That's Really Saying Something
Spoilers: All BtVS. Up to OotP in HP.
Summary: Ethan Rayne's special brand of chocolate finds their way into the hands of the Headmaster, who is trying to raise funds for Hogwarts' frog choir. Chaos ensues when the students sell it. A regressed comedy.
Authors Notes: No beta, forgive my mistakes- I'm sure there'll be many.Band Candy Revisited
Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter and all recognizable characters belongs to JK Rowling. The world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all recognizable characters belongs to Joss Whedon.Chapter 1That's Really Saying Something
It was, as far as Severus Snape was concerned, one of the signs of an oncoming apocalypse. Forget all the bloody nonsense about the four horsemen; the most telling sign was all about humming. More specifically, Albus Goddamn Dumbledore humming.
Like the Fujita Scale that declared the intensity of a tornado, it's threat level, Severus had also devised his own disaster scale of sorts: The Dumbledore Scale. Unlike the Fujita, it did not measure by the damage left in the wake of a destructive twister. The Dumbledore Scale attempted to predict
the amount of damage that would be left in the wake of the Headmaster and one of his grand schemes.
Since Severus considered himself something of an academia elitist, it had taken years to perfect this scale down to a science. Merlin knew there had been ample events by which to gather empirical data. Yule Balls, new classes of the 'unconventional' sort, schemes to promote inter-house relations, and- the plan that had been the definition for a D5- that time the Headmaster had sent the entire Staff to a summer camp for 'getting to know your co-workers'.
Nearly seven years later, Severus still had nightmares about Filius skinny-dipping and Minerva's drunken rendition of Kumbaya.
The Dumbledore Scale was measured by two primary factors- what Dumbledore was humming and how brightly his eyes were twinkling. D1 was whatever tune was popular on Wizarding Wireless, and a minimal sparkle. D2 was Hail to the Minister accompanied by an unsettling glitter. Severus had not heard a D2 since the breakaway with Fudge, thus throwing his system a bit off- but nothing that he couldn't compensate for.
The School Song and a noticeable glimmer (some may refer to it as an evil glint) was a D3. D3s were the stuff of night terrors, and left Severus' nerves frazzled for weeks in the aftermath. Nearly all of the Yule Balls fell under D3. Then came the life-altering D4s- Stepping Out With My Baby by Sinatra, and with a twinkling that would be blinding to stare at for too long. The entire debacle of the Triwizard Tournament Severus had labeled a D4 at the very staff meeting Dumbledore had informed them all about it. They were still feeling the repercussions of that decision nearly two years later.
But the most unholy of all, the rarest of all, the ones that left him scared emotionally, physically, and mentally were the D5s. The nameless tune made up at the moment with no words. A twinkling that rivaled the brilliance of a mid-summer night's sky.
As Severus sat nervously in his seat safely concealed within the shadows cast by the fire, watching and listening carefully to the Headmaster, he realized with dawning horror that this was a D5. He was not a cowardly man by any stretch of the imagination, but at this moment the Slytherin survival instincts were kicking into gear. They told him, no holds barred, it would be better to swallow pride and run from the room before he could be drafted into whatever it was that Dumbledore had planned. Unfortunately, this meeting was mandatory.
He would simply have to take the usual D5 precautions. Not that they made much of a difference in the end, but he refused to go down without a battle.
Shielding his thoughts very carefully, Severus waited as the last of the staff filed in. With each new bar that came vibrating from the Headmaster's closed mouth, Severus continued to cringe inwardly. At this point, the blue eyes were twinkling enough to overtake the North Star as heavenly champion.
With a sinking realization, Severus knew this would be worse than the camping excursion. Dumbledore was simply too damn chipper.
"Ah," Dumbledore called out to them all as Sibyll Trelawney finally floated in, her magnified eyes glossier than usual, "so glad you could join us Sibyll."
In the usual breathy tones that made Severus' teeth grind completely involuntarily she replied, "I have foreseen that this would be a meeting of some importance, Headmaster. I simply had to come, since I had received a terrible omen about this afternoon. It is never wise to ignore the eye, especially when danger threatens my fellow colleagues."
"I wouldn't call a staff memo an omen of disaster," Minerva muttered sourly from Severus' right.
Usually he would have smirked at such a statement, sharing the Head of Gryffindor's opinion on their resident Divinations expert- that she was an utter Quack. This time, however, he was too preoccupied with the coincidence of this so called 'omen' and his D5. Things were definitely not looking good.
"Well, omens aside Sibyll, if you'd take your seat we can begin," the Headmaster said smoothly, tactically ignoring Minerva's comments- no doubt.
After Trelawney had fluttered down to the sound of chiming bangles and beads, the Headmaster pulled a sheet of parchment out from a folder, breezing through it. "I see there are no pressing issues on the agenda," he observed.Stall
, Severus' mind whispered in a tiny and utterly panicked voice. Clearing his throat, he leaned forward so that his profile was not so hidden as he addressed the boss. "Actually," he drawled smoothly, "I'd like to address the matter of the conflicting schedule between the Slytherin and Gryffindor team practices, Sir. The Gryffindors are utterly monopolizing the field, and my- excuse me- the Slytherin team hasn't had ample time to… perfect their technique for the upcoming season."
"Rubbish," Minerva put in without hesitation. "It's the Slytherin team that has been filling up all the slots. With notes from you, I might add," she said briskly in his direction.
"You must be mistaken, Minerva," he replied in kind. "I'm sure if you checked the roster, you'd find the Gryffindors have been training in time slots designated to the Slytherin team."
"That is utter poppycock and you know it," she shot back, her baroque accent becoming more defined as her ire rose. "Mr. Potter informed me, just yesterday, that the Slytherins were using the pitch when the Gryffindors were signed up."
"Potter," he replied with a fierce sneer, "could have been bending the facts to suit him, as the boy often does."
"Are you suggesting he lied to me?" she returned, higher in pitch.
He inclined his head. "Yes. I suppose I am."
As Minerva's eyes began to light with rage on behalf of her most cherished student, Dumbledore cleared his throat. "I'm sure that Rolanda would be more than happy to assign new schedules for the field, one that suits everyone's needs. Equally."
Hooch nodded her agreement. "I'll get right on it, Sir."
"Excellent," Dumbledore said, clapping his hands together.
Minerva still looked like a spitting cat, but kept her lips tightly shut. Severus simply smirked over the small victory before leaning back into the shadows.
"Now, if no one else has anything else to address?" Dumbledore asked expectantly. When silence greeted him, he nodded with a pleased air before continuing. "Very well. Now for the reason I called you all here today."
The Headmaster leaned over the side of his chair, and an arm disappeared as he reached for something hidden out of sight. Severus narrowed his eyes, watching each small move like a hawk, expecting the worse- like a new Professor. Dumbledore had already hired a centaur (the very one clacking about in the corner, tail swishing), perhaps now he'd found a few fairies? Pixies? Gnomes?
As a very plain sort of box was brought up and set on the table, a Honeydukes label displayed for them all in bright yellow stencil, Severus arched his brow expressively. Perhaps he'd been too hasty with the D5. Maybe the humming had to do with a new, giant stash of the Headmaster's candy supply.
"I present to you all Hogwarts' first ever Candy Drive!" Dumbledore announced with a beaming smile and an extravagant wave of the hand.
Or perhaps not.
As speculative whispers were exchanged between the rest of the teaching staff, Severus slumped dejectedly down in his seat. He was not quite certain how candy was to be the downfall of human life as they knew it, but he was unfortunately likely to find out very soon.
Minerva was eyeing the box just as wearily. "What is this… Candy Drive, Albus? I've never heard of it before."
When the reply of, "it's a muggle concept," came back, Severus actually groaned quietly in despair. Then the horrifying reality kept crashing into him as the Headmaster went on. "As you may or may not know, Honeydukes has recently changed administrative hands. The fellow who owns it now, a Mr. Ethan Rayne, has apparently spent a lot of time living in the Muggle world."
Severus' veins only ran colder as the Headmaster continued. "When I went to restock my chocolate frogs, we struck up a conversation. He knows the most fascinating things about muggles, extraordinary. Well, somehow the problem with the Choir came up," at this Filius perked slightly from his stack of books, "and he told me about a well proven method of raising funds in muggle schools. You see, all the students go door-to-door selling candy. While the manufacturer of the chocolate bars- in our case- makes their profit, the school also gets a small percentage of each bar sold. Thus, earning us some more funds for the Choir."
He smiled with all the beauty of the Madonna at them, "I'm rather hopeful that we'll have a bit left over for a few more renovations as well. I'm sure the greenhouse and transfiguration classrooms could use some updating. And the Potions laboratory certainly needs more up to date equipment."
Severus Snape recognized a bribe when he heard it, and his eyes narrowed even further into tiny slits.
"Sounds fantastic," Pomona Sprout declared with excitement. "I was going to save the request for new paneling in greenhouse two for next year, the Mandrakes got a bit out of control with their parties last season, but if this could replace it, I'm all for it."
"What about the students," Lupin asked, always and forever child advocate- much to Severus' irritation. His weary amber eyes regarded Dumbledore soberly. "It seems wrong to make them go around and sell on behalf of a shop and the school without recompense." He smiled fleetingly. "Besides, they're more likely to eat it all themselves."
"There are incentives, of course," Dumbledore replied evenly, eyes still twinkling. He reached into the folder and drew out a pamphlet of some sort, sliding it across the table to Lupin. "You see, based on the amount of money they raise, they can win prizes. Not only compensation for their hard work, but also a further drive to get as much candy sold as possible. Really, it's an excellent opportunity for them all to learn about economics and business."
Several staff members took leave of their senses, forgetting the fact that Lupin was a beast, and leaned in closer to his seat to peer over his shoulder as he flipped through the catalogue. His expression flittered a few times, seemingly in a pleased manner, before he passed the catalogue off to Sprout with a nod to Dumbledore.
As the catalogue made its way around the table, Minerva voiced the reservations that were plainly written across her face for the duration of the discussion so far. "But, Albus, the students can't exactly go door-to-door. We're in the middle of Scotland, and the nearest village is Hogsmede."
"Yes, I've already considered that, Minerva," he answered smoothly, as if it had been well rehearsed by now. "I've decided to allow the older years a field trip to London, in order to sell the candy."
Severus felt as if the bottom had dropped out from under him at those words. While he stared in shock and absolute disbelief at the Headmaster, that such a purportedly wise Wizard could even passingly consider such a ridiculous notion; the rest of the staff began voicing their own objections. Apparently, they had just now recognized the D5 threat about to blow up in their faces as well.
"You can't be serious Albus!"
"The upper years?! In London?!"
"It is as the tea leaves foretold, disaster awaits."
"Yer sure now tha's a good idea, Dumbledore sir?"
"Uranus will be very bright tonight."
Unable to contain his opinion on the matter any longer, Severus' fist slammed onto the desk- silencing everyone and drawing their collective attention. "This is, without a doubt, the most idiotic, hair brained scheme you've ever devised! It is shear lunacy
! You are aware that there are muggles in London? Those damned tubes? Automobiles? It will be impossible to watch them all! They'll slip away from us, causing Merlin KNOWS what damage to the secrecy laws! Even one or two students are an unacceptable risk- but every single one of the upper years?! You cannot be serious about this!"
As a hush fell over the room that was laden with a childish sort of 'uh-oh', Severus came to himself and realized what he had just said to the most powerful wizard of all time. It was one thing to privately refer to him as a loony within the safety of his thoughts, it was quite another to say it aloud in a staff meeting to the Headmaster's face.
But Dumbledore merely sat there, completely relaxed as if lacking any care in the world. Hands clasped loosely over his long beard above his belly, he regarded Severus with his eyes twinkling so much they nearly seemed like twin gems.
Severus realized that he was in some serious trouble.
"In that case, I'm glad to hear you'll be only too happy to help with the chaperoning duties, Severus. I had hoped that you would volunteer, and once again you've made me proud, my boy."
Severus' jaw nearly fell to his knees. "WHAT!
"Since you're so concerned over the student's well fair. I know you find it hard to spend free time around them. It does this old man good to see you're trying to move past that."
"B-but-" he tried, for the first time in his life finding himself floundering for his words. "But I didn't volunteer! I do hate spending free time around them!"
"No need to be so humble over it, Severus," Dumbledore continued seemingly oblivious to his panic-stricken Potions Master. "You said yourself that there is considerable risk in allowing the students to go to London, did you not?"
"Well, yes, but-"
"And I know how fond you are of keeping a close eye on all the students," the Headmaster said, pressing further.
"I have to! They're nothing but filthy pests always causing trouble!" he protested vehemently.
"Here, here," Filch grunted from the corner by the coffee pot.
Ignoring that vote of confidence, Severus tried to defend his actions and still get out of this terrible chaperoning duty. "Watching them around the castle consists of my regular, contractual, duties. I don't recall anything being in the wording about accompanying the little brats on field trips!"
In a flick of his wand, suddenly drawn from a bright fuchsia sleeve of his robes, Dumbledore produced a scroll. Another twist of his wrist and the ribbon fastened around it untied, allowing the scroll to spring open. Adjusting his half-moon spectacles, Dumbledore picked the parchment up and began reading aloud. "Paragraph three, subsection C. I, Severus Snape, agree to look after the safety and well being of any child enrolled at Hogwarts, until such time as graduation or expulsion from the institution. Or until such time as my own employment at Hogwarts is terminated." Dumbledore tapped the scroll again, effectively re-rolling it and banishing it to wherever he kept the rest of the staff's contracts. He arched a bushy white brow. "Doesn't say anything about the child being on the grounds or off, Severus."
Severus felt an eye beginning to twitch.
"Now, if you wish to terminate your employment here…" Dumbledore stated, leaving off quietly at the end.
He opened his mouth, the words 'you bet your bloody arse I do' resting just on his tongue and ready to fly like an arrow- but then the part of his mind that recalled their other, silent deal surfaced. The one about serving as Dumbledore's Potions Master or rotting away in a cell at Azkaban for his past crimes. With a click of finality, he closed his mouth, curtly shook his head, and resorted to stewing in his wrath silently.
"Since that's settled," Dumbledore went on pleasantly before withdrawing a sheet of parchment with the words 'Chaperone Duty' at the top and several lines for names beneath it. Severus watched in mute fury as the Headmaster's quill scratched his name onto it with the flourish of a victor who'd received their enemy's sword of surrender. "Please sign if you would like to take on this duty. I'll assign the rest if I don't have enough volunteers." With that, he passed the sheet to Minerva.
She signed it forlornly before circumventing Severus, and sending it on down to Filius.
"Now, here are the particulars," Dumbledore stated to the room at large above the scratching of quills. Severus had no choice but to remain seated in humiliation as the entirety of the Headmaster's D5 scheme was laid out before him.**