Problems and Still More Problems
TITLE: Connecting with old friends.
RATING: PG13 - Some imagery but nothing blatant.
KEYWORDS: BtVS/HP - HP/BtVS - WR/SS - SS/WR
SUMMARY: In response to a what-if suggestion by Jinnie - What if Snape was discovered as a spy. What would happen to him? What would he choose to do?
DISCLAIMER: Major characters in this story are owned by their respective creators/companies. I do not make money off writing!!
NOTE: AU. Post OotP.
Problems and Still More Problems
Albus Dumbledore shook his head sadly as he gazed down at the broken form lying on the cot in Hogwarts Hospital Wing.
"How is he Poppy?" He asked the mediwitch.
"Not good Albus." Poppy Pomfrey answered honestly. "He's stable but it will take a lot of work to put him together. If it weren't for the Dark Mark I'd send him to St. Mungos."
Dumbledore shook his head. "We can't risk that. Severus has been compromised but I won't let the Ministry have him. They'll throw him to the vultures."
At that moment Severus Snape came to and heard Dumbledore.
"Should." He hissed feeling sharp needles stabbing every portion of his body.
"I won't Severus." Dumbledore reached out and took the younger wizard's hand. Fawkes who was perched on the Headmaster's shoulder flew down and began to croon softly to the injured wizard. "I won't let them have you my boy." This was a vow.
Poppy didn't say anything but continued casting examination spells and charms to relieve the discomfort and stave off infection until she could begin repairs.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
One week later Snape recovered enough to speak to the Order about what happened. He hated meetings where he had to make speeches but Severus Snape had to share what he knew.
"After Black died and the Ministry decided to accept the reality of Voldemort's return it is not easy for Death Eaters. The Dark Lord is paranoid in his quest to unroot spies, traitors, and weaknesses. He has killed dozens of lesser followers for not obeying unquestioningly." Snape explained. "I was unfortunate enough to be caught up in the mess. I didn't know Pettigrew had killed the others present at a certain meeting so the only one who could have informed the Aurors had to be me." Snape's expression soured. "Voldemort decided to make an example of me. I managed to get away fairly intact."
Poppy snorted. "Intact? Barely alive is more like it. It took me two days to repair enough of the damage done to you so you can talk right now without experiencing agonizing pain. Your jaw bone was fragmented and both lungs were punctured by broken ribs. Two spinal discs had slipped dangerously. Merlin's luck! You could have been paralyzed for life Severus!" Poppy burst into a fit of tears. McGonogall hugged the plump mediwitch in an attempt to comfort her. "I've patched you up too many times after a Summons that went bad Severus Snape and believe me this was the worst I've seen you."
Snape blinked and refused to let the others know how much Poppy's tears affected him. She was the only one who gave a damn without calculation during his school years in Hogwarts. He had spent several evenings and weekends replenishing her stores as part of detention, or in the Hospital Wing recovering from hexes and pranks planned by the Maurauders and other Gryffindors during his teens.
Stony black eyes refused to meet Lupin's who was shifting in discomfort or the fascinated, shocked, curious eyes of the Dream Team. After Black's death Dumbledore had insisted they remain at Hogwarts after their fifth year was over. Officially it was to gain extra credit as TAs. Unofficially they were being trained for the battle ahead.
"That does not matter right now Poppy." Snape spoke in gentle tones the Gryffindor students could not believe came from him. "The problem is what is to be done."
"You cannot answer another Summons Severus." Poppy replied instantly. She glared fiercely at Dumbledore. "I won't let him go. It will kill him."
"But what do we do?" Minerva McGonogall asked practically. "The Dark Mark will cause Severus pain that will eventually become intolerable. We cannot keep Severus drugged into a coma."
The Order members began a heated debate on what should be done. Snape had to leave England. Distance would help weaken the Summons. The question was where: Japan, Australia, South America, Canada, Singapore...
Dumbledore noticed Snape was not really listening and looking about ready to scream that it was his life they were discussing and it was his choice.
"What do you think Severus?" He asked the younger wizard.
Snape looked up. Pieces were falling into place.
"I agree with the idea. I have to leave Britain. I have a few friends who can help me."
"Friends? Do they know what kind of trouble could follow you if they helped?"
Snape snorted a faint smile curving his lips. "Knowing Ripper they've encountered plenty of it."
With that he refused to talk.
"I don't even know if he is still alive Albus. If he can and does help me I'll owl an address you can use to contact me." He glanced at Hermione Granger. "Miss Granger, are you familiar with Muggle technology? Computers and the Internet?"
Hermione's eyes widened. Sour-puss pure-blood Snape knew of computers?
"Yes Professor Snape." She answered briskly.
"Good. Do you have an e-mail address?"
"Yesss." Hermione answered warily. "But I only use it during the summer at home."
Snape nodded briskly and glanced at Albus. "Find a way to neutralize the electronics wards in Hogwarts, and arrange for Miss Granger to have access to a computer with a satellite link."
"A satellite link?!" Hermione burst out. "Do you know how expensive those are?"
Snape raised a brow. "Patience Miss Granger." He turned to the Headmaster. "I have an account with a Muggle company. They arranged for my satellite link account. I can give the particulars to Lupin. He and Miss Granger can spend a day in London looking for three suitable laptops. Perhaps even PDAs or cell phones that the Order could use. It would be more secure and unexpected than wizarding means of communication."
Dumbledore was pleasantly surprised. He stroked his beard ignoring the gawping looks from every one else. "Very true Severus. I found it very interesting those chat rooms you showed me. Muggles have very vivid imaginations you know. There is one person, LadyRed in a Wiccan chat room. She is one of the most remarkable young ladies I've met. Sometimes I could almost believe she is a witch; she has such knowledge about obscure languages and myths." Dumbledore smiled. "She tells me she works for a librarian with several doctorates in obscure fields."
Everyone, especially Hermione, goggled at the thought of Albus Dumbledore surfing the net and meeting female Muggles in chat rooms.
"Albus! You never told me--." Minerva hissed before being interrupted by Severus Snape.
Snape heaved an exasperated sigh. "Albus! How many times do I have to tell you not to be so chatty with people you meet online?! They could be crazy lunatics!"
Dumbledore blinked innocently. "Sorry Severus."
Snape bit his tongue to keep from yelling and instead focused on jotting down notes using a quill on a bit of parchment and handed it to Lupin.
"This is the company and Muggle bank I use. I've already set up a line of credit that you, Albus, Minerva and Filius can use. Miss Granger or her parents can guide you in arranging for a credit card for making these purchases. I trust Miss Granger will be prudent in helping you make your purchases."
Hermione blushed. She had been fantasizing what she could do with a near unlimited line of credit and credit account in Muggle London.
"Of course Professor Snape. I will not abuse this trust."
Snape nodded sharply. "Good." He turned to Albus. "As soon as I can move I'll make arrangements to leave Hogwarts. I'll need rumors of my imminent death to run about in Hogsmeade to cover my exit."
"Severus. How on earth did you learn about Muggle machines?" Minerva asked curious and intrigued at this different aspect of her longtime colleague.
Snape shrugged. "I was visiting a Muggle library to do some reading on some innovations Muggle scientists made in biochemistry; to see if there was a way to alter the metabolism to build an immunity to the Crutiatos using Muggle pharmaceuticals and potions. The librarian there was kind enough to show me how to use the things to find what I wanted and how to contact other researchers at Muggle universities. I've maintained a correspondence with quite a few Muggle researchers."
Hermione's eyes widened in gleeful anticipation.
"Have you found anything sir?" She asked eagerly.
"Nothing that will allow the user to remain conscious and active." Snape admitted. "With any luck I can spend this summer making progress for a Crutiatos vaccine."
"But what about your lab? And your supplies?" Minerva asked flustered.
"Ripper should be able to help me stock up." Snape admitted casually. "And one of my cyber correspondents teaches Advanced Biochemistry at a Muggle university in the vicinity. They should be able to help me in my research."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.
"I'm glad to see you aren't letting the grass grow under your feet Severus."
"What?! Of course not." Snape huffed. "There is work to be done."
Everyone could see Severus Snape was practically rubbing his hands together in glee. Who was this Ripper friend that made Severus Snape so eager to meet him? And how in Merlin's name did Snape get to the point where he was willing to work with a Muggle in Muggle science with Muggle technology?
Snape noticed their questioning looks but refused to answer them.
"Miss Granger, would you be so kind as to write down your e-mail address?"
"What? Of course." Hermione wrote down the information on a scrap of parchment and handed it to Snape. "Here Professor."
"I will e-mail my status to Miss Granger one week after my departure." Snape stated tucking the scrap in a pocket. "It will take some time to get out of the country without too much notice." He looked up at Dumbledore. "Depending on how things work out I may or may not return to Britain. You might have to look for a replacement Potions Master."
"Great!" Minerva grumbled. "I can see we are going to have another cursed position that can never be filled."
Dumbledore blinked benignly. "Do not worry Minerva. I am certain Severus has a clever plan up his sleeve."
"Then why doesn't he share it with us?" McGonogall grumbled.
Blue eyes twinkled behind half-moon spectacles.
"Why, that would spoil the surprise Minerva."
Everyone had to stifle the urge to laugh.
Please read and review. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Raves and constructive criticism please.
Flames will be ignored.