Serratenshi: Abraxas Sneeveley had received orders earlier that day from the ministry - and the board of govenors. The letter, which was signed 'Rudolphus Lestrange', indicated that he had best begin speaking to the last few teachers who had failed to succomb to mild probings as to their marking of work from the students involved in The Tree of Knowledge.
Snape, of course, had not responded to Sneeveley's vauge hints. In fact, Sneeveley wondered if Snape had even read the short, polite (ish) note he'd left on the teachers desk some weeks ago. Somehow, he was starting to doubt it.
Sweeping his lengthy ashen hair out of his eyes, he knocked swiftly on the door to Snape's study. He half hoped the other man was out - he was going to be a hard nut to crack, and Sneeveley would rather not have to use his usually dormant 'skills' of persuasion.
just t0nks: Severus was not in the best of moods (not unusual). Unfortunately, summer fever had gotten into many of the students, and they'd begun to shirk their responsibilites. Potions work, apparently, was the first to take holiday. For ever F he handed back, he assigned at least two detentions, it was rather depressing. Work had always been a way to distract himself, to keep from burying himself in the war effort fully. With work ending, and Potter missing, Snape had more than failing grades on his mind.
Hearing the knock at his door, he replaced his quill in its holder, straightening his robes, hoping it would be someone pleasant. Like Albus or Nymphadora. Opening the door, his face took on a scowl. 'No such luck,' he thought, dismally. "Yes, Mister Sneeveley?" He said politely, practically spitting out the last name. It made his stomach turn, so close to 'Snivellus', the name that had tormented his childhood.
Serratenshi: Abraxas wondered if Snape remembered him - they'd been at school together, though he doubted the other boy had anything more than the vaugest of recollections of that. In fact, he rather hoped he didn't remember. He's been two years behind Severus - in fifth, when the older boy had been graduating. He'd always thought Severus rather interesting - rather likely to become a death eater, in fact.
And he'd been right. Lord Voldemort had told him that. Snape had been a loyal death eater indeed - although his communication with the others, and with Voldemort himself had been waning recently.
He'd been instructed not to trust Snape. Not fully. There were suspicions flying about. However, something about Snape made Abraxas want to trust him. He wasn't sure what it was. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the other man personified so much of what the entire death eater 'movement' was about, for him. It probably stemmed from childhood. All these types of things did.
"...Professor Snape - ...I was wondering if you had a moment, this evening? Might I trespass on your time a little?"
just t0nks: The man had been dropping hints, leaving notes, practically following Severus around on the stupid student grade issue. It simply was not an option to treat others unfairly. This would probably leave him with a headache and desiring a strong glass of absinthe, but Albus had advised the staff to be polite. Even if it hurt.
"I have a few minutes to spare, I suppose," he drawled, not moving the door one bit. Sneeveley wanted his time, Severus was under no obligation to make the other man comfortable.
Serratenshi: "I wondered if perhaps you'd gotten my little note about the issue of grading the students who are participating in my extra-curricular magic program..." he began, voice sickly sweet. Couldn't hurt to butter the other man up a bit. But exactly how did one 'butter up' Severus Snape?
just t0nks: "Yes, I recieved the note," Severus said honestly, "I must say it brightened my day considerably."
Serratenshi: "Oh....?" Sneeveley was rather thrown by this. Brightened his day? Sarcasm?
just t0nks: "Yes, I continue to find it amusing you'd propose the idea, Abraxas," he said, with a light smirk, "I'm curious, did the rest of the staff apprechiate your humor as funny as I did?"
Serratenshi: "It wasn't exactly humor..." Sneeveley prickled somewhat "I have my instructions from the board of Govenors, and i'm sure they'd be more than happy to illuminate the situation to you at greater length - many of the other professors - in fact, all, save for yourself and professor mcgonnagall - have complied with the boards wishes."
just t0nks: "Oh," Severus pretended to be surprised, "It wasn't a joke?" He paused, breaking into another grin, "You're pulling my leg. Almost tricked me there, Sneeveley," he said, tapping the other man's shoulder. "Governors, Minerva," he laughed thickly, "You are too much."
Serratenshi: Sneeveley bristled even more, and took a step back from the other man. "Severus, the board has the authority to suspend teachers who do not comply with the ministry approved outline for grading these special students."
just t0nks: "Oh," he tried to sober himself, "I see. Hm, well can you explain one small matter to me? You see, the week has been long, and my mind is a bit short circuited."
Serratenshi: "Anything - what is it that has you confused?" asked Abraxas, in rather a supersilious tone. He liked this - explaining something to Snape. It made him feel in control. Powerful.
just t0nks: "Now, this 'special group', the initiation took all the students out to the well, am I right? And all students dipped their wands into the water?" Severus asked, crossing his arms.
Serratenshi: "That's correct, yes." nodded Sneeveley "The well had been specially charmed for the purpose."
just t0nks: "And what was the criteria for acceptance?" Snape asked neutrally.
Serratenshi: "The well, much like the Hogwarts sorting hat, was charmed to recognise certain qualities in the students who dipped their wands in to its waters." replied Abraxas, smoothly.
just t0nks: Severus nodded lightly, "So the students had no real choice in their acceptance? There was nothing particularly extra-ordinary in those accepted?"
Serratenshi: "Oh, no, there was..." Sneeveley smiled, lying smoothly "Academic ability - or at least, predisposition to performing the types of magic we would be dealing with in the extension program. Hidden talents, if you will."
just t0nks: "Aha. So the accepted students are more adept at magic, or have the potential to be, than the others, am I right?" Severus asked.
Serratenshi: Sneeveley nodded, starting to feel a little wary. He wondered if it was possible that Severus already knew. Perhaps, he thought, with a jolt, Voldemort and Severus were in contact - perhaps they'd spoken, since last Sneeveley had conversed with his lord.
just t0nks: "Exactly as I thought," Severus said, giving a kind smile. Or, as kind of a smile as a Snape could manage. "So these students should be doing better in classes than other non-members. They have a natural advantage. Perhaps we should boost the non-members' grades then, to keep things truly just."
Serratenshi: Sneeveley looked irritated "But you see, Severus, with the extra work from The Tree Of Knowledge, the students simply don't have the time to research their assignments for their classes as thoroughly as they should. And you, i'm sure, are aware that no amount of natural ability can compensate for study time..."
just t0nks: "Au contraire," Severus said, "I had quite a few school mates who simply showed up for class and aced exams and papers." 'Like Black,' he thought a little irritated, remembering all the nights he'd spent studying for the same grades as Sirius.
Serratenshi: "Look..." Abraxas was losing his patience "Just comply with the board of Govenors, Severus. You wouldn't want to get on anybodies bad side, would you?"
just t0nks: Severus laughed, "I'm quite used to it by now, Abraxas. I can be somewhat of a toxic personality at times. The board has rather been, inadequate to handle its tasks since Lucius Malfoy has gotten his power as head Governor taken away, only to be given to Rodolphus Lestrange." Lucius at least enjoyed Severus' company. He was the lesser of the two evils.
Serratenshi: "Well..." Sneeveley really didn't know where to go, from here "I wouldn't suggest pushing this, personally. But of course, it's up to you - your decision. The board has Dumbledore's full support, however, and I doubt they'd have any trouble in over-turning your placement here at Hogwarts and finding something more productive for you to do - somewhere where it is a little less easy to shirk responsibilities and duties, and a little less advisable to get on somebodies 'bad side'." he eyes Severus meaningfully. He hoped he wasn't giving too much away, but he felt he was treading an even, middle ground. Vauge, but to the point. Not enough to get anybody in to trouble.
just t0nks: Severus' eyes got a little glint as he registered the words as a threat. "Do you know what I specialize in, in the entire field of potions, what makes me so valuable to," he paused, "...let's say a 'father' we share?"
Serratenshi: Sneeveley tensed a little. He'd overstepped. He knew it, now. He wondered if he could backpeddal, but doubted it.
"....no, i'm afraid I don't, Severus."
just t0nks: "Poisons. There are over twelve-thousand, six-hundred different variations of lethal poisons with arachnid- spider- venom alone. Did you know that, Mister Sneeveley?" Severus asked, entering his study, leaving the door open. "Would you like a drink?"
Serratenshi: Abraxas swallowed, heavily, suddenly feeling that he was in well over his head.
What had his master told him, though? Something about not being such a snivelling little coward. Not running at the first sign of danger.
He knew he'd been entrusted with a major, major part of The Lord's plan...abusing, or neglecting the trust of Lord Voldemort was usually the last thing anybody did...
He stepped inside the office, much against his will, closing the door behind him. "How interesting, Severus - I had no idea, not being involved, really, in the academic fields myself. Well - not as far as potion-making goes, in any case." he covered, quickly "...a drink?" he smiled, wryly "What are you offering?"
just t0nks: "Something stiff as a corpse," he said, turning to his drink cart, blocking Albraxas' view of what he was pouring completely.
Serratenshi: "I've sort of sworn off alcohol...." he murmured, lamely, wondering how the hell to get out of this one.
just t0nks: "Sworn off alcohol? Now why would a hard working man, such as yourself, do such a thing?" Severus asked, faking a malicious breed of interest.
Serratenshi: "Makes me violent."
just t0nks: Severus smirked down as he prepared his own absinthe. "Surely you can stand just one drink without any horrible outcome?"
Serratenshi: "Depends - what are you putting in it, Severus?" he tried to keep the tone light, and jovial, but failed.
just t0nks: "A secret ingredient," Snape said, dropping a sugar cube into his glass with a clink. "One I brew myself."
Serratenshi: "You really think i'm going to drink from that?" questioned Abraxas, point blank. No point in beating around the bush, really. There was no polite way to get out of this situation.
just t0nks: Severus sipped from the green liquid, feeling the dull ache of talking to this idiot melt away, at least temporarily. "How upset the Dark Lord must be at the recent recruits. It used to be a trial of initiation to drink one of my many concoctions. The wrong one and you'd end up dead. Refusing to drink and you ended up dead as well," he said, wistfully, as if it was a pleasant memory.
Serratenshi: Curiously, the only coherant thought running through Abraxas' head was ohshit. Sometimes he wished this Death Eater business was a little more straightforward. Of course, the dark mark was supposed to be an indication of who you could and could not trust - but was it? No, not really. There would always be double agents.
"Well...I...hm...one little drink, I suppose..."
just t0nks: "Brilliant," Severus said, not sounding overly happy at all. He returned to his drink cart and poured the contents of a vial into an empty glass. He swirled the glass and it turned from clear to black instantly, he offered the glass to Sneeveley.
Serratenshi: Sneeveley couldn't recall any terribly fatal potions that were black in colour. However, he hadn't been lying when he'd told Severus that potions wasn't his forte. He swallowed heavily, throat feeling dry. "No chaser?" he asked, attempting to sound bouyant and witty. He reached out for the glass, taking it in one spindly, claw-like hand.
just t0nks: Severus instantly decided this was the most fun he'd had all week. "You won't need it."
Serratenshi: He'd get in trouble for poisoning a fellow teacher, surely?
He raised the glass to his lips.
Yes, there's no way in hell he could get away with that. He wouldn't risk it - if he thinks i'm involved with Voldemort (which he does) then he won't want to risk the Dark Lord's wrath....and who would believe him, if he told them he'd murdered me to protect Harry Potter? To protect 'the children'. Nobody. Nobody would believe him.
He closed his eyes, and swallowed the contents of the glass in one gulp.
...surely, they wouldn't believe him...
just t0nks: Severus watched with a twisted pleasure as Sneeveley met what he thought was his death. He had his eyes closed. He was probably wetting himself. "I find octopus ink delicious," he said, letting Abraxas know he'd only have a stained tongue when he reached the end of his drink.
Serratenshi: Sneeveley opened his eyes, and fought the urge to glare at the older man. His eyes narrowed, but he surpressed his rage, responding with only the merest hint of anger in his voice "....really...how...exotic of you."
just t0nks: "Octopuses rarely ink. It is normally the squid. Squid's ink, I'm afraid, tastes like scat," he said cooly, taking a sip of his absinthe.
Serratenshi: "Well..." Sneeveley was sufficiently un-nerved, now "...If that's all the uh...knowledge you wish to impart for this evening, Severus, I may be on my way..."
just t0nks: "Just a few last small nibbles for thought, Abraxas..." Severus said, standing to return both glasses to the cart. "Four million potions are odorless, colorless, untraceable. I arrive at the Great Hall to eat breakfast at exactly 5:30 every morning. You arrive with the students at around 7:30 every morning, without fail. You pour a cup of tea, and while it brews, drink a small cup of either pumpkin or orange juice, which have both been sitting on the Teacher's table for at least 2 hours unattended," he said.
Serratenshi: Sneeveley left the room feeling thoroughly defeated.
His master wasn't going to like this, at all.
He wondered how on earth to get around the not-so-little obstacles Professor Snape had - and was bound to continue - throwing in his way.