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A friendly visit

Who: Sturgis Podmore and Severus Snape
What: A tale of two traitors
Where: Headmaster's office
When: 12 November - after classes
Status: Incomplete

Sturgis spoke the password and stepped in the first door, then waited patiently for the rising stairs to carry him up to Snape's office. This visit was long past due, but Sturgis had been so preoccupied with his excitement over this new Muggle Studies class that he had let the lapse slip his mind. Furthermore, he now had a genuine, school-related question to ask the man, as opposed to what would have been his initial reason for visiting.

The reason being he had yet to speak to Snape ever since his own loyalties had been revealed to be false.

The stairs stopped and he moved forward, knocking on the door politely and waiting for the man within to bid him enter.


Severus, having taken the hint from Professor Wickham, had been careful to scrutinize every new piece of work that came into his office. It was almost a miracle how much less he had to do when it was careful about it. He supposed it would have made him grateful, had it not given him so much extra time to think now. Thinking, it seemed, just brought on images that he couldn't bear to see.

"Enter," he said at the knock of the door, hoping to would be someone he cared to see. It was a mixture lately; sometimes people he could tolerate, sometimes not. Considering the fact that he wasn't expecting anyone tolerable, he resigned himself to having to deal with someone that would make him want to try out a new hex he had been thinking over.
Sturgis stepped through the door and looked around the room appraisingly until his eyes finally settled on the familiar figure of Severus Snape.

"Good afternoon... old friend," he said with a touch of irony as he approached the desk. "It came to my attention this morning how remiss I have been in properly welcoming you to the school, and I certainly could not let such an oversight continue."

He trailed a hand along the smooth wooden desk, a smirk upon his face as he watched his fingers glide along the piece of furniture. His eyes flickered up to meet his companion's. "Certainly done well for yourself, now have you. It was always your dream, and now that Albus is out of the way, it is all yours. You must be so pleased, yet so few know the truth about you enough to help you celebrate. Ah, but I am here now - who would have ever thought the two of us to be in the same situation, Severus. Here-"

He reached into his robes and pulled out an unopened bottle of scotch. "-to celebrate, of course."
Severus near curled his lip in distaste, raising an eyebrow at what appeared to him to be an obvious attempt to rile him. Instead he allowed a sardonic smile to pass over his face briefly, leaning back in his seat as he realised just how long a night he was now in for.

"Delighted," he said calmly, wondering again at just how little anyone really knew him at all. He had barely wanted to teach, which made the job of headmaster a distinctly miserable one. Of course that was made far more difficult by the way Albus insisted that he teach Potions: her favourite subject. "This is, of course, exactly what I had wanted for my life."

Severus had become so used to lying, he almost believed his own words. For a brief moment he had thought it would be better if he did; it would certainly hurt far less.
Sturgis quickly transfigured a pair of quills into stubby glasses and poured generous helpings of scotch into each. He slid one over to Severus, then took a seat in one of the seats opposite him, making himself all too comfortable.

"A toast," he offered, lifting his glass up in 'salute'. "To our Master, and our new positions. May they both bring us much prosperity."

A sip, and the scotch warmed him all along its passage from lips to stomach. "Now I certainly hope this little bunch of hooligans haven't brought you too much trouble yet, my friend. Though I admit, your little decree brought about an interesting little discussion in my class this morning. They aren't pleased, and whoever has been putting up these little bits of graffitti likely knows he's gotten under your skin."
"Gotten under my skin?" Severus asked calmly, a small smile on his face. He raised his drink to toast, taking a deep sip and wishing, again, that he could just lose himself in it permanently. If only the loss of control were easier to survive. "I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about."

His decision had had far less to do with the graffiti than it did the knowledge that students were starting to turn against each other. Still, perhaps it would be best to appear to be annoyed at something so trivial; it would be better than explain why he had such sympathy for non-Slytherins and so-called Mudbloods.

"No doubt they'll find new and interesting ways to slip past the new rules regardless," he said wryly, wondering how many new and interesting ways he had left to counter them. One of these days a child under his care would get themselves killed, something Severus was not entirely sure he could live with himself for. "I'll have to find something more...entertaining than expulsion to deal with them."
Sturgis grinned. "Ah, yes, entertaining. A wonderful coincidence, that happens to be the other reason I decided to stop by. I'm sure Alecto has come to similar difficulties in her class, and I for one would like to know if there is a plan as to when we maybe begin... diversifying our methods of discipline."

He took another sip of scotch before putting the tumbler back onto the desk. "I'm sure our Master would be more than anxious to hear how we are dealing with wayward mudbloods, don't you think?"
"I'm not entirely sure that's wise at this juncture," Severus mused, taking a deep sip of his drink and wishing that he were elsewhere. The most remote area of Siberia, perhaps. Or a small, Muggle playground near Spinner's End. "I've yet to hear such order from our Master. And as he has not, unfortunately, quite got control of the country yet, I worry at the idea of alerting the Mudblood and Half-Blood parents. They, as much as it pains me to say it, still have some power. If they were to be alerted too early, we may well have a problem."

He was not entirely sure what he was meant to do, should their "Master" insist. He wanted, so badly, to be away from here that he was afraid the temptation to leave would outweigh the many reasons he knew that he had to stay. Who would look out for them if he did not?
"I hate to say it, but you have a point. The parents would certainly want to end any 'fun' we may have with their sprogs," Sturgis replied with a nod. "However, we can't deny how disruptive some of them have become. I've kicked one out of my class already - I was worried I'd simply outright kill the bugger the next time he showed up for class."

His fingers toyed with the tumbler on the desk, turning it around in a circle. "However, if things become more overt at the Ministry, I do not feel our Master expects us to wait for orders. He placed us here for a reason, and that is to act when appropriate to preserve our people. That is why you're here, old friend, isn't it?"

His eyes all but bored into Severus, as if trying to gauge him and figure him out. Sturgis did not trust him, not with so many Order members still convinced that Severus had his 'reasons' for doing Dumbledore in. Minerva was no fool and would not be fooled twice by the same person - if only Sturgis knew what she knew.
Severus snorted, shaking his head in disapproval. That was one of the largest problems with the Dark Lord's followers; they were all ideal and absolutely no common sense whatsoever. It might almost be fun to watch Sturgis try to explain to the Dark Lord why he had infuriated so many of the parents of the Mudbloods before Severus had received orders that he was ready, but that would cause more problems than he was willing to deal with.

"You may wish to ruin our Lord's plans with an early reveal, my friend, but I am not prepared to face his wrath at this juncture," he said, finishing his glass of liquor and enjoying the burn as it slid down his throat. "Our Master always expects us to wait for his orders. That is why he gives them."
"He does, however, often appreciate someone who's willing and able to take initiative," Sturgis countered. "As long as its the right initiative, of course."

He took another sip, letting the alcohol burn down his throat.

"I still continue to send my twice weekly reports as had been requested of me. If we ever need clarification, I could always... ask."

And if I see you step out of line, he'll be told of it immediately - and now you know it.
"Please do," Severus said calmly. Little the Dark Lord could do to him was able to frighten him in the slightest any more, and he knew full well that it was much safer to abide by the exact orders than take his own 'initiative'. "If he changes his mind, I am sure he will let us know. In the meantime...well, you need only look at certain former followers of his to see how he reacts if the 'initiative' goes at all wrong. I prefer to abide by my Lord's wishes and trust that he knows more than I of his plans. I would hate to step in the way of something simply because he chose to keep it quiet until he was sure."

The day would come, he knew, that Sturgis' wishes would occur. Severus only wished he could think of a plan that would absolve him and still prevent the bloodshed of what amounted to, however irritating, a group of innocent children. Was that even possible?
"Well then, we will see, now won't we."

He finished off his glass, uncertain of what to make of Severus. Yet his obvious lack of enthusiasm for Sturgis' ideas only made him distrust him even further. He would keep a close eye upon him, there was no doubt of that.

"Well, perhaps you, me and Alecto could get together one night soon to discuss... politics and the like," Sturgis offered as he rose up from his seat. "I know I for one enjoy the rare opportunity for uninhibited conversation. I shall leave you to your work, but... we will talk again soon."
"I'll look forward to it," Severus said, rather pleased that he would have yet another opportunity to try and keep tabs on what the two of them were doing. With any luck he would at least have prior warning as to what they were planning, and be able to prevent it in any way he could. "Do stop by whenever you feel the desire to converse."

Admittedly, a large part of him prayed that the other man would never feel like it, but the smaller, less selfish part managed to beat it back again. The distasteful company, surely, was worth the trouble if it meant he was even a little more informed.
"Good evening, then," Sturgis said politely. "And keep the scotch - I'm sure you'll be needing it after dealing with these young hooligans."

And with a final smirk, he opened the door and exited, his mind already working on his next update to the Dark Lord.