A Minor Disagreement

This fanfiction was Beta-ed by the one, the only, Bene Bu! I own nothing except the mistakes!

The potion had seemed to be perfectly under control until precisely five point four seconds before it exploded. In fact, only two seconds before it exploded, it still seemed salvageable. This was the reason why the two Potions' Masters had been huddled over the steaming cauldron instead of ducking underneath the hard, magically reinforced table, as any sensible person would. It was hard to know exactly what had gone wrong, as was sometimes the case when two people worked on a single potion, but individually they both had strong, if contradictory, opinions as to whom had caused it.

"Look what you've done!" Hermione shrieked, gesturing at the pinkish substance that now covered both researchers and the entire classroom. "Of all the stupid, idiotic, careless things to do!"

"I'm sorry, was I the one who added the Hellebore instead of the nightshade?" Severus asked, his voice rising until he ended with a shout.

"You switched the two around on my potions table! This is all your fault!"

"It is my fault that you are an incompetent, useless, bothersome twit?"

"How dare you! I am a better potions master than you've ever dreamt of being, you worthless, brainless, hopeless excuse for a teacher!"

"The only thing that is hopeless around here is your technique! Look at those perch gills; you've mangled them beyond recognition!"

"The text says to mince them!" Hermione said, gritting her teeth.

Severus snarled, "Mince, not pulverize!"

"You moron! You wouldn't know a minced perch gill if it bit you on the-"

"By all means, Miss Granger, please take refuge in profanity. Don't let me interrupt your childish name-calling with the truth," he said silkily.

"Childish, you're one to talk! I never should have listened to you about the ashwinder egg yolks!"

"If you truly believed you knew better, you wouldn't have allowed me to convince you!"

"Convince?! More like erode my better judgment with your whining! You behave like an infant, howling when you don't get your way and now sniveling when you do."

"Howling!?" Severus howled. "You idiot child; the only one raising their voice in this fiasco is you!"

"I have to raise my voice to be heard over the pompous ranting of the unprincipled, talentless hack I'm forced to share workspace with!" Hermione screamed back.

"You witless banshee!"

"Stubborn, feckless fool!"

"You are the most unprofessional, ineffectual, obtuse witch I have ever come in contact with!"

"Ineffectual! I publish twice the work you do in half the time!" Hermione screeched, her hair waving wildly as she gesticulated in impotent rage.

"Believe me, we are all well aware of the muddled theories you submit, usually without bothering to research more than the Quibbler's front page!" Severus replied, his voice dripping with scorn.

Hermione refused to rise to that bait and went back on the offensive. "Maybe I'd be able to experiment more if I wasn't working with a magical cripple!"

"What a singularly ironic statement. After bungling a simple potion so effectively, I'm surprised you'd have the nerve to throw around such terms," the Potions Master said maliciously.

"I think anyone would agree that the fault lies entirely on your end; I wasn't the one who decided a copper cauldron was the best place to brew an iron-based potion!" Severus opened his mouth to speak, but Hermione rushed on. "And, you dropped in the Terpsichore root a full three seconds early! The man who would bottle fame and brew glory is nothing but a butterfingers!"

Severus found his temper spiraling out of control, "You mentally defective, disagreeable harridan!"

"You shouldn't be angry at all! It's not my fault you thought it would be a good idea to toy with an already volatile experimental potion!" Her superior tone was carefully calculated to get up a person's nose, and it goes without saying that Severus had an abnormally large amount of room in that particular appendage.

"I am a respected potions master and had you not made that first-year mistake, it would have turned out exactly as my calculations predicted."

"You miserable liar! Any mental defect could have told you that lily pistons won't cancel out a combination of Tarweed and Black Swamp Mold!"

"I have a system; you irritating little halfwit!"

"Contemptible, simpleton!"

"Worthless neophyte!"

"Wretched, beastly, mediocre man!"

"Empty-headed, vapid shrew!"

"Despicable, disingenuous weasel!"

"You inferior, pathetic, hideous termagant!"

She really couldn't help it. She had had a terrible week, she was covered in malodorous potion goo, the entire classroom was going to take hours to sanitize, and she was due at Ginny's baby shower in forty minutes. Plus, she would have to wade all the way across the sea of pink to reach her wand (placed carefully out of the potion's zone lest it interfere with the magical current being generated)! Really, it was a miracle she hadn't descended to this level earlier. She was a model of patience, practically a saint! And he made such a tempting target…

Severus cut himself off, staring in shocked disbelief as the scoop of pink gunk dripped off his face and over his neck. The fact that he was already fairly coated in the stuff made no difference, it was the principle! No one threw goo at Severus Snape and got away with it! No one! With lightning quickness, he snatched up the pot and upended it over her head.

She lunged at him.

For a moment they were a tangle of limbs before Severus landed with an 'oomph' on the stone floor. "Merlin, you bloody gorgon!" He attempted to roll sideways and dislodge his attacker.

Hermione clung tenaciously with one hand and scooped up a pile of pink sludge with the other. Severus just had time to see it coming before she slathered it over his face. "Take that, you slimy, unprincipled worm!"

Angered beyond reason, Severus broke her hold with one quick jab and pushed her backwards onto her rump. Grabbing two handfuls of the failed experiment, he threw them at the front of her robes, taking sadistic delight in the squelching sound it made as it hit portions of exposed skin.

"I hate you," she shrilled. Propelled by rage, she tackled him again, pressing her goop-coated clothing into his dark robes until they were both more pink than anything else. She was just attempting to grind the back of Severus' head into the flagstone when the door to the potions lab opened without warning.

"Severus, I was just…" Minerva stopped and stared as the two instantly froze. "Oh my." To the two Potions Masters' horror, she blushed bright red and quickly made her excuses. "Another time, then."

"Minerva, this is not what it-" Hermione began, but the Headmistress had already slammed the door shut, "…looks like."

"Slattern," Severus said evilly, from his position beneath her.

"Oh, shut up!" Hermione said crossly. "How dare she think we're cavorting in here, of all places! What are we nymphomaniacs?" She stood up carefully, trying not to slip in the potion. She slogged through the mire to fetch her wand, and with a muttered incantation, the mess disappeared. "Honestly, you'd think we had no more control than a pair of third years, the way she behaves."

Severus heaved himself onto his feet and chuckled darkly. He pulled Hermione against him and tilted her head up for a kiss. His hand closed about her neck, caressing it gently, and she moaned slightly as he pulled away. "You know, this is going to take hours to sanitize," he said, echoing her earlier thought.

"If you say we might as well christen the laboratory, I will punch you in the face," she threatened, not altogether idly.

"You didn't really want to go to that party, did you, Hermione?" he asked, his lips beginning to trail down her neck.

"Oh no you don't, you detestable wretch. Get away from me," she said, pushing him away and struggling to keep a stern expression on her face.

"Hermione, if I had feelings that would have hurt them," he said smoothly, affecting a wounded expression.

"I'm overcome with remorse," she replied evenly, beginning the task of sanitizing the nearest surface. Perhaps she should devote more time to inventing a sanitizing potion that could be sprayed onto surfaces to remove magical traces instead of relying on such a limited spell.

"Jezebel," Severus said, also beginning to sanitize.