January 2nd, 2005 - The New Year and a bit of humour
Happy new year! Might I say that I have had an excellent one myself. (Slytherin grin) Oh yes! I believe I forgot to tell you the other day that I had been in charge of one thing this year: party hats. (Evil Slytherin smile) Excellent! It was simply perfect. A shame the hats only came around midnight however. I will have to detail my evening prior to that before.
The party started at 8 after we had finished our dinner which was tolerable since the Golden Trio were sitting at the very opposite of my end of the table. I cannot say how grateful I was for that. It was a nice and calm dinner for me thank you!
Then we again set for staff room with everybody in toe. That is when Potter & Co started being annoying. Potter was on the arm of his Weasley wife, pregnant I am very much afraid, and considering that family's history, no chances of stopping the family there. So in about 11 years from now I will truly need to retire, no doubt. A red-haired arrogant with glasses is not my idea of a happy class. At least Potter sounds more mature now... and that is saying a lot. However, now he talks of either Quidditch or babies which I both find totally disgusting and lacking in taste. Have they not ran out of ideas about Quidditch after so long an history? I am, again, afraid not. At least he stopped glaring at me since the Last Battle. We could consider ourselves under an unspoken truce: he does not talk to me and I do him the same favour. Quite happily so might I add.
Another interesting element of the evening was Granger and Ronald Weasley... well well well... Looks like I won my bet after all. Minerva owns me money. (Grin) As cliche as this may sound, yes, I had bet those two would not last very long together. I could not keep from shouting looks at Minerva when Granger sat on Mrs Potter's right while the latter's youngest brother sat on Potter's left. Oh yes! I knew they would not last long as a couple. That much is obvious since there is no more gold ring on Granger's left ring-finger nor any attempt at communication from her part to the weasle. Hence for once, Granger will reward me with something else than annoyance, she will provide me with hard won betting money.
Oh, Severus, you are so bad... Profiting from Weasley's misfortunes...or Granger's awakening. Well, I do not truly believe those words, but just in case you thought I had no feelings about him, let me assure you that I do. Weasley is an utter twit who should have been better off with someone like Luna Lovegood or such lunatic air-head if he wanted a wife who would actually be in awe of his greatness and skills at Quidditch and whatever else he can do. I am hard on the boy, but then again, I am not more than I would be with others. So I am not making an exception for him. It was obvious from the start that his wife would shadow his career and I have learned from experience that this Weasley has wanted nothing more than recognition from the very start of his time at Hogwarts. And there he had to go and fall in love with a wife that would overshadow his "talents". Bad choice, Weasley, you brought it out on you. As for Granger, she also was momentarily stupid enough to believe she could be the nice normal wife of a Weasley who would enjoy having kids. Might even be why they split up. But that may have been only the final trigger, it was clear that if he wanted to have her for himself and be respected for something else than being "a nice boyfriend", he would have to tie her up somewhere out of reach of greater goals. I know she did have greater goals, maybe she pursued them (I do not know, I did not ask of course) because she asked for a reference letter when she graduated. I gave it to her of course, I may be a bastard, but I know how to spot excellence when I see it. I am not that daft... not to mention Dumbledore would have skinned me alive if I had refused. Ah! Dear Salazar spoke truly, Slytherins do look after their own skin... Anyhow, as I said, I was not surprised of the outcome though I thought it would be sooner. The Weasle needs to eclips her, but that would not do for her, not for long anyhow. Ah! Fatality! Of course Minerva will refute all of this, but I am pretty darn sure this is exactly what happened. (Evil grin) I seem to be grinning an awful lot this evening, I will soon find myself with facial cramps if I keep this up.
What else? Ah! Once we got upstairs, Albus made a little speech as usual, thanking everyone for being here tonight, shooting me the customary side-glance for my "willingly" being here, etc. Nothing special except what followed: Granger and Potter brought Muggle games along with them. Uh oh... I looked around the room to my "party jailer" and I knew I would have to get down to it. Well, I at least was convincing enough and asked to read the rules of the game before to everyone's annoyance. Ha ha! How I enjoy having this kind of power over people's time... (Again that grin will not leave me). It was called "Star Wars Monopoly", strange name that was. Potter said it was a different version from the original one. I wonder what it looked like, surely this one was an improvement or so I hope because it looked so boring. (Lady Claudia's note - click here to see what that Monopoly looks like Note that this version is newer. The old one had one play piece which was different) Granger took care of the bank of course, the Know-it-All had to have some control over the game didn't she! If I had been more acquainted with the game, I would have disputed that role with her or at least asked to take care of those "property" cards that came along.
When she first placed the board on the table, I remarked at how plain it looked and how ridicule it was for Muggles to play with such unmoving images. That got her angry all right. Told me "Of course you have to insult this muggle name, Professor, seeing how little you know of it. How plain!" She had that sarcastic tone about her which did not bode well. I started to complain at how boring this would be when she butt in and said it was actually quite a vicious game of power so that I would certainly love it. Darn chit of a girl. I don't like patronizing that sounds as being insulted. But of course she also picked my curiosity. If this was some game created by a muggle "Slytherin", I would have to defend my honour. I also took an imaginary step back when she reached for her wand and pointed it at me... all eyes were on me then... after a pause, grinning darn her, she said a spell which made the whole set come alive with magic. That was a close shot, but even Granger could not have hexed me in front of Albus. Ah! I had to admit it looked a whole lot promising this way at least. She added that knowing how unimaginative I was, she had thought of charming up the set prior to coming. Well... I guess her life with her ex-boyfriend taught her a thing or two. I only sat there raising my eyebrows and looking unaffected and bored, I did not rise to the bait. She was not happy. I love to annoy people that way. Lupin played with us, along with Potter, his wife, Albus, Minerva and Hooch. Others watched the game or played to other wizard games or simply enjoyed small talk. I think I was better off sitting there after all. Small talk is the death of me.
I read the instructions while the others prepared the game and all were waiting for me to finish (Evil huge grin). Then, while the others had all being given their play piece, Granger handed me my piece with a smile that said: "Warning, something wicked this way comes" Indeed, I took the darn piece of pewter in my hands and noticed the ressemblance while everyone around snikered. "It's Darth Vader", she said. "The villain who turned out to be on the side of Light in the end." If looks could kill! But I would not be let down so I said "Indeed! Thank you, Miss Granger" in the vilest and sarcastic voice possible. "You're welcome, Professor!", she said with a huge smile while the others could not hold out from laughing anymore. This was not foreboding well and I was getting angry, but Albus put his arm on mine and told me to relax and just enjoy the game. "Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out" I repeated like a mantra. "I can do this, I can do this" Good! I regained my composure and luckily the chit was right: this game was designed by a Slytherin and Slytherin tactics I have plenty of, and hence the tables turned on her and her "princess" play piece.
No really, what is this with muggles and silly costumes. That princess had buns on the side of her head, another some type of kimono (Albus's and called Obi Wane), another looked like a trash can or a hamper (Potter's wife's), another was Potter's and had a "laser sword" as he named it and this Luke Skywasher was also dressed in some idiotic kimono, Minerva's was some kind of guy with looked as proud as a Gryffindor called Yan Soyo-something, Lupin had a furry ugly thing called a Whookie (which everybody found funny but me, I still don't get it) and finally, Hooch had someone called Bobafit. Talk about lunatics! I was very happy Granger gave me this Vader character after all, he was the only one who looked half decent apart from his oversized hat! The rest of them looked as though they had asked Hagrid for fashion advice.
Anyhow, I was very glad to play once I really got the gist and assimilated the rules as we played. I must say I was a bit carried away with my vengence towards Granger which made me lose some property cards. Still, I was the one with the most spaceships in the end and the most money. Oh yes, I forgot that: what kind of silly idiotic would think of making paper money?! It is so volatile and fragile, I wonder how muggles cope. That was my Monopoly game.
It was around 10:30 when we stopped playing the game. I was surprised it took so much time as well as how it was considered a "family game" as Potter put it. How can you name this a family game when all around me I saw people begging for others not to overcharge them, shouting when someone bought a property they had in sight, crying when they lost everything, doubting the bank, being happy when people fell on "Go to Prison" and ecstatic when they got hold of the Imperial Palace (the last property before Go). That is not a family game, that is a war-intended game if you ask me. It is much better if my Slytherins never come across this game or they will end up killing each other by the end of the game. They will accuse each other of cheating and so on... I was surprised I remained the only calm player around our table. Even Albus got excited at the prospect of "eating the others alive". Good Merlin! I kept to myself of course, a good game is when one does not reveal his strategies after all, the Slytherin way it was.
Then I had hoped we had been left alone to seek our own interests but no. I did not have to indulge in any other muggle games but Flitwick proposed a "joke contest". Oh dear! I did not win that one though I thought my joke was quite funny myself. That was not the general opinion however. The reason why I told that particular joke was to get them off my case. I had refused to tell one until everyone joined in to convince me. I thought: "All right, but be careful for what you wish for" I told them the joke of the Potions Master who had an incredibly stupid student: "Once upon a time, there was a Potions Master in his first year of teaching who had an particularly thick and silly pupil who always, God knows how, messed up his potions so that he had melt more cauldron each year than a volcano could possibly do. One day, in detention, the pupil once again screwed up his potion but this time, he was foolish enough to put his head above the cauldron to check on the ruined potion when suddenly "BANG", it exploded in his face and he fell on the floor. The Potions Master was alerted and ran up to the floo network to ask for help. He called the infirmary and since this was the first year of teacher and this had never happened, he was quite nervous and said: "I believe my student is dead! Help me please, I don't know what to do?!" Then the medi-witch answered: "Please calm down, sir. Now, first, you have to make sure the victim is really dead before anything else..." -Ok, he said. Then the medi-witch heard a "Avada Kedavra" followed by the teacher coming back to her and saying: "All right, he's sure dead now so what's next?" Must I say that the room was rather silent though some snikered a bit when I finished. Nobody dared laugh because I looked so serious. Fools! Of course I was joking, in my very own way (grin) Ah! They should just have left me in piece. However, if we were to let go of the Adavra part of the story and replace it by another way to kill the pupil, I am pretty sure people would have laughed more.
Finally, at 11:30 Albus annonced yet another game. Argh! However, he was entirely forgiven when he asked me to provide the hats I had prepared so everyone would be ready when midnight struck. Excellent! (I could almost see myself joining fingers of both hands and tapping them together while grinning inwardly) My time had come! Albus had taxed me with the hats, I would tax him with something of my own until the party was over. Who said I didn't have a sense of humour. Surely none of those who attended the party will ever say that again though of course, they all said my humor was very twisted.
The suspence is over: I charmed the hats to behave in odds ways thanks to potions of course, and the result only embellished my skills and brilliance! Usually, we used crackers to provide hats like on Christmas day, but I thought I'd give this a turn for the better. The better for me of course! Especially since Potter and his sidekicks were there. But first, let me explain the game we played before.
We all put our hats on at the same time, but only after Albus explained this new game called "pass the parcel": everyone gather in a circle, we are to use our wands, a magical "selector" is charmed to spin in the air until it points to a person randomly after a couple of seconds or even a bit more than sixty seconds, but that's rarer. When you are selected, you have to put on mittens (given to you by the last selected person) so that it takes more time for you to get to the present. The present has been protected by many charms and protecting devices so that it takes a long time to find the right charm to unlock it. It has many layers of protection spells, hence the game lasts long enough. I like this game because I'm always so good at finding the right charm. A Slytherin likes to show of after all. I do not like the "mittens" part of the deal however, I wish we could just skip to the present without having to put them on. But then again, people would be too quick in opening the box if we didn't have to put them on. Often, you don't even have time to wear the darn things when someone else is selected. That's infuriating sometimes, especially when the box is getting smaller and smaller. This year, I won the price: a dinner at the Three-Broomsticks. Oh well, better than nothing though I don't particularly like the place. Too small and full of people most of the time and I don't feel so at ease there. But a price is a price. Potter looked livid because he was about to open the present when the selector stopped on me. Ah!
And now for the hats... well, it was quite a sight. I had charmed the hats to transform specific parts of the body or added some for each person wearing them. Hence, Potter ended up with troll features, Weasley like a ... weasle with the whisks and tail (it was all on purpose of course), Granger like a cat (I couldn't keep from asking her if that reminded her of something?), Potter's wife was a unicorn (I would not want to make fun of a pregnant lady... there will be enough time with her child later on), Albus turned out a fox (so for once he looked the same on the outside as well as on the inside), Minerva was a dog (couldn't resist turning her into the opposite of her animagus form), Lupin was a wolf (for once I decided to be light on him and allow him to "enjoy" a wolf form for once), and the others all had different animal or creature costumes topped with silly looking hats. It was perfect. When they all turned to look at my own hat, of course it was the only elegant one. A pointy hunter's hat that transformed me into a ... vampire. So nothing much changed apart from the tip of my clothes, my teeth and my nails. And I looked at everyone with a menacing air, daring them to come to my face and tell me they didn't enjoy the joke.
Those were advanced transfiguration potions of course, and I must admit I could not have done it without a little help from Minerva who unintently gave me some tips. She didn't know why I was asking but I could tell she understood the minute everyone put their hats on. Oh I love it when she is furious!
However, Albus was very pleased and he started the game right away so people could not complain for long. Strangely, they all made fun of themselves in their silly costumes and it added to my own pleasure.
And so the clock hit midnight and the hats lost their effect (wouldn't want to hurt anyone with my claws would we? Hum? Now that I think of it, maybe yes !) I always either shake hands or kiss hands, nothing more personal like the rest of the staff do. Dear Merlin no! Hence, it was a rather pleasant evening after all though Minerva will make sure she provides the hats next year. Losing her bet and being an unknowing help in my hat potions was too much for her I'm afraid. She is no better loser than I am.
Severus - the grinning one (for today)