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The Dead Potions Master

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September 13, 1991, around 7 p.m. Potion Master’s Office, Hogwarts

Madam Amelia Susan Bones, the celebrated Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and aunt to Susan Bones, looked at the dead body of Potions Master Severus Tobias Snape in confusion. There was a hole in his forehead, and the back of his head didn't exist. Where there should be a scalp, there was nothing but a gory mess of bone, black hair and brain matter. She knew of no spell that could do that, and every diagnostic spell she used came back with no magical residue. She was stumped. After about an hour of trying to find out what killed the Potions Master, she gave up, summoned her Patronus, and called in her new WCIS team.

The Headmaster, Dumbledore, looked on pensively. This cannot be happening, he thought. Severus was supposed to keep the students from learning too much and keep the Muggle-born and -raised from graduating with honors in Potions. It will not do to have them in positions in the Ministry. Tradition demands that all higher positions be held by pure-bloods. It is where the money is. That cannot change. If we break from tradition, the society as we know it will crumble and I will lose power. He sighed while thinking that he should be the only half-blood to lead the pure-bloods to the right path. It is for the Greater Good after all.

His thoughts continued as he watched Amelia, He was also vital in keeping Harry humble. What am I going to do now? The whole game has changed. I need to think of someone who can be manipulated enough to be my pawn. Alas, I know of no one. This will require some deep thinking on my part. Now if I could only get these Ministry workers out of my castle… His thoughts were laced with many ideas, but he discarded most of them. All of his plans were now ruined.

Unaware of Dumbledore's less than light thoughts, Amelia waited for her team to arrive at the castle. She was still trying to figure out what had happened. In all of her years on the force, she had never come across something like this. She regretted that Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody had retired; he would know what to do. She sighed and turned to the Headmaster.

"Dumbledore," she said, pulling him from his thoughts, "do you have any idea who might have done this?"

"Alas, Amelia, poor Severus had many enemies. However, I do not know of any of them that could have been in the castle. The wards gave no sign of dark magic being used. I was only alerted that an unauthorized Floo call came from this room and came to see who would do such a thing," Dumbledore said with a very sad look and a slight shake of his head. "I truly believe that you will not find anyone in this school that could cast such a dark spell, for any spell that could do such damage would require more skill than any of my students possess, and I trust my staff completely," he said with complete confidence. "I will, of course, be ready to help you in any way I can, should you need me. Shall I see you to the gates?" he asked with a wave of his hand toward the door, expecting her to follow along. After all, everyone else did.

"Dumbledore, have you gone senile?" Amelia snapped. "When Marcus Flint Flooed my office to report this crime, I came immediately. I will have to have my team question everyone in this castle until they find the culprit. I highly doubt this was outside work. I’m waiting for my team of investigators to get here. I need you to assemble everyone—and I do mean everyone—in the Great Hall so that we can try to understand what the hell happened here. You will have to have the staff get a list of guardians so that my team can call them when they need to," she said sternly. She hated it when Dumbledore tried to curtail her of doing her job.

"Of course, my dear," Dumbledore said in his placating grandfather tone, making Amelia's teeth gnash. "I will call everyone in the morning. The children are in their common rooms now and will be soon asleep. Surely, you do not wish to disturb them?" he said, trying to buy some time so he could find the person who had foiled his plans. Then, he could eliminate their memory and get the whole thing dismissed as unsolvable. He too had never seen magic such as this, and he could not let anyone who could perform it to remember and use it against him. No, it was for the greater good that he attend to this himself, without the interference of the Ministry.

"I don't think you understand, Headmaster," Amelia said firmly, looking him directly in the eye. "Once I am at the scene of a crime, I must do everything in my power to solve it. And that means you will call all students and staff to the Great Hall tonight and they will stay there until we are done questioning everybody. And you," she poked her finger in his direction, "will not interfere or talk to anyone until we are done."

Dumbledore, however, did not leave the room; he was trying to find a way to get this interfering woman out of his castle. Didn't she understand that his word was law?

Just then, Amelia’s temporary American Muggle-born team came into the room. They had been brought over by her, because there were very few qualified British citizens — mostly due to the dead man on the floor— making the cut to be an Auror. This was much to the Minister Fudge's displeasure; he hated that she could go over his head to staff her department. The fact that this team was still being paid by the America Wizard Government also helped. This was an experimental training exercise. She had seen them at work while she had been on vacation in the United States and had wanted them to train her Aurors so that if war broke out again they wouldn’t be so unprepared.

Special Auror Leroy Jethro Gibbs was the head of the team. This would be their first case on British soil. There was nothing but glowing reports of the team and, from what Amelia was told by their director, they were the best, though she was told that Gibbs didn’t play well with authority figures. She hadn’t had a problem so far, so she wasn’t too worried. With him were his two deputies, Auror Anthony 'Tony' DiNozzo and Trainee Auror Caitlin 'Kate' Todd, as well as his Medical Examiner, Healer Donald 'Ducky' Mallard. They must have left Abigail 'Abby' Sciuto in her labs.

"What have you got for me, Amelia?" Gibbs asked, looking around the room and flipping open his Muggle notebook, ignoring the poorly dressed man lurking around in the room, trying to get his attention. I’ll never understand why these British still wear robes, he thought, they are far too cumbersome. Look at my guys; they’re in comfortable Muggle clothing. He looked at the old man’s colorful and rich robes in disgust.

Ducky went straight to the body and waved his wand in an intricate manner. Despite the fact that he knew no spell had done this, it was protocol.

"The deceased is Professor Severus Snape. He was the Potion’s Master of this school and supposedly reformed spy," Amelia stated, going over the facts as she knew them. "The Floo call came in at 6:12 p.m., which is when a young wizard, Marcus Flint, noticed the body. Young Flint was supposed to have detention with Professor Snape. When he arrived, he saw the body and called me right away.

"I arrived here to find Headmaster Dumbledore," she waved toward the man Gibbs had noticed earlier, “telling Mr. Flint to go to his common room and forget he ever saw the body. He was just about to raise his wand to Mr. Flint's retreating back. I, of course, dissuaded him of that notion," she said, glaring at the serene looking Headmaster. "I then examined the body but could find no residue of any spell. Then, I called you in."

"Boss," Tony said, getting their attention, "that is not from a spell, it looks like a gunshot wound to me, probably a nine-millimeter hollow point. So we are probably looking for a Muggle-born or half-blood."

Gibbs smacked Tony upside the head. "Never disregard anyone until the whole scene is processed. That's a rookie mistake. There are some pure-bloods that know of the Muggle world. Think, DiNozzo. That is what we pay you for."

"Sorry, Boss," Tony said, rubbing his head. He went back to wandering around the room trying to figure out who had been there during the past few hours.

Gibbs turned to his medical examiner. "What do you have for me, Ducky?"

"Well, Jethro” said Ducky “as far as I can tell the poor young man was shot in the front of the head at point blank range, around one to two hours ago. I will not be sure of what type of gun it was until we find the bullet. Judging from the wound, you are looking for someone who carries a lot of hate. Also, from the trajectory, it must have been either a small student or someone sitting in that chair," the Healer said thoughtfully, indicating the chair in front of the body. "I will need to get my readings to Abigail. She will know more. While you are securing the scene, I will get this young man to the lab and see what I can find. It reminds me of the time…” he started to reminisce when Gibbs cut him off.

"Okay, Ducky, you get him to the lab and give me a time of death," Gibbs said, turning back to Amelia. "We're gonna need to seal off this room. Do you know if the Headmaster touched anything before you arrived?" He ignored the huffing of the old man, not caring one bit if he was affronted.

"According to him, he had only just arrived when I got here,” Amelia answered.

"Headmaster, I'm going to need you to get all your staff and students together," Gibbs said, repeating what Amelia had told Dumbledore earlier. "Trainee Todd," he said to the nervous young lady who had been examining the Floo, "I need you to escort the Headmaster to the Great Hall and wait for me to get there. Have him call everyone there, and try to keep the students seated. Also, make sure that the staff doesn’t talk to the students. Use a Silencing Charm if you have to. Make sure it is Auror strength," he snapped out his orders.

Kate took the protesting man’s arm and drew him from the room firmly. Gibbs turned back to Amelia. "Why don't you go with Ducky?” he asked, causing Ducky to smile disarmingly and causing Amelia to roll her eyes; that man was such a flirt. "We've got it from here. Give us a week, and I'll send you a report. I’m going to be sending for some of your men, so you might want to get them to the Ministry to await the order. I’m going to need about a dozen or so to help with the interrogations. Make sure they know how to question kids."

It was a good thing that, as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, she could make a Portkey to get out of any wards, including Hogwarts, much to the headmaster's displeasure. She so liked making that man frown. Amelia gave a nod and created a Portkey. She then had an amused Ducky grab the robes of the body, which had had a body binding curse laid on it, preventing it from moving. They then touched the Portkey and were off.

"Boss," Tony said, coming to Gibbs's side, "whoever did this knew what they were doing. The whole room is clean. Not a bullet, hair or speck of skin anywhere, except for that Flint kid’s and the headmaster’s. I do detect an overlaying spell, probably for the clean-up."

Gibbs sighed. This was going to be a long night.

Later that night at 9 pm

After collecting what they could find, the two men sealed the office and made their way up to the Great Hall from the dungeon where the crime had taken place. As they entered, they noticed that there was complete silence. Todd must have had to cast the Silencing Charm. He gave her a nod in acknowledgement and went to the front of the hall. He cast the Sonorus Charm upon himself and faced the students.

"We," he said, waving between himself and the two Aurors, "are part of the Wizard Criminal Investigative Service, which means that we are here to investigate a crime. Sometime, around 6 p.m., your Potions Master was murdered."

At first, there were stunned faces in the student body, then, Gibbs watched in shock as a large part of the kids stood up and started silently cheering. They were hugging each other and some were crying. There was even some dancing in the aisles.

Yep, couldn't be easy. I wonder what that man did to earn such disrespect, Gibbs thought, still stunned at the emotions shown by the children. He looked to the Staff Table and they didn’t seem surprised to hear that one of their own was killed in cold blood. He turned to his team when he heard them groan and waited for the students to calm down. When it didn't stop after a few minutes, he sent some bangs from his wand into the air to get their attention; he then motioned for them to sit.

"As I was saying, a man has been murdered. This is a crime and not a reason to rejoice, no matter what your feelings on the matter are. We will be calling your parents in and questioning all of you until we find the culprit." With that, Gibbs cancelled the Sonorus Charm and turned to the staff.

"I need a list of all your students and their guardians. I also need to know who has had detention with Professor Snape in the last week. I suggest you get those that are waiting some food and beverages. You might have to set up cots and port-a-potties. No one is leaving this room until we've talked to everybody." He turned to his team. "Trainee Todd, I want you to find Jen and give her the note I'm about to give you and get a search warrant for this whole castle, staff quarters included," he said, ignoring the shocked and betrayed looks coming from the staff table.

Jennifer 'Jen' Gleason was an attorney they had brought with them to make sure they didn't step on too many toes, as she specialized in British law.

"When you have the warrant," Gibbs continued, "gather a team of Aurors, which should be standing by, and bring them here. We're looking for a Muggle firearm. If the idiot pure-bloods don't know what one looks like, draw a damn picture. If the Minister gives you a hard time, go to Madam Bones and let her and Jen handle it.”

Every member of the staff was glaring at him, but he didn't care; he had the authority to do what he needed to solve a crime and from the reactions to his announcement everyone in this castle was a suspect.

“You’ve got it, Auror Gibbs," Trainee Kate said. She waited patiently for Gibbs to write the note, then took it and left the hall so that she could get outside the wards, where she could Apparate to the Ministry. She was still a little nervous. This was her first case, and she had heard what a tight-ass Gibbs was, but he seemed to look out for his team and she wanted to be a part of that.

Once Trainee Todd had left, Gibbs hit the doors to the hall with a locking charm. Only other Aurors were able to leave the Hall.

“So, what do we do now, Boss? From the look of things, everyone in this castle is a suspect. Did you see the way the kids celebrated?” DiNozzo asked, then shied away as Gibbs gave him his ‘did you just ask that?’ look.

“We’re going to have to separate them by age. We’ll talk to anyone over seventeen first and get alibis. Anyone who has a solid alibi can go back to their dorm, after the team has searched them. Until then have them sit tight. Anyone that is a suspect will have to go to a separate room until we can get them to the WCIS building for further questioning. I’m not letting anyone mess with the suspects. You make sure the team takes them to our building, not the Ministry,” Gibbs said, looking around the Great Hall. He had never seen such a spectacle over a murder; almost all these kids looked like they were happy Snape was gone. He shot another glance at the teachers’ table and didn’t see anyone sad there either.

Before the WCIS had been sent to the United Kingdom, the American government had sent a survey team over and concluded that the Ministry building could not be used for what this team was capable of. Abby, his computer geek, needed her computer and diagnostic machines. Ducky also needed electronics so he could run tests and do autopsies. There was no electricity in the Ministry building, so the bosses had rented a building close to St. Mungo’s.

Gibbs then turned back to the main area, cast another Sonorus and said to the students, “I need everyone to stand up.” Most of them did, but some of the older students just looked at him with that ‘You can’t tell me what to do’ expression on their faces. He scowled at them. He hated working with teenagers; it was always a fight to get them to listen. “You either stand up now or when my crew gets here you will be taken to the WCIS and questioned there.” The rest of them stood grudgingly. “Okay, now everyone move to the side or back of the room.” He waited for them to comply. When they had gotten organized he said, “Everyone over eighteen, sit at the front of the table with the green banners. Seventeen year olds sit next to them and so on, until I have the youngest sitting at the front of the red bannered table.”

The kids shuffled around for a few minutes, pushing each other and generally doing what kids do. Gibbs just continued to glare. After they were all organized, he turned back to the head table and asked, “Who is in charge below the Headmaster?” Again he ignored the annoying man. He had been warned that Dumbledore would try to interfere if he ever needed to be at the castle. But the man would soon learn that no one could tell Gibbs how to do his job or he would wind up in a cell just like anyone else.

A stern looking older lady stood and glared at him with pursed lips. He waved his wand and canceled the silencing charm. “I am Professor McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress, and I would like to know just what you think you are doing. You can’t just come in here and order us around. These children should be going to bed, not sitting here while you do… whatever it is you are going to do.”

“Lady, there has been a murder. I can do whatever the hell I want,” Gibbs snapped back. “And you’ll do as your told or you’ll wind up in a cell until I damn well feel like letting you out. Now, I need you to start calling parents. Start with the older students’ parents first and work your way down. Anyone who doesn’t comply will have an Auror knocking on their door. They can then come to the WCIS and explain why they don’t want to help their child.” He turned to his second in command. “DiNozzo, go and check out that room over there, and see if it’s something we can secure and use for the interrogations,” he said, pointing to the ante-chamber. “If not, find something else close by.”

“Sure thing, Boss. Do you want to be able to set up a recorder?” the other man asked.

“I don’t know if the castle will let us. The magic is pretty strong here, but if you can get it to work, then, yeah, set it up,” Gibbs said thoughtfully, feeling the great amount of magic in the air.

DiNozzo headed off toward the indicated room and Gibbs turned to the Staff Table and glared at McGonagall. “Why are you still here?”

“I need the Headmaster’s Floo to make outside calls,” she said, still looking very unhappy. “You have not released him. He needs to unlock the Floo so that I can use it.” She waved her hand toward Dumbledore, who was still trying to undo the silencing charm. All Floos needed the Headmaster’s approval to make outgoing calls. It was inconvenient, but Dumbledore said it was for security reasons. It was a good thing he made sure everyone knew how to do a messaging Patronus. It was too bad that she couldn’t use this to get the parents here, but she knew that she would need to talk to them face to face so she could explain what was going on.

This however was a clue, How did that Flint kid call Amelia?

Gibbs didn’t want that man out of his sight if he could help it. He didn’t trust that calculating look in the old man’s eyes. He sighed. “I guess we’ll be here a little longer then. When my crew gets back, I’ll escort you myself. I don’t want anyone wandering the castle alone until we’ve done our search. So just sit tight for now.” He didn’t know the layout of the building, so he hadn’t realized that there was not a closer Floo. While he didn’t want the staff wandering around, he had thought that there was a Floo in this room; this was a school, after all. There should be a Floo in all the major rooms for emergencies.

DiNozzo came back. “It looks good, Boss. There are no windows, and it’s big enough that a few tables can be set up. You were right though; no recorder is going to work in there. What do you want to do?”

“See if you can get Abby to send some mirrors. We can turn them on and she can record from the Lab. Tell her to grab some techs to help her set it up,” Gibbs ordered. It wasn’t a great way to do this, but it would hold up in court. “Let her know that we’re going to be talking to a lot of kids and parents. Tell her I’ll stop at a One Stop when I’m done here and get her a Caf-Pow.” It had been hard to find a store that actually served the highly caffeinated drink. It was not native to Britain, but it was starting to sell. Hopefully, it would soon be in other stores, because there weren't any One Stops close to their headquarters, and it was quite a drive to find one, however, if it made Abby happy, he would.

“You want me to grab one? You know how Abby gets when she doesn’t have her caffeine,” Tony said as he checked his coat to make sure he had enough money to do so.

“Yeah, you might as well,” Gibbs said. “I don’t know how long we’ll be, find me some coffee too. Also, check with Ducky, and see if he knows what kind of gun we’re looking for.”

“You got it, Boss.” And, with a mock salute, he left.

Some of the staff were fidgeting, not at all happy that they were still under the silencing charm. Gibbs waved his wand and released them. “I’m going to be talking to you first. I don’t want you talking to each other. If you do, I will put the charm back on. We’re going to set that room over there with four tables. When we’re done talking to you you’re going to be sitting with my team and me, as well as the parents, while we get everyone’s alibis. Anyone who doesn’t have an alibi will be held in another room until we can take you to the WCIS building for further questioning,” Gibbs said, thinking it should be easy enough most of these kids were in their common room. He turned to the Deputy Headmistress. “Is the full staff here? I see a few empty chairs.”

Still glaring at the intruder, McGonagall said, “The chair at the end belongs to Professor Binns. He is a ghost, so I highly doubt he had anything to do with what happened here tonight. The chair by Professor Babbling belongs to Professor Trelawney, who never leaves her tower. The last chair on that end belongs to Professor Quirrell and he is not feeling well. And, of course, the chair over at the other end belongs to poor Professor Snape.”

“Send a house elf to get Trelawney and Quirrell. I want them here as soon as possible,” Gibbs ordered. 

McGonagall’s lips pursed once more at the order, but she complied nonetheless.

“My good sir, I would ask that you do not order my staff around,” Dumbledore finally spoke. “Everyone here has my deepest confidence. I am sure such drastic measures are not necessary. There really is no reason to keep the children from their beds. If you come to my office, I am sure we can work out a way that is far more suitable.” He had been silent until now because he did not know this man and had no idea how to manipulate this Gibbs to his way of thinking. No one at the Ministry had ever told him that there was a new Auror team.  He was quite upset about that. He needed to know everything that went on in the Ministry. How was he supposed to control everything if information was being withheld from him?

What Dumbledore didn’t know was that the body of government that controlled the law here in Britain, the Wizengamot, was not informed, because they weren’t using the Ministry budget. The only people that knew about this were Fudge, Bones and the DMLE. If this experiment worked, it would be brought before the Wizengamot and a new team of Aurors would be formed and budgeted.

“We’re going to sit right here until I have some idea of what is going on. You don’t seem to understand something, Headmaster Dumbledore. I am in charge of the crime scene, witnesses, and suspects by order of your Minister Fudge.” Gibbs pulled out the papers that Fudge had signed, stating just that. He kept them on his person because of people like Dumbledore. Fudge hadn’t wanted to give such power to a muggle-born Yank, but, he did, albeit reluctantly. Madam Bones had quite a few things on the Minister, and she had used them to get this pushed through without interference from the government.

“So, you will sit tight,” Gibbs continued with a poke in the old man’s direction, “and do what I say until I decide you can go. When my team gets here, you, the Deputy Headmistress and I will head to your office and start making those calls.” He held up his hands and glared at the old man when he tried to interrupt. “The more you argue with me, the longer we’re going to be here. If you just do as you’re told, we can get most of these kids to bed before morning. I’m sure you understand that classes will be canceled until we figure out who shot Snape.”

Dumbledore sighed and sat back down. He really needed to get to his office, but he didn’t think this man was going to let him make any calls to the people that he needed to get in contact with. He desperately needed to get information on this new team and he needed to have someone come and help him sneak peeks at the students' minds, like Severus used to do. He was going to miss his spy. He wanted to get to the person who shot Severus before this Auror did.

Albus glanced at the man who was pacing in front of the table, watching everything. He didn’t look like someone who could be bribed. And, as Dumbledore had no information on him, there was nothing to blackmail him with. The Headmaster knew he could leave the castle at any time, but would put suspicion on him, and he couldn’t afford that. He also needed to have Hagrid remove Fluffy from the third floor. The last thing he needed was to have the Aurors look further into that setup. Dumbledore stood and moved closer to Hagrid intent on telling him to move the three-headed dog.

Gibbs glared at him and firmly pointed to the chair he had just vacated. “No. You will sit until we can talk to you and get your alibi. There’ll be no talking between the staff. I will put the silencing charm back on you if I have to. You’re all suspects until I say otherwise.” Gibbs glanced at his watch and noticed it was getting close to ten p.m. He needed to get started soon.

Where the hell is my team? That idiot Fudge had better not be giving Todd a hard time. You’d think after the last time he butted heads with Jen, he’d know better. Just as he was thinking this, a group of twenty-five Aurors came through the doors. They all marched up to the front of the hall. He was happy to note that none of them were wearing robes. That was one of the first things he pounded into their heads. Robes just got in the way.

“Good, you’re here. Let’s get set up. I want you six to go to that room,” Gibbs pointed at the six on the left, then to the ante-chamber, “and set up four tables with five chairs each.” Turning to his Trainee, he asked, “Todd, did you by any chance run into DiNozzo?”

Trainee Todd shook her head. “No, Gibbs, we never left the Ministry. It took a while to get these guys ready.”

Gibbs nodded. “He should be here soon. We’re going to set up mirrors to record through to the lab. I need you and seven others to keep control here. These kids are going to start getting fidgety soon, and they need to be given something to do. I don’t know,” he racked his brain to figure out what could keep the kids busy, “have them write out where they were between five and seven, but don’t read any of it. We can’t talk to them without guardians. Make sure that the parchment is charmed so they can’t compare stories.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Did Todd tell you what you’re looking for?”

The group nodded and some held up a piece of paper with a gun drawn on it. Gibbs gave Kate a withering look. “You know I was joking, right?”

She smirked at him and shrugged. “They really didn’t know. This was easier. I was just following orders.”

Gibbs shook his head, he’d be glad when gun training started, and turned back to the group. “The rest of you, search this whole castle. Start with the teachers’ quarters, then the dorms. When you’re done start from the dungeons and work your way up. Use the spell to find metal. Does everyone know it?” He wasn’t sure they did, these Brits were sadly undertrained. A few raised their hands, stating they didn’t know the charm. “Todd, teach them, then send them on their way. I also want you to check for Animagus. I wouldn’t put it past anyone to hide as a pet.” It was standard procedure in America. These people seemed to forget that disguises were used all the time. He wondered where logic had gone.

Shaking his head, Gibbs went back to giving orders. “Todd, when you’re done showing these guys the spell, I want you to stay here. Make sure no one leaves until I say. Also, when Tony gets here, tell him to start with the staff. We’re still waiting on two more staff members. If they don’t show, send someone after them. Ask one of the Professors who I’m talking about. I’ll be back after I get McGonagall to the headmaster’s office. Once she is there, I’ll be bringing the headmaster back. He needs to be here for the questioning.” He figured that he could keep the old man with him that way. He wasn’t going to let the headmaster compromise his work.

 “Yes, sir,” Todd said with a firm nod.

The group broke up to follow Gibbs's orders.

Gibbs turned to the staff table. “Let’s get this show on the road. I’ll follow you to your office now.”

The headmaster did not look happy about the fact that there were all these people in his castle.

Tough, Gibbs thought. He’s just going to have to deal with it. He looked pointedly at the two head-people, then at the door leading out. “After you.”

They stood and finally started toward the office. Hopefully, the parents would cooperate.  He hated working with pure-bloods.