkey would turn up at Hogwarts, but I was waiting at the gate well beyond the time they mentioned and still no one arrived."

The headmistress was staring intently at her meal as she said this, as if the mystery of her missing professor lay in her pie.

Severus continued to listen with half an ear as Filius and Minerva discussed various things, but for the moment he was intent on retrieving a serving of pea and ham soup from the terrine in front of him. He grabbed himself a fresh bread roll and was just about to dip half of the gloriously crusty bread in his soup when a flash of grey in his peripheral vision made him look away from his meal.

Heading with great swiftness towards the staff table was one of the biggest owls that Severus had ever seen.

It's wings alone would have swamped most of the first years, the closer the owl got to the head table Severus could see that the magnificent creature was soaked from the storm and looking far from it's best.

The owl swooped towards them and landed with more grace than Severus would've expected from such a large animal, on the back of the empty chair next to him.

The creature was dripping like a wet rag as it held it's leg out to Minerva, but it was just a little to far out of reach and she had to stand to retrieve the note from the birds leg.

Severus wasn't the only one to notice Minerva's unusually late messenger, and at least half the students had abandoned their meals in order to watch their headmistress; the other half were to busy gossiping about whatever the note might contain to watch her open it.

As soon as she had the note in her hands and she sat back down, the hall erupted. No doubt they all had theories about what it contained and Severus was likely to hear the most outlandish of them being banded about by the little cretins for weeks to come, but for now he wasn't bothered by the students gossip and continued to watch the headmistress from the corner of his eye as she read through the missive.

Her face seemed to go through a wide range of emotions before settling into a look of exasperated amusement. A low mutter of typical reached Severus ears, but he was distracted from watching the headmistress by the feeling of something rubbing at his shoulder.

"Gah".

Severus jolted in his seat as he realised that the grey owl he'd been feeling sorry for had been using him as a towel to dry it's self off. His shoulder was completely soaked. He must've been more distracted by Minerva than he realised to have missed being used in this manner.

His sudden jolt had inadvertently knocked the animal off balance. Something the owl didn't seem to appreciate because with a screech, a harsh nip and a flick of it very long, wet tail the bird flew off without so much as a backwards glance.

He could hear the other staff members trying to stifle their amusement, but he ignored them. With a quick swipe of his napkin he dried his face and a quick charm was enough dry his shoulder.

Minerva was the only one who didn't attempt to hide her amusement at the situation and spoke to him in a low chuckle.

"Really Severus you never manage to make friends easily do you?".

Severus sent her a flat look.

"Friends? With that great bloody thing. What the bloody hell was it doing here any way and who the hell is sending you ruddy letters in the middle of a bloody storm."

Severus was well aware he was being rude and cantankerous and slightly nosey, but he'd just been made a fool of by an owl of all things and his headache was going from bad to worse.

"Language Severus. We're around student's after all, even if they're unlikely to hear you". This was low enough for only Severus to hear, but she answered his question so that the rest of the staff would be able to hear it to.

"The letter was from the defence professor."

The staff were watching Minerva expectantly, but if the were expecting answers they were about to be severely disappointed

"I'll be happy to explain the contents once we're in the staff room and away from prying ears."

With a smile Minerva resumed eating her cooling meal, and ignored the crestfallen looks of her staff; perhaps sensing that pushing the issue before the staff meeting wouldn't get them anywhere the rest of the table resumed eating without asking the headmistress another word.

Looking down at his own dinner Severus felt his mouth tighten. His once crisp bread roll had now turned into mush in his cold soup; the meal looked wholly unappetising and he no longer had any desire to eat the green mush in front of him.

With a slight huff of annoyance Severus pushed the mush away from himself and grabbed for a serving dish full of dark chocolate mousse, unlike the mush the dessert might improve his mood a little.

Though it would likely only be a marginal improvement at best, he was still Severus Snape after all.

So you've read them all and now it time to decide which one you'd like me to write first.

The poll on my profile page is open until February 14th so make sure to vote before it closes.

This story is also up on Ao3 under the same user name so feel free to post you vote in the comments

over there too if you want more than one bite of the apple.

The winner will be announced through Authors note so subscribe to Pick your Poison or add an alert

for the author if you want to know the winner.

Hope you enjoyed these snippets and I hope to see you again once the voting ends.

See y'all soon, Pink X :)

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