Who: Snape, Harry, Hermione, Ron & Luna What: Rescue! When: Tonight Where: Grimmauld Place, in the basement Rating/Warnings: TBA
Severus had to admit to himself - very grudgingly - that if he hadn't been so ludicrously bored over the past couple of months, he might not have bothered with brewing pointless batches of unnecessary potions. And if he hadn't gone to the trouble of staking out a corner of the kitchen for his own purposes, just for something to do, he most likely would not have had a dose of Polyjuice Potion on hand at a moment's notice. And had he not had that, he thought, as he watched the stuff turn an unappetizing orange color while it enveloped the fingernail clippings of one Alaric Selwynn, his erstwhile colleague ... his evening would be decidedly more touch-and-go than it was already like to be.
Pettigrew had come not half an hour ago, and had informed him (in that breathless, intolerable stammer of his) that the Dark Lord would be coming for Potter, and soon. It hadn't been hard to bully him into keeping his mouth shut, and while Severus wasn't sure how he was going to ensure he kept it that way after the fact, that was a problem for later. This needed to be well finished and worn off before anyone even thought to go down to fetch Potter. He needed to be back to his own form before the Dark Lord arrived, he needed to move Selwynn's body - currently shoved behind some sacks of flour in the pantry - to a more prominent location before the scene of their escape was scrutinized. Pettigrew would have to wait. Two hours seemed like no time at all.
That was probably for the best, really. The less he thought about this, the easier it would be. Going through the motions to drag Potter out of harm's way until just the right moment was always less difficult when he didn't let himself dwell.
So he shut himself into the pantry, exchanged clothes with the corpse, took a deep breath - and drank. It wasn't his first time, but it was no more pleasant than it had ever been. After the last of the strange twisting feeling abated, he took a few minutes to get accustomed to the body - a little taller, more solid, longer stride, close reddish-brown hair and a beard that itched like he couldn't believe, and of course it was always the smell that was the hardest to get used to - and then promptly went upstairs to let himself be seen. Between making sure to run across several people, being waylaid by a couple house elves, and waiting for the coast to clear before gathering up the confiscated wands, he found himself left with a little less time than he might have liked ... but it would be enough. He crept down to the cellar door, his own wand tucked in his robes with Potter's, Weasley's, Lovegood's and Granger's (or what was left of it after it had been splintered nearly in two). With Selwynn's wand, he made quick work of the locks, pulled the door open as quietly as possible, and stood on the threshold. The low light from the corridor spilling down the stairs wasn't quiet enough to see by properly.
"You there," he rasped, not having to try very hard to sound a bit nervous. "Get up here. - Quick, and keep your mouths shut." He anticipated stubbornness, of course. He expected the goblin would be the least intransigent creature in the room, actually.