Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 18

The floo glowed green, and Snape stuck his head through, saying, "Come on through, there's much to discuss." It had taken Harry only a glance to know that the Weasley twins had won - Snape had such an air of smugness about him, that Harry suddenly wanted to know... well, everything. Harry Potter went from lazing about to at the fireplace in less than three seconds - a rather hardearned habit acquired while living with his relatives, who were apt to demand results with little warning. And it had never done to keep them waiting.

As Harry Potter stepped through (half stumbling, as usual), he steadied himself. Molly Weasley was crying out, "You can't possibly think this battle counts! My two sons against the entire Order!"

"The Order lost, Molly." Snape shot back, his voice cold and calm as ice.

Harry Potter turned, listening to Lupin's cautious question to Severus Snape, "Severus, why are they glowing?"

Before Snape could even open his mouth, Fred and George had taken off, doing their bit - "Why yes, George, it does appear you've got a problem!"

Fred responded to his brother, "Oh, but just look at you! Your hair has developed a taste for the rainbow!"

"My hair - just look at your skin!"

Luckily, the rest of the room was saved from more skit by Hermione Granger tumbling into the Room of Requirement - straight into the Weasley twins. It was somewhat comforting to know that she was just as bad - if not worse -at floo travel. Somewhat.

Snape, as usual, looked unamused at the crumpled pile of Gryffindor limbs, as he cleared his throat.

"Why are they changing colors?" this was from McGonagall, and she was not looking amused in the least. She more than anyone knew that transfiguration was not Snape's field.

Affecting an air of nonchalance (his back to a nearby corner as usual), Snape said, "Ahh... that." He paused, letting the entire room's attention focus towards him (including Ron and Gin, who had just entered via the floo - but who both understood the air of anticipation, almost of tension). "That would be a contact poison. Inevitably fatal in 24 hours. Which is ironic, really, since the antidote takes 25 hours to brew. It's called the Chromatic Aberration, and tends to leave victims writhing in agony as they suffocate."

Harry Potter's mouth twitched slightly, thinking, That was really a bit much, sir! Not everyone cares to know all the details about your field of study.

Molly Weasley, turning as bright red as her hair, said sharply, "Really! Surely Severus, you've got the antidote already brewed."

Snape nodded slowly, saying carefully, "Of course I do - no potioneer would be so careless as to use a poison without access to the antidote." He paused for a barest second, before continuing, "However..."

Arthur Weasley was by this point restraining his wife - and Luna was somehow restraining Ron, probably with nargles. The picture of calm, Arthur said, "Go on, Severus" in a kindly voice.

"However, my potion stores are for Order members." Snape smiled, his teeth unseen.

"Why you! You utter bastard!" There goes Molly Weasley. Off to scream, as she's not going to stop us from becoming Order members. Not now, even if she doesn't approve.

"I suppose the vote to allow young blood into the Order will be unanimous, will it not?" Snape said coldly.

From the other side of the room, Dumbledore chuckled, his eyes twinkling. "I daresay it will, Severus." And Harry Potter felt a chill run through him - so this is what Snape looks like, when he's pushed beyond his breaking point. Vengeance, now served cold. It was a particularly disturbing thought, because Harry realized (and so did the twins from the looks they were shooting at each other), that they had never seen him like this before... We only thought he went spare...

[a/n: Yes, Snape everyone. In all fairness, setting him up against Molly Weasley of all people is like asking a grandmaster to play chess with a ten year old. His matches against Slytherins - or Dumbledore, for that matter, are quite a bit more even.

Snape's "mild irritation" sounds an awful lot like Vernon's "sturm und drang" - but Harry Potter is reevaluating, which is nice.

Like it? Hate it? Want more philosophy? Write me a review!]