AN: Thank you so much for all the support! I appreciate it all!
When did I grow so old?
Severus rolled over on the bed, but the pain in his back did not abate. At one point, he could have sworn it popped again. He groaned before stretching.
Everything started going downhill by the time I was sixty. That's when I was unable to sit wherever I wanted to without pain. It was also about the time I started noticing the odd gray hair, though thankfully most of it remains black.
His stomach sank. Right now I am at the midway point of a wizard's life. At some point my body will begin to deteriorate, in which case there will be more problems to contend with.
He rolled over and groaned. For once, I would appreciate a year in which I do not need to worry about dark lords, my health, or my sanity.
Familiar footsteps approached the room. Severus sat, ignoring the ache in his back. The door clicked open.
"Dad? Are you awake?"
"Yes Rose," Severus teased. "I am in a deep sleep and do not intend to wake for several more hours."
Rose poked her head inside and gave him a playful glare.
"I suppose I should allow you to get some rest then."
"Indeed you should."
Rose stepped inside the room.
Severus began, "I did not expect to see you."
"I did not know if I would be able to come so soon," Rose shut the door. "I had time to spare between classes. I would have visited last night, but Mum did not know if you took the potion immediately after she left."
"I am well rested," Severus answered. "Though I would sleep easier knowing the status of my exoneration."
Rose smiled. "The Ministry is hard at work compiling the paperwork as we speak."
"Which means I can return to Britain in roughly a month," Severus answered.
Rose sat beside him. "Victor is personally overseeing your exoneration. Lucius has also threatened a lawsuit if even one piece of paperwork is not filled out correctly."
"When in doubt, always threaten a lawsuit."
"He is not the only one planning a lawsuit against the Ministry."
Rose's grin widened. "The public is livid over the Ministry's handling of the amnesia crisis. Victims are speaking out about their treatment at St. Mungo's."
"How horrible are their stories?" Severus asked.
Rose shrugged. "Thus far, there are only reports of involuntary confinement. I am certain more details will emerge in due time though."
"I am sure they will," he replied.
Rose continued. "This has done a number on Percy's political career. He is at least ten points behind in every poll. Some are calling for an immediate emergency election."
"Poor Percy," Severus couldn't hide the gleam in his eyes.
"Indeed," Rose replied.
"Is there any other news?"
"Sadly no. My day has consisted of a few dunderheaded students, four exploding cauldrons, and watching Madame Serpent eat her magical supplement."
"Sometimes an uneventful day is good."
"Or so I have learned over the years."
Silence filled the room.
"Mum said you and her were hitting a brick wall concerning your research into the amnesia," Rose began.
Severus's expression said it all.
"I had an idea which may help."
"Any new insight would be helpful."
"Isabella is one of the students who had exploded one of my cauldrons. Her parents are Hungarian immigrants. As I was speaking with her, I began to wonder how widespread this epidemic truly was," Rose began.
"Britain is suffering because of it," Severus answered.
"Yes, but unlike Voldemort, Fenrir's operations were international," Rose began.
Severus raised an eyebrow.
"Fenrir did not only attack Britain; he attacked the Quidditch World Cup as well."
"Yes, but was hardly the only one. Voldemort is also famous for attacking the Quidditch World Cup."
"True, but Voldemort wanted to kill muggleborns. Fenrir was not interested in killing though. Instead, he wanted new recruits for his cause."
"Very true," Severus mumbled.
"When he attacked the Quidditch World Cup, he changed people from other countries as well as those from Britain."
"That he did."
"When I finished scolding Isabella for her inattentiveness, I went to the library and researched Fenrir's attacks. Sure enough, he had large cells in Germany and the United States. There were a few smaller ones in countries such as France and Romania, but the German and American ones were the most notable."
"So this amnesia could be more widespread than we could have ever imagined."
Severus twisted his lower lip.
"As of right now, I am waiting for a New York library to deliver an archive of American newspapers. These papers should detail the happenings of the last two months. I have ordered several German ones as well from a library in Berlin. I want to see if there are any stories covering the amnesia."
"If there are none then," Severus frowned. "Their governments are hiding it as well."
"Not necessarily," Rose replied. "There may genuinely be no amnesia incidents to report."
"Think about it, Dad. All the victims were bitten by Fenrir, and all the victims are living in Great Britain."
"So there may be a geographic component to this illness."
Rose snapped her fingers. "Exactly."
Severus' expression lightened. "That is something I had not truly considered until now."
"I would not have considered it either, except for Isabella and her exploding cauldron," Rose admitted.
Severus burst out laughing. "I cannot believe that a careless student may have saved Wizarding Britain by exploding her cauldron."
Rose laughed along with him. "It is peculiar, but I feel I may be onto something."
Severus kissed her on the head. "I feel you are correct."
"Should I tell Mum what we've discovered?"
"Let me look into the epidemic further. I will discuss my ideas with her when she next comes."
"That sounds reasonable enough."
He embraced Rose. "How did I get blessed with such a brilliant daughter?"
"I do not know," Rose replied. "Perhaps she simply had a brilliant father."
Percy held his head in his hands and took a ragged breath. Ten owls pecked his window while another ten wandered around his office. After an owl pecked Percy's head, he let out a scream.
He shooed the owls off his desk. Then, he opened the window and shooed them out.
Percy spun around. "What now, Michael?"
The secretary held up his magazine and hid behind it. "I apologize, but I heard you shout. I was afraid you were hurt."
"No," Percy exhaled. "I am fine."
Michael lowered his tabloid and gave his boss a sympathetic smile. "Okay, just let me know if there's anything I can do."
Percy's eyes fell on the magazine in Michael's hand. "Have you been reading on the job again?"
Michael blushed. "I apologize, but other than shoving out those protesting your handling of the amnesia crisis, there hasn't been much to do."
Percy waved his hand. The door slammed shut. "What's in that magazine?"
"Oh nothing much," Michael answered. "Just a few articles on the outfits at the World Gobstones Tournament and a few tidbits about who's dating who. You wouldn't be interested in any of it."
"Don't be so sure," Percy answered as he strolled over to his desk.
Michael cocked his head.
Percy sat in his chair. "Tell me, what's the juiciest scandal in that magazine?"
Michael shrugged. "It's been a slow two weeks. There isn't anything all that interesting."
"Surely there's something juicy in there."
"I mean." Michael opened the paper and scanned the paper. His face lit up. "Jordy Driver just broke up with his girlfriend."
"Was he cheating on her?" Percy asked.
"No," Michael answered. "They grew apart, and there are rumors he might be bisexual. God I hope those are true…."
"Is Jordy Driver the only scandal in there?"
"This week, yes."
"Are there any other scandals?"
"I mean, Olivia Patrick and Aiyda Nelson wore the same dress to the French Gobstones regional. The vote is split on who wore it better, but it was still mortifying for both ladies."
"I take it there are no scandals of substance."
"Look, I'm sorry I cannot distract the masses with any of these stories." Michael closed the magazine. "But the Gobstones world is not half as scandalous a the Quidditch world was, er, still is."
"Are there any good Quidditch scandals?" Percy asked.
"No," Michael replied. "I mean, there were a couple of Spanish players who were arrested on drug charges, and then there are Ron's pathetic sob stories. I have no idea wants to interview him anymore. What a whiner!"
Percy's eyes darkened.
"Merlin, if you want something to be outraged over, 'kidnapper wants to be exonerated' would take the cake. Now there's a juicy scandal, especially given that he still hasn't faced justice."
Percy's face reddened.
Michael gasped. "I mean, I didn't mean to, oh shit, I shouldn't have brought Ron up."
"Yet you did," Percy hissed.
"I didn't mean to. In fact, I didn't mean half of what I said. Of course your brother is not a joke at all. Anyone would've done what he did. I mean, he was very stressed. I would've gone crazy if my fiancee left me for Severus Snape, and had a baby with him."
Percy's face returned to its normal hue. His lips curled up.
"Really, has nobody heard of contraceptive spells? You think someone called the brightest witch of her age would've known how to cast one," Michael concluded.
"Indeed she should have," Percy muttered.
"The idea of Hermione with a former professor is enough to drive a man mad and to have a baby…oh crap! I stepped into it didn't I?"
"No." Percy steepled his hands. "You may have solved my dilemma."
Michael drawled, "How?"
Percy sneered. "Let's just say that if all goes according to plan, the Snapes may be involved in a little scandal of their own, one which will distract the Wizarding World for years to come. If I am lucky, it could also clear my family's name."
"Happy to have helped?" Michael squirmed.
"Yes," Percy chuckled. "I am happy you could have helped as well"
Michael glanced down at his magazine, wondering how much trouble these stories were about to cause.