Sixth year Severus Snape climbed the stairwell to Professor Farren’s office. He didn't want to be Professor Slughorn’s errand boy, he was no kiss ass but there just happened to be no one else in the common room at 5pm.
So he’d ended up with a decent sized bag of tea leaves, a pat on the back and a few house points for the job.
It’s not like he had anything better to do. Oh, no, he didn't have a mountain of essays or his own little research projects for potions to be getting on with.
No. It was a pleasant Saturday evening, one he had expected to be productive and now he was giving tea leaves to the Divination professor he’d never even spoken to.
Her office door was already open. Was she expecting him? He snorted. He doubted she was an actual Seer, he was far too cynical to believe such things. Still, it was an easy subject for those who didn't mind having it on their record.
Professor Farren’s office was unexpectedly plain. She had a dark wood desk, old and used with neatly stacked marked essays. The Professor was staring at a crystal ball in the palm of her hand and not wanting to interrupt, Snape put the bag of tea leaves on the floor and stalled for time.
It wasn't everyday you found yourself in a professor's office without being in trouble.
The room smelled of lavender but not overwhelming so, she had an incense burner but the window was open, letting in fresh air. There was a bookshelf without books, instead, it had a stack of tarot cards, tea cups, small candles and a jewellery box.
By the window sat a large chest with 3 silver locks.
He knocked on the open door. She didn't look up.
Professor Farren was mumbling to herself, Snape took a step closer and caught some snippets, “No… That can’t be right… Ugh, it’s so foggy today…”
Was she predicting the weather?
“Professor Farren?” Snape said and she finally looked up, “My head of house, Professor Slughorn, said to give these to you. Tea leaves.”
“Oh, yes, thank you,” she said and squinted at him, “You’re not in my classes, are you?”
“Then where do I know you from? Merlin, I do know your face, it’s rather unforgettable, very unique, come a bit closer, please… Hm. Odd. Very odd. I’ve definitely seen you before-”
“If that’s all, I’ll be going back, now. I have some essays to do,” he said, done already with the Professor he had quickly deemed as a charlatan.
“Aha!” she exclaimed, pulling out a notebook from her desk, “No, wait, I’ve got it! Yes. I saw you in a vision.”
He drawled, “Wonderful.”
“I don’t suppose you have a tattoo, do you?”
“I do not.”
“That’s good. Don’t get a tattoo. You might think it looks cool now but years down the line, you’ll regret it. My visions are rarely wrong.”
Despite his natural cynicism and all his instincts telling him to just leave her office and never look back, he asked, “What was the tattoo?”
He’d never wanted a tattoo, why exactly would he get such a dreadful tattoo that even the Professor was getting visions about it? Was this tattoo going to be so damaging to his fate?
“It was blurry,” she said. Of course. As it always is with this charlatans, he thought and rolled his eyes, “But it was on your wrist, yes, on the veins.”
Snape told her, “I have no plans to get a tattoo. But thank you for your time, Professor.”
“It’s no problem, sometimes I see these things and never get a chance to tell the person. Very odd, though, I’ve never felt so much regret in a decision.”
It wasn't until he was in his bed, reading a letter from his friend Lucius Malfoy that he realised the implications of the Professor's words.
Perhaps if it weren't for the series of events of the very next day, Snape would have never pushed aside his suspicions.
It all started with a bang. This was a cliché, a typical move by the Marauders to ‘brighten’ up Sunday breakfast.
To be fair, breakfast had been an ordinary affair, albeit the absence of a certain Divination professor.
Snape didn't know why they felt the need to cover all the decent breakfast foods in confetti, replace the cutlery with party poppers and ruin his porridge with glitter. Bright red glitter.
“It’s edible,” a first year Ravenclaw broke the stunned silence of the Hall. The student continued eating their food without even blinking, swallowing down the pranksters gaudy glitter without a second thought.
It was almost amazing how fast people got used to things.
The Marauders were summoned to Dumbledore’s office. This surprised no one and although they tried to play off guilt with sweet smiles and shrugs, everyone knew it had to be them.
Snape waited at the corner of the corridor, ready to run but more than ready to gloat at their punishment. If he was lucky, they’d wind up in detention for a week and he’d finally have some more peace and quiet.
But luck is a fickle mistress.
“Hello!” the dreaded Divination professor greeted him with a wave. She acted casual yet her hair was falling out of a bun and she was breathing heavily, “Do you know if Dumbledore is busy? I've got something urgent to tell him.”
“He’s… reprimanding some students right now. Shouldn't take long,” he held back a grin.
She gasped, “What bad timing. This is much more important,” she tugged at his arm, “Come on, then!”
“Why am I needed, exactly?” he asked but it was like talking to a brick wall.
“Sni-Snape!” Sirius Black exclaimed, turning his back on the lecturing old man, “What are you doing here?”
He glared, “Rest assured I am not here of my own free will.”
At least he had gotten the last word as Professor Farren let go of his arm, parted the Marauders like the red sea and stood indignantly in front of Dumbledore’s desk, “I just had a vision.”
Pettigrew eyed the strange professor nervously. The situation had gotten worse. Now, there were two professors present and they had no defence, they were 100% guilty and he was going to end up cleaning the toilets again. It was a dreadful day. Lupin patted his shoulder in an attempt to reassure his friend but he too was wincing.
Snape thought, for a moment, that the universe was on his side. The stars had aligned. A Seer was going to proclaim the Marauders were guilty as sin, bad for society and Potter needed a haircut almost as much as he needed a reality check. Justice was about to be served.
“Sirius Black is innocent,” she said, her arms crossed.
James Potter looked at his best friend, gob smacked, mouth opening and closing like a fish. Black had the sense to hold back his laughter but he couldn't stop his lips twitching. He was sure he’d done all he could to prove otherwise, he had ‘accidentally’ sent some stinky herbs to her office once but she’d never complained.
He had also ‘accidentally’ dropped the occasional tea cup in her class to escape her talks on the importance of Mercury being in it’s fifth whatsitthingy.
But if she wanted to defend him, well, he wasn't going to protest.
“Is that so?” Dumbledore questioned, eyes on the student who had not fought against guilt trip, in fact, Black had stood there the whole time with a big grin on his face, “Forgive me, Leda, could I ask for details?
Professor Farren said, “Oh, right, yes, I’ll let you finish with these students and, then, I’ll give you the memory. I need to study it and I’d really appreciate your input.”
“Of course,” Dumbledore coughed, his attention back on his pupils, “My apologies, Mr Black, for accusing you of disturbing breakfast. The rest of you will have detention with Mr Filch for a week.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Professor Farren put up her hands, “I didn't mean he’s innocent right now!”
Sirius Black clapped his hands, “Thank you very much, Professor. To be precise, I’ve been innocent all day. Haven’t done a thing. I’ll be off, then.”
“He’s absolutely right,” Potter said, “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything, Sirius, do you forgive me?”
“Of course, James, it’s fine.”
Their acting certainly wouldn't win any awards but for the sake of his sanity Dumbledore let it go. The boys left his office, each of them glancing at Snape as they left, to Lupin’s credit he didn't glare at the Slytherin but, in Snape’s mind, he was guilty by association.
And Pettigrew was just a quivering mess, the boy shuffled out of the office quickly, his small legs striding to keep up with his lanky friends.
Professor Farren massaged her temple then pointed at the grumpy Slytherin, “And you! Don’t get that tattoo!”
“I know,” he snapped, “I don’t know why I’d get some ridiculous tattoo anyway.”
The headmaster tried to calm his member of staff, “Perhaps it would be better to discuss this new matter alone?”
Snape took the hint and left the headmaster's office, not glancing back even once. He was done with prophecies, fortune tellers and charlatans. What use were they if they couldn't give Black the detention he deserved?
Perhaps Severus Snape’s cynical mind had a point. If Dumbledore had checked his vials of memories years later instead of putting it to the back of his storage and his mind, he may have understood the blurry vision of the Divination professor, saving himself and many others from serious regret.