Sybill Trelawney, the Divinations teacher at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, peered into the crystal ball resting on a pile of silk on the table before her. Her large glasses magnified her eyes to astounding proportions. It looked as if she should be able to see through the castle walls with those babies. Still, she sighed, straightening on the sofa and reaching for her ever-present glass of sherry.
"Why can't I ever see anything when I'm trying?" she muttered after taking a fortifying sip of her drink. "If only I could summon my talent on command. People would respect me."
Sybill was painfully aware that the students and much of the staff thought her to be an old fraud, waving scarves and speaking in spooky voices, but not saying or doing much at all. Yes, she could teach the basics of Divination, casting yarrow stalks, understanding the tea leaf images that formed on the sides of tea cups, charting the stars and the process behind scrying with crystal balls. But when it came to clairvoyance, she had to fake it for the most part . . . giving numerous predictions and hoping some of them would stick.
Many of the staff wondered why Albus kept her on. The reason was simple. Sybill did have the Gift, fickle as it was. She'd proven that years ago with the prophecy she'd given concerning Voldemort and Harry Potter. Besides, if she weren't teaching at Hogwarts, she'd have to make a living hawking predictions in a booth someplace, perhaps even become a carnie. She had no family, no one to turn to if she were in need.
Sybill put her glass down, rolled her neck and shoulders and was just about to settle in when a knock sounded on her door.
She jumped a bit, her eyes widening so she resembled an owl for a moment before they settled back into usual bug form. It took half an hour to get up to the North Tower, so she didn't have many visitors. She stood and straightened her scarves, then flowed over to the door and opened it, her eyes turning owlish again.
Standing in the doorway with a very severe and disapproving expression was Severus Snape. And he had a bottle in his hand.
Sybill had a thing for the Potions master, and was heartbroken when he married that little know-it-all Hermione Granger. For years she had tried to secure his affections, and for years Snape had tried to poison her, get her fired, hook her up with someone half-blind, turned her into a dragonfly and tried to smash her with a rolled up parchment, the works. The only way he got her to back off was by marrying Hermione, who told him more than once she suspected he'd married her just for that reason.
He never denied it.
However, here he was.
Sybill felt the familiar stir of longing in her breast, but she felt the urge for self-preservation even more. She closed the door a little.
"Severus, what are you doing here?" she demanded, her hand slipping to her wand which was tucked in her skirt's waistband.
"I missed your birthday," he purred, holding up the bottle. "I've made you something. A potion."
Sybill's eyes narrowed.
"Like I'd drink anything you'd give me," she hissed.
"Don't be silly, woman. I would never attempt to poison you directly. I have more finesse than that," Snape said, pushing the door wider and walking into her rooms.
"I didn't say you could enter!" Sybill exclaimed as Snape whirled on her, his black robes flaring for a moment, then falling into a gentle billow. Sybill had the windows open and there was always a breeze at that altitude.
"You didn't say I couldn't," Snape replied, his eyes shifting toward the crystal ball and glass of sherry. "Scrying again?"
"Yes," Sybill said, her shoulders helplessly slumping a little.
"Unsuccessfully, I imagine."
"I've . . . I've made some progress," Sybill lied.
Snape arched an eyebrow at her.
"I'm sure," he said, his inflection suggesting he didn't believe her at all. "But, I haven't got all day and I brought you this potion. It is a special brew that I have been working on for years . . . just for you."
Sybill blinked at him. Professor Snape, one of the finest Potions masters in the wizarding world had taken out the time to develop a potion just for her? She couldn't believe it.
"Why would you do that?" she asked him. "You despise me."
"Actually, Sybill, I abhor you. But that's neither here nor there. The fact is this potion was many years in the making and it was created with you in mind. I would like you to take it and use it so my work doesn't go to waste."
"What is it?"
Snape looked down his large nose at her.
"It is an enhancement potion, a very powerful one. The enhancements will never wear off, I've seen to that," he said, holding up the bottle. Sybill could see that the liquid inside was a lovely royal blue with accents of gold flashing through it.
"How do I know it isn't poison? Just because it's attractive to the eyes doesn't mean it's not deadly for the body," she hissed at him.
"I solemnly swear this potion isn't poison," Snape said tiredly, magic swirling around him as the oath took hold.
"Swear it won't turn me into anything," Sybill added.
"I solemnly swear it won't turn you into anything," Snape repeated.
"Swear it won't make me do anything stupid," she demanded.
"I solemnly swear this potion won't make you do anything stupid. If you do anything stupid, it will be your own fault . . . as usual," the wizard snarked.
"And swear that . . ."
"Blast it, woman. I solemnly swear that all this potion will do is permanently enhance your talents!" Snape yelled, and a strong, rather tornado-like swirl of magic rushed through the rooms, lifting the curtains, blowing parchments around and wrapping Sybill's scarves around her body so she had to disentangle herself.
"Fine, then," Sybill said taking the bottle from him and uncorking it. She cautiously sniffed it.
"It smells like elderberries," she said, her brow furrowing. Elderberries could be poisonous if not prepared properly.
"Just drink it," Snape said impatiently. "I've got brews to see about."
Sybill blinked at him with her buggy eyes, then looked down at the bottle. She drew in a breath as if she were about to take a plunge into an icy lake.
Then she drank from the bottle. Snape watched as she took a few gulps then started to lower it from her lips.
"Drink it all! Every drop!" Snape hissed at her.
Startled, she lifted the bottle and drank the remainder of the potion. She sat the empty bottle down next to the crystal ball. For all the world she looked as if she were waiting for death. She was pale and shaking. Snape stood looking at her.
Suddenly, she grasped her throat and started choking.
"You . . . you lied," she gasped at Snape as she stumbled back, the world flying around her. "You've . . . you've killed me!"
Sybill fell heavily to the floor.
"I wish," Snape muttered, stepping over her prone body and heading for the door. "But this should be just as effective. Happy birthday."
The next morning all the staff was at breakfast in the Great Hall. Hermione was peering at Sybill worriedly, although she didn't seem any worse for wear. Snape had told her about giving Sybill the potion after the fact, to avoid an argument.
"Severus, she'd better not come into the Great Hall naked again," Hermione told him.
"If there are gods in heaven, that won't ever happen again," Snape responded with a shudder. Hermione read off a list of things Sybill better not do, such as Die, Turn into Something or Disappear without a Trace.
"Or there's going to be one nookie-less Potions master around here," she added.
"I love it when you threaten me," he drawled, shaking out his paper.
Sybill was eating bangers, sliced tomatoes and eggs, complemented with a nice hot cup of tea when she suddenly stiffened, her eyes going wide.
"Lucius Malfoy is coming," she said in her eerie seer voice.
Everyone at the staff table looked at her, smirking because Lucius was going to be in Azkaban for at least two more years. He had been caught doing some underhanded things involving Muggle inventions, using temporary magic to enhance them until the poor unsuspecting customers got them home. He'd made a fortune, but alas . . . the Ministry found him out. He'd gotten three years.
"Sybill, Lucius Malfoy is in Azkaban," Minerva reminded her.
Albus simply looked at Sybill as he buttered his toast. He had some crumbs in his beard.
Suddenly, the door opened and in walked Lucius Malfoy, dressed to the nines and silver-tipped cane in tow. The students all fell silent as he walked up to the staff table and gave a curt bow.
"Good morning, Dumbledore. Staff," he said with a smile playing around his lips at their shocked expressions. "I just wanted to let you all know my appeal was successful and I've been restored to the Board of Governors. I am sure you are all very pleased."
Snape and Hermione didn't look the least bit pleased, and neither did the other staff members. Only Albus looked serene.
"Welcome back, Lucius," the Headmaster said with a smile. "I am pleased. Quite so."
Lucius' grey eyes cut toward Albus suspiciously, but he could see no guile in the wizard's smile.
"Thank you. There will be a meeting of the Board this afternoon. I wished to inform you . . . personally," he stated flatly.
"Fine. I shall be there with bells on," Albus beamed at him.
"Very well. I'm off then," Lucius said, turning and starting down the aisle.
"He's going to stumble," Sybill intoned.
Sure enough, Lucius stumbled over his own feet and nearly fell. Muffled laughter rose throughout the hall as he straighted and glared at the students and staff, fixed his robes unnecessarily and exited the Great Hall.
Hermione elbowed Severus and hissed at him in a low voice, "I felt you flick your wand under the table."
"I was just helping Sybill along," he explained, returning to his breakfast.
Sybill's predictions became picture perfect. Word of her abilities got out, first through the students to the parents, and then the parents to friends and family, and finally the news of the witch's newfound ability made it to the Daily Prophet. Of course, Rita Skeeter wasted no time swooping down on Hogwarts with her photographer, Bilbo.
"I'm telling you, Bilbo, it's a trick, it's a fraud. Sybill Trelawney can't predict rain when it's storming. I'm going to expose her," Rita chattered as she sashayed toward the castle in a skin-tight green dress, green heels, her nails perfectly manicured in green and silver and her hair tightly curled and unmoving. Bilbo rushed to keep up with her, fiddling with his camera all the while.
Rita interviewed Sybill, who was out of it for a moment because of the bright flash of Bilbo's camera. She blinked rapidly, trying to rid herself of the swirling spots before her eyes.
Sybill smartly made no mention of Snape's potion and attributed her sudden clairvoyance to an awakening of her inner talent.
"You know, some witches don't come into full psychic bloom until well into their nineties," she claimed.
"That means you should have bloomed about 20 years ago," Rita purred. Then she gave Sybill ten questions to predict, one being who would win the World Cup, another having her pick what Ministry officials would lose their seats and who would replace them, along with a number of other difficult predictions, even what the weather would be on certain dates.
As time passed, all of Sybill's predictions came true. Every single one. There was even an upset in the elections, a write-in candidate, Marvin Marvel, winning a seat. Rita had been sure she'd miss that one.
Pretty soon, Sybill was on all the most popular magazine covers, Witch Weekly, Divination Today, Notable Seers and more. She wrote a book on Divinations that was widely distributed, hitting the number 1 rank in sales for more than 30 weeks. It settled into a comfortable 4th place after that.
With radio interviews and Pensieve documentaries that sold like hotcakes, Sybill Trelawney had come into her own.
Shortly after Sybill's run of success, Albus Dumbledore stood up at breakfast and tapped his fork against his glass. The tinny sound rang through the Great Hall and everyone fell silent, giving the Headmaster their full attention.
"It is my great pleasure as well as my great sorrow to announce that Professor Sybill Trelawney will be leaving us to assume a new position at the Ministry as Minister of Prophecy," Albus said with a smile and nod toward Sybill, who nodded back at him, absolutely glowing with pride. "I am sure we all wish her every success."
The Great Hall broke out into applause as Sybill stood up, basking in the glow.
Snape was applauding animatedly, and Hermione looked at him suspiciously. Normally, he only gave polite, even bored applause. But this time he looked pleased.
As they walked back to the dungeons after breakfast, Hermione said, "Severus, I've never seen you applaud like that before. You seemed generally pleased for Sybill's good fortune."
"I was applauding for MY good fortune," he replied, looking even more pleased. "I've been trying to get rid of that woman for years. Finally, something worked."
"Severus!" Hermione hissed at him.
"What?" he answered, trying to look innocent. He failed miserably of course. Snape always looked guilty of something. It was his default expression.
Hermione studied him.
"Oh, never mind," she said, speeding up.
If she had looked back, she would have seen her husband wearing a rare, broad smile.
* * *
A/N: My FB friend Aimee jump started my muse when she commented plaintively didn't ANYONE have a good story about Sybill Trelawney where things go her way? I am extremely guilty of making poor Sybill a "female Ron" and making all kinds of things happen to the poor witch. So, this story was inspired by guilt. lol. However, I couldn't just make it all good for Sybill. It had to be good for the Snarky One as well. Snape love in full effect! Thanks for reading!