Severus Snape glided through the darkened hallways of Hogwarts, lying in wait for some unsuspecting student of his to cross his path. He was just itching to hand out some detentions after the exhausting day he had. A group of second-years during a Double Potions class—Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs—caused a major explosion in the dungeon, canceling classes for the remainder of the day. He gave the pair who caused the explosion—Charlie Weasley and Nymphadora Tonks—a week's worth of detentions, but it still wasn't enough for his temper to subside. Severus was seething with rage over what had transpired; for his regular classroom would be unusable until the mess could be cleaned up, and the Potions Master was ready to hand a detention out to the next student to cross his path.
The Potions Master had far too much on his plate already to concern himself with having to clean the dungeon of the harmful substances that permeated his classroom and sitting through a week's work of detentions. He had no way of accomplishing everything. Classes had to be taught and then there was the matter of the five year-old girl currently meandering about the corridors. The girl, whom could not spend the week with a nanny as Severus requested, was relegated to stay at Hogwarts with him when he had classes to teach. Of course, leaving Albus to play baby-sitter to a precocious five year-old girl was a mistake in and of itself. He allowed the girl to have sweets at least twice before sending her back to Severus. It left the young five year-old very hyper and not wanting to go to sleep. I won't be doing that again, Severus thought as he walked like a shadow through the dimly lit corridors.
As he skulked through the dingy corridors, the Potions Master heard a voice. It was not one he recognized all too well, meaning it wasn't a fellow professor or one of the Slytherins. His Slytherins wouldn't dare disobey that order. During his first year of teaching, several fourth-years decided to test his authority. It was the first year after Slughorn retired and, because he was so young—only twenty-one—when Albus gave him the job, the students expected that Severus would not punish them in a way that some of the other Professors did. They learned their lesson however, when Severus had them scrubbing cauldrons by hand and collecting potions ingredients, balking at what a slave driver Severus was.
Whomever it was that was wandering the halls at this late hour would be subjected to an extra dose of detentions since his wrath would not wane until the pent up rage that surfaced after the explosion subsided. The voice grew stronger as Severus continued through the Charms corridor, the owner within about a hundred feet away. As he traversed the corridor, searching for the voice, Severus saw a faint yellow light flicker. Having found the source of the light in an unused classroom, Severus pulled the door open and swept into the room, using the overpowering darkness to his advantage. When the light flickered on and off, Severus caught a glimpse of the back of the student…and a mop of bright red hair. It could only be one of two people, as only they had hair of such a shade.
"Mr. Weasley," Severus said smoothly, wondering which one of the Weasley boys was out of bed at the moment. "What are you doing out of bed?" He kept his tone even, though all he wanted to do was yell at whichever one of the Weasleys this was. There was no reason for any student to be out of bed. He'd better have an explanation for keeping me from going to check on my daughter and continuing on with my evening duties.
"Professor Snape?" he exclaimed in surprise.
Severus realized that it was the elder of the Weasley brothers—fourth-year Bill Weasley—whom was out of bed at this hour. Between the two of them, the Potions Master expected the misbehaving student to be the younger one; Charlie Weasley, not Bill Weasley. "Mr. Weasley, answer my question? Why are you out of bed?" he queried of the Gryffindor.
"I came to check on something," the fourth-year answered.
"At one o'clock in the morning?" Severus queried of the Gryffindor. There was no reason for Bill Weasley to be sneaking out of bed. Hogwarts had a curfew, done for a reason. It was in the students' best interests to have the curfew, yet they still broke curfew for the stupidest of reasons. Mr. Weasley's reason was sure to be as stupid as some of the other reasons he heard over the past four years. "Tell me, Mr. Weasley; what did you come to check on?"
"I…I…I…" the young Gryffindor stammered.
"Detention, Mr. Weasley!" Severus declared. "And twenty points from Gryffindor. Now get to bed." After all that he suffered at the hands of those blasted Marauders; Severus took glee in deducting points from the house of the lion. It would never fully make up for the seven years in which the Marauders tortured him. For a time, Lily helped him through the torment, but she was driven away by the temper that Severus inherited from his father. One impulsive mistake cost Severus his childhood friendship with Lily, and his only support system. The Gryffindors became unbearable by that point and Severus merely wanted reparations for all the suffering he incurred at the hands of those four meddlesome Gryffindors known as the Marauders. And, even though he and Lily reconciled, it wasn't enough to soften the blow. Gryffindors cost Severus the sanctuary he was looking for when he escaped his father and the Potions Master wanted them to pay. Bill Weasley was the latest of these victims and he certainly would not be the last; not if Severus had his way.
Bill Weasley solemnly trooped towards Gryffindor Tower, allowing Severus to finish his rounds for the evening. Fortune was on his side and Severus ran into no more students. He was allowed to finish his rounds of the castle in peace and returned to the dungeons. Settling into his quarters, Severus did some small paperwork before going in to check on his five year-old daughter, Apollonia. The girl was sleeping peaceably, her wavy black hair falling in her face. Merely looking at his young daughter allowed a sense of peace to wash over the normally cantankerous professor before Severus retired for the evening.
Severus settled down with a book and attempted to immerse himself in the potions journal, but found it impossible. His mind drifted to his daughter, the precocious little five year-old girl whom would need baby-sitting during the weekend. After all the times in which Albus had given the young girl sweets, Severus was not about to allow the Headmaster to do so again. Severus would have to find someone else—someone far more responsible—to baby-sit the young girl while he went off to run some errands. Pomona? No; she would have a fit if Apollonia got too close to her plants. Filius? Not him either. If she were a bit older, I'd ask Hagrid. Of course, since she's not, I think Minerva might be my best choice. The two Weasley boys and Miss Tonks flashed in his mind. No, wait; I have an even better idea. His ingenious idea would not only solve the baby-sitter dilemma, but it would also teach the errant students a lesson: not to mess with a Potions Master who already had a full schedule. All he needed yet was permission from Pomona and Minerva to use their students as guinea pigs for this newest punishment he had in mind.
When morning came, three tawny owls descended into the Great Hall, yellow envelopes clasped firmly within their beaks. One of the owls separated from the group and began descending upon the Hufflepuff table, barreling straight for a young girl with bubblegum pink hair. The two remaining owls made a beeline for the Gryffindor table, dropping their envelopes in front of two red-headed boys. All three letters bore the same carefully worded message.
Be in the dungeon immediately following breakfast Saturday morning. Your detention will begin then.
Severus grinned at seeing his student open the letter explaining when their detentions were to begin. Come Saturday, Miss Tonks and the Weasley brothers would understand just how much of a mistake it was for them to mess with Severus Snape. Had they known about Apollonia—of which few even did to begin with—maybe this trio of students would have thought twice about making more work for the Potions Master. This detention will be unlike any these students have ever seen, he thought. By the time Saturday comes to a close and I return from my errands, they will have learned not to mess with me. I won't stand for disobedient students, especially those self-righteous Gryffindors.
Author's note: This story is a four-part companion piece to Secrets of a Slytherin Princess. It will play a role in future chapters of that story.