Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Harry Potter characters and settings are the property of Ms. J. K. Rowling. All other characters from whatever media are also the property of their original owners, and to prevent spoilers, they’ll be identified at the end of their respective chapters.
In the DADA classroom deep inside Hogwarts Castle, three-quarters of the occupants there were glumly silent, while they waited for this year’s new teacher to show up and start the course. This extremely dejected mood was shared by every Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw student. On the other hand, the Slytherins were openly gloating about the Head of their House finally attaining the post he’d been seeking for years.
From the small group of teenagers wearing green-and-silver striped ties, a jovial voice nastily wagered, “Two galleons says Scarhead doesn’t survive the first ten minutes!”
The rest of the class shot a nervous look at the front of the room, where the seated young man with messy hair covering a famous healed wound in the shape of a lightning bolt on his forehead slouched, seemingly oblivious to Draco Malfoy’s latest taunt. In fact, Harry Potter continued to blankly gaze straight ahead at the blackboard on the far wall, still stuck in his state of thorough depression ever since arriving at the castle for his fourth year, and then finding out exactly who was going to take over from Professor Lupin this term.
Eyeing with alarm her unresponsive friend at her side, Hermione Granger comfortingly patted Harry’s shoulder several times, and then she suggested with actual hope in her tone, “Listen, Harry, it might not be that bad! I mean, the Headmaster had to agree to this, and surely Dumbledore wouldn’t allow Professor Snape to do anything too
malicious to you, right?”
Harry didn’t even blink in his thousand-yard stare. Seeing this, Hermione leaned back to hiss past Harry at the other young man on the right side of their bench, “Ron, say something supportive!”
Abruptly jerked out of his own serious gloom, Ron Weasley let his mouth run away in a truly tactless request, “Can I have your broom when you’ve been hexed to pieces, mate?”
Sunk in his abject misery, Harry ignored the pained yelp of a red-haired berk getting a vicious punch on his arm from someone with impressive upper-body strength gained by lugging around dozens of textbooks at a time. Rather, the Boy-Who-Wasn’t-Going-To-Live-Much-Longer fatalistically waited for his doom to descend.
Striding purposefully down the castle corridor, this approaching doom was just barely refraining from skipping along in sheer delight. He was Professor Severus Snape, the nightmare of a generation of Hogwarts students, and he didn’t do skipping. True, when he’d finally gotten back to his living quarters in the building dungeons after being informed of the good news from Dumbledore at the Headmaster’s office, Snape had allowed himself a few minutes of ecstatic celebration. This might’ve involved a modicum of hopping around in pure glee, but that was in total privacy and not witnessed by any gaping onlookers.
Allowing his habitual sneer to deepen slightly, the black-robed figure came to a stop in front of the closed classroom door, and Snape took a moment to savor his triumph. At long last, he’d achieved the position which none but he deserved, instructing the Defence Against the Dark Arts curriculum. It’d been essentially torture over the years, seeing all those other incompetents being given this highly respected position, and then with them ineptly presenting their ludicrous attempts at teaching such an important part of the wizarding world. Why, those blunderers had always gone so far as trying to justify their failures with that idiotic excuse of the appointment itself actually being cursed!
Rolling his eyes in utter contempt at such a feeble reason for his predecessors’ lack of success, the greasy-haired wizard proudly drew himself up. Just a few more steps into the classroom, and then the legend of Professor Snape, DADA teacher par excellence, would begin…
Without any warning at all, an immense surge of magical energy appearing out of nowhere covered entirely the form of the man in the corridor, holding him fully immobilized. Standing there in shock, Snape then felt his body jerkily moving on its own volition, with his wand being drawn and held out in front at head level. Worse of all, this piece of enchanted wood started to wave in ever-increasing gyrations, signaling a powerful spell of some kind was about to be cast. At the same time, a horrified Snape felt his mouth fall open, just before a previously unknown incantation materializing in his mind was loudly delivered, ringing throughout the Hogwarts corridor.
A few seconds later, the classroom door opened, and someone walked in. All of the students there initially observed with either fear, apprehension, or smugness this new arrival, only to then have identical expressions of out-and-out bogglement appear upon the faces of every young man and woman in the room.
Professor Snape, they all numbly realized, no question about it. However, there were several little things different about the Potions Master at this specific moment. Such as the actual avuncular…smile on this wizard’s tanned countenance. Not to mention instead of his usual midnight-dark robes, he was currently dressed in what the muggleborn recognized as a genuinely clichéd academic outfit right from any college film or television program from the past couple of decades. This consisted of shiny wing-tip shoes, good pants slightly baggy at the knees, a tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows, a sweater vest, and a clumsily-knotted regimental tie over a white shirt.
Most incomprehensible of all, instead of oily, shoulder-length hair, this man’s coiffure was a crew cut straight out of the 1950’s, with distinguished patches of grey hair at the temples.
In the stunned silence throughout the classroom, Snape walked over to stand by the teacher’s desk, and after coming to a halt there, he began to search through the pockets of his jacket. Ignoring the students staring at him, the professor soon happily removed several objects from this garment. These consisted of a tobacco pouch used to fill up a smoker’s pipe, which was then lit with a Zippo lighter. Sticking the end of the pipestem into his mouth, Snape puffed several times on this, sending a scent of cherry-flavored tobacco drifting throughout the room.
Now that he’d gotten his pipe going comfortably, Professor Snape looked out at the stupefied audience, each unaware they were now seeing the most recent example of the famed DADA curse. Beaming at his new students (who simultaneously recoiled in their unease), the teacher pulled the pipe out of his mouth, and he pleasantly announced to all and sundry, “Good morning, class.”
An hour later, Severus Snape staggered outside into the corridor through the classroom doorway, slamming shut this panel after him. Fortunately, those little perishers in there were still finishing up their notes from one of the most expertly delivered lectures on Dark Arts they’d ever heard, so they wouldn’t be following him right away. Which meant nobody else in the stone hallway saw how a shuddering professor then magically transformed from a campus cliché into his normal malevolent wizardness. Sighing with relief as he tossed back his regained greasy hair, Snape immediately made a beeline for the Headmaster’s office. Dumbledore had damned well better have a way to end that bloody curse, even if he’d previously claimed this was impossible. Failing that, the next best thing to do would be to obliviate the whole class--
Abruptly clutching at his roiling stomach, Snape had to pause in his hasty trek at a handy, remote corridor corner, where he spent an unhappy minute or two throwing up in there. He’d never
smoked before in his entire life, and cherry wasn’t his favorite flavor in the first place, besides.