Valentine's Day in the Potion Classroom - Part 1
Happy Valentine's Day! I'm sorry I won't be able to finish it tonight. I've had an exhausting day, including a stressful intereview (cross your fingers so all goes well though the principal let me go with the lesson plans so unless something very wrong happens, she'll call me back tomorrow to confirm that I'm going to teach for 2 months in the same high school, full time. That would be stressful in a way because I would have half normal groups and half enriched ones, but I was told this school was nice. Must be one of the rare around here! I hope she will confirm as soon as possible tomorrow, then I will start worrying for another reason ; ) I will work on it tomorrow as I don't work and I should be able to post it at night. Thank you!
I hope you enjoy this comedy fiction. It is meant to make Severus face the things he dislikes and fears the most on a Valentine's Day. So of course, nothing goes as planned...
Note on the new timeline: I've allowed Corvus, Snape's cat, to be with him from earlier years than the original pre-HBP timeline. I expect cats in the wizarding world can live much longer lives and I'm going to take advantage of that. I don't feel like having his cat die on him every 10 years or so like our normal cats do. I find it a terrible time myself so I'll spare this ordeal to Snape. Hopefully, wizarding cats can live as long as their master and so will Corvus whom Severus needs an awful lot. I've decided to retract the original timeline when he got him (after Harry's graduation) back to his second year of teaching at Hogwarts. Call it a gift from Dumbledore to help Snape manage his loneliness and anger!
Note about descriptions: I never excelled at descriptions so I will let you imagine the whole set yourself! I believe that we all know how the Potter books are written anyway, and how Snape talks and acts, so I won't bother trying to come up with wonderful phrasing or I would never finish. Alas, I'm not like my dear friend, Afictionado, who creates such efficient and lovely descriptions!
Seventh Year Potion – February 13th, 1992
"The last draught we will study today is particularly insidious," said the Potion Master in his silkiest voice, his seventh year pupils all ears waiting for his instructions while admiring the small vial held through Severus Snape's masterful fingers. He was excellent at inciting drama, after all he was a Slytherin. "It may look quite innocuous indeed," showing the innocent vial around, "Limpid, cool to the touch, of a perfect emerald colour, and glowing in all its beauty. Most tantalizing I dare say. But," spatting the word in his most foreboding tone, "the nightmares that arise from the very first drop to the last will create an alternate delirious reality in the drinker's mind that is so vile and corrupted that it will slowly bring him to the brink of madness... Or suicide in the worst cases though frankly I'd prefer that alternative to an endless hell. Once you start there is no going back.
Unless that is," he said on a lighter tone "you keep drinking it until you swallow the equal of a fifth of your body's weight, making this potion both the curse and the cure. As you drink or should I say as someone forces you to drink, your inner thoughts grow darker, your will to fight grows weaker until nothing's left but to drink the last drop that will free you from this horrendous affliction. But do not believe this to be easy because while your rescuers may be nearby, you on the contrary are miles away from any sane thought while your body refuses to oblige their care, imperilling your very sanity."
Not a sound was heard through this thrillingly yet terrifying discourse. However, Snape was not done yet.
"Yes, the Draught of Delirium is a most dangerous poison and should be handled with the most care. Nonetheless, its potency can vary according to the amount of clematis stems, laburnum seeds and black hellebore rhizome used. The sample I brewed for analysis purposes today is one of the lesser evils and will induce nightmares going from unpleasant to fearsome in their intensity. Now, I want you to brew this less potent version of the poison, be very careful not to even bring a finger to your lips or else I might let you suffer your inner long enough for you to learn a lesson about carefulness. Begin!" said finished in his usual vindictive swirl of robes and wand.
Our story begins when one ill-fated girl had the misfortune of lifting and uncorking the vial that had been left there for reference, holding it up in her hands, being entranced by its delicate beauty until a certain Potion Master who had crept behind her demanded in his forceful voice which made her jump what why she was standing there for. The rest, my dear readers, you must have surmised: the vial's content splashed right in our hero's mouth, as fate in books always intends it.
As a statue falling from its stand, Severus Snape found himself falling on the cold stone floor, at the complete mercy of his nightmares sooner than he could bark: "Why you, idiotic gir- " Thump!
The next morning, on Valentine's Day…
"Corvus! Stop doing that! Why can't you be like normal cats and ignore me once in a while!" Corvus liked to lick his master in the face, he enjoyed the sound of his voice immensely. He was Severus Snape's black (we wouldn't dream of another colour) cat. He knew his master as well as his own fur, and he also knew just how to tackle it, even in the morning. Let it be said that Severus loved his cat, he could not imagine his life without him now. Cats are so Slytherin in nature after all, and this one was every bit like his master: intelligent, keen, cunning, secretive…
"Oh no, Corvus! What did you do again?! Look at that mess on the floor! Haven't I brewed you fur ball prevention potions for you?! [Meow! Yes, but I ran out of it yesterday.] Then why did you regurgitate in one, two, three, …, four, FIVE different places?! [rrrmeow!!] Don't look so sneaky you little snake! This is disgusting, Scourgify!"
As Severus mumbled about the trouble his cat was causing him sometimes, he entered the bathroom, only running water was heard until….
"CORVUS!!! What are your playthings doing in MY shower!?" he shouted as his cat whom, as per custom, always followed him in his morning routine.
"Mrrrmeow!" [They're gifts, you idiot! Don't you know what day it is?!]
"Oh, if only Legilimens worked on animals, I'd make sure you know exactly what I would do to you if I hadn't taken an oath never to arm you when McGonagall give you to me! Do I look like a cat to you?"
"Miaow!!" [Cat, human, what's the difference! You are pretty dumb sometimes, Severus]
Corvus gave him one of his famous cute face and cuddle which even the grand Severus Snape could not resist.
"All right, you! I knew cats made … err… gifts of their preys but unfortunately, I was never a Mice-Eater so would you please put them somewhere else?"
"Me-oow!" [Right away!]
"Finally, my cup of tea! Sigh… nothing like a Saturday morning in our chambers is there, Corvus?"
The quadruped jumped on the table in agreement, waiting for his companion to give him some food.
"Let's see what inanities they've come up with in the Daily Prophet today. … Uck! It's February 14th! It seems like it was last month, these festivities always come back sooner than you'd like them to. So that's why you put mice in my shower, wasn't it! [rrrrme]Year after year they write the same nonsense on Valentine's Day, you can't get a decent read! What a waste of paper! Look at this: 'Want to make her fall for you, read our list of the 10 best romantic ideas ever, page 10' And people wonder why intelligent women end up with utter idiots who follow advertisements instead of coming up with their own ideas! Then again, if these women fall for it, they deserve what they get! Here's another one: 'Celebrate, don't eat too fat' then you look on the opposite article written by another moron and it says: 'Chocolate, lovers' caress and aphrodisiac'! And we are supposed to follow their advice? They can't even agree on a single thing. But wait, Corvus, I am sure we shall find even more 'exciting' articles further in this rubbish journal … Here: 'The history of Valentin's Day', I've read that one a hundred times it always comes up year after year, don't people remember, they need to brush up on those notions once a year?! No wonder our pupils are simpletons if their parents need such reminders all the time. Let's see what else we have – "
Severus Snape stopped dead, almost literally, when he set his eyes upon the next full page's article, reading it with growing nervousness, or shall we say, distress:
'Severus Snape, Potion Master extraordinaire, reveals his deepest Valentine fantasies for you bad-boy lovers, by Rita Skeeter' !!!! "What in the seven hells of Hades is this?! How dare she publish this… this… this … oh damn it all, I can't think of a name for this atrocity! I'll hunt this bug down if it's the last thing I do!" 'Indeed, ladies! The new Potion Master of Hogwarts who was a spy has made it to this day thanks to his inner fantasies that he fulfils each week in Knockturn Alley. Oh! Just the mention of it makes me shiver! Wouldn't you want to be part of his phantasms? I sure know a couple of you out there who would, so why waste your time with them, Professor, come and see me, I'll make sure to help you fulfil your darkest thoughts! Remember what they say about big noses, ladies… "
With that, he slammed the paper on the table, scaring Corvus and any ghosts who might have had the misfortune of wanting to wish him a happy Valentine's Day. But of course, the ghosts of Hogwarts were wiser than this (most of them at least) and never visited Snape, even less on a day such as this.
"How can this be?! It's impossible!! I've always wanted to be noticed for something more than a walking brain, but not like that. This is insane! How can this horrible medusa -[meows!] Yes, you're right, medusa is an overstatement, I should not insult them by comparing Skeeter to them. Oh my," he said the blood draining from his face "how am I going to face everyone at all today? [me-oww] Yes, yes, we'll stay in, no visitors until I can drag this hag in the mud of her own lies and nail her to the pylori of public opinion!"
Knock, knock (of course there had to be someone at the door at this very moment!!)
"Oh, let it not be Al –
"Severus!! It's Albus!"
"bus… I don't want to see anyone!" he shouted.
"Oh, but Severus I'm afraid I must insist, we need you upstairs, one of your Slytherins needs an antidote to a poison he was force fed."
"No, no, no! Don't take the bait, Severus, you're stronger than this" he mused silently while keeping his eyes closed so as not to be tempted.
"Well, if you take it that way. Ouvrirum Portus!" The door flew open and the lemon drop lover came in"
"How did you do that? My wards are infallible!" said a panicked Snape.
"Not anymore! You simply have to utter the right incantation, your wards have never been hard to penetrate you know, I'm surprised you weren't stolen more often actually. Even a third year could manage it. "
"What?! This can't be my wards have
always been the best in
Poof! Dobby apparated next to Albus who reset the wards and asked Dobby to get in through the door. In a moment, he was in while Severus was breathing hard, almost hunched back over his sofa, his cat worrying about him.
"Breathe " he thought ", this is a trick, surely, no one ever got in so easily, maybe you just forgot to last night when you - err… where was I last night? I can't remember"
"Thank you, Dobby, you may go now. Any way, Severus," said Albus in his joyful tone "don't worry, who would like to get in here after all? You're not the most entertaining host, are you?"
"No and I like it that way, so why don't you see yourself to the door while I wallow in my own misery. Ask someone else to take care of the poisoning case, I'm not in today!"
"Oh, don't worry about that, it was a ruse of course. I simply needed to tell you how I ardently admire you, Severus, and how I love you!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Yes, I know, I'm an old man but what does age have to do with any of this? When love is there, you've got to grab it, my boy"
"Headmaster, have you… bumped your head lately?"
"Oh please, Severus, stop calling me like that, I feel like it's a terrible
"No, no, you definitely got infected by a love potion, sir, let's go to my lab and we'll find out which one it is"
"Severus, don't tell me that after I trusted you when you turned your back on Voldemort, defended you in front of the Wizengot, and saved you from a sentence in Azkaban that you never noticed the reason I did all that, such as putting my reputation and liability on the front line, was because I loved you? Not as a son or as a friend, but as a lover."
Eyes wide open, Snape soon snapped back to reality and feared the worst.
"Albus, please, tell me this is an awfully bad joke?" said Snape hoping like hell he would answer what he wished him to.
"I know our age is not the same and that we'd have to tackle being male lovers as well, but when love speaks, love conquers all!" the Headmaster added with wisdom.
Snape ran to the hearth, took a handful of powder and called: "Infirmary!"
"Why do you want to go to the Infirmary?!" Then, he understood and added in an excited tone: "Oh! I see, you want to do it the way it was advertised in the Daily Prophet this morning, behind a hospital screen where anyone could walk on us any minute! Naughty boy!"
"No! I'm not staying here with alone with you!! You've either completely lost it or you're in dire need of the strongest love potion antidote I can brew!"
"A love potion?! That's ridiculous!"
"What is ridiculous, old man, is your own blindness to your own condition. A student must have dropped it in your pumpkin juice or offered you a homemade lemon drop! Fortunately for you, I still have my wits about me and I say we are going to see Poppy NOW!"
"Only if you take my hand, dearest!" he coddled.
Seeing how the Headmaster wasn't about to bulge from the middle of the room, Severus lost his legendary patience (with adults I mean!)
"Argh! I have no time to argue with you," rushing to take grab him by the wrist and dragging his through the floo, away where there would be someone to chaperone him apart from his faithful cat.
In the infirmary
"What's all this commotion, Severus?! Why is Albus hugging you like a giant squid would?" asked Poppy already fussing about them.
"The headmaster has either gone berserk or someone slipped him a love potion." Snape was pretty annoyed by now, especially with a giant Santa Claus glued to his arm. He thought bitterly on his own idiocy for falling into the Headmaster's trap when he touched him. Of course he wouldn't let go.
"Then why didn't you brew the antidote?"
"Because," losing what little remained of his patience, "I've got a highly disturbing case of sexual harassment on my shoulders or should I say, around myself now that he seems to enjoy hugging my waist, and that potion making requires – "
"Yes, yes, utter precision! I know Severus, you told me that a hundred times already!"
"Can you do something or not?"
"Well, how can you be sure it's a love potion, maybe it's simply a gluing spell."
"He PROPOSED to me, damn it! Do you think we simply tripped and voilà, we were hugging each other like mad thanks to a stray gluing spell?! If it had been that simple, I would have dealt with the problem myself, now listen woman, my patience is running thin, can you or can you not help me?"
"Oh! I understand now?!" And in her most coquette voice she added: "I know why you came here, you don't need to hide behind pretences you know." Poppy added, winking at him "So you are an item now! No wonder he jumped on you before others did after that awfully revealing article in the Daily Prophet this morning! That's why his eyes were twinkling so much. "
Panic could not start to describe how Severus felt at the moment.
"Poppy, please, I beg of you, don't tell me you've read those atrocities and that you truly believe this leechman and I are together? You are in jest, aren't you?"
"Ha ha ha! Oh! You're so funny when you put some effort into it. But do not worry, lad! I will be very privy about this. You can make that hospital fantasy come true here, there will only be me watching. After all, I am a bit of a voyeur or else I would not have become a mediwitch!"
As she spoke, the sense of dread in Severus was more and more overwhelming. And as she advanced on him to show him to his 'bed screen', Albus had all but completely removed his robes, efficiently showing off his 'assets' and … flashing heart-covered knickers.
[Mee-o-ow] "Run for your life!!" said Corvus.
A tensed Snape answered: "You are right as always, my dear Corvus. Petrify!" he shouted aiming at Albus.
"Oh no!" claimed Poppy, "You're no fun at all, dearest."
"Pour all you want, I don't care! I'm going downstairs to put an end to this masquerade and find the culprit of this. You'll have enough to occupy yourself for weeks when I'm done with him!"
Striding out of the room he added: "An advice, Poppy. Next time I come across Dumbledore, he had better be cured of his love delusions or believe me, love-sick students and a mutilated culprit will be the last of your worries today!"
Bang! The feline and master were out with one idea in mind: hunting season was open.
They did not make it halfway through the corridor when Snape saw one of the ugliest creature ever: Lockhart's house-elf singing cupids!
"Not one of those again. Not now," he added with annoyance. "I thought I had gotten rid of every one of them last year when Lockhart had the misfortune to let these sins against nature loose.
"My darrrrr-liiiinng!! Would you ple-leaseeeee listennnn to my plea-eeeee!!!, "the freakish cupid sang in an eardrum piercing manner.
"That's it! Corvus… attack!" Snape ordered his cat pointing towards the enemy.
As ferociously as our little black panther could, he jumped at the 'evil' winged troll and battled till he triumphantly held one of its legs in his jaw.
"Urg!" Snape said in a bored tone. "You did not have to tear it apart. A simple quick and bloodless end would have sufficed. Still, you did a good job! My compliments, master cat!"
[mreeeep] said Corvus, as proud as a fierce lion.
"Scourgify!" Snape added pointing his wand at the remains of the mess. But as the spell was cast, it transformed into a vile smelly gelatinous substance. After which Snape covered his nose using his billowing robes and Corvus took his distance.
"What the? Scourgify!" he said louder and clearer… But the more he said it, the worst it got and when Snape finally gave up, the carcass was so smelly and disgusting that even flies would refuse to lay eggs there and mountain trolls would feel like reeking.
[Growl] Stop it, I'm going to faint! It shows my nose is better than yours!
"All right," he snarled. "It's your fault for decapitating it. I bet someone cursed it to transform into … into this … 'thing' which resulted in this fowl mess. Let's find a student to serve detention and pick it up for us. It should be easy on Valentine's Day when hormones run rampant like larva on a hag!"
"Do not worry, my feline partner, I shall provide the unfortunate winner with an anti-nausea and Odor-be-gone potion. "
[mier-r-r-ow] Corvus purred happily.
"You are too soft sometimes, did you know that, Corvus?"
[Purr] Like you!